Saturday, January 31, 2009

Death of an Anarchist

Kirsten Brydum's story is well worth a read — The last stop for a young utopian. Richard Fausset's blurb: "She traveled across the country with little but her conviction that a better world was around the bend. Then she came to New Orleans." Her travels took her to my hometown, where she saw "the greener side of the Rustbelt city: rivers, lakes and gardens" and "found a well-organized housing co-op with beautiful interiors."

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Change We Can Believe In


Jeremy Sapienza posts the above image in his post on the "'change' have we witnessed thus far" — Obama: Agent of Change? Well, Agent of Somethin’.

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Economic Doomsaying

  • "Buying gold is one way of weathering paper money devaluation, especially the US dollar’s," says Maurizio d'Orlando, with some speculation — And what if China starts buying up gold . . ..


  • "For all the sounds and fury associated with the current meltdown in the global economy, the outburst of Keynesian spending will likely create a far worse result, namely hyperinflation that could well take hold before the year is over," says Chan Akya — Keynesian bomb is ticking.


  • "Spain, France, Greece and other nations may be in pre-revolutionary mode," suggests Michael Werbowski — Europe: Dress Rehearsal for Revolution?


  • "Here we go," says Rod Dreher — Nationalist wildcat strikes in Britain.
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    Friday, January 30, 2009

    Fork-Tongued Reporters, Straight-Talkin' Grandma

    "When she learned that she was expecting multiple babies, doctors gave her the option of selectively reducing the number of embryos, but she declined," say Jessica Garrison, Andrew Blankstein and Jeff Gottlieb of the subject of their story — Octuplets' mother already has twins, four other children. Angela Suleman, grandmother of the fourteen, said, "What do you suggest she should have done? She refused to have them killed." [Emphases added.]

    Most of the article is devoted to the "growing questions about the medical ethics of the case." The "disapproval from some medical ethicists and fertility specialists" was not, of course, about in vitro fertilization, which is morally unnacceptable, but about the fact "that high-number multiple births endanger the mother and also frequently lead to long-term health and developmental problems for the children." These may be cause for concern but are entirely secondary to questions about the intrinsic evil of artificial insemination, which, it seems, can be made "ethical" by simply "aborting some of the fetuses."

    The report states that the "father is going back to Iraq, where neighbors said he worked as a contractor, to help support the expanded family," which raises ethical questions of a whole different sort.

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    My Kind of Physics

    It's not all about searching for the blaspemous God particle, a process that might wipe us out (cf. Will new collider create black holes that destroy us all?); some of "na­ture’s most beau­ti­ful spec­ta­cles" are still mysteries that remain to be solved — When a stone lands in water.

    In the floor above my office is the Asia Pacific Center for the Theoretical Physics, where works my newest friend, a post-doc researcher looking into light refraction in mist and crystals, another mystery that still remains to be solved. He's also a devout Catholic (an Ethiopian Orthodox gentleman also researches there) and has a blog — How To Think Like A Physicist.

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    Who Killed Ötzi?

    New leads in "a mur­der case some 5,300 years old, re­con­struct­ing the tim­ing of in­ju­ries that the world’s old­est 'ice mum­my' suf­fered in his dis­mal fi­nal days" — Ill-fated ice man may have suffered two assaults. He suffered an "ar­row wound in his back" and "a blunt-object b­low to the back."

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    Economic Do's and Don't's

  • Do "[g]et rid of the empire," as Justin Raimondo suggests, thereby "cutting... the single largest federal expenditure down to a manageable size" — The Big Stimulus.


  • Do "enact a three to four year program permitting people to prepay their debts with pretax dollars that would otherwise be used to make their tax-exempt 401(k) contributions," as Jeff Snyder (no relation) suggests — Stimulate the Payoff of Personal Debt.


  • Do take thirty minutes and listen to how we got into this mess — Ron Paul at the Top of His Game, When We Need Him Most.


  • Don't fault those who have maintained a "huge rate of savings and large productive capacity," as Tim Swanson explains — When in Doubt, Blame the Asians.


  • Don't trust the "newly installed Economic Dictator (and Barton Fink look-alike) Tim Geithner," who "will use the means at his disposal to siphon the wealth that remains in our economy into the hands of the international Plunderbund," as William N. Grigg explains — Kleptocrats of the World, Unite!


  • Don't repeat what "failed terribly as an economic program but succeeded wildly as a public relations gambit," as advises Daniel Flynn — The New New Deal.
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    Personalism, Not Individualism; Anarcho-Catholicism, Not Statism

    Ellen Finnigan on a woman whose "philosophy of personalism... is inherently antithetical to the objectivism, centralization and institutionalism that characterize the activities of the State" — Was Dorothy Day a Libertarian? The author explains, "Personalism is the view that the human person is the basic unit of society, and that all forms of social organization – family, nation, church, state – are sound only insofar as they uphold the dignity of every person and prompt every person into direct encounters with others."

    (My offering from 2007 on the great woman — Anarcho-Catholicism: Dorothy Day's Day Has Come.)


    Servant of God Dorothy Day, Pray For Us

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    A Grace Given

    Francis Philips reviews a book of that title about "[a] father’s struggle to understand the point of his daughter’s short, totally dependent life" — A life rich in significance. While his wife "is a woman of strong faith," the author "is not," but he says, "There are no atheists in the paediatric neurosurgery waiting room." The reviewer tells us, "Indeed, as their worst fears about her disabilities were realised, her parents never wavered in their belief that the gift of life is 'profound and worthy of reverence.'"

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    Nancy Pelosi's Invincible Ignorance

    "If Nancy Pelosi wants to save the American economy some money she needs to stop investing in irresponsible sex," writes Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. — Excuse me, Madam Speaker. "Passing out pills or promising abortions doesn’t deal with the underlying desires that are driving their behaviour," she says of unwed mothers. "If Nancy Pelosi wants to reduce the costs to taxpayers, she should be promoting marriage."

    First, Madam Speaker is ignorant of economics; population is good. Second, she is ignorant of what motivates young poor women to have babies out of wedlock; she is projecting her upper middle class experience on the lower classes (if they get pregnant, it must be a mistake). It is frightening, but not surprsing, that a person so ignorant could hold so much power.

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    Classic Trojan Singles on the Jukebox

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    False Messiah

    "The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming," writes Gerald Warner from across the Pond — Barack Obama inauguration: this Emperor has no clothes, it will all end in tears. The scale of the disaster? The very "real possibility that the entire world economy could go into complete meltdown and famine kill millions."

    [link via Tea at Trianon]

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    Anarchist-Making Events

    Will Groves, "an old-school craftsman who knows good work when he sees it," gives us a litany — Why Does the World Feel Wrong?:
      1. A president who started two aggressive wars, who bears responsibility for the loss of thousands of American lives along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives, leaves office as a free man without a felony record or any negative repercussions.

      2. Meanwhile, the same populace that has intimate experience with lying politicians appears utterly smitten with a smooth-talking new president promising change and demanding sacrifice.

      3. The Congress, which had an approval rate of 14% and which just passed a $700 billion bailout over the objections of a majority of Americans, had a re-election rate exceeding 95%.

      4. Untold millions of Americans voice support of military troops as these very people are needlessly killed, injured, and separated from their families and productive work at home.

      5. A general populace believed that buying unproductive assets, like housing, could make them wealthy, forever, without any coherent explanation why.

      6. Researchers who pursue alternative explanations for AIDS and cancer get their funding cut and have the results of their research squelched, while others who try to improve life by providing healthful foods find themselves under attack.
    [link via Sell Civilization Short]

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    "Too Big to Succeed"

    Lew Rockwell used that phrase to describe the failed banks and financial institutions in this interview yesterday — The Greatest Depression in History. It answers this question from Steve Sailer, who notes that "[t]here are a lot of little banks that are doing okay right now, but the biggest financial institutions keep needing gigantic bailouts" — Why are big banks bad banks?

    Austrianism seems to be right about the goverment role in monopoly creation, and Distributivism right about smallness.

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    Benicio del Toro's Interview Walkout

    "I'm getting uncomfortable," said the actor when asked about the "darker side" of the murderous thug he recently portrayed — 'Che' spurs debate, Del Toro walkout. He continued, "I'm done. I'm done, I hope you write whatever you want. I don't give a damn."

    Humberto Fontova, author of Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him, has done a great job exposing the actor's (and countless others') infantile infatuation with the mass-murderer — Groovy Che?

    [link via Vox Nova]

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    Brave New Britain

    "In a bizarro world, the government decides which children get to live where, and for what reason," writes P.M. Jaworski of this horror story — U.K. social services remove children from grandparents care, insist on adoption to same-sex couple. The report states that "social workers stepped in after allegedly deciding that the couple, who are aged 59 and 46, were 'too old' to look after the children."

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    Mark Shea Contra Cafeteria Catholic Neo-conservatives

    On the "sudden development of a troubled conscience about torture now that a Lefty wields the power to do evil that has been so long defended, nuanced, minimized and explained away" — Against the Grain is Suddenly Born Again!

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    Globalist P'yŏngyang-style Mass Games

    "In the age of ESPN and the Web does one need these expensive government-propaganda shows disguised as sport?" asks the Young Fogey — The Olympics.

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    Huge Anglo-Catholic News!

    A report on what "would be the most important advance in Catholic/Anglican relations since 1553, when 'Bloody' Queen Mary briefly returned England to Catholicism" — Dissident Anglicans poised to join Catholics.

    Under the arrangement, the Traditional Anglican Communion would become a "personal prelature," i.e. "would answer to the Pope but keep their existing structure, clergy and some elements of Anglican identity" and "would be a beacon for Anglicans around the world dreaming of doctrinal stability and unity." As you know, since 1980 the pastoral provision known as Anglican Use has allowed new Catholics from that communion to "retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition."

    All hail Pope Benedict XVI, Healer of Schisms!

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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Who Do Yoo Think Yoo Are?

    John Yoo, the foreign-born Bush Administration official and author of The Torture Memo, laments the end of "the CIA's special authority to interrogate terrorists" — Obama Made a Rash Decision on Gitmo. This is the same man who "opined that if the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no treaty that can stop him."

    Mr. Yoo notes that "under President George W. Bush... the president could have authorized coercive interrogation methods like those used by Israel and Great Britain in their antiterrorism campaigns" (great models there). "He could even authorize waterboarding, which he did three times in the years after 9/11," he says gleefully of a procedure which, Chris Gelken's article reminds us, was not always so glibly accepted in America — U.S. prosecuted its own soldiers for war crimes during the Spanish-American for using waterboarding. In a just world, Mr. Yoo's revelation would be evidence at a war crimes tribunal commissioned by the new Attorney General — 'Waterboarding is torture,' says Holder.

    Mr. Yoo is aghast that "[t]he CIA must now conduct interrogations according to the rules of the Army Field Manual" and that detainees "are to be protected from 'outrages on personal dignity' and 'humiliating and degrading treatment' in accord with the Geneva Conventions" (original scare quotes). He even refers to Enhanced Interrogation, a.k.a Verschärfte Vernehmung, as "the Bush system."

    This profoundly un-American foreigner ends on a positive note, however, praising the new president's continued use of "the NSA's electronic surveillance programs" and "use of predator drones." And if he had read CounterPunch, he likely would not have felt the need to write his article in the first place — The Torture Ban That Doesn't Ban Torture.

    Interesting that a man born under Park Chung-hee's military dictatorship should be so instrumental in staining America's reputation with torture. Blowback, we might say, for American support of that fascist régime in the '60s. Mr. Yoo's parents should have emigrated to one of the Latin American dictatorships at the time, as many other Koreans did. Is is too late to revoke his citizenship and deport him?

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    The WSJ Speaks Truth to Pelosi

    Telling her to "abstain from social engineering" — Speaker Nancy Malthus. "The notion that a larger population will produce a lower standard of living" is so outdated that "during Malthus's own lifetime, his prediction was proved false, as he later acknowledged." The conclusion:
      Ms. Pelosi's remarks ignore the importance of human capital, which is the ultimate resource. Fewer babies would move the U.S. in the demographic direction of Europe and Asia. On the Continent, birth rates already are effectively zero, and economists are predicting labor shortages in the years ahead. In Japan, where the population is aging very fast, workers are now encouraged to go home early to procreate. Japan is projected to lose 21% of its population by 2050.

      The age and growth rate of a nation help determine its economic prosperity. A smaller workforce can result in less overall economic output. Without enough younger workers to replace retirees, health and pension costs can become debilitating. And when domestic markets shrink, so does capital investment. Whatever one's views on taxpayer subsidies for contraception, as economic stimulus the idea is loopy.

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    "The Grand Patriarch of Atheists"

    He was also a Catholic priest, sodomite, and purported murderer, in short, a "precursor of those infidel priests who have in recent years caused great suffering to the Catholic Church," writes Anne Barbeau Gardiner — The Case of Vanini. Executed for atheism in 1619, Lucilio Vanini and his "sham-martyrdom" still have "relevance to our times because atheists and homosexuals still claim to be victims and martyrs."

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    A Darwinian Marriage

    "In their 43-year marriage, Charles and Emma Darwin used respect, understanding and acceptance to bridge the gulf between his reason and her steadfast faith," writes Deborah Heiligman, author of a new book on the subject — The Darwins' marriage of science and religion.

    We all know the great evil his theory unleashed (cf. From Darwin to Hitler), but it's hard to hate a guy who maintained that "religion was for theologians, not for scientists" and could write "God bless you" to his wife. His wife, however, was dead wrong in asserting that "feeling, not reasoning" was what leads to faith.

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    America's Korean Entanglement

    The Council on Foreign Relations has issued a report stating that "up to 460,000 troops from South Korea and the United States would be needed to maintain security and stability in the North in case of the collapse of the communist regime" — 'U.S. must brace for N.K. collapse'.

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    Austrian Economic Doomsaying

  • Gerald Celente on what's coming in 2009 — The Greatest Depression in History.


  • Thomas Woods looks back — Monetary Lessons from America's Past.


  • Peter Schiff's assessment — US Banks Are Worthless.


  • Michael S. Rozeff says that "the existing rate of growth of the monetary base already is at a rate that is typical of a banana or coconut republic" — Where Are U.S. Consumer Goods Prices Headed?


  • (The Austrian School, it should be remembered, predicted not only this current crisis but also the first Great Depression.)

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    The End of "Judeo-Christian Civilization"

    (I refer to the term, not to the civilizational non-entity it pretended to designate.)

    The many good-faith efforts by Catholics — Fellay silences Williamson, Pope reaffirms solidarity with Jews, Pope reaches out to Jews angered by bishop's Holocaust statement, Vatican highlights pope's Holocaust condemnations, Holocaust denial by traditionalist bishop is unacceptable, says Vatican, Swiss bishops warn traditionalists on Holocaust denial, Pope reaffirms 'solidarity' with Jews amid row over bishop who denied Holocaust, Bishops criticise Holocaust denier — have been met by this — Chief Rabbinate breaks Vatican ties.

    It should be remembered that neither the 1988 excommunications nor the lifting of the same last week had anything to do with Holocaust denial, so what this amounts to is Jewish interference in internal Catholic affairs. The current brouhaha is reminiscent of the controversy about the prayer for the conversion of the Jews from the Traditional Latin Mass's Good Friday, during which these words of Francis Cardinal George to the Jews were said: "Maybe this is an opening to say, 'Would you care to look at some of the Talmudic literature's description of Jesus as a bastard, and so on, and maybe make a few changes in some of that?'"

    And those were the Talmudic descriptions that were left in; Stephen Hand today offers a timely link to a review of a book whose publisher confessed "is not going to go over well in certain circles" — What the Talmud Really Says About Jesus*. From the review:
      What exactly is so scandalous? How about Jesus punished in Hell for eternity by being made to sit in a cauldron of boiling excrement? That image appears in early manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud, as does a brief account of Jesus' trial and execution—not by the Romans but by the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin. The Jewish community, to the extent Jews were even aware of these excised texts, has been content to let them remain obscure and unknown.
    Also, by way of comparison, it might be insightful to ponder what the other Abrahamic religion says of the Founder of ours, from a quote I found last Easter — The Real Anti-Christians:
      What many neo-cons refuse to acknowledge is that Muslims consider Jesus a great prophet and his mother Mary the holiest of all women... They never utter the name of Jesus without saying “peace be upon Him.” Now, I’m not saying there are no differences, but that’s a far cry from the Talmud’s treatment of Jesus and Mary.
    *link via Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports (c)--edited by Stephen Hand

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    Rectification of Boys' Names

    Complementing a two-year-old post of mine — Girls' Names and the Fall of American Civilization — is this story today — Boys With Unpopular Names More Likely to Break Law.

    According to the report, "Boys in the United States with common names like Michael and David are less likely to commit crimes than those named Ernest or Ivan." The analysis: "While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers argue that 'they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent.'"

    It is well-known that parents are more conservative in naming their sons than they are with their daughters. It stands to reason that those who are adventerous with their sons' names may tend to be associated with the factors listed above. Parents would be wise to adapt Confucius’ Rectification of Names to the naming of their sons.

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    Make This a Thomistic Year!

    "As millions of mainland and overseas Chinese celebrate the Year of the Ox, I suspect only a small fraction of that number are aware that today, January 28th, is a memorial to Thomas Aquinas, let alone celebrating the event," says Pico Ultraorientalis in his excellent and informative post — Happy Day of the (Dumb) Ox! Giving the Saint of Intellectuals his Due.

    For what its worth, I began fulfilling the pledge I made yesterday — The Dumb Ox in the Year of the Ox — and have picked up Aquinas's Shorter Summa again.


    Saint Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis.

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    A Pretty Accurate Political Quiz

    My Political Views
    I am a right moderate social libertarian
    Right: 5.75, Libertarian: 3.03

    Political Spectrum Quiz


    My Foreign Policy Views
    Score: -8.33

    Political Spectrum Quiz


    My Culture War Stance
    Score: 2.68

    Political Spectrum Quiz
    [link via Notes from underground]

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    The Metropolitician's New Book

    Congratulations to a blogging colleague on having published the "only source of fresh, art book-style images of Korea, presented in terms that smart hipsters can understand" — “The Seoul Fashion Report” Book and Brunch Party!

    I'm no fashionista, but I approve of "the theme of [the] book, which is 60’s retro," which is the next best thing to another theme covered by the same colleague and mentioned in this post of mine — 1950s Fashion in Korea. He notes that "the trend of dainty and demure.... is a look that's never gone out of fashion," saying, "The apparent look of the 50's is something that is far from retro on the streets of Korea, especially in the winter, which for more conservative dressers who are professionals in their late 20's and up, are par for the course."

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    An Interview With Andrew Bacevich

    A conservative blog for peace links to this interview with the "unlikely candidate to have become one of the Iraq War’s fiercest critics" — The Radical Conservative. The West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran says:
      My disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute. … [M]y views have come to coincide with the critique long offered by the radical left: It is the mainstream itself, the professional liberals as well as professional conservative who define the problem.

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    Hard Truths About the Economy

  • Lew Rockwell posts audio and video respectively of the Good Doctor's diagnosis — Ron Paul: The Biggest Bubble in the History of the World and Ron Paul on the Osama Bin Ladenized Economy.


  • Dave Lindorff notes that "America, and individual Americans, have been living profligately for years in an unreal economy" and that "America has degenerated into a nation of consumers, with 72 percent of Gross Domestic Product (sic) now being accounted for by consumer spending—most of it going for things that are produced overseas and shipped here" — The Ugly Truth: America's Economy is Not Coming Back.
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    To Russia With Love

    One thing that separates the neo- from the paleoconservative is opinion about Russia, the former doing all in his power to reignite the Cold War, the latter welcoming the great country back after its 70-year nightmare. Over at Taki's Magazine today, two posts exemplify the latter, saner tendency.

  • Matthew Roberts notes that popular Russian politician and diplomat Dmitry Rogozin has stated that there is "a new civilization emerging in the Third World that thinks that the white, northern hemisphere has always oppressed" — Pro-Western Russia. Mr. Rogozin concludes, "If the northern civilization wants to protect itself, it must be united: America, the European Union, and Russia. If they are not together, they will be defeated one by one."


  • Kevin DeAnna "suggest[s] that Russia, in broad cultual terms, could become an alternative to the leftist regime that holds sway in North America and Europe" — Right Wing USSR. His post's title refers to the fact that neocon "Victor Davis Hanson [has] warn[ed] darkly [that] Obama’s foreign policy naiveté could lead to Putin taking advantage of him."


  • The love seems to be mutual to a certain extent; Congressman Ron Paul has been on RT twenty-seven times, as a search of their site indicates.

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    Abu Ghraib, U.S.A.

    Jordan Flaherty reminds us that prisoners "being kicked, punched, beaten with batons and with fists, stepped on, left naked in a freezing cell, and threatened that they would be killed" doesn't just happen in our "detention centers" overseas — Torture at a Louisiana Prison. More:
      They were threatened by guards that they would be sexually assaulted with batons. They were forced to urinate and defecate on themselves. They were bloodied, had teeth knocked out, were beaten until they lost control of bodily functions, and beaten until they signed statements or confessions presented to them by prison officials. One inmate had a broken jaw, and another was placed in solitary confinement for eight years.
    "You can tell everything about a society from the state of its prisons," said Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy.

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    "Best Blog about Korean Culture in General, 2008"

    Comments from Roboseyo inform us that this "blog was nominated for an award for the best Korea blogs of 2008" in the above category — The Golden Klog Awards: Survey is Up. Go vote! Strange, since I only blog about Korean culture when I find some paleoconservative theme expressed, or expressly violated.

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Death by Municipal Monopolists?

    I fear that headlines like these will become more common as we enter into the Second Great Depression — Michigan man, 93, freezes to death after city cuts off electricity. Marvin E. Schur's "slow, painful death" came "several days after the municipal power company had restricted his access to electricity."

    The authors, socialists (great for pointing out problems, terrible for proposing solutions), conclude, "What killed Schur is not just the indifference of local officials, but the form of social organization—capitalism—that places the profit drive of the financial aristocracy above basic human needs." I'm all for placing "basic human needs" above "the profit drive of the financial aristocracy," but this was a public company, was it not, a bureaucracy not an aristocracy?

    Mayor Charles Brunner is quoted as saying, "We’ve gotten very creative in the ways we purchase power, but it’s a very complicated market and it’s an expensive market." Perhaps it's too complicated and expensive for government employees to figure out. One wonders if there were competition in utilities whether prices might be more affordable.

    The authors note that "City Manager Robert Belleman has provoked particular outrage among residents by suggesting that Schur’s neighbors bear responsibility for failing to look after the elderly man." The outrage is understandable, but a bit misguided, as these comments from a local resident suggest: "How can the city manager claim that the neighbors had a civic responsibility to look after this man? What about the city’s civic responsibility to look after him?" Therein lies the problem, that people have handed over all "civic responsibility" to increasingly large and instrusive governments.

    The socialist authors are right with this assessment, though: "Politicians of both parties have overseen the ruination of Michigan. In moments like the freezing death of Schur, they can scarcely conceal their contempt for the working class people they nominally represent." The "Planners" Hayek's Road to Serfdom warned us of oversaw the "ruination of Michigan" and the rest of the Rust Belt by imposing deindustrialization on us.

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    His Holiness Patriarch Kirill


    His Holiness' election "fuels hopes of rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church" — Russian Orthodox Church elects 16th patriarch. "Kirill has visited the Vatican and made some conciliatory remarks," reports Megan K. Stack. "Despite general Orthodox wariness of Catholic intentions toward Russia, analysts say he may look for common ground with Pope Benedict XVI."

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    Grace in the Presence of Evil


    The above two-year-old's last day on this earth was "a daylong torture session in which the toddler was beaten with belts, dunked in cold water and flung across a room so violently that she died," before which she "tried to stop her mother and stepfather from beating her to death by reaching out to her mother and saying, 'I love you'" — Jurors weep at details of 'Baby Grace' torture.

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    The Dumb Ox in the Year of the Ox


    The Liturgy of the Hours reminded me this morning that today is the memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, pictured above from Fra Angelico's fresco. Comments from reader Pico Ultraorientalis "recommend the 'Dumb Ox' (Aquinas) as a medeval philosopher," suggesting that "[i]t's time to put the law under grace, anger under compassion, and to move on from childish things to spiritual maturity." He says, "A handy place to start this process of maturation is in the thick folios of the medevals, inclusive of the Jewish and Muslism philosophers."

    The Year of the Ox, which began just two days ago, seems a good enough time to finish Aquinas's Shorter Summa, which for whatever reason I stopped midway through, and move on to Political Thought of Thomas Aquinas, which a friend left me. As our reader said, "[A]ll roads must eventually lead to, or at least through, the 'Dumb Ox'..."

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    President James Garfield's Son and the Sage

    Sinologist Sam Crane informs us that "an interest in Confucianism is something that has existed here, in this little corner of Massachusetts, for a hundred years at least" — Confucius at Williams College.

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    L’Étranger and Killing An Arab

    Reader "mcmlxix" on one of my early favorite books and a song I never had time for — The Stranger.

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    Where Röpke and Schumacher Meet

    The Humane Economy's Matthew Redard latest post — Layoffs and economics as if individuals mattered. An excerpt:
      "Economics as if individuals mattered" is a reference to the subtitle of a collection of essays published by German economist (notice a trend here?) E.F. Schumacher, entitled Small Is Beautiful. Schumacher moved to England prior to World War II to escape Nazi Germany...

      Schumacher believed that decentralism is necessary for an economically sustainable society. He advocated the application of human-scale values and respect for the environment to economic issues, and was a pioneer in what is now called appropriate technology: user-friendly and ecologically suitable technology applicable to the scale of communities.

      Schumacher's model assumes that men and women have "higher obligations" than themselves. If one believes that there are no higher obligations, then everything - business, politics, art - simply become the means to gain and maintain power to order the world as one likes.

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    Ecce Quam Bonum et Quam Iucundum Habitare Fratres in Unum

    Damian Thompson reports on what "will come as a huge relief to the Pope, who lifted the excommunication of the four Lefebvrist bishops on Saturday" — SSPX silences Holocaust-denying bishop and apologises to Pope. Mr. Thompson quotes the statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, as rightly saying that "a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals" and "ask[ing] the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act."

    One wonders, will those who recoil when Rome silences theologians who deny the divinity of Christ, and who surely welcome this silencing (as I do), be quick to forgive?

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    Brigadier General Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, War Criminal

    He urged Israeli troops to "spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us" and not to "be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel" — Military Rabbi Urged Troops to Show No Mercy in Gaza.

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    Make Love, Not Work

    A "program [that] also helps the company cut overtime expenses during the global economic downturn" — Japanese corporations cut workday to boost birth rate. Let's hope Koreans, whose birthrate is much lower than the Japanese rate of 1.34 children per woman, copy this as well.

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Do the Norks Read Donald Kirk?

    I read this headline earlier today — U.S. Expert Says North Korea Has 'Weaponized' Plutonium — and yawned, as I do whenever I read just about anything about North Korea. Then, I remembered something that Donald Kirk wrote just the other day: "If Obama has signaled anything about Korea, it is that North Korea will have to try a lot harder for him to cast a glance in that direction..." — Hey Obama, what about North Korea? Then I yawned again.

    Weaponized plutonium or not, benign neglect should be our true policy when it comes to North Korea. I'm rather surprised the neocons at One Free Korea and DPRK Studies haven't jumped on this story yet.

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    Thurification

    I learned a new word from this VietNamNet article about how "the burning of incense during this time of year is said to create an invisible bridge, connecting this world to the one beyond" — Incense – bridging the gap between worlds. From the article:
      In the view of Confucianism, the three incense sticks embody Heaven, Earth and mankind. But according to the Book of Changes, number three belongs to Yang, which is the symbol of heaven, sacredness, purity, restfulness and the origin of life, according to Venerables Thich Thanh Hue and Tue Nha’s book, “The customs and rites of thurification”.
    They burn three sticks here in Korea, too, or at least my father-in-law did yesterday. Yesterday's scent reminded me that I need to start burning more incense at home.

    Thurification is a practice I've long enjoyed. As a teenager, I used to buy some from our local Oriental gift shop. Incense, the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us, "with its sweet-smelling perfume and high-ascending smoke, is typical of the good Christian's prayer, which, enkindled in the heart by the fire of God's love and exhaling the odour of Christ, rises up a pleasing offering in His sight."

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    A Filipino and an Iranian Look to the Sage

  • Professor Elfren Sicangco Cruz provides a nice introduxtion to his thought — The wisdom of Confucius. He quotes Lin Yutang with this succint definition: "To put it briefly, Confucianism stood for rationalized social order through the ethical approach, based on personal cultivation. It aimed at political order by laying the basis for it in moral order, and it sought political harmony by trying to achieve the moral harmony in man himself." The author notes that the "clear distinction between Confucius and those whose beliefs are considered as religion is that Confucius does not claim that his words come from a Superior Being or God."


  • "From the Islamic point of view, one can say that Confucius is a prophet who exercised that function within the Chinese world," says Professor Seyeed Hossein Nasr — In Intimation With Prophecy.
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    Did President Obama Ban Torture?

  • "Obama's Executive Order bans some -- not all -- US officials from torturing but it does not ban any of them, himself included, from sponsoring torture overseas," informs Allan Nairn — The Torture Ban That Doesn't Ban Torture. The author suggests "his policy change affects only a slight percentage of US-culpable tortures and could be completely consistent with an increase in US-backed torture worldwide."


  • "The institutions of the Imperial Executive remain intact," writes William N. Grigg — The Torture State Endures. Tha author notes that "all Obama's executive order has done is to suspend the CIA's use of patently illegal torture techniques and to move 'expeditiously' to close down illegal torture facilities -- pending the announcement of new policies on these matters by a special panel that won't report its findings for at least six months."
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    The Week of Christian Unity in Korea

    "[W]e pray our Creed with one voice that cannot be divided," said the Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk — Korean cardinal expresses joy at Christian unity in Korea.

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    Reuters Covers the Healing of the S.S.P.X. Schism

  • Philip Pullella says the move "may heal one festering Catholic wound at the expense of opening a wider one with Jews" — Pope gesture to traditionalists outrages Jews. Of course, we must set things right within the family first, all the while praying for the conversion of the Jews.


  • Tom Heneghan reminds us that Bishop Richard Williamson's "comments [denying the Holocaust] strained Vatican ties with Jews badly but had nothing to do with the excommunications" — Q&A - Why has the pope welcomed back traditionalists? The Holocaust, which is as close as the secular West gets to something sacred, is not an article of faith, although denying it (or radically questioning its scale, as Bishop Williamson did) makes little sense.
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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Celibates and Natalists

    "In these depressing economic times, much talk has turned to the importance of supporting the family and its growth," begins Miss Park Eun-joo in a column on how Korean "single people face a hostile climate" — In a Country Where a One-Pot Dish Is Not Served to Single Diners. The situation she describes did not begin with the economic downturn; it had long been a part of Confucian Korea:
      A single person is often met with enticing conversation-starters such as "Aren't you getting married? You should get married this year... Why don't you have a child?" as well as the unsubtle likes of, "Hurry up and have a baby."
    But she asks for more from her compatriots than to "stop asking single people whether they are unable to marry:"
      Tax benefits are not provided for single people, who also find it difficult to get loans from the national housing fund. The Ministry of Welfare does not acknowledge them in any of its programs, and no municipal or provincial government has ever introduced a measure specifically for their benefit....

      We should also find room for them. Some single people pray for kid-free zones. Obsessed with its "children are the future" mentality, the nation is fostering dysfunctional families. On a bus one morning, a grandmother stands in the aisle and a man on his way to the office is also standing exhausted, while a mother sings and reads a fairytale aloud. The noise exceeds 70 dB, which is an unpleasant level in a cramped public space. Bringing a child to a bar and asking the other patrons not to smoke is an abuse.
    That false analogy stands out; parents don't normally take children to bars and "a mother sing[ing] and read[ing] a fairytale aloud" is hardly a public disturbance. There are plenty of "kid-free zones" in Korea. I suspect Miss Park may be troubled more by the fact that she regrets chosing a career over family, but is uanble to admit it.

    She writes, "With the exception of priests, nuns, monks, and others who do not marry due to religious reasons, single people have traditionally been targets of hostility from the society at large." In Confucian Korea, even Buddhist monks were "targets of hostility from the society at large" for their celibacy.

    While it would be absurd for celibates to receive the government programs Miss Park laments them not having, they should not be "targets of hostility." She notes, "The Roman Empire imposed a tax on them, and at one time people in France viewed them as ungrateful citizens who had failed to produce soldiers." Such measures carry with them the idea that children belong to the State, not to families.

    Natalism is a good and needed thing, but celibates, including the non-religious, have their place in society. The anti-people, anti-population zealots are wrong, but if everyone were a natalist, with modern medicine, things could get a bit crowded. And let us not forget what Our Lord said about celibacy.

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    A Korean Whistle-Stop Under the Snow

    "Old train stations, 80-year-old breweries and Korean War battle sites — what more can you ask for in a day trip?" asks Robert Koehler in his latest photo essay — Gudun Station, Jipyeong Brewery and the French at Chipyong-ni.

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    Damian Thompson's S.S.P.X. News and Commentary

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    O-bomb-a Strikes

    "Obama seemed like a decent guy, but as president, he has no hesitation in killing a group of people in Pakistan, including three little children," writes Lew Rockwell — Obama Dips His Hands in Blood.

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    Eric Scheske on Keynesianism

    He admits that his "economics knowledge is ridiculously inadequate to discuss such ideas with the professionals, much less to dispute with them," but knows enough to know that he "do[es]n’t like the intellectual milieu from which Keynes sprung and its progeny that have saddled higher learning for the past 30 years" — The Ignorant Non-Keynesian. Mr. Scheske writes:
      Our universities are awash in theories and wrongheaded assumptions that were formulated in the first half of the twentieth century: Kinsey on sexuality, Picasso on art, Mead on anthropology, Freud on sex-obsessed psychiatry, Cage on music, Woolf on literature, Justice Douglas on law.

      Keynes is cut from the same fabric as those thinkers. They had serious personal issues that bled into their novel theories. “Connaturality” is how Thomas Aquinas may have explained it: flawed moral lives create flawed thinking.
    Not to disagree with the Angelic Doctor, but there are some thinkers I admire with "flawed moral lives," and others I despise with flawless moral lives. For me it is enough that what Mr. Scheske calls "the Keynesian oddities — deficits are good, consumer spending (not production) is king —" fly in the face of common sense and traditional wisdom (just as do the ideas of the Kinseys, Picassos, Meads, Freuds, Cages, Woolfs, and Douglases) to reject them outright as flawed.

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    The Money Supply

    Craig Yirush links to a "graph from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis" showing "a time series of the U.S. money supply from the early 20th century to the present" in which "[t]he supply curve is currently vertical" — Be very, very scared . . .

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    Whither Solitude?

    "As everyone seeks more and broader connectivity, the still, small voice speaks only in silence," writes William Deresiewicz — The End of Solitude.

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    Behold, a Liberal!

    Progressive David Sirota says "every patriot should be concerned about the intensifying efforts to supplant democracy with something far more authoritarian" — America Is Moving Toward Czarism and Away from Democracy. While America has never been (nor ever should be) a democracy, and while Russian czars were often enlightened, the author makes an important point about those "policymakers granted extralegal, cross-agency powers."

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    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    Happy Lunar New Year!


    새해 많이 받으세요!

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    Minerva's Arrest

    On the pages of the WaPo, the hottest story in Korea these days — Prescient Young Blogger Did What S. Korea Couldn't -- Foresee Global Financial Crisis. The story:
      As a financial blogger named Minerva, Park Dae-sung was the dark prophet of market decline in South Korea.

      In this education-obsessed country, where academic credentials are often taken as a measure of human value, he was also something of an idiot savant. He had no degree in economics. He had no professional experience in finance. He was not a wealthy investor.

      He had been a so-so student who studied communications at a so-so junior college in a backwater town south of Seoul. Thirty-one years old and single, he spent much of his time alone in his room. As his father noted, "He can't even get a job."

      But he knew a global economic smack-down when he saw one.

      Minerva saw it coming last fall, far earlier and with far more acuity than the South Korean government, which his blog has humiliated and angered.

      Besides getting mad, the government got even. In a move widely perceived by the public as a chilling echo of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled South Korea, the government detained Park this month, invoking a seldom-used telecommunications law that charges him with harming the public by spreading "false rumors."

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    The Mujahadeen and Rumsfeld

    A comparison of how the former treated the Soviet invaders and the latter the Afghan invadees — On the Various Traditions of Hospitality.

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    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    The Tao of Grover Cleveland

    "Cleveland refused to 'act' during an economic downturn and made the United States stronger in the process," says John Robson — Grover Cleveland: A model for President Obama? Our greatest president after the first came into office during "a period of appalling economic crisis in America" and left us an "an era of unparalleled economic progress." The author, a Canadian admirer, concludes, "The Grover Cleveland fan club is not, I believe, a large one. But maybe it’s time to start enrolling new members."

    I've long been a member. I wrote this article a while back — Enough of the Truman Democrats, Where are the Cleveland Democrats? The last Jeffersonian to sit in the White House, Grover Cleveland "opposed imperialism, taxes, corruption, patronage, subsidies and inflationary policies, while adhering to the principles of classical liberalism." Indeed, "the great man is revered among [Hawai'ian] natives" — The Buffalo-Hawai'i Axis of Freedom.

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    Peter Schiff and Ron Paul Predict the Current Economic Predicament


    "This is one of the best YouTube videos I've seen so far," says Chris Brunner of the video above — This basically sums it up. "It features quotes and video clips of Ron Paul and Peter Schiff predicting the current crises over and over again since the beginning of the decade."

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    Two Kidnappings

  • Rod Dreher on a mother who was convicted of "a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act," which was just the beginning of her troubles — Spank children on plane, lose them forever.


  • William Grigg reports that following "a conveniently anonymous report alleging some unspecified 'imminent danger' to the kids," little Adolf Hitler Campbell and his younger sisters Joyce Lynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlnn Hinnler Jeannie Campbell were taken from their parents — At Least They Didn't Name Him "Sue".
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    S.S.P.X. and Holocaust Denial

    The good news — Pope to lift excommunications of four 'Lefebvre' bishops — was immediately followed by the embarrasing news, with its scandalous spin — Pope could welcome Holocaust denier back into the fold.

    Jeff Culbreath suggests, rightly in my opinion, "that believing in such a conspiracy is not possible without grave moral fault - fault in denying the truth of human nature, and fault in imputing the worst possible motives to vast numbers of witnesses, historians, and survivors" — Now for a bit of controversy. Terry Nelson quotes Fr. Blake who "suspect[s] this man, who has increasingly been pedalling a sede vacantist position, will end up leading the rump of the SSPX into a complete break with Rome" — The hills are alive with the sound of Nazism...

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    Pope and President

    They agree on the latter and disagree on the former, reports Matthew Johnston — Obama and the Pope discuss abortion and marriage. Of course, the President has no power over marriage (nor should he), aside from the "bully pulpit."

    However, the President does (and should not) have power over abortion, and, as we know, "is expected to issue an executive order revoking a Bush policy that bars international family-planning organizations that offer abortion services from receiving US government aid." As Mr. Johnston notes, "Asking US taxpayers to pay for abortion services at home or abroad denies pro-lifers the moral choice to not finance a practice they consider to be murder. This is one Bush initiative that should stay in place."

    How about ending all US government aid abroad except for disaster relief?

    UPDATE: "President Obama struck down a rule Friday that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family-planning clinics that promote abortion or provide counseling or referrals about abortion services" — Obama reverses abortion-funding policy. The President pledged "to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world." Killing children does not "meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world." Vive la résistanceArchbishop Vigneron calls for opposition to Obama abortion stand and At March, Black Pastor Warns Obama not to Preside over “Genocide” of American Blacks.

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    Patrick J. Buchanan Praises Barack H. Obama

    He says the "inaugural was the work of a mature and serious man who knows his county is in deep water, who seems to understand what got us there and who appreciates that, on some things, the right has indeed been right from the beginning" — A Reaganite Inaugural. One part really impressed Mr. Buchanan:
      For our liberty, said Obama, men like these “fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sanh.”

      This was startling. Mythologizing Khe Sanh, where the Marines held out against thousands of North Vietnamese in the bloodiest days of Vietnam, Obama was associating himself with the part of America that holds with Reagan that Vietnam was a “noble cause,” not the “dirty immoral war” of the Left’s propaganda.

      Obama seemed to be severing himself from Senator McGovern, who diabolized the war, from John Kerry, who came home from Vietnam to say Americans were acting like war criminals, and from Jimmy Carter, who in 1976 called Vietnam a “racist war.”

      Was President Obama saying the right was right? Perhaps not. But he was saying that the Marines at Khe Sanh and all of those who fought and died in Vietnam are to be honored alongside the men who stormed the bluffs at Pointe du Hoc.
    I guess I'm to the left of Mr. Obama and to the right of the Mr. Buchanan, because while I agree that "the Marines at Khe Sanh and all of those who fought and died in Vietnam are to be honored," I also agree with "Senator McGovern, who diabolized the war."

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    Arab Catholic News

  • The Archbishop of Kirkuk is planning a Synod of Middle East bishops — I asked the Pope for a Mideast Synod to renew the Christian presence, says Mgr Sako.


  • Mgrs. Shlemon Warduni and Rabban al-Qas, Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad and Chaldean Bishop of Amadiya and Erbil respectively, "urge Christians to remain in Iraq as a message of hope" — Iraqi bishops urge faithful not to fear, invite them to return to missionary path.


  • The Rt. Rev. William Kenney CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, has "returned from Palestine and Israel with a feeling of utter frustration at our failure as human beings to learn from our history and past mistakes" — People in the Holy Land need to know they are not forgotton.
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    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Claudio Monteverdi's Beatus Vir


    One of the highlights of the Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 (the same year in which was painted the portrait of Father Matteo Ricci, S.J. that graces this blog's sidebar) performed above by New Trinity Baroque, Atlanta's leading baroque orchestra, chamber choir and ensemble.

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    Three from Antiwar.com on Guantánamo

  • Doug Bandow is right to call for "impartial investigation and the potential prosecution of anyone in the Bush administration who may have violated the law" there and beyond — Investigate and Prosecute the Bush Administration. Such investigations "should be conducted in sorrow rather than rancor."


  • Andy Worthington is right about a step made in the right direction by the new president, but wonders "why, after seven years, he needs a whole year to dismantle a prison built on lies" — Chaos and Lies: Why Obama Was Right to Halt the Guantánamo Trials.


  • "We'll trade you Afghanistan and Pakistan for Guantanamo and torture – deal?" is what Justin Raimondo sees behind this — The Liberals' Grand Bargain. Says the author, "While the Bush administration had its own style of moralizing – the rhetoric of 'liberation,' the idea that we were doing the people of Iraq a favor by invading and occupying their country – the Obama crowd is much more sophisticated than that, and, simultaneously, more vulgar."
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    McGovernite Foreign Policy Advice

    A conservative blog for peace links to this open letter to President Obama from the former senator from South Dakota (and 1972 peace candidate) wisely suggesting that he "not try to put Afghanistan aright with the U.S. military" and that "military power is no solution to terrorism" — Calling a Time Out.

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    S.S.P.X. Excommunication to Be Lifted?

    OremusPope may pardon Lefebvre's bishops. Non-Catholics might be surprised to learn that the major excommunication of our times was not of liberals, but of "ultra-traditionalist[s]."

    The society's local sites in Korean and English respectively — 성 비오 10세회 and The Society of Saint Pius X in Korea. Some pictures of a Marian procession through Seoul — Some Stuff of the SSPX in Korea.

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    Korean Catholic Young Adults

    "We found that Catholic students are almost like non-Catholic ones in terms of being self-centered because of the extreme competition among students," said Elizabeth Kim Keom-hoi organizer of the event described in this article — Catholic Teenagers Learn How Human Rights Can Apply In Their Own Life.

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    CellAdam

    A report on "a medicine that has a staggering 75% success rate in treating cancer, and yet is a natural and ethical product, owned by a nonprofit company headed by devout Catholics" — A Believe-It-or-Not Cancer Drug.

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    President Obama to President Abbas

    A conservative blog for peace gives credit — Palestinians Stunned by First Presidential Phone Call. Maybe there is some room for a glimmer of hope, in foreign policy at least.

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    The National Security State

    Daniel Larison applies Bacevichian analysis to statements from President Obama's inauguration speech that "reflect the bipartisan ideological and policy consensus" — Ideology Of National Security. The most frightening part is the conclusion: "It is not only likely that he genuinely means it, but it is politically necessary that the public perceives that he means it." [Emphasis added.]

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    Proletarianization and Deracination

    Roepkean economist Matthew Redard "wonder[s] how we got to a point in our culture and economy where some folks think little of picking up and moving at the drop of a hat for a job" — Rootlessness and big business. "The concentration of economic power in the hands of fewer and larger multi-national corporations today deprives many of us the chance to be our own masters," he says. "Many of us are servile to the corporate-state."

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    The New Testament in 89 Days

    Father Methodius posts a plan having one read "a chapter of the Holy Gospel (89 in all) and two from the Acts, Epistles, and Revelation for every day, with only one chapter from Revelation on the last seven days in order to make up 89 readings" — New Testament Reading Plan.

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    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Tessa Bonner, Rest in Peace

    The New Beginning informs of the passing of "[o]ne of the most distinctive and attractive voices of the British early music movement" — Tessa Bonner: Soprano who sang with the Tallis Scholars for more than 25 years. Below, the Tallis Scholars William Byrd's Vigilate and, à propos, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Nunc Dimittis:



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    The Crunchy Con on President Obama

    "He's good at reporting crunchy topics, but when it comes to grasping what the American system is really like and the nature of the National Government, there is a big distance between him and paleos," says The New Beginning of the subject of his post — Rod Dreher gets caught up in inauguration fever. That's a spot-on assessment. Here, Mr. Dreher reports what might be called the "crunchy side" of the new president:

  • Observing that "we have our first Gen X president," Mr. Dreher quotes one Joel Kotkin as observing that "the focused and disciplined Obamas epitomize the aspirations most Americans hold for their own personal lives: caring fathers, strong mothers and an involved extended family" — Obama family values. Mr. Kotkin notes "that people born between 1968 and 1979 place a considerably higher value on family, and a lower value on work, than their baby-boomer counterparts."


  • Mr. Dreher quotes "a fascinating piece" by "[l]inguist John McWhorter... about how Obama has learned to speak Black English, and [how] those intonations help make him a more powerful communicator" — Obama talks like a black man.
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    Elders Left Out in the Cold of Korea's Demographic Winter

    The chickens — S.Korea's Birthrate Second Lowest in the World — are coming home to roost — Korea to Start Ageing a Decade from Now.

    Most horrific is the sole conclusion drawn in the second report: "The ageing society will lead to a larger number of the destitute and a larger incidence of suicide among the elderly." There's nothing about the wider economic or social implications of this Korean Race Suicide. Instead, the only effect will be "an increase in the destitute elderly population will likely work as a factor for an increase in suicides."

    Telling that this is reported as a fait accompli. The author does not write, "The ageing society will lead to a larger number of elderly being taken in by their families," or, "The ageing society will lead to a greater social expenditure on the elderly." Instead, members of the very generation that brought this country up from sub-Saharan standards of poverty to one of the world's leading ecomonies can just be expected to gas themselves while their offspring enjoy overseas trips, golf, and fancy cars, while paying for someone else to educate their 1.2 children.

    "The idea that Korea is the world's most Confucian society is belied by this fact," I said a few months back — Confucian Korea? — reporting this news — Korea’s Elderly Living in Poverty Highest in the OECD. I second that.

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    Ann Durham and Mencius' Mother

    In an attempt to add something more than just the "killjoy sourness from Right" Mark Shea described in his post — A republic, madam--if you can keep it. - Benjamin Franklin — I present these thoughts from sinologist Sam Crane — Obama's Mencian Themes. In the President's inauguration address, Professor Crane heard the Confucian themes of "[l]eading by example, not by coercion or force," and "the emphasis on Duty."

    (For another positive take, Dylan Waco reports that "Pat Buchanan referred to the rhetoric of Barrack [sic] Obama as more 'Old Right' than 'neoconservative'" — Satan needs a blanket.)

    Back to Professor Crane's idea, reading his title brought me back to something I read by commenter Rawlins Gilliland on Rod Dreher's post yesterday — The potential of life — about the President's mother:
      His mother became pregnant as a teen after she met an African student from Kenya and yet, despite the year 1961(!) and carrying a bi-racial unexpected baby, she took it to term. She could have had an abortion. Most girls in those days did.

      I repeat; a bi-racial un-planned pregnancy in 1961, 3 years before the Civil Rights Act. His mother Ann Dunham Obama is to me the poster girl for pro-life, and out new President...her son....exhibit A+ that anything is possible.

      But not every child born in America has a mother who wakes her young son up at 4:30 to read to him and do the homework together. Or grandparents who would embrace a black grandchild. This is no small part of the miracle today.
    Mencius’ Mother (孟母) came immediately to mind. She is revered here in the Far East. Her story:
      When Mencius was a very little child, he lost his father. His mother devoted herself to educate her son. The home of Mencius was near a graveyard. Little Mencius and his friends watched many funerals and sacrificial rituals. Young children like to imitate others. Mencius and his friends often performed these actions. Mencius’ mother thought this environment was not helpful for the growth of his son. So she took Mencius to the city, and lived near a market. Of course, energetic Mencius started to imitate traders with his new friends. Mencius’ mother was worried about the future of his son, and she had to move her home to a new place. She took her son and came near a school. Mencius was attracted by students and their books, and he asked his dear mother for buying a book. Mencius’ mother was very satisfied with her son. She decided not to move to other places, and then Mencius and his mother lived near the school. Every day Mencius went to the school and studied what the students did. He learned abundant knowledge and proprieties. Because he lived among the people, he understood deeply the mind of the people.
    The article concludes that "Mencius could be a great man, because he had a great mother." We pray that President Obama is not great in the Lord Acton "[g]reat men are almost always bad men" (the coda to the famous "[p]ower tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" quote) sense of the word, but in rewatching the video posted yesterday on this blog — Ann Dunham's "Choice" — I think we can agree that whatever we think about the President, we can agree that he, too, had a great mother.

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    Obamanationalism


    The above video is extremely unsettling. I've lived abroad long enough not know who most of these "beautiful people" are, but even if I did, why should I care? Eight years ago, if someone had pledged "to be a servant to our president" even many of the ex-president's base would have been disturbed. Isn't he our servant? (The Vicar of Christ, by contrast, is known as Servus servorum Dei.) And while the "pledge to consider [one's] self an American, not an African American" might warm the cockles of some conservative (nationalist) hearts, what's wrong with special affinities to one's historic communities?

    (The irony here is that while the term "African American" accurately describes the president, he has little in common with the vast majority of people whom that term normally describes, who can proudly trace their ancestry in our country back to long before the arrival of most whites, and who are heirs to one of the world's richest and most enduring cultural legacies. If this is to be lost in the new "post-racial" America, I'd gladly go back to the racial America. The "the leading black figure on the libertarian old right" would agree with me — Zora Neale Hurston, Segregationist.)

    I am not alone in finding the video disturbing:

  • Lew Rockwell calls it as it is — Liturgy of the People's Temple.


  • Mark Shea is "all for civic spiritedness" but "also note(s) that their devotion to the US looks pretty much like it is not informed by the concept that we are a nation of laws, but rather of personal fealty the Supreme Maximum Leader" — A republic, madam--if you can keep it. - Benjamin Franklin.


  • Jeff Culbreath sees it as evidence that "everyone is a monarchist at heart" — What’s your pledge?


  • I agree with this last sentiment entirely, but it describes a tendency of which we Americans must be wary. A perverted monarchy is a dangerous thing (just look north of the D.M.Z.). Let us remember the wise words of His Most Apostolic Majesty Archduke Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius of Austria: "I am often asked if I am a republican or a monarchist. I am neither, I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."

    I submit that "[y]ou could never have a monarchy in" America and it might even "be asinine to imagine" it as one. You could have a tyranny in America, though.

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    Unapproved Apparitions

    "I find it surprising that good faithful priests and people, who would never dream of disobeying the Church normally, flock to the latest site of an apparition, despite the instructions of the local bishop," says Father Blake, quoted by Maria Elena Vidal — Crackdown on Unapproved Apparitions. "It is often their first introduction to liberalism or pick n mix Catholicism."

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    Jabrilla English

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    Catholics and Gaza

  • "From the valley of tears, from blood-drenched Gaza, whose one and a half million residents have been robbed of the joy they once had in their hearts," Father Manuel Musallam sends his message to the world — Parish Priest Recounts Tragedy of Gaza.


  • "[A] personal concrete sign to aid the relief efforts of the small but fervent Catholic presence in Gaza" has been sent to "the homeland of Jesus, now being tragically scourged by death, human pain, material damage, and tears that cry out for peace" — Benedict XVI Sends Aid to Gaza.
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    Where Are the Non-Interventionists?

    Jim Lobe says "the incoming administration may too find itself split along ideological lines" — Obama's liberals, realists set to clash. The two camps:
      Liberal internationalists, whose patron saint is former president Woodrow Wilson, are much more inclined than realists to believe that the United States is a morally "exceptional" nation and that the liberal-democratic principles on which its governance is based should be actively promoted in other countries, preferably through Western-oriented multilateral institutions and international law. At the same time, some regimes, in their view, are so odious that they should be isolated, even removed, and unilaterally if necessary.

      Realists tend to be more skeptical about US "exceptionalism" (even about the role of morality in foreign policy) and the universality of liberal-democratic values and the ease with which they can be transplanted to foreign nations and cultures. And they generally prefer to engage, rather than isolate, morally questionable regimes, if doing so would advance US interests.
    Non-interventionism, which the Founders advocated, should be our true policy. It was advocated by Robert A. Taft, the "major spokesman for the isolationist Republican Old Right." It is advocated by Congressman Ron Paul in his writings — The Original American Foreign Policy and A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship. Its broad-based popularity is chronicled by Bill Kauffman in his two great books — America First!: Its History, Culture, and Politics and Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism — and by Justin Raimondo in his — Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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    Hope?

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    "... 面对在共产主义和法西斯主义下不仅与导弹和坦克,但是与健壮的联盟和忍受信念..."

    The above is surely gibberish (the first character tells me so), but it is Yahoo! Babel Fish's translation of the phrase "faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions," subject of this article — Chinese translation cuts out parts of Obama speech. The other censored phrase, "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent — know that you are on the wrong side of history," is rendered thusly: "紧贴对力量通过腐败和欺骗和沉默持异议-的那些人知道您是反面历史."

    These words should trouble not only the ChiCom, but also the America Firster. Say what you will of "sturdy alliances," the sturdier they are the more entangling they tend to be. And this "wrong side of history" bit speaks of the liberal interventionism to come.

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    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Ann Dunham's "Choice"


    Crunchy Con links to the above video — The potential of life. Commenter Rawlins Gilliland reminds us, "His mother became pregnant as a teen after she met an African student from Kenya and yet, despite the year 1961(!) and carrying a bi-racial unexpected baby, she took it to term." Roland de Chanson calls the video "an inordinately ironic specimen of Catholic propaganda run amok."

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    More Obama Dissent

  • "Obama's election doesn't mean peace is breaking out all over – far from it," says Justin Raimondo — False Dawn.


  • Jim Lobe on what we can expect — Obama Offers Internationalist Vision.


  • "The attempts to revive the economy will produce inflation during the depression," concludes Michael S. Rozeff— Obamanomics Will Fail the American People.


  • Video of the Good Doctor's reaction — Ron Paul on Obama's Scary Speech.
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    Aid the Gazan People

    For those in Seoul — Aid Gaza Benefit Night — and beyond — Aid for Gazans.

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    The American Conservative on Gaza

  • "How Gaza became a Palestinian prison" explained by Avi Shlaim — Captive Nation.


  • "The political calculation behind Olmert’s war" explained by Tom Streithorst — Operation Cast Ballot.


  • "What happens after the ceasefire?" asks Daniel Levy — Picking Up the Peace.
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    Papal Message

    Pope sends greetings to President Barack Obama:
      On the occasion of your inauguration as the forty-fourth President of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.

      Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.

      At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace.

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    "A Turning Point in World History"

    "2009 [sic] does, in my mind, represent a major global turning point, but in ways that have little to nothing to do with BHO," says Richard Spencer — Thoughts on the Obama inauguration:
      This year will be remembered as marking the precipitous and irreversible decline of America as a world power, the beginning of the gradual dumping by major world players of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, and the refusal by creditors to continue to finance Washington’s and the American public’s gigantic debt burdens. I don’t know what the bakers in charge of China’s holdings of 2 trillion dollars were thinking as they watched the inauguration, but it probably wasn’t, “We’re once again inspired by America’s ability to renew its principles of hope and inclusiveness!” I hate to damper all the high spirits, but though we most definitely are living in interesting times, it ain’t got nothing to do with Obama.

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    Fellow Dissidents on the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama

  • J.K. Baltzersen notes that "[t]he President was born to a subject of Her Britannic Majesty and the British Empire" — The Empire Strikes Back! Among many insightful comments, this one stands out: "If this Presidency is a victory for all black struggle in those United States, I was not aware that East Africa was a source of slaves to North America."


  • Steve Sailer quotes a WSJ editorial reminding us that "the original neoconservatives began mostly as left-leaning intellectuals who only deserted the Democratic Party after it fell under the influence of the counterculture during the Vietnam War" and pondering whether "there any chance neoconservatives will finally return to the roost" — Neocons eyeing Obama.


  • Pico Ultraorientalis hopes "everything that [he] fear[s] about the incoming administration be proved completely wrong" and offers some advice from the past — Yes You Canute! What our new President could learn from ancient legend.


  • "This is indeed a dreadful day for America," says Roy F. Moore, with a litany of horrors to come — FIGHT THE OBAMA REGIME!


  • Patroon suggests that "dissenters... must not make mistake of becoming Obama-haters in the same fashion of Clinton-haters during the 1990s," noting that "personal bile only managed to elevate the Clintons into martyr status" — Nothing personal, just business.
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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.