Friday, October 31, 2008

Das unsterbliche Gerücht

"The Immortal Rumor" is the title of the book by the prominent Christian philosopher, Robert Spaemann reported on here by Sandro Magister — A Philosopher Reissues the Pope's Wager: To Live as if God Exists. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is quoted with this remarkable statement:
    In the age of the Enlightenment, the attempt was made to define essential moral norms by saying that they would be valid 'etsi Deus non daretur', even if God did not exist. In the mutual opposition of the confessions and the looming crisis of the image of God, the attempt was made to hold on to the essential values of morality beyond the disputes, and seek evidence for them that would make them independent of the multiple divisions and uncertainties of the various philosophies and confessions. The desire was to ensure the foundation of coexistence, and, more generally, the foundation of humanity. At the time, this seemed possible, in that the great fundamental convictions established by Christianity remained in place to a large extent, and seemed undeniable. But that's no longer the case. The search for this kind of reassuring certainty, which could remain uncontested beyond all the differences, has failed. Not even the effort – as heroic as it was – of Kant was able to create the necessary shared certainty. Kant had denied that it was possible to know God in the domain of pure reason, but at the same time had represented God, freedom, and immortality as postulates of practical reason, without which, for him, moral action did not make sense. Does not the current situation of the world, perhaps, make us again think that he may have been right? I would like to say it in other words: the attempt, taken to the extreme, to mold human affairs by completely ignoring God brings us closer and closer to the edge of the abyss, to the total elimination of man. We should therefore reverse the axiom of the Enlightenment and say: even those who are unable to accept God should in any case seek to live and direct their lives 'veluti si Deus daretur', as if God exists. This is the same advice that Pascal had given to his nonbelieving friends; it is the advice that we would like to give today as well to our friends who do not believe. In this way, no one's freedom is limited, but all of our affairs find support and a criterion that they urgently need.

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All Damned Day

Father Augustine Thompson, O.P., informs us that Irish Catholic peasants worried that "if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory [on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day], they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble" — Surprise: Halloween's Not a Pagan Festival After All.

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Buchananite Economic Nationalist No More

The "President-to-be" has reversed himself and now pledges to "submit the FTA to Congress for ratification in early 2009" — Obama says he will Support the FTA.

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"If at first you don’t secede…"

John Schwenkler, noting "our status as a country divided, a people set apart from one another as much by regional culture as by religion or political ideology," says that this is the "perfect time... to talk about secession" — Untied States.

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Adultery Is a Crime

At least in Korea it is, as "[t]he Constitutional Court narrowly upheld yesterday adultery as a criminal offense" — Constitutionality of Adultery Law.

It is interesting to note thw change in women's attitudes: "The Justice Ministry, which sought the abolition of punishment for adultery in 1992 while revising the adultery law, had to back off to avoid mounting criticism from women’s advocacy groups." However, "[w]ith the increasing number of extramarital affairs by women, the law has lost legislative justification for protecting women" and "women’s groups, which had strongly supported the adultery law, have begun to oppose it." And the Korean Women’s Association United in a statement said, "We would like to express our concern that the adultery law is hampering the opportunity to draw up practical alternatives and change the public mindset by exclusively leaving the trust and responsibilities of a married couple to the government to punish."

The editorial concludes with the truth that "faith and loyalty between spouses remain as the principles of a peaceful family."

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Korea's Audrey Hepburn?


Kim Tae Hee, who shares a hometown, Ulsan, with the missus, has been given that title by Korean "Netizens" — 김태희, 네티즌 선정 '한국의 오드리 헵번'. While it is true that Miss Kim is beautiful, charming, and intelligent, I think she's missing the element of class that set Miss Hepburn apart.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old Right Naderites

  • Fellow Chuck Baldwin supporter Peter Brimelow has found out, like me, that his state "has managed to keep off its ballot" the good pastor and moreover "makes it effectively impossible to write in a candidate so that it will be counted," so has instead voted, just as I did, for a man he considers, as I do not, "a crackpot and a thug" — How I Became a Resentful Naderite. Of the candidate, Mr. Brimelow reminds us that "he’s still better on immigration than Obama and McCain" and that "he’s against this pointless war."


  • Justin Raimondo says, "On the defining issue of the campaign – and the age – Nader is spot on: the bailout of the banks" — Naderism in Defense of Liberty is No Vice. Also, "Nader is the only consistent anti-interventionist in the race." Mr. Raimondo concludes that "he is brave, intractably committed to principle, and disdainful of the limousine liberals and their 'conservative' counterparts who grimace in maidenly horror at the sight and sounds of such truth-telling populism."
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    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Absentee Ballot

    I ended up voting for Ralph Nader. Just minutes before posting this, I found out from the New York State Board of Elections Home Page that the man I'm supporting, Chuck Baldwin, was not on the ballot. But rather than disappointment, I feel some joy that this year I am able to support one good man and vote for another, as I had been almost persuaded by two Nadercons, Patrick J. Ford of The Northern Agrarian and Dylan Waco of The Left Conservative.

    Mr. Ford in his endorsement — Ralph Nader for President — calls the man "a clear and articulate voice for the small-is-beautiful, 'Come Home America' Old Right" and reminds us that "the 'leftist' Nader offers a chance to return to traditional conservative foreign policy." On economics, he calls Nader "an enemy of the large and friend of the small." He concludes that there is no "candidate speaking more directly to America-First, localist, populist, agrarian conservatism than Ralph Nader."

    Mr. Waco's endorsement — Ralph Nader For President — takes a pragmatic approach that speaks directly to my situation: "The anti-imperial, pro-civil liberties, pro-constitution base is not on the right. It is on the left. Chuck Baldwin is on fewer than 40 ballots. Ralph Nader is on 46. The cards that have been dealt may not be fair, but they are what they are."

    From 2004, the principled endorsements of Bill Kauffman and Justin Raimondo stand the test of time — Nader v. Bush and Old Right Nader.

    The former says his "presidential campaign blend[ed] unimpeachably American radicalism with a dignified conservatism" and reminds us "how much the populists of Left and Right have in common in an age in which neo-conservatives and neo-liberals have embraced economic globalism and pre-emptive war."

    The latter says that "Nader’s distrust of bigness, either corporate or governmental, his fear of centralized power, his sharp critique of the managerial-bureaucratic mentality, all recall the distinctively American tradition of individualist populism" and that his "views are attractive to the Left but are rooted, at least in part, on the libertarian and populist Right."

    Also of interest is this conservation with Patrick J. Buchanan, in which "[t]he long-time progressive makes a pitch for the disenfranchised Right" — Ralph Nader: Conservatively Speaking.

    Here's the recent debate between the man who has my vote and the man who has my support:


    For Congress, I voted for a fellow named Jon Powers, of "New York’s liveliest and most progressive political party," the Working Families Party, the only non-Republicrat running. The candidate, "an Army Captain and decorated Iraq War veteran, schoolteacher and nonprofit leader," has called for "[r]edeploying our troops from Iraq safely, securely and soon."

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    장사익 찔레꽃


    Above, a song by the subject of this story — Quiet Sensation Jang Sa-ik Still Pulls In the Crowds. The "late bloomer" gave "his first concert at the ripe age of 45" and "has been giving sold-out concerts for 14 years." That in spite of the fact that "[h]e does not even make television appearances, and his music is rarely heard in the radio." Says the singer:
      Those who debuted at the same time with me -- Seo Tae-ji, Kim Kun-mo and H.O.T -- all once sold millions of albums. But the time has changed. The young minds are fickle and they change their tastes every day. No matter how hard we try to appeal visually to young people, we could never catch up with them. Music is not about how we perform but what we sing. I expressed the frustration I felt in my mid-forties in the song ‘Brier Flower,’ and made ‘Cough’ after losing my father to lung cancer. I draw sympathy from people as I sing about truth in life -- joy, anger, sorrow and happiness.

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    Korean Varia

  • A report that "consumption of soju (traditional Korean distilled liquor) increased by 5.1 percent, of beer by 5.3 percent and of whisky by 4.4 percent from January to September over the same period last year" — Koreans Turn to Booze as Recession Bites.


  • News that "[a] Seoul appellate court on Friday sentenced an executive of a domestic milk company to a fine of about US$5,000 for staging a nude yoghurt fight to advertise a new product" — Naked Dairy Fight Had No Artistic Merit, Court Finds.


  • On a more serious note, a report that "former Korean sex workers are pushing the government to provide them with special housing benefits because they see themselves as war victims, since prostitution would never have been an option if the camptown brothels had never existed" — Former sex workers in fight for compensation.
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    "What is it about this strange man, Barack Obama?"

    So asks Jeff Culbreath in a must-read post on what is becoming "a worldwide religious movement" — “Obama be thy name … thy will be done”. Perhaps we should all brush up on Soloviev's Apocalypse.

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    A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Arguments

    His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, being "of sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes," turns not to "the opinion of philosophers and theologians" but to the photograph below of "a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks" — Just Look:
      Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

      If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

      If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

      If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.

      [....]

      One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the "Dred Scott Decision" in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.
    [link via Crunchy Con]

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    "Alternative Right" Endorsements of the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin

  • Richard Spencer on "the only candidate... who’s starting point is the Constitution, and who’s seriously talking about individual and economic liberty, a foreign policy for America, and reducing both legal and illegal immigration" — In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right.


  • Paul Gottfried says of the "dignified, grammatical speaker" and "pious Evangelical Christian" that he is "a presidential candidate who would be suited for a less degenerate society than our own" — A Symbolic Vote for Chuck. The endorsement continues, "He is the closest approximation to the kind of American leaders of an earlier generation whom I could admire, and since neither presidential frontrunner is a figure I would ever want to see in the presidency, I shall endorse my ideal instead of an odious caricature."
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    Etty Hillesum

    Meins G. S. Coetsier introduces us to "twentieth century mystic and victim of genocide" in order "to show that a very personal experience and struggle with life can actually bring one to the point of acknowledging that there is "God' or 'You'" — Etty Hillesum and the Light of Faith: A Voegelinian Analysis.

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    The Lobby at Work

    Jim Lobe reports on "the Islamophobic video that has been distributed via newspaper inserts to some 28 million households in key swing states this fall" and the "Israeli connections to the video and its distribution" — Obsession Gets Some Overdue Mainstream Attention. There was a time when a foreign government's trying to sway an election might have aroused indignation among Americans.

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    Benvenuto Cardinale!

    His Eminence Cardinal Renato Martino arrives today "to offer the contribution of Christian social teaching to the solution for the grave problems of the Asian world" — Social Doctrine Compendium Heads to Korea.

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    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    An Ignorant Anti-Endorsement of the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin

    "If you are of the persuasion that the reason radical Islamists hate us is because of our actions around the world and if you believe that if we were only nicer everything would be just peachy in the world, you are a Chuck Baldwin man," blathers Jamie Weinstein — I Do Not Endorse Baldwin, Keyes, Barr, McKinney, Nader . . . or Obama.

    Wouldn't it make sense to ask those who hate us why they hate us? America's hater-in-chief answered that question in The Osama bin Laden interviews, quite clearly as we can read in this 1997 Transcript of Osama Bin Ladin interview by Peter Arnett:
      A reaction might take place as a result of US government's hitting Muslim civilians and executing more than 600 thousand Muslim children in Iraq by preventing food and medicine from reaching them. So, the US is responsible for any reaction, because it extended its war against troops to civilians. This is what we say. As for what you asked regarding the American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and in other places and its support of its agent regimes who filled our prisons with our best children and scholars.
    More, from this Full transcript of bin Ladin's speech in 2004:
      I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example – Sweden?

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    Progressives on the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin

    "Chuck Baldwin would be better than Barack Obama for the future of the country," says "independent progressive" Sean Fenley — I Would Vote for Chuck Baldwin, Before I'd Vote for Barack Obama. Let me reprint his points in bullet form for clarity; Chuck Baldwin...
    • is for getting out of the WTO and repealing NAFTA,

    • is for eliminating the Patriot Act as unconstitutional,

    • believes we’re moving toward a police state in this country,

    • says openly that we are an occupying force in Iraq,

    • [i]s against us meddling in the affairs of other foreign nations and engaging in empire building,

    • [i]s for bringing back tariffs on foreign imports and having a trade policy that works best for the American people,

    • is against using national guard or reserve troops in foreign theaters,

    • is for only declaring war with a proper declaration of war from Congress (this has not been done since WWII), and

    • wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve.
    Fellow progressive, Chris Hedges, acknowledges that "Baldwin, like Nader, rails against corporatism and our involvement in foreign wars, wants to repeal NAFTA and denounces the curtailment of civil liberties" — Populism Arising—but Will It Be the Killer Kind? Mr. Hedges, however, unlike Mr. Fenley, highlights his areas of disagreement with the good pastor, here, again, highlighted in bullet form; Chuck Baldwin...
    • support[s] the abolishment of whole departments of the federal government, such as the Department of Education,

    • calls for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations and NATO, the elimination of the Food and Drug Administration, the outlawing of abortion and removing all restrictions on the purchasing of firearms,

    • wants to seal our borders, deny amnesty and social services to illegal immigrants and end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants,

    • calls for dismantling the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service, overturning the 16th Amendment and the personal income tax, and returning the American monetary system to hard assets: gold and silver.
    Paleoconservative / Paleolibertarian that I am, I sign onto all of the above, except "bringing back tariffs on foreign imports" because I think that "having a trade policy that works best for the American people" can be better acheived through an end of federal subsidies, hidden and unhidden, at home and abroad. I also have reservations about "seal[ing] our borders" if it involves increased militarization.

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    An Antiwar Poem from the Tang Dynasty

    One of three New Yüeh-fu, by Po Chü-i, this one about "an elderly man and the price he chose to pay to live for peace instead of war:"
      9 The Old Broken-Armed Man from Prosper-Anew

      A frail and ancient man from Prosper-Anew, eighty-eight years
      old, hair and eyebrows white as fresh snow: he makes his way

      toward the inn's front gate, leaning on a great-great-grandson,
      his left arm over the boy's shoulder, his right broken at his side.

      If you ask this old man how many years his arm's been broken,
      if you ask how it happened, an arm broken like that, he'll say:

      When I was born at our village in the district of Prosper-Anew,
      it was an age of sage rule, never a hint of wartime campaigns,

      so I grew up listening to the flutes and songs of the Pear Garden,
      knowing nothing at all about spears and flags, bows and arrows.

      Suddenly, in the Heaven-Jewel reign, they began building armies,
      and for every three men in every household, one was taken away,

      taken and hurried away. And can you guess where they all went?
      To Cloud-South, a march five months and ten thousand miles long,

      a march everyone kept talking about: how you face the Black River
      and malarial mists that rise and drift when pepper blossoms fall,

      how great armies struggle to cross the river's seething floodwaters,
      and before they make it across, two or three in ten are drowned.

      North of home, south of home, wailing filled villages everywhere,
      sons torn from fathers and mothers, husbands torn from wives,

      for people knew what it meant to make war on southern tribes:
      ten million soldiers are sent away, and not one comes back alive.

      It was all so long ago. I was hardly even twenty-four back then,
      but my name was listed on those rolls at the Department of War,

      so in the depths of night, careful to keep my plan well-hidden,
      I stole away, found a big rock, and hacked my arm till it broke.

      Too lame to draw a bow or lift banners and flags into the wind,
      I escaped: they didn't send me off to their war in Cloud-South.

      It was far from painless, the bone shattered and muscles torn,
      but I'd found a way to go back and settle quietly in my village.

      Now sixty years have come and gone since I broke this arm:
      I gave up a limb, it's true, but I'm still alive, still in one piece,

      though even now, on cold dark nights full of wind and rain,
      I'm sleepless all night long with pain and still awake at dawn.

      Sleepless with pain
      but free of regrets,
      for I'm the only man in my district who lived to enjoy old age.

      If I hadn't done it, I'd have ended where the Black River begins,
      a dead body, my spirit adrift and my bones abandoned there,

      just one of ten thousand ghosts drifting above southern graves,
      gazing toward their home, all grief-torn and bleating, bleating.


      When such elders speak
      how can we ignore them?

      Haven't you heard
      about Sung K'ai-fu, prime minister during the Open-Origin reign,
      how he nurtured peace by refusing to reward frontier victories?

      Haven't you heard
      about Yang Kuo-chung, prime minister during the Heaven-Jewel,
      how he launched frontier campaigns to flatter that emperor,

      how the people were wild with anger before he won anything?
      Just ask that old man from Prosper-Anew with a broken arm.
      Just ask him, ask the old broken-armed man from Prosper-Anew.
    [link via the LewRockwell.com Blog]

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    Daniel Larison on John Zmirak's John McCain Endorsement

    Catholic John Zmirak makes the only good pro-McCain point in an article employing an unfortunate analogy — Nicholas II for Tsar:
      I’ll tell you one thing, just one, that will happen, if Barak Obama is elected with a large Congressional majority—with perhaps enough votes in the Senate to quash a filibuster. And that one thing should be enough.

      Senator Obama has promised to sign the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would repeal every restriction on abortion in every American state, right up through the ninth month. But then, we knew that about Barack, the whole infanticide thing.
    Orthodox Daniel Larison takes issue not with the "[e]ndors[ing of] McCain as the lesser of two evils" but with the attempt to "compare blithely one of the worst presidential candidates in my lifetime to revered and holy figures" — Enough Already. He also adds, "On the specific policy matter at hand, there is an assumption here that the so-called Freedom of Choice Act would pass the House in which conservative Democrats make up a fifth of the majority."

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    White Responsibility, Not Guilt

    John Zmirak pens an uncharacteristic clunker, calling for "a record turnout of African Americans on Wednesday, November 5" [emphasis mine] — An Open Letter to African-American Voters. The article is redeemed, however, by comments made by one Ploni Almoni:
      By the way, on the supposed Irish-Croatian exemption from white guilt: sorry, but the blacks are right and you are wrong. Seriously. After coming to America, your countrymen were grafted onto the olive tree called “white” (European-American), which itself grew out of the one called “British.” This group is responsible for actions committed before any of its present members were born, as are other groups such as the Catholic Church as well. As a member, you were born with certain historical responsibilities which, in the case of ethnicity, cannot be disavowed. Anyway, that’s going by the conservative (as opposed to classical liberal) view that lots of obligations are historical, and not freely contracted.
    Interesting, that.

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    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    A Crime Against God and Man


    That is the "firm and unequivocal condemnation" the Catechism of the Catholic Church - Paragraph # 2314 applies to "[e]very act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants," like the one chillingly and horrifically recreated in the video above, linked to by the LewRockwell.com Blog today — One of Harry Truman's War Crimes.

    "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base," announced the 33° Freemason from the Oval Office. "That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

    That the Satanic crime had to be announced with this bold-faced lie tells me that my fellow Americans at that time, even in a time of total mobilization for world war, had a much stronger moral compass that those of today, many of whom would not bat an eye at the mass slaughter of innocent civilians for political objectives.

    "When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits?" asked Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. "I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries."

    Of course, in those days it was conservatives like the good archbishop who condemned the atrocity for what it was, as the quotes assembled in these posts of mine attest — Old Rightist Voices Against Atomic Mass Murder and "The Most Powerful Blow Ever Delivered Against Christian Civilization and the Moral Law" .

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    Sobran for Baldwin

      I’ve been reading Chuck Baldwin’s essays for several years. My first reaction to them was to wish we had rulers who could read him, grasp what he was saying, and take it to heart. I never dreamed I would have the chance to vote for him myself.
    So concludes Joseph Sobran's endorsement of Chuck Baldwin in The American Conservative magazine's most recent issue "ask[ing] 18 conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers how they plan to vote and why" — The Right Choice?

    "RedPhillips" of the Conservative Heritage Times is "a little disappointed" with the "[m]ultiple endorsements and only two for Baldwin" — American Conservative Endorsements. I'm more surprised than disappointed. The other endorsement, from Peter Brimelow, was given because the Rev. Dr. Baldwin "wants no amnesty, no more illegal immigration, and a reduction in legal immigration." This issue is the least of my concerns, frankly, and I think principled conservatives can in good conscience take either side of this issue. I'd go further and say that principled conservatives could in good conscience vote for any (or none) of the candidates, including the big two.

    I'm supporting the Rev. Dr. Baldwin for the same reasons that Mr. Sobran is: "he is a godly, reasonable, wise, and intelligent man" who "knows what the Tenth Amendment means" and whose "horror at legal abortion is still fresh."

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    A Song on the Death of Children


    Kindertotenlieder, the masterpiece by Catholic convert from Judaism Gustav Mahler based on the poems of Friedrich Rückert, comes to mind reading these stories today — Boy, 8, fatally shoots self with Uzi at gun show and FBI says body found is that of Hudson's nephew, 7. I used to find such stories sad; after having children of my own I find them heartbreaking. May God rest these young souls and comfort their families.

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    Hilaire Belloc on Fiat Money

    The Distrubutist Review's Richard Aleman informs us that the co-founder of Distributivism concluded that it needed "superhuman virtue in those who manage it as well as superhuman knowledge" — Managed Currency.

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    Warmongers George Clooney and Mia Farrow

    "From having talks with Blackwater to trying to fly unmanned aerial vehicles over Darfur, the war-hungry celebrities and activists of the Save Darfur lobby have taken leave of their senses," says Philip Hammond — Darfur: the dangers of celebrity imperialism.

    Charley Reese said it best — None of Our Business:
      To George Clooney and the other Americans who demonstrated and demanded that the U.S. intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan, I have a simple and clear message: Buy yourself a gun and plenty of ammunition, and go intervene yourself.

      In the 1930s, a tougher breed of Americans didn't just demonstrate. They formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, went to Spain and fought in the Spanish Civil War. A famous movie star, Errol Flynn, risked his life and suffered wounds carrying money through enemy lines to the loyalist forces. Of course, Flynn was no sissy. Before becoming an actor, he was a deep-water sailor and smuggler and barroom brawler par excellence. He was real man, not an image of a man.

      Today's liberals are made of softer stuff. They don't want to fight or get shot at. They are too wealthy and live too comfortable a life. They want some poor American kid making $1,200 a month to go to the African desert and get killed.

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    Obama's Radical Anti-Constitutionalism?

      But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.
    The extremely worrisome and even dangerours comments above, and it seems they were not taken out of context, were made in 2001 by the man who is to be our next president, and are quoted in this article — Obama: Constitution fundamentally flawed. That "the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties" is what makes it great, in line not only with Subsidiarity but also with Taoism and Confucianism.

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    Mission Accomplished

    The de-Christianization of Iraq intensifies — Mosul emptied of Christians: Bishop. Those leaving have found refuge in Syria. Said His Excellency Chaldean Bishop Rabban Al Qassays, "Threats, sanctions, discrimination, blackmail, Islamic propaganda in the schools, slogans on the walls, have driven even the moderate Muslims to stop defending their Christian brothers from intolerance."

    Let it be remembered that shorty after Mr. Bush's Wars began, retired head of the CIA's bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer, noting that "U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world," called "it fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's only indispensable ally" — Imperial Hubris.

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    Bank of Korea Prints Fiat Money

    Yesterday's news — BOK makes biggest rate cut in its history — should remind us that "[p]rinting money—which is what reducing interest rates below the market rate amounts to—is an artificial means of recovering from the very real effects of an artificial boom" — Austrian Business Cycle Theory: A Brief Explanation.

    An editorial in favor of the move — BOK Must Act Faster With Measures — says as much, noting the decision to "inject five trillion to 10 trillion won into the market by directly buying bonds issued by commercial banks." Where does this money come from?

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    Utopias

  • Having grown up near the sites of many Utopian Communities in Western New York, I find interesting this story of a community founded for "the masses who are without opportunity and without hope" — Founded as a black utopian colony, Allensworth today is far from it.


  • Having spent a year in Santiago, I found this story of "an evil German evangelist [who] built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds" interesting as well — The Torture Colony.
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    Halloween Is Catholic

  • "Increasingly, Halloween seems disturbing to people of faith, who have good reason to celebrate its link to eternal truths," says folklorist Ellen Emerson Brown — Halloween Unmasked.


  • "Halloween was originally attacked for being too papist," says author Elena Maria Vidal — The Controversies of Halloween.
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    The Novelty of Atheism

    "Historians agree that atheism is a recent Western phenomenon and that no other culture has manifested such a widespread public rejection of the divine," says Professor Paul C. Vitz — Why Are People Atheists?

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    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Swedish Localist Comes to Pohang

    Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder of the International Society for Ecology and Culture, gave a lecture titled "From global to local: Solution to our social, environmental, cultural, and economic crisis" today at the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics, located in the floor above the office from which I am blogging this.


    She began by equating localization with decentralization, and calling for "the need for an identity that is place-based and rooted." She called for business and capital also to be place-based and rooted, and thereby accountable. She noted that such thinking is often dismissed as isolationist, or unrealisitc and utopian.

    She noted the success of both Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver in the U.S. as indications of a growing concern for food and farming, which where the main themes of her talk. Economists, and even ecologists, do not take farming seriously, she said.

    She described how in Mongolia, with its 25 million milk=producing animals, local dairy products cannot be found in the capital. In Nairobi, she said, Dutch better costs half of what Kenyan butter costs. Local people, she observed, cannot afford local food. Such absurdities, she said, came about not from markets or greed but through economic policy, more about which she spoke later.

    She described monoculture as highly inefficient, extolling the efficient of small-scale farming, especially when animals are included. A positive trend she noted was that in England, people were moving away from centralized organic labelling to an "open gate" policy in which local people could verify the organic nature of the produce at any time. National monitoring bodies, she said, were unable to halt cheating as effectively as local groups could.

    Things get spoiled when they go global, she said, saying that locally, biodiesel could be well and good in certain places. She called for a "bottom-up economics" focusing on food production.

    One of the most salient points she made was a description of how small business were encouraged through taxation not to employ people but rather to employ technology and energy, with tax burdens placed on business that choose the former and tax breaks given to those that choose the latter.

    She spoke of the family, saying that the decision by parents to force three-year-olds to learn reading and computers before they could speak was motivated by ungrounded fears of competition resulting from overpopulation. She said that economic woes have nothing to do with overpopulation and scarcity, welcome words from an environmentalist to these Catholic ears.

    She spoke of health. Korea, she said, had a "huge advantage" in that she has managed to maintain a healthier diet than almost any other industrial country. This gives Koreans both physical and mental health. Korea's stronger family ties and connection to community give Koreans emotional health.

    She then suggested that any idea or book with big funding behind it is probably not good. "Look at the budget behind any idea," she said. Sustainability, diversity, decentralization, and "real individualism" are all interconnected, she said.

    While she called for regulation, she advocated "truly free trade" through the regulation of monopolies. (The Austrian School, I wanted to say, suggests that monopolies are created by regulation.) She suggested this as a "way to talk to the right wing." Most interestingly, she called for deregulation at the local level, saying that a British farmer had to fill out more paperwork to move a cow to another field than he would to get his child a passport. Decentralization "transcends left and right" she noted correctly.

    She decried the "world-wide trade in identical products," noting how America in one year exported the same amount of beef that she imported. This situation arises, she says, from "hidden subsidies." She called for importation of things "you can't produce."

    She concluded by calling localization the "economics of happiness."

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    美國놈 Noam Chomsky Speaks Truth to Korean Power

    Two of his books are among those verboten to Korean soldiers — Chomsky Hits Defense Ministry for Banning 'Seditious' Books. (Perhaps they have a point; at least one famous causality of Mr. Bush's Wars was a reader and a fan, and look how he ended up — Pat Tillman, Patriot and Chomskian Peacenik.)

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    Confucian News

  • An editorial from Africa on "the sort of financial discipline that is largely absent in the West" — Confucian values are helping Asian economies stay afloat. Professor Ken Kamoche contrasts "Confucian dynamism... with the tendency to spend and a short-term orientation favoured in the West." He contrasts the "emphasis on thrift" and "reverence for academic achievements, respect for authority and a quest for harmony" with the facts that "in America and more recently in the UK... living beyond your means is actually socially accepted behaviour."


  • A report on lecture in California on "the brutal and tyrannical reign of Qin Shihuangdi, First Emperor of China" — Burning the Books and Killing the Scholars: Representing the Atrocities of the First Emperor of China. The article speaks of "the emperor’s increasing paranoia... and omens of his imminent loss of Heaven’s favor" but suggests "the alleged killing of 460 Confucian scholars, by burying them alive in a pit, has been greatly misinterpreted, and may have never occurred."


  • "The emperor depends on the state, but the state depends on its people," said the more enlightened Taizhong — The Tang Dynasty, a Prosperous Time for Ancient China. "When one oppresses the people, so that it only serves the ruler, then it is like one is ripping out someone’s flesh in order to fill that person’s stomach," he went on. "His stomach is satisfied, but his body is injured: The ruler may then be richer, but his state is destroyed." The article described "Taizong, the sovereign ancestor," an emperor "honored for his erudition and statesmanship" whose "governance was deemed the Confucian ideal."
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    Srdja Trifkovic on the US-ROK (Entangling) Alliance

    The Serb says that "the United States should plan on withdrawing all troops from the Korean peninsula and let those most affected by Pyongyang’s behavior – South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia – deal with it as they deem fit" — Kim Jong Il’s Disappearing Act.

    This bit explains why we see so many Korean cars on Americans streets and why yours truly, who grew up in the Rust Belt, now lives in a thriving steel town: "As South Korea acknowledges in its own defense reports, for years it chose to focus on economic development at the expense of military strength, which it could do, secure in the protection by the United States."

    This paragraph near the end of the essay stands out:
      American withdrawal would prompt South Korea finally to become a mature, self-reliant regional power responsible for its own protection, as befits one of the most highly developed industrial economies in the world. South Koreans should be told that America has no national interest in retaining troops in Korea or in continuing to protect Seoul. Old habits may die hard, but the 55-year habit of garrisoning the 38th parallel needs to be kicked because it is dangerous, expensive, and unnecessary.
    Here's the only bit I disagree with: "The U.S. military intervention in Korea in the summer of 1950 was necessary and just." It may (or may not) have been just, but it was absolutely unnecessary from an American standpoint.

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    John Quincy Adams for President

    "Americans are no longer in the mood to chase after distant evildoers," notes Andrew Bacevich the antiwar conservative — The Age of Triumphalism is over.

    "[S]he goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy," said John Quincy Adams of America. "She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." For what it's worth this page — The IQ Scores of Famous People and Celebrities — tells us that he "was rated as the smartest of all the presidents."

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    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Il Giardino Armonico

    Purchased today were two DVDs by Il Giardino Armonico, the Italian baroque music ensemble whose music is featured below. The first, the eponymous Il Giardino Armonico, from which the first two videos come, features Italian music set in a post-apocalyptic background eerily reminiscent of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972):




    The second, Il Giardino Armonico Deux, from which the remaining videos come, features French music with period costumes and background:










    It's hard to say which is more effective.

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    Mailbag

  • Zach Frey of Eclectic Amateur sends along "today's economic gallows humor" — I'm Shocked, Shocked to Find...


  • Kalim Kassam of the Western Standard sends along "the best political debate I've ever seen" of "a Republican in Maine's 2nd district who describes himself as a 'Burkean conservative' and a 'pragmatic libertarian'" — (Video) Maine congressional candidate John Frary debates some forgettable Democrat windbag.


  • Theodore Pappas of the Britannica Blog sends along a "post might [that] interest you and readers of your blog" — Student: "Are Catholics Christian?" Teacher: "No. Christianity is a Protestant Thing."
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    The Sage of Kentucky on the Sacrament of Marriage

      If you depreciate the sanctity and solemnity of marriage, not just as a bond between two people but as a bond between those two people and their forebears, their children, and their neighbors, then you have prepared the way for an epidemic of divorce, child neglect, community ruin, and loneliness. If you destroy the economies of household and community, then you destroy the bonds of mutual usefulness and practical dependence without which the other bonds will not hold.
    Thus spake Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky, quoted by Crunchy Con Rod Dreher "on why you cannot fully privatize sexuality" — Sex, freedom and community.

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    An ISI Review of Gene Logsdon

    Of the author Jason Peters says that "he prefers produce to products; he values health over wealth; and he cares about soil, not oil" — The Inspiration of Familiar Places.

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    McBomba

    The War Party declares victory; whichever Republicrat America chooses in less than a fortnight, the writing is on the wall for Persia — Bipartisan Policy: Bomb-Bomb Iran and Option B, or Option B? Vote for peace. Vote for the real peacenik in the race, the Constitution Party's Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin.

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    Porn "Addiction"

    Korea's "conservative" daily gets it right for a change — Porn Is Bad for the Kids but May Be Worse for You. The article loses it here, though:
      There is no official definition of porn addiction as research in the field is scarce, but it is mostly seen as a behavioral addiction, like gambling. Behavioral addictions hinder sufferers from leading a normal life because they are obsessions with one particular behavior. Prof. Shin Young-chul at the Department of Psychiatry at Kangbuk Samsung Medical Center says when a person becomes behaviorally addicted, they lose the ability to control themselves and remain trapped in the addiction even if they want to stop. “This leads to feelings of insecurity and a quest for stronger stimuli,” he adds.
    It's a sin, not an addiction. Psychologicalizing it just prolongs the agony. The Sacrament of Penance, not a shrink, is what is called for.

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    The Benedictine Reform of the Reform

    "As T.S.Eliot put it, tradition cannot be blindly inherited, but has to be re-discovered in every age, an enterprise that requires great labour," says John Casey, observing that "Benedict XVI's popular new traditionalism has re-ignited the Catholic culture wars" — Rediscovering Traditionalism.

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    Maryam (مريم)

    Schismos take the wrong approach — Texas church posts "Mary & Her Rosary Annihilate Islam" sign —, whereas the orthodox take the right one — Oor Lady and Islam: Heaven’s Peace Plan.

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    Father Vincenzo Bordo of Seongnam

    He "built a home for the homeless and the downtrodden and one for the lost kids of the street" in what he calls a "mission to the Fourth World" — A ‘street missionary’ on the outskirts of Seoul.

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    The Dear One's Ascencion to the Pantheon

    Donald Kirk suggests "the myth-makers are... propping up the mystique of the Dear Leader, and dreaming up a suitable story for his passing, and his elevation to immortality" — Heaven's above! What's up with Kim?

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    Friday, October 24, 2008

    Church and (Jewish) State

      Israel's interference in the matter of Pius XII must stop. We've had it with this interference. Outside opinions are liable to disrupt [the process], and they look like an attempt to force Pope Benedict XVI to make a decision. The decision to declare someone a saint is an internal decision of the church.
    Thus spake His Eminence Cardinal Andrea Lanza di Montezemolo to the Italian paper Corriere della Serra, quoted here — Vatican fumes at Israeli minister's remarks on Nazi-era pope. The remarks were sparked by "Minister Isaac Herzog's statement in Thursday's Haaretz that the planned beatification of Pope Pius XII, who headed the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, is 'unacceptable.'" The article also quotes Father Paolo Molinari, a priest involved in the the beatification process, in noting that "such statements contradict what others in the Jewish world have said, including [former Israeli prime ministers] Moshe Sharett and Golda Meir, who left no room for doubt about the positive part played by Pius XII during the Nazi era."


    Venerable Pope Pius XII , ora pro nobis.

    Some posts of mine on the theme — Hilter's Pope?, Saving Jews and the Moral Theology of Deceit, So Much for the "Hitler's Pope" Smear, Hitler's Pope?, The Black Legend of "Hitler's Pope" a Red Character Assassination.

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    Was the Bailout Confucian?

    "We are all Chinese now," says David Ignatius— A Bailout Beijing Would Cheer. "The new interventionism isn't so much socialist as it is Confucian -- a belief that a public-private partnership of the wise ones will get us out of the mess."

    I disagree. The Sage might well have been, like Wilhelm Röpke, "an advocate for minimalist, effective intervention by the state to preserve vital social goods neglected by markets," but Confucius's call for rule by moral example () is violated by an intervention whose chief moral example is that of Moral Hazard.

    Furthermore, the Confucian Golden Rule, stated as it is in the negative ("Don't do unto others what you would not have them do unto you"), is echoed in the call from Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock for "a regime of natural order... which makes no positive interventions whatever on the individual, but only negative interventions in behalf of simple justice" and the observation that "social power [is] atrophied" by "[e]very positive intervention that the State makes upon industry and commerce."

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    Espionage and the Occult

  • Not long ago, I blogged about a new book claiming that "the most important Luciferian of his time... helped plot WWI and WWII, or--rather--the entry of the US into both wars as an important agent of British Naval intelligence" — Mr. Crowley Was a War Pig.


  • Last week, The Marmot's Hole blogged about a "Hungarian Jewish-born former Anglican priest and British Member of Parliament-turned-Buddhist abbot/Nazi agent/Japanese collaborator" — That’s Quite the Resume, Mr. Trebitsch-Lincoln.


  • Today, the Antiwar.com Blog reports on "Iranian-born British Army interpreter Daniel James, who is accused of spying for Iran," his "background in body building and kick boxing," that "he eventually rose to the title of 'Danny James, King of Salsa,'" that he "traveled to Cuba at some point [and] became a priest in a native religion," and that later in Afghanistan he "did black magic for General Richards to protect him from the Taliban" — ‘King of Salsa’ Turned Accused Spy Speaks of His Magical Powers.
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    Obamaconnerie: Two Views

  • "Right wingers who openly follow the doctrine of America's right to empire and conquest are now endorsing Obama," writes Margaret Kimberly of his neocon supporters — Rightwing Obama Love. "'Change' is the campaign slogan," she concludes, "but his policy agenda tells us we will see anything but that."


  • "Nothing short of defeat will put the GOP back on its limited government track," writes Radley Balko to paleocon would-be supporters — Why the Republicans Must Lose. The authors says that "unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November."
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    ¡Viva Nicaragua!

    Republicans and Reaganites, be aware that the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional "banned all abortion in 2006 and rejected a 'therapeutic' abortion amendment last year" — Sandinista Nicaragua pressured on abortion. From the article:
      Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was a proponent of abortion when the revolutionary Sandinistas first came to power in the late 1970s. Since winning the presidency via democratic election in 2006, however, he has consistently defended Nicaragua’s pro-life position against foreign critics. Some have attributed his change of heart to his re-embrace of his baptismal Catholic faith.

      Even more outspoken has been the First Lady of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo. This past September, she made a fiery speech denouncing proponents of abortion from the Global North who engage in cultural imperialism by seeking to impose the values of a soulless society where adults “prefer to raise pets instead of children.”
    From the article, we learn that "the Swedish government severed aid last year to Nicaragua and three other pro-life Latin American nations, and Finland earlier this year linked a continuation of aid to changes in Nicaragua’s abortion law." Then there is the bogus query by the Human Rights Committee (HRC)of "how, if Nicaragua were a 'secular state,' a ban on abortion could be reconciled with secularity." The answer is that science, not religion, tells us that life begins at conception ─ Embryologists to Media: There are no Such Things as Human "Fertilized Eggs":
      Despite what many refer to as the "debate" over when a human being begins to exist, the facts have been known for more than a hundred and thirty years. In 1875, the German zoologist Oskar Hertwig showed definitively that penetration of a spermatozoon into an ovum was the beginning of independent life and that the terms "conception" and "fertilization" are therefore interchangeable terms.
    Any other definition of "life" is unscientific, not to mention evil. Even the ancients stumbled upon this truth. The Hippocratic Oath 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."

    Of course, Nicolae Ceauşescu banned abortion and contraception, but he did so because all life was owned by the State. The F.S.L.N., in contrast, has said that "the 'social reality' is that 90 per cent of the country’s 5.6 million people profess Christianity, implying that the laws reflected the value choices of a majority of Nicaraguans." Placing life issues within the context of majoritarian politics is a slippery slope, but it beats what we have in that "shining city on a hill" up north.

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    Society, Not State

    Sometimes a headline says it all — Religious freedom, defended by civil society, neglected by governments. The article by Bernardo Cervellera is about a "report from Aid to the Church in Need [which] demonstrates that the violations of this right take place purely for reasons of power, and to block social and economic development in society."

    This story dovetails nicely with Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock, which I have just begun reading, whose central thesis is the "great redistribution of power between society and the State" and that "there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power."

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    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Babykiller O-bomb-a

    Well-known is the fact that "on abortion, Obama is an extremist," to use the words of Nat Hentoff, the pro-life atheist civil libertarian — Infanticide candidate for president. (For the senator's own incriminating remarks, see this article linked to by Stony Creek Digest recently — Obama caught on tape arguing against giving medical attention to aborted babies.)

    Less well-known is that this candidate of Change™ will offer more of the same in foreign policy, as Justin Raimondo warns us — The War Party Embraces Obama.

    Of course, even with Dr. Ron Paul out of the race, there's still a man who's right on both these issues, the man the good doctor endorsed, the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin.

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    How Chuck Baldwin Could Win

    "Just think...if all of the disgruntled pro-lifers and the disgruntled anti-war voters just pooled our votes together...we could actually elect Chuck Baldwin!" says one of Mark Shea's readers — Now *that's* quixotic!

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    Staying Home

    Rebecca Solnit quotes "the poet and bioregionalist Gary Snyder" [no relation] — The Most Radical Thing You Can Do. I could happily spend the rest of my days without ever leaving Gyeongsangbuk-Do.

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    Showdown in Hanoi

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    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    A Timely Reminder as We Enter Great Depression II

    The LRC Blog links to an August story reporting on research that "blame[s] a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach" — FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate.

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    The Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin on the Republicans' Abortion Ruse

    Words from the Constitution Party candidate's recent NPR interview — Chuck Baldwin On His Run For President — that are too important not to print in their entirety:
      Rev. Baldwin, you, I know, are opposed to abortion, and you believe that the Republican Party has not been serious about opposing abortion.

      Well, I think that's putting it mildly. You know, every four years at the national election, they come out and say that, you know, the conservative Christians have got to vote for them. The pro-life conservatives need to vote for them because they're the pro-life party, etc. But I think the track record speaks for itself.

      It was a Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointments that gave us Roe v. Wade. It was a Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointments that gave us Doe v. Bolton. It was a Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointments that has led the court ever since 1973, and the current configuration, I believe, is 7-2 in favor of Republican appointments. And nothing has been done to overturn Roe v. Wade or to end abortion on demand.

      Beyond that, look at from 2000 to 2006. The Republican Party controlled the entire federal government, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. And for six years they did nothing to end abortion on demand or overturn Roe v. Wade. When George W. Bush became president in January of 2001, more than 1 million unborn babies were being killed in the mother's wombs every year in this country. When George W. Bush leaves office in January of 2009, there will still be 1 million-plus babies aborted every year in the wombs of their mothers. The Republican Party, when it comes to the life issue, is all rhetoric. And I can't believe that they can come to the pro-life community in 2008 with a straight face and say, vote for us, we are pro-life, vote for us, I am pro-life, and expect to be taken seriously.

      I think it's time the people who really do believe in the sanctity of human life, who believe that it's the responsibility of government to protect life, even life in the womb, that they should look for people that are not just talking the talk when it's election time, but people who really, truly believe in the sanctity of human life. And it's obvious that John McCain, George W. Bush, Republican Party is not serious about it.
    Not long ago, the candidate also took up this theme — John McCain Pro Life? What A Joke! An excerpt:
      Had John McCain and his fellow Republicans truly wanted to end legal abortion, they could have passed Congressman Ron Paul's Sanctity of Life Act. Year after year, Dr. Paul introduced this bill, and year after year, it sat and collected dust in the document room on Capitol Hill.

      What would Congressman Paul's bill do? It would do two things: 1) It would define life as beginning at conception and, thus, declare the personhood of every pre-born child. 2) Under Article. III. Section. 2. of the U.S. Constitution, it would remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Court. In practical terms, Dr. Paul's bill would overturn Roe v. Wade and end legal abortion-on-demand. So, where was John McCain? Why did he not support Ron Paul's bill and introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate?

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    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    The Tao of Mutualism

    "Bianzhengnazi" elaborates on the observation of Kevin Carson of Mutualist.Org: Free Market Anti-Capitalism that "the typical 'free market reform' issuing from corporate interests involves eliminating only the ameliorative or regulatory forms of intervention, while leaving intact the primary structure of privilege and exploitation" — Unwinding Interventionism: Anti-State, Anti-Capitalist, Pro-Dao.

    Dr. Ron Paul got it right; he stated all along that he wanted to immediately eliminate state intervention in overseas wars and aid as well as corporate welfare, while acknowledging that people had become dependent on welfare programs that could not be eliminated immediately.

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    Green Bigotry

    McKinney & Clemente 2008 should give Eric Englund's excellent piece a read — Environmentalism Is Racism. I'm reminded of the famous comments of George Carlin on the environment, in which he chastises "these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals... trying to make the world safe for their Volvos."

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    Omar Khadr

    Andy Worthington on the "15-year-old Canadian who was shot in the back after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002" and "in U.S. custody ever since, first at a prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, and for the last six years in Guantánamo" — When Is a Child Not a Child? You may remember the sad video of the boy "displaying his wounds, weeping uncontrollably, and pulling at his hair in despair, while the interrogators remained largely indifferent to his suffering."

    The article informs us that there are "21 other prisoners that the Pentagon's own records reveal were also juveniles at the time of their capture." This is, of course, in violation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the United States is a signatory.

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    The Reactionary Radical on the Left Conservative

    Bill Kauffman writes about 1969 New York City mayoral candidate Norman Mailer, who "averred that he was to the left of the liberals and to the right of the conservatives" — Stormin’ Norman, Decentralist. "Has any candidate in postwar America been as eloquent?" says Mr. Kauffman, quoting these words of the "novelist-pugilist" from his campaign:
      The style of New York life has shifted since the Second World War (along with the rest of American cities) from a scene of local neighborhoods and personalities to a large dull impersonal style of life which deadens us with its architecture, its highways, its abstract welfare, and its bureaucratic reflex to look for government solutions which come into the city from without (and do not work). . . . Our authority has been handed over to the federal power. We expect our economic solutions, our habitats, yes, even our entertainments, to derive from that remote abstract power, remote as the other end of a television tube. We are like wards in an orphan asylum. The shaping of the style of our lives is removed from us—we pay for huge military adventures and social experiments so separated from our direct control that we do not even know where to begin to look to criticize the lack of our power to criticize. . . . [O]ur condition is spiritless. We wait for abstract impersonal powers to save us, we despise the abstractness of those powers, we loathe ourselves for our own apathy.
    "Power to the Neighborhoods!" was his slogan, a far better program than advocating power "the People." The former is real while the latter is abstract, bringing to mind the horrifying vision of Ortega y Gasset's "Revolt of the Masses" (1930).

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    "I Loathe Kim Jong II"

    So said President George W. Bush, absolutely rightly I must say reading this story — Kim Jong Il Said to Order Public Executions to Prevent Rumors of His Illness. I pray for the Dear Leader's conversion every morning, but I won't be sorry if he meets the fate of Nicolae Ceauşescu.

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    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Jade Finds a Family

    You may remember the little Korean girl I blogged about last year whose Dutch adoptive parents, diplomats no less, gave her up after six years because "the adoption had gone wrong" — Her Name Is Jade and More on Jade. At the time, I was "at a complete loss for words, ones that can be printed on a family-friendly blog like this one, at least."

    Well, there's happy news to report today — Abandoned Korean girl finds home in Hong Kong. "The nine-year-old has been adopted by an expatriate family in Hong Kong and currently lives a normal life."

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    Al Jazeera on Iraq's Persecuted Christians


    America's mainstream media does not seem too interested in this story.

    [link via The Distributist Review]

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    Powell Is No Obamacon

    Because he's not a conservative, as evidenced by his backing of the senator from Illinois for all the wrong reasons — Powell endorses Obama as 'transformational'.

    In addition to the Oprah-esque reason given in the article's headline, the general "would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration." For a conservative, that is the only reason to support McCain. Powell shows himself the left-liberal by saying, "Not just small towns have values." On the surface, this is true, but what does he mean? And there is no mention Iraq, the sole reason a conservative should consider supporting Obama, perhaps because Powell was one of the architects of the war.

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    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Today's Marian Feast

    Memorialized today is the Feast of the Inner Life of Mary, in which the Sulpicians invite to contemplate "[t]he supernatural life which Mary led on earth, particularly her advancement in grace and wisdom, in her intimate union with Jesus, her Divine Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity."

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    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    An Open Letter to "Conservative America"

    Naomi Wolf calls for a "transpartisan rebellion against the paper coup which is all too soon to materialize as boots hit the ground in the United States for the first time in a century" — Dear Conservatives, Will You Help Save the Republic from Military Takeover?

    Sister, Paleoconservatives have been warning of this since before you were born, but we're more than happy to have you helping us. Keep up the good work!

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    Sister Jane Ann Cherubin

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    Private Property Returns to China

    "The Chinese Communist Party, for the first time since the founding of the socialist state in 1949, is planning to allow the cultivation, transfer, and sale of land to farmers," reports Jung Kwon Ho of the Daily NK, an organ for North Korean defectors, calling for the same in his homeland — Kim Jong Il, Now Return the Land to Farmers!

    Mr. Jung calls the move an "opportunity for farmers to sustain themselves" that "expands the noninterventionist policy towards farmers" and "can be viewed as another step towards China’s farms becoming completely independent of collective ownership and the state guidance system."

    North Korea, in contrast, has yet to learn the most obvious lesson from collective agriculture: "Regrettably, North Korea insists on a traditional collective management system in agricultural areas. Consequently, food crises and deaths from starvation have been recurring every year."

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    In Wyoming, But Never Of Wyoming

    A rootless authoress has decided to move on — Annie Proulx no longer at home on the range. Writes Susan Salter Reynolds, "The 'Brokeback Mountain' author has 'had enough' of Wyoming, her prime subject for the last decade."

    "She has often criticized the literary establishment for knowing nothing about what goes on in America outside its cities," writes Ms. Salter Reynolds, but she chose to live in "a town she doesn't think much of" and even calls the book that contained her most famous story "a backhand swipe at the mythology of the West."

    Here's how she gets along with the neighbors: "No one in Saratoga knows her name." Her story, she claims, "was about homophobia in a place," but had she gotten to know that place, she might have found it complex beyond mere stereotypes:
      Sunday morning, the little deli/cafe called Espresso Bellissima on the corner of Bridge Street and Route 130 is packed. A man everyone calls Buck says he enjoyed the movie "Brokeback Mountain."

      Buck is 93 and has lived in Wyoming all his life. "People's choices are their own business," he says.

      Father Karl, who has just delivered the sermon at St. Ann's, says he gave a copy of "Close Range" to his brother.

      "Wyomingites had a hard time with that story," he says. "I like her books -- they get you to think about stereotypes; they help you expand and grow. I talk to a lot of people who struggle with homosexuality. But that's not totally what a person is -- you have to be compassionate even if you don't agree with their lifestyle."
    Father Karl is a better man than me; I find it hard to be compassionate because I don't agree with Annie Proulx' lifestyle: moving into a town, not getting to know it, claiming the authority to write about it with "backhand swipe[s] at [its] mythology," and then moving on like a parasite in search of a new host.

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    "Preservation by Relocation"

    The De-Catholicization of Buffalo takes on a new twist — St. Gerard Church building may be moved to Georgia.



    "Catholics have been moving south from Western New York for decades," begins reporter Jay Tokasz. "A vacant church on Buffalo’s East Side soon might join them." The plan is to "dismantle the basilica-style structure and ship it to Norcross, Ga., where it would be reassembled."

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    Friday, October 17, 2008

    They Don't Make 'Em Like Etta Baker Anymore

    The Bluegrass Roots CD arrived today, introducing me to the genius of Etta Baker:

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    Dyschronia

  • "The economy crashes, war looms, a savior appears – haven't we been here before?" asks Justin Raimondo — Back to the Future. The author suggests "we seem to be reliving the first days of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and war drums are heard in the distance," and "the ghosts of FDR, Hoover, and – yes – Hitler return to haunt us."


  • "Why is the US still in NATO?" asks Doug Bandow — The NATO Alliance: Dangerous Anachronism. "The end of the USSR and Warsaw Pact destroyed any rationale for the US to continue defending Europe," he says, stating what should be obvious, before asking another rhetorical question in light of recentr events in the Caucasus, "Why are Washington policymakers willing to make such potential conflicts America's own?"
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    Hats Off to This Japanese Fellow Thrice Singing "Tom Dooley"

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    Anarcho-Mormonism

    From CounterPunch, a link to a paper "modeled after the legendary Catholic Worker which has been in publication for over seventy years" — The Mormon Worker.

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    Theresa Hwang

    "Bishop Paul Choi Deog-ki of Suwon diocese issued a decree related to 'Theresa Hwang's alleged visions' on Oct. 7" — Bishop Issues Decree Reconfirming Ban On Alleged Visionary. From the article:
      He pointed out that her visions are not in line with the Church tradition and do not reveal God's message, but rather confuse believers. "With this reason, to save religious institutes, I issue the decree," he said.

      The Korean Church has had to deal with alleged Marian apparitions as well as heretical liturgy movements that included some priests in the 1980s and 1990s. Critics have accused Hwang of shamanist and heretical traits.

      Bishop Choi ordered three "Mirinae" Religious institutes to publish a joint official letter in which they acknowledge they have practiced their religious activities based on alleged revelations the Church has not accepted as authentic. The letter should also make clear the institutes now have cut all ties with Hwang. He ordered them to send the letter to ordinaries and presbyterates of all dioceses by the end of November.

      Bishop Choi also directed them to collect all prayer texts and printed materials in any way related to Hwang's visions, to be turned in to his diocesan office. "The congregations should destroy all statutes they made under the influence of the visions in and out of the country," he said, adding that the institutes may use only materials approved by the bishop.

      "Hwang's alleged visions must not be recognized, spread or taught publicly," he said, warning that he would punish all who violated the order, in accordance with canon law.

      Hwang, formerly based in Daegu archdiocese, has claimed she received Marian revelations since 1946. Daegu and Seoul archdioceses denounced her claims and banned her religious activities in the 1950s, after which she moved to Suwon diocese. The March 1998 plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea reconfirmed the ban.

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    Two From Energy Bulletin on the Meltdown

  • "Abstraction has triumphed over economic realities, and the multiple impacts of that failure of imagination will be with us for a long time to come," says John Michael Greer — The flight to abstraction.


  • Carolyn Baker offers "opportunities, not for saving a world which may now be un-saveable, but for protecting and preparing on a variety of levels-and finding meaning in doing so" — Protecting our families and future in a time of crisis.
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    Oh, the Memories

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    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Obama the Buchananite

    I didn't watch the debate, but Robert Koehler reports "Obama’s citing of Korea, which has, it would seem, become one of the Democratic presidential candidate’s favorite whipping boys" — That’s Not Free Trade? "Obama said Korea exports tens of thousands of cars to the United States, while the United States sells no more than 4,000—5,000 cars in Korea" and suggested "the country needed a president who could stand up to unfair agreements for US businesses and workers."

    His rival, in contrast, suggested months ago 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. I take this to mean that he feels the [North] Korean Workers Party is of greater concern than American workers.

    (Not that I'm against free trade, if it's truly free; FTA agreements, Jeffrey Tucker reminds us, are little more than "mercantilism in disguise" — Free Trade versus Free-trade Agreements.)

    The real issue is that United States government feels compelled to offer special trade protections and favors to foreign countries who allow us to station troops in their lands. Ivan Eland pointed out the absurdity of this arrangement — 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.
    What's more, we create sheltered markets for our protectorates' goods domestically! Protecting Korea's economic interests is the price Americans have to pay for the privilege of protecting Korea!

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    Buddhist War or Border War?

    "The months-long simmering war of words between Thailand and Cambodia over an 11th-century temple on their disputed border has erupted into fighting, with the sides exchanging 'heavy gunfire' and rockets on Wednesday," reports Brian McCartan — Thailand and Cambodia open fire.

    It might be tempting to use this story to point out to those Westerners enamored of all things Eastern that Buddhists are not god-like pacifists, but, like everyone else, fallen people in need of salvation. Doing so, however, might only embolden the Religion Poisons Everything™ crowd of militant secularists, who always conveniently forget the hundreds of millions sacrificed to their ideologies in the Hemoclysm.

    Doing so would also be wrong factually. This war has nothing to do with Buddhism, and neither do the other wars secularists erroneously blame on religion, from The Troubles to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Just as in these conflicts, the fighting between between Thailand and Cambodia is about land. Even The Thirty Years War was about land and power, not religion.

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    The Organization of the Islamic Conference's Fatwa on Mosul

    The statement issued by the organization that represents 57 Muslim countries calls upon Baghdad to "prosecute the culprits who are behind these acts, to end the suffering of Christian brothers and provide them with protection" — Islamic conference condemns attacks on Iraqi Christians.

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    Can a Catholic Support an "Anti-Catholic" Chuch Baldwin for President? You Bet'cha!

    Two weeks back, The Northern Agrarian endorsed Ralph Nader for President, suggesting there is no "candidate speaking more directly to America-First, localist, populist, agrarian conservatism than Ralph Nader." I respect that and found it very convincing. (I was even tempted to one-up him and attempt to make the Old Rightist case for McKinney & Clemente 2008.)

    Of the candidate I've come out in support of, he says, "Chuck Baldwin represents ideological purity for traditionalist conservatives but is accompanied by some serious problems as well." One of those "serious problems" is "his numerous affiliations with anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic characters in radical Baptist circles." In response, Red Phillips of Conservative Heritage Times says the following:
      As for Catholics (where did that come from?), Baldwin is an Independent Fundamental Baptist. As such, he clearly believes that Catholics get some things wrong, and [that] they get soteriology seriously wrong. Sola fide hardly seems a trivial incidental. But traditionalist Catholics return the favor toward us “heretical” Protestants. Baldwin has actually fallen all over himself to be ecumenical. I think this is partially because he is a pastor and figured it would come up and partially to smooth over and help unite the Mormons in the CP after the disaster of Tampa.
    In this post's title, I put the word "anti-Catholic" in what everyone calls scare quotes these days because I don't think the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin is anti-Catholic; I think he's a Baptist.

    Of course Baptists disagree with Catholics! That is why they are not Catholics. We disagree with them. As a pastor, we can be sure that Dr. Baldwin in rejecting Catholic claims at least takes them seriously. The War Party's two candidates do not, as demonstrated by a vote-begging visit to the Shrine of Guadalupe by the one and the selection of a "pro-choice Catholic" for running mate by the other.

    Catholic Matt Swaim's report of what he calls the candidate's "American Hellfire: How Our Federal Fiascos Are Failing The Founders" speech should reassure us — Pros And Cons From The Chuck Baldwin Rally (link via Catholic and Enjoying It!). Our candidate not only "[a]ffirmed the sanctity of all human life, unborn, poor, or otherwise marginalized" but also "[e]xpressed his presidential preference for an unbeliever who followed the constitution to a believer who disregarded the constitution."

    I'd like to express my presidential preference for a Baptist who followed the constitution to a Catholic who disregarded the constitution. From his statement, it is obvious that the good pastor is no theocrat, despite Mr. Swain's humorous but baseless assertion that he is "[e]ven more theocratic than Barack Obama." Political beliefs, not religious ones, are what should matter to Americans when we vote. Pastor Baldwin is running for president, not Pope!

    [This post was inspired by this one — Can Secularists vote for Chuck Baldwin? You bet’cha!]

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.