Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Comrade Duch Repents

"I am responsible for the crimes committed at S-21, especially the torture and execution of the people there," confessed the 66-year-old former math teacher and chief torturer for one of the 20th Century's most brutal atheistic régimes — Khmer Rouge torturer accepts blame for 14,000 deaths.

The article tells us that Duch is "a born-again Christian whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav," which makes his confession almost a Lenten meditation: "May I be permitted to apologize to the survivors of the regime and families of the victims who had loved ones who died brutally at S-21. I would like you to forgive me." One of the hard truths of our religion is that Comrade Duch can be forgiven, and so can you and I.

Toul Sleng, where the atrocities were committed, was one of the places I visited in that beautiful country twelve years ago. Here are some more images from that school-turned-prison for neocons torture apologists to contemplate — This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like. If only the "born-again Christians" that ran the US from 2001 to 2009 were as honest about their crimes as has been Kaing Guek Eav.

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A Condom Heretic on the Pope, Africa, and AIDS

"Yet, in truth, current empirical evidence supports him," says Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies — The Pope May Be Right. An excerpt:
    We liberals who work in the fields of global HIV/AIDS and family planning take terrible professional risks if we side with the pope on a divisive topic such as this. The condom has become a symbol of freedom and -- along with contraception -- female emancipation, so those who question condom orthodoxy are accused of being against these causes.
Dr. Green says that "what has worked in Africa" is, "in plain language, faithful mutual monogamy or at least reduction in numbers of partners, especially concurrent ones." Said the Vicar of Christ, "The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids" — Pope rejects condoms for Africa.

[link via Crunchy Con]

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What's Geithner Hiding?

F. William Engdahl accuses the "protégé of Henry Kissinger who previously was CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank" of "trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction" — Geithner’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: The Entire Global Financial System is at Risk.

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Culture as Eco-System

Patrick Deneen reminds us that "the modern ethic, in all of its forms - philosophic, economic, political, theological, artistic - aims at the elimination of culture," which, he defines succinctly as "an eco-system with added presence of human beings" — Oiko-Systems.

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"Mandatory Volunteerism"

James Bovard argues that the new régime's Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act "views military-style regimentation as a model for the nation," and idea fully "in character with Obama’s liberalism" — National Disservice.

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The Washington Six

News of criminal proceedings that should be taking place at home — Spanish Judge Accuses Six Top Bush Officials of Torture. From the report: "The 1984 UN Convention against Torture, signed and ratified by the US, requires states to investigate allegations of torture committed on their territory or by their nationals, or extradite them to stand trial elsewhere."

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Neocon Converts

"Did any of these men (or any other high-profile politician/journalist/muckety-muck convert not listed here) change his public opinions about any idea, policy, or other matter of public significance after his conversion?" asks Jeremy Beer of the Gingriches, Brownbacks, Novaks, Borks, Kudlows and other "high-profile converts to Rome among political conservatives and neoconservatives" — Another Irrelevant Conversion. Mr. Beer rightly suggests that the the only thing important is "what it ostensibly means for Mr. Gingrich’s personal life and postmortal fortunes."

"The church doesn’t declaim authoritatively on anything that isn’t a matter of faith or morals because it can’t," he reminds us. "Outside the quite small realm of faith and morals, there’s ample room for disagreement and debate even among Catholics of good will and well-formed consciences."

In my decidely low-profile conversion, I didn't really "change [my] public opinions about any idea, policy, or other matter of public significance," rather, I refined them and discovered much to my surprise and delight that I had been for the most part a paleoconservative all along.

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Paul Craig Roberts and the Cockburns, Beyond Right and Left

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Separation of State and Church

Reminding us that "candidate Barack Obama pledged to keep government funds from faith-based groups that hire only those who share the same beliefs," this editorialist is upset that as president he "has kept in place Bush-era provisions that allow faith-based groups to discriminate in hiring" — Leap of Faith. It is meet, right, and salutary for "faith-based groups to discriminate in hiring," but the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is another Bush era legacy that should be scrapped along with water-boarding and wire-tapping.

Rather, our model should be that of Servant of God Dorothy Day, foundress of the Catholic Worker Movement, who, citing "a principle laid down, much in line with common sense and with the original American ideal, that governments should never do what small bodies can accomplish," suggested that "the government has no right to legislate as to who can or who are to perform the Works of Mercy" and did "not apply for this 'privilege'" of "tax-exempt status" — Anarcho-Catholicism in a Nutshell.

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A Command Economy

These headlines describing "extraordinary intervention of the federal government into the management of a private company" indicate that that's where the current régime is leading us — Obama Demands Strong Business Plan from Auto Industry and GM Chief to Resign at White House's Behest.

There's nothing wrong with strong business plans and CEOs of failed companies resigning, but how many of us believe Washington capable of calling such shots? The markets would have forced these same changes at no cost to American taxpayers. But of course, this is just the type of decisive action that the people are told they demand.

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"Mass for Troubled Times"

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The Audacity of False Hope

  • "The idea that anything has really changed, at least in the realm of foreign policy, with the ascension of Barack Obama to the White House, is now completely debunked by the administration’s latest pronouncement on the 'Af-Pak' war," begins Justin Raimondo — Af-Pak Fever. The author insists that "our new president has made his first major foreign policy pronouncement, [and] the time to give Obama the benefit of every doubt is over."


  • Alan Bock confesses to have "hoped for a few moments that President Barack Obama... might have come up with a logical strategy for Afghanistan" only to be disappointed by the realization that "President Obama is doubling down on the Bush approach" — Operation Incoherence.


  • Ray McGovern admits that he "was wrong" in "saying that it would be naïve to take too seriously presidential candidate Barack Obama’s rhetoric regarding the need to escalate the war in Afghanistan" — Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President.
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    Doomsaying From Matthias Chang

    "Corporate America is shutting down," says the Malaysian-Chinese Catholic and former advisor to the prime minister — Total Meltdown and Civil Unrest. "The Count Down has started."

    The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission's lead prosecutor says, "Obama inherited the mess created by war criminal Bush, aided and abetted by Alan Greenspan, Bernanke and Geithner, so he can be excused for there is nothing that he can do at this late hour to change the outcome. But the rest should be lynched!" (Said G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.") Not being very enthusiastic about the death penalty, this blogger would settle for a good old fashioned tarring and feathering.

    [link via Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports (c)--edited by Stephen Hand]

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    Doomsaying From Dr. Doom

    "For a few fleeting, horrifying moments this past week the fault lines that underlie the global economic crisis erupted into plain view," begins Peter Schiff — Peering into the Abyss.

    He calls into question the notion that "our problems result from a lack of consumer spending" and the resulting conclusion that "the solution is for government spending to pick up the slack." He reminds us that "it’s not money we lack but production." Mr. Schiff's final analysis: "We borrowed and spent ourselves to the brink of bankruptcy, and now we must save and produce ourselves back to prosperity."

    Some video of the "man who predicted the financial crisis" — Peter Schiff vs. the Clueless.

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    "Don't Be Evil"

    It might be time for the world’s largest Internet company to change its motto — Google compromises on Internet free speech in S. Korea. The article informs us that South Korea "is the first country worldwide for which Google will be collecting real-name information that can be used to identify individuals."

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    All Hail Queen Yuna!


    "Every female figure skater in the United States who has Olympic aspirations and did not see Kim Yu-Na win the world championship Saturday night at Staples Center should be required to watch Kim's 'Sheherazade' routine before taking to the ice again," says the LA Times' Helene Elliott of the performance above — Kim's performance is a thing of beauty. Doing so will "remind them they are incredibly far from matching what the 18-year-old South Korean achieved and that they're unlikely to win a medal next February at the Vancouver Olympics."

    The reviewer states that "every American woman and every American skater can learn something from Kim's seamless meshing of difficult jumps and intricate spins in a program that boosted her overall total to a record 207.71 points, the first woman to surpass 200 since this scoring system was adopted for the 2005 World Championships."

    The reviewer notes "the unruffled calm she displayed in recovering from a sloppy double salchow and finishing her program with supreme confidence," "the way she expressed so much with her arms and carriage and face, creating a mood that entranced a nearly packed house," and "the sound of the crowd becoming hushed as she took off for her first element, a triple flip-triple toe loop combination jump, and its collective 'oooh' of awe and delight as her blade crunched safely on the ice twice."

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    Fidei Defensor

    Joanna Bogle on a monarch who "never intended to create a Church of England as it later came to be seen and understood," and "always thought of himself as a Catholic, never knew the Book of Common Prayer, would have been baffled by the Protestantism of later generations with teetotalism and Baptist chapels and the Salvation Army" — Henry VIII: petulant, lustful greedy - but never protestant.

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    Against Euthanasia

  • Stephen Drake and Dick Sobsey debunk "the euthanasia lobby's myth that society is kinder to animals than to humans" — Let’s put this pet theory to sleep.


  • "Legalising euthanasia would deny the full potential of the human spirit," says Margaret Somerville — The last great act of living.
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    James Kalb Talks to Zenit

    One of the great voices of Traditionalist Conservatism explains "why he believes liberalism inevitably evolves into a form of soft totalitarianism, or a 'dictatorship of relativism,' and why the Church is well positioned to be its preeminent foe" — The Tyranny of Liberalism.

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    "Guardians of the Republic"

    I'm not the type of conservative who melts at the sight of a man in uniform (to borrow a turn of phrase from Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism), but I salute these "military, veterans, and peace officers who will honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, will NOT 'just follow orders,' will stand for liberty, and will save the Republic, so help us God" — Oath Keepers. Their oath:
      1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

      2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people

      3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.

      4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.

      5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

      6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

      7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

      8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control.”

      9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

      10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
    [link via a kind reader and peace officer who wishes for obvious reasons to remain anonymous]

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    Classical Greek vs. Modern Korean Early Childhood Education

    "To age five they should do no hard toil nor any learning" and "[f]rom ages five to seven, children should watch others learning what they themselves will have to learn" — Aristotle on the education of the young.

    Our five-year-old has just started kindergarten here in Korea. My wife is in a state of quasi-panic because some of her classmates know some of their multiplication tables. I think there's no way they could "know" them but they may have memorized them. Fortunately, the school we chose does not emphasize "learning," but many of my daughter's classmates are enrolled in afterschool programs.

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    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    西便制


    Above, a scene from Seopyeonje (1993), which I saw two years after its release and two years before I was sent to Korea, and which made me appreciate Pansori before ever thinking of coming here.

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    Stoicism vs. Consumerism

    Thomas Fleming "show[s] quite simply that, quite apart from Christianity, there is an ancient and distinguished tradition of moral philosophy that provides a severe critic of the consumerist ethos" — Epictetus against Consumerists and Other Cowards.

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    Chesterbelloc in the News

  • Robert Gray reviews of a biography of the man who "makes Christianity appear that most un-Christian thing, the natural choice of a superior mind" — Paradox Was His Doxy.

  • Mark T. Mitchell on the man who "argued that what we today call corporate capitalism was fundamentally unstable and would eventually cease to exist" — The Servile State Comes to America.
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    William Kristol's "Foreign Policy Initiative"

    Jim Lobe reports on the "newly-formed and still obscure neo-conservative foreign policy organization" whose "only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a US 'surge' in Afghanistan" — Ghosts of US’s unilateralist past rise.

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    The End of the Dollar

    "China, but also Russia, Brazil, India, South Korea and South Africa are lining up behind the idea" — Goodbye dollar? G20 summit to discuss a single world currency. Can you blame them?

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    Clueless in Tepeyac

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    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Father Coughlin Takes on the Fed and F.D.R.

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    Diversitarianism

    "Nature abhors monocultures," begins Patrick Deneen — Against Monoculture. " Nature abhors them so much that they do not exist in accordance with nature. They would be unknown but for modern man."

    Mr. Deneen notes, among many things, that "thinkers like Hobbes and Locke articulate[d] the first universal and anti-cultural theory of politics, obliterating considerations of local culture, history and tradition in the name of a singular and monolithic conception of political legitimacy." I'm reminded of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn who said, "The patriot is a 'diversitarian'; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens."

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    Repressed Inflation

    A "warning of what may lie ahead if the present administration and the Federal Reserve continue with current economic shenanigans" from a man who "had a front row seat of Germany’s hyperinflation in the ‘20s, Hitler’s rise to power in the ‘30s (he eventually fled Germany for his life) and the rebuilding of Germany in the late ‘40s" — Röpke on inflation.

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    Two From John Zmirak

  • He notes that "the Catholic Church has plummeted from the heights of respectability it attained in the 1950s as part of the Cold War coalition to the status of a second-rate, vaguely disreputable cult—maybe one perch higher than peyote-smoking Indians and wistful, polygamous Mormons, but several notches lower than same-sex couples, and far, far below 'protected' racial and religious minorities" — The Anti-Catholic Backlash—Do We Deserve It?


  • Rather than "turn the pro-life movement into a Kantian, ideological monstrosity," he proposes a "state-by-state approach to banning abortion, combined with a concerted attempt to make abortion disgraceful (you know, like smoking cigarettes or making racist jokes)" — Abortion and Abolition.
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    Mr. Obama's Wars

  • He's getting a "surge" of his own — Obama to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, officials say. These are "in addition to the 17,000 the president announced earlier would be sent to Afghanistan."


  • Gareth Porter reminds us that despite the presidential announcement a month ago of the "timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months" there will remain a "transition force" that Orwellianly "will be called advisory and assistance brigades" and simply "won't be called combat brigades" — When a withdrawal is not a withdrawal.
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    U.S. Out of N.A.T.O.!

    Patrick J. Buchanan reminds us that "NATO has been irrelevant for two decades, since its raison d'etre – to keep the Red Army from driving to the Rhine – disappeared" — Can Uncle Sam Ever Let Go? "But why is NATO still soldiering on?" asks the author.

    "'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," said our first president. Our third advised, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."

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    Paul Craig Roberts, Beyond Right and Left

    You have to love a guy who writes for the hard right Chronicles one day — Launching Lifeboats Before the Ship Sinks — and the hard left CounterPunch the next — Is the Bail Out Breeding a Bigger Crisis?

    In the former, he concludes, "If the U.S. government is forced to print money to cover the high costs of its wars and bailouts, things could fall apart very quickly." In the latter, he asks, "Is the US dollar’s status as world reserve currency threatened by the debt monetization and multi-year, multi-trillion dollar issuance of new Treasuries?"

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    Does America Need a Ministry of Culture?

    Bill Kauffman, quoting painter John Sloan from 1944, suggests that "it would be fine to have a Ministry of the Fine Arts in this country" so that "we’d know where the enemy is" — The Artist as a Kept Man. Our men of letters agree:
      “A good writer,” said Ernest Hemingway, “will never like any government he lives under. His hand should be against it and its hand will always be against him.” His hand should not be extended stateward reaching for alms. The Armenian-American writer and pacifist William Saroyan, who refused to shake FDR’s hand at a reception, had the right idea. So did William Faulkner, who turned down a gala at which President Kennedy was honoring Nobel Prize winners, explaining that the White House was “too far to go for dinner.”

      [....]

      ... Gore Vidal, whom JFK appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on the Arts..., “made it a point never to attend a meeting” because “I didn’t believe that government—particularly one as philistine and corrupt as ours—should involve itself in the arts in any way. I am Darwinian in such matters: What cannot adapt dies out.”

      [....]

      A Secretary of the Arts would be to the arts as John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, and Eric Holder are to justice. I’ll stick with Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Beauty will come not at the call of the legislature. … It will come, as always, unannounced, and spring up between the feet of brave and earnest men.” Or as the punks used to say, DIY. Do it yourself.

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    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    "The Zimbabwification or Weimarification of the American Republic"


    Above, Lew Rockwell tells Andrew Napolitano and Peter Schiff that "all the great economists back in School of Salamanca... from the XIVth Century have held that this is an immoral act... an act of theft, for the goverment to artifically increase the money supply" as it "has horrific economic consequences, horrific social consequences [and] decivilizational consequences" — Napolitano, Schiff, Rockwell: Freedom Watch.

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    Οικονομία

  • "There is no MARKET, only markets, and a market is a place where people exchange goods and services, sometimes but not always for money," explains Thomas Fleming — Defining Terms.


  • Allan Carlson on "[o]ne of the few 'Austrian economists' to give serious attention to familial, agrarian, and communitarian themes" — Wilhelm Röpke’s Swiss Front Porch.


  • Mark T. Mitchell notes that "industrialized food tends to possess less of the healthy qualities of fresh foods," that "[a] centralized food system is a vulnerable food system," and that "industrialized farming is not sustainable" — The Rediscovery of Agriculture?


  • Sharon Astyk on Helena Norberg-Hodge — Indigeny Part I: Becoming Native To Your Place. (My post on hearing the latter speak — Swedish Localist Comes to Pohang.)
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    Korea's Catholic Freedom Fighter and Assassin


    A report reminding us that "today marks the 99th anniversary of the death of Ahn Jung-geun, who fought against Japanese colonial rule" — Prison where Ahn was killed to open. After "joining the armed resistance against the Japanese colonial rulers" and before he "assassinated Ito Hirobumi on the railway platform in Harbin, Manchuria in 1909," An Jung-geun was baptised. Here's the story:
      While fleeing the fighting he took refuge with a priest of the Roman Catholic Church named Wilhelm (Korean name, Hong Sok-ku) and hid in his church for several months. The priest encouraged An to read the Bible and after a series of discussions with Wilhelm, An converted to Catholicism in January 1897. He maintained his belief in Catholicism until his death, even asking that his son become a priest in his last letter to his wife.

      An Jung-geun assassinated Itō Hirobumi on the railway platform in Harbin, Manchuria in 1909. After firing upon Hirobumi, he and yelled for Korean independence and waved the Korean flag. Afterwards he was arrested by Russian guards who held him for two days before turning him over to Japanese colonial authorities. When he heard of the news that Itō had died, he made the sign of the cross in gratitude. An was quoted as saying, "I have ventured to commit a serious crime, offering my life for my country. This is the behavior of a noble-minded patriot." Despite the orders from the Bishop of Korea not to administer the Sacraments to An, Fr. Wilhelm disobeyed and went to An to give An the Last Sacraments. An insisted that the captors call him by his baptismal name, Thomas.
    It shows the breadth of the Faith that a devout Catholic like Ahn "strongly believed in a union of the three great countries in East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan in order to counter and fight off the 'White Peril,' being the European countries engaged in colonialism." Tyrannicide, it must be said, was not traditionally categorized under the Catholic teaching that "permitted rebellion against oppressive rulers when the tyranny had become extreme and when no other means of safety were available." I've blogged about Thomas Ahn before — Catholic, Doctor, Nationalist, Assassin, Calligrapher.

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    The Vicious Circle of Economic and Demographic Decline

    "Korea's birthrate stood at 1.19 babies, a record low, last year and will likely drop below one baby per woman this year" — Marriages Dwindle for 1st Time in Five Years. Of course, what Korea will experience will be a vicious circle of decline, in which a shrinking economy will lead to a shrinking population which will in turn cause the economy to shrink more. This causes me to wonder how much of our current global crisis might be blamed on demographic decline among rich countries.

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    Brotherhood of Darkness

    Stephen Hand posts a video of that title which he calls "an important assessment, in large part, of how the modern movement towards world government came to be" — The Brotherhood of Darkness---More Than Any One Globalist Faction & Unifying Them All. Questions answered:
      What was the origin of the Council on Foreign Relations, and what is its relationship to Freemasonry, Theosophy, Socialism and Communism? And how global banking fits in to all of this, and the Anglo-American alliance-empire? This video is a good single intoductory source of information on the movements (plural) working to create a New World Order grounded in the Occult.

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    Drugged and Contracepted Fish

    A report that "fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including drugs used to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies, depression and bipolar disorder" — Pharmaceuticals Discovered In Fish In Five Major U.S. Cities.

    Not worthy, or perhaps too controversial for the study, is the inconvenient truth that "estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth control pills and patches, excreted in urine," are behind "the genetically modified fish" found today — Contracepting the Environment. The authors of the study "anticipated an immediate response from environmentalists," but instead "the hormone story was mostly ignored." Ignored by some, but not all; there were some alarmed by the "devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" — Contraceptive pill polluting the environment, says Vatican.

    Two dogmas of environmentalism are in conflict here: the protection of non-human species and the culling of the human race. The latter, of course, always trumps the former.

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    The Triumph of the Managerial Revolution

    Michael Miller takes on the "managerial capitalism run by an enlightened elite--politicians, business leaders, technology gurus, bureaucrats, academics, and celebrities--all gathered together trying to make the economic world smarter or more humane" — Davos Capitalism: Adam Smith's Nightmare.

    "The late Samuel Huntington coined the term Davos Man -- a soulless man, technocratic, nation-less, and cultureless, severed from reality," he writes. "The modern economics that undergirded Davos capitalism is equally soulless, a managerial capitalism that reduces economics to mathematics and separates it from human action and human creativity."

    Justin Raimondo, in Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, explains how the Trotskyites who were to become the Neo-conservatives embraced this notion, especially in the person of James Burnham, about whom, there is a brilliant essay by none other than George Orwell on the man and his thesis — James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution. This was written in 1946, two years before his most famous novel:
      Capitalism is disappearing, but Socialism is not replacing it. What is now arising is a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic. The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production: that is, business executives, technicians, bureaucrats and soldiers, lumped together by Burnham, under the name of "managers". These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organise society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new "managerial" societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom.
    Speaking of Orwell, Mr. Miller in his article notes that "Davos capitalism has become equated with free markets." He explains how it being "politically unacceptable to use the language of centralized planning," "astute politicians like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair used market-friendly language" and "spoke about a smarter capitalism, managed globalization, the government working with business, and public/private partnerships." Says Mr. Miller, "They used market language while pursuing managerial capitalism."

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    Vultures of Abortion Descend on Nigeria

    "Will Nigeria be the first country to be bought with Obama’s funding for abortion groups?" asks Chinwuba Iyizoba — Making war on the African child.

    "The Nigerian constitution affirms the right to life," he notes, and "there is a criminal code operating in the southern part of the country (predominantly Christian) and a penal code operating in the Muslim north, both of which contain provisions criminalizing permissive abortion." However, the "government has recently set up a commission to review the nation’s laws" and "politicians and lawyers reviewing the criminal code remains the target of intense lobbying by abortion groups."

    Reading the article, this horrifying photo from a different part of the continent came to mind:

    The-picture-depicts--4e32b3a88236

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    Personhood, Not Politics

    Judie Brown says that the "total protection for all preborn human beings might be the only viable option remaining for prolifers to pursue" and takes on the "growing prolife support for bills at the state and federal levels that contain not only exceptions for cases in which the mother's life is said to be endangered, but also exceptions for cases of rape and incest" — Toward a Personhood Amendment.

    She questions the wisdom of "prolife leaders who grasped at the brass ring of partisan politics, believing with all sincerity that a quick and easy way to end abortion was by electing men and women who agreed that the act was barbaric and had to be stopped." Noting that "the result has been tragic," she is "tired of the meandering politics that have devastated our cause by watering down the principle."

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    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    The Annunciation


    Above, a 1947 painting of that title by John Lu Hung-nien from the Icons of the Celestial Kingdom gallery, in honor of today's Feast of the Annunciation.

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    Back By Populist Demand, the 10th Amendment

  • Paul Gottfried reminds us that "those who of us shudder with horror at today’s centralized public administration need the states as the only constitutionally authorized bulwark against the consolidation of federal control" — The Fight for States’ Rights.


  • "So how do liberals square their fear of intrusive government with their enthusiasm for Obama?" asks Jack Hunter — States’ Rights and The Left.


  • Walter E. Williams says "Congress is... usurping the rights of the people and the states, making King George's actions look mild in comparison," and speaks of "the rumblings of a long overdue re-emergence of Americans' characteristic spirit of rebellion" — States Rebellion Pending.
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    Some Austrian Economic Analysis and Advice

  • "Bankruptcy was the stimulus that we needed in the case of AIG," says Ron Paul — Bankruptcy Is Economic Stimulus. "More bankruptcies would clean out malinvested resources and enable economic growth again."


  • "Timothy Geithner's plan to save the big banks will be a success," says Gary North — Save the Big Banks, Trash the Dollar. "The plan will hurt taxpayers, and it will lead to severe price inflation. It will not revive the faltering economy in 2009. It will not restore the housing market. Family wealth will continue to decline."


  • Barry Ritholtz says that "America’s economy is getting a little smaller" and "that U.S. consumers are going to engage in less-conspicuous consumption than they used to" — Downsizing America. This means that "the unhealthy reliance on credit seems to be going away" and that "the massive misallocation of capital in society has also been revealed," meaning a return to "making money the old-fashioned way – earning it." He adds that for those "looking for value stocks, artwork, rare collectible automobiles, or vacation properties – there is many a deal to be had."


  • Noting "the danger of hyperinflation, and how money could become worthless, reducing society to barter and food riots," Joe Schembrie suggests that "now is the best time to buy an RV" — Get a Van!


  • [links via LewRockwell.com]

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    Whither the Dollar?

    This "surprise proposal" bodes ill for its future — China calls for new global currency. The proposal comes from Beijing's central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, who "did not mention the dollar by name" but took "unusual step" of having "the essay... published in both Chinese and English, making clear it was meant for a foreign audience."

    "I don't believe that there's a need for a global currency," said the American president. "The reason the dollar is strong right now is because investors consider the United States the strongest economy in the world with the most stable political system in the world." Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke both "categorically renounce[d] the United States moving away from the dollar and going to a global currency."

    However, Gary North suggested that it was "the prospects of the destruction of the dollar and the bankruptcy of the government" that "drove up the Dow by almost 500 points" — Save the Big Banks, Trash the Dollar. He also writes of "a perpetual bailout offered by the People's Bank of China" in which "[t]he PBOC is expected to create new yuans (inflationary), use these newly created yuan to buy U.S. dollars, and then use these dollars to buy U.S. Treasury debt, enabling the Treasury to fund its rapidly escalating debt at T-bill interest rates no higher than 0.25% per annum."

    Richard Spencer posts a video that explains the situation in clear terms — Old Right Glenn Beck? "I never thought I’d hear a speech like this on conservative talk radio (unless Jack Hunter were at the mic, of course)," he says:

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    Pat Buchanan vs. Ben Bernanke

    Noting that "the Fed chair appears far more fearful of deflation" than of "debauch[ing] the currency," Patrick J. Buchanan reminds us that "hyper-inflation... has destroyed more nations than deflation or even depression" — The Weimar Solution.

    He quotes Ernest Hemingway: "The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."

    Mr. Buchanan suggests that "the dollar is being abandoned in a frantic Fed effort to stop the recession" and reminds us that "inflation is theft," as "[i]t makes liars and cheats of governments." He writes, "By eroding the value of a currency, inflation punishes savers and creditors and rewards debtors."

    Mr. Buchanan's chilling conclusion: "Rather than endure the pain and accept the sacrifices to cure us of our addiction, we are going back to the heroin. And this time, with Dr. Bernanke handling the needle, we may just overdose."

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    Jimmy Carter vs. Abraham Lincoln

    Thomas DiLorenzo reports — Jimmy Carter Causes Neocon to Blow His Top. Mr. Carter did so by "suggesting that it was an extreme insult to Christians for Lincoln (who was not a Christian) to have pretended to have known what was in the mind of God," "reminding the Lincoln Cult that the rest of the planet ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century," and, worst of all, by "suggest[ing] that peaceful solutions to international disputes are preferable to war."

    The neocon article to which Prof. DiLorenzo refers is well worth a read (and a read between the lines) — Jimmy Carter's crazy slavery theory: He thinks the Civil War was un-Christian. The author, one Ira Stoll, quotes Mr. Carter, "[Lincoln] ignores the fact that the tragic combat might have been avoided altogether, and that the leaders of both sides, overwhelmingly Christian, were violating a basic premise of their belief as followers of the Prince of Peace... A legitimate question for historians is how soon the blight of slavery would have been terminated peacefully in America, as in Great Britain and other civilized societies."

    Mr. Stoll concludes with this chilling call for war on all fronts to immanentize the eschaton
      The Obama administration is going to be faced with policy decisions on negotiating with Hamas, Iran, North Korea and others whose hands are stained with crimes akin to slavery. It may help President Obama structure the internal discussions if he considers whether he wants to perceive America's conflicts in the fashion of Lincoln, his fellow Illinois politician, or in the manner of Carter, waiting around for a peaceful termination while today's victims and slaves suffer beatings and are deprived of their freedoms.
    Thomas DiLorenzo explains what it means to "perceive America's conflicts in the fashion of Lincoln" thus: "If Lincoln could micromanage the murder of 350,000 fellow citizens, what could possibly be wrong with the Obama administration murdering a few million Muslims and North Koreans?"

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    The Pope Right About Condoms and A.I.D.S. in Africa

    So says Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies — Guess who says pope was right about condoms, AIDS. "The pope is correct," said Dr. Green, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments." More:
      There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.

      [....]

      We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.... The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates.
    [link via the Western Standard's Andrea Mrozek — Beware religious dogma in Africa]

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    Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due — To Progressives

    Glenn Greenwald finds "more independent progressive thinking in two months than the 'conservative movement' exhibited with regard to Bush in six years" — A Major Difference Between Conservatives and Progressives.

    "What about us paleos?" you might ask. Mr. Greenwald reminds us that "conservatives who did object were cast aside as traitors to the cause, and criticisms of the President became equated with an overt lack of patriotism," citing the Podhoretzes, the Frums, the Goldbergs, the Kristols, et. al.. He reminds us that "conservatives who dissented early on from the Bush movement as an assault on their ideological convictions... were a tiny minority (and were cast out of the movement)."

    Mr. Greenwlad also acknowledges the "cult-like liberal veneration for Obama" and "Kim Jong Il-like imagery," but notes that "civil libertarian critics of Bush have vehemently criticized the Obama administration for embracing Bush's secrecy theories, shielding government policies (including torture) from judicial review, denying all rights to Bagram detainees, and retaining some of Bush's extreme detention powers," "[f]oreign policy critics have objected to Obama's escalation of our military presence in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan," and "[e]conomic critics have attacked his bank rescue plan as a sleazy give-away to Wall Street."

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    An Orwellian Childhood

    "What would it have been like to be brought up by George Orwell? Pretty grim, you might think. But you would be wrong" — Oxford Literary Festival: George Orwell's son speaks for the first time about his father. An excerpt:
      Richard remembers these years on the island as a time of almost unbroken happiness. Looking back, what particularly gratifies him is the freedom he was given there. He fished from a dinghy for mackerel and coley, and wandered at will, wearing stout farm boots to protect him from adders. He remembers seeing his father stamp on an adder's head and slit its body open with a knife in an unusual fit of savagery.
    [link via Arts & Letters Daily]

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    The Middleman

    Kurt Cobb writes, "As the globalized economy withers--never to return in its present form in my view--we are bereft of that dense network of local shopowners, brokers of all kinds of goods, hometown bankers, small equipment repairmen who can restore broken goods to useful work and so many others whom we will be needing in the future that is now unfolding" — The return of the middleman.

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    李美子

    One of Korea's great songstresses, "who celebrated her 50th year as a singer this year, is the first among her contemporaries to receive the second-highest cultural honor," — Lee Mi-ja to Get Culture Medal. Below, "Island Village Teacher:"

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    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    The Good Doctor's Diagnosis

    Dr. Ron Paul sees hard times a-comin' — Believer in small government predicts 15-year depression. "This is the big one," says the man who "has been viewed as a crank in Washington, dismissed as a doomsayer and a party-pooper," but whose "views are, for the first time, being taken seriously in Washington."

    "The US government just won’t allow the correction the economy needs," he says. Citing the mini-depression of 1921, which lasted just a year largely because insolvent companies were allowed to fail, he says, "No one remembers that one. They’ll remember this one, because it will last 15 years." He predicts, "We are likely to see an inflation depression. In the 1970s, we had stagflation, but not depression. Inflation depression is what you see in Zimbabwe."

    About our fiat money, he says, "People will start to abandon the dollar as current and past economic policies create a steep rise in interest rates." More to the point, "The dollar as a reserve standard is done."

    Like a good doctor, he not only diagnoses the disease, but prescribes a cure, unpalatable though it may be: "People don’t like the Austrians because they are against big government, against armies and against the welfare state. To accept Austrian economics, you have to accept limitations of credit expansion and that is what has kept the government and financial firms in business for so long."

    He also offers some healthy advice to the little guy: "If you are in Treasuries, you will need to be watchful and nimble to time your escape." And this: "The last place you want to be is in the stock market." He suggests "only one" investment option: "It is not so much that gold will go up but that fiat currencies will go down." He continues, "Gold is natural money and has been for 6,000 years."

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    Environmentalists Appalled at Indian Innovation

    They are "concern[ed] about the environmental impact of a 'people's car' so inexpensive that it will be within reach of millions more people, further clogging the roads and polluting the air" — India's Tata Motors unveils the world's cheapest car. My only objection to the car is aesthetic; it's hideously ugly. I'd much rather drive a Hindustan Ambassador.

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    Two Liberty Quotes

  • "Now, posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it," quoted by Matthew Redard — John Adams repents.


  • "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" quoted by Rowman — Give me liberty…
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    Jeongeup City's Gidong Parish

    An early 20th Century brick Romanesque exterior with a '70s wood interior — 천주교정읍시기동성당.

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    Paleo Picks

  • "When you remember that the American Revolution was fought against an imperial power, that U.S. was born in a struggle against an occupying army, and that its victory against the British was an inspiration to anti-imperialist liberals everywhere, it is a shaming thing to have to come here to describe how it ended in tragedy, betrayal, and a short and ugly decline," said Justin Raimondo to an audience in Paris — The American Empire: A Finale.


  • "Localists tend to take for granted that dependence on distant centers of wealth and power, which the interdependence at the heart of globalism requires, is antithetical to a decentralized political and economic order," writes Daniel Larison — Localism vs. Globalism.


  • Jeremy Beer suggests "the widespread anger aroused by the speed cameras reveals that there is much more at stake here than a few citizens, like me, with axes to grind" — The Surveillance State and Me.


  • "New York has a lot of these stories, if only the culture-levellers and uniformity police would let them be told for more than Sunday-supplement interest," wites Gerald J. Russello, telling one of them — Regionalism in the NY Times.


  • "For liberals and conservatives alike, respective limitations on sexual or economic liberty that result from constraints within a local setting are an unacceptable restriction upon liberty or opportunity," writes Patrick Deneen — Deadly Vices.


  • "By leaving the religious ghetto to right the mainstream society, the likes of a Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson undermined older taboos that had nurtured among evangelicals a sense of being resident aliens, pilgrims on a journey to a different homeland, enduring hardships now for untold future comforts," writes D. G. Hart — In And Of the World: How Culture Is Transforming Born-Again Protestants.
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    Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man

    He "is on a March 21-28 pastoral visit to Catholic communities in South Korea... to see how Vietnamese migrant workers in Korea are faring amidst the economic downturn" — Vietnamese cardinal's visit boosts morale among Vietnamese.

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    Korea's Youth

    "They are not too interested in ideology or questions like 'small government or bigger government'" but "[w]hat kind of car one drives... and what brand of shoe one should buy" — Young, gifted and consumer-oriented.

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    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen

    A report on a study finding that "Africans who have never listened to the radio before can nonetheless pick up on happy, sad, and fearful emotions in Western music" and which may "explain why Western music has been so successful in global music distribution, even in music cultures that do not as strongly emphasize the role of emotional expression in their music" — Language of music may really be universal.

    The study was led by Thomas Fritz of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, an excuse if there ever was one to repost this Lutheran cantata composed in that city, which also, incidentally, proves the existence of the Christian God:

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    Lethal Non-Lethal Force

    It's about time we started questioning its use — Michigan 15-year-old dies after police Taser him. To the "law-and-order conservatives" who will undoubtedly note that the boy "attempted to fight the officers" and thus deserved the death penalty, I direct to this 2006 post of mine — Crime Prevention Incompatible With Anglo-Saxon Law.

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    Some Conservative Anti-Imperialism

  • "A chief danger both to ourselves and others is that we shall continue to have a frontier psychology long after we have ceased to have a frontier," wrote a great conservative mind eight-and-a-half decades ago, quoted by Daniel McCarthy — Before Bacevich, Babbitt. "For a frontier psychology is expansive, and expansiveness, I have tried to show, is, at least in its political manifestations, always imperialistic."


  • "Imperialism is cruel, and I anticipate that I will eventually prove it to be unjust," wrote a great conservative blogger yesterday — Imperial Fortresses Considered As Wasps' Nests. Interestingly, considering Prof. Babbit's remarks, he notes that the "the globe-spanning empire of Portugal" was "a natural continuation of Portugal's reconquest of territory from the Moors."
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    Economic Downturn, Satanic Upturn

  • "Condom sales have also risen 6 percent due to a rise in the number of people either putting off having children or spending their free time at home, or both," cites this report — Who Are the Winners in the Economic Crisis? Interestingly, chocolate, but not contraceptive sex, is described as a "sinful treat."


  • A report from here in Korea "that young people are being forced to delay marriage as their job prospects become increasingly insecure while married young couples postpone having children" — Recession May Cause Young Couples to Avoid Pregnancy. Mentioned is the "fear that severe economic difficulties will drop the rate to below 1.0."


  • A report from America on "beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things" and that "desperate measures are becoming far more acceptable" — More women needing cash go from jobless to topless
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    The Pope on Witchcraft and Witch Hunts in Africa

    South African Orthodox deacon Steve Hayes on one of Africa's worst problems — Roman Pope speaks on African witchcraft and witch hunts. Writes Father Methodius:
      The modernist response has been quite common among Christian churches -- to assert, in the face of witchcraft beliefs and fear of evil spirits, that such things don't exist at all, and that modern and enlightened people don't believe in such primitive nonsense. Faced with that kind of response from the church leaders, people who fear witches and evil spirits conclude that the church is not equipped to cope with such problems, and so they resort to those who do claim to be competent to deal with them -- diviners and medicine men, the so-called "witchdoctors".

      If Pope Benedict is urging church leaders to take the fears of such people seriously, and to help them to overcome them rather than despising them as primitive superstitions from the vantage point of a superior Enlightenment worldview, then that is to be welcomed.

      But there is also the problem of some neopentecostal groups who, according to some reports, are actually fanning those fears into a flame, and thereby encouraging witch hunts and pointing the finger of suspicion even at children. That should be a matter of concern to all Christians in the continent.
    Of course, saying, "in the face of witchcraft beliefs and fear of evil spirits, that such things don't exist at all," would also be a lie, as would the conclusion that "the church is not equipped to cope with such problems."

    UPDATE: A report with some more details on the Holy Father's visit — Shun witchcraft, pope tells Angolan Catholics and Pope Prays for 2 Young Angolan Stampede Victims. In the former story, His Holiness is quoted as saying, "So many of them are living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they even end up condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers." In the latter story, he prays, "We trust that Jesus embraces them in his kingdom. I express my solidarity with their families and friends, and my deep sorrow because this has happened when they went to see me."

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    Costa Rica?

    Within the space of a few days, Rod Dreher comes across three separate families he describes as "ordinary, conservative, middle-class professional, Christian" with the same idea — Leaving America.

    I've always held the real one in such high esteem, that maybe I should give some thought to the "Switzerland of Central America." My previous posts about the country have been positive. (1) In 2004, I noted her president's "initiative for [an] international ban on human cloning" and that he was "not only a staunch pro-lifer, but perhaps a granola conservative as well" — His Excellency Dr. Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, President of the Republic of Costa Rica . (2) Last year, I noted that she was among "the Axis of Good" in outlawing the morning after pill — ¡Viva Chile! (3) Also last year, I issued a "call to follow the lead of Costa Rica and simply abolish the military" — Bacevich in Commonweal.

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    The Mogambo Guru on China and Gold

    Richard Daughty argues that "we have nothing to fear from the Chinese, as they are as stupid as the rest of us" — Solid Gold Advice for Chinese Economists. He says that he has "been calling them 'morons' for years since they ignore [him] when [he] tell[s] them that they, of all the countries on the earth, need the stability of a gold standard so that they can grow their economy with cheap imports and low cost of capital, which is what you get from a gold-backed currency, and that is why they should be exchanging their excess dollars for gold bullion."

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    Let's Go Out For a Beer

    "The news is dreadful," says Susan McWilliams, of the fact that "since 2006 we have been living in a republic where, for the first time in the history of the republic, Americans drink more bottled water than we drank beer" — Beer and Civic Life. She explains that "beer is a socially oriented beverage, and bottled water is a privately oriented one."

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    A Defense of the Specific, the Particular, and the Exclusive

    "The Old Right’s condemnation of the welfare/warfare state cannot be repeated enough," says James Matthew Wilson — Where is Our Perpetual Peace? The first paragraph:
      At the root of American and, indeed, western public life rests a fundamental assumption: the specific is dangerous, the particular a menace, the exclusive “unfair.” Local government is a recipe for injustice; local customs are benighted; local attachments are “clannish” and violent; local economies are inefficient, and their defenders “protectionist.” These items lead to more expansive ones directed against the particularities intrinsic to authority: religion endangers public order because it makes specific claims about the identity of truth and goodness; families oppress, because they make specific claims about the role of individual persons; and above all nations and nation-states confine the moral imaginations of their people and consequently serve as the necessary ingredients for war.

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    Mass Man and Mass Games

    Noting that "Marx was wrong," David P. Barash suggests, "The opiate of the masses isn't religion, but spectator sports" — The Roar of the Crowd. "What else explains the astounding fact that millions of seemingly intelligent human beings feel that the athletic exertions of total strangers are somehow consequential for themselves?" Mr. Barash makes it clear: "It is not the doughty doing of sports that is so ill-conceived, but the woeful watching, the ridiculous rooting, the silly spectating."

    As much was said eight decades ago in Ortega y Gasset's "Revolt of the Masses" (1930), in which spectator sports were identified as one of the phenomena characteristics of the great faceless enemy of the work: The Mass Man. (When I bought the book in California, the female Trotsky-look-a-like behind the counter nodded approvingly and flirted by saying, "Finally someone who gets it.")

    Ironic, how we rightfully mock North Korean Mass Games but fail to question our own.

    [link via Arts & Letters Daily]

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    Slow Korea



    The images above of Hadong County, South Gyeongsang and Cheongsan Island, South Jeolla respectively come from an article about the flourishing here of the Slow Movement, which began in Italy in 1999 — Korea joins movement to slow down.

    My wife and I just decided to return to the "stunning scenery" and "peaceful, friendly, and rural atmosphere" of Hadong, for the green tea harvest this year.

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    Vote for Ron Paul


    Comments from a reader inform us that he is among the The 2009 TIME 100 Finalists and that you can vote for him and his "his antiwar, antitax platform" here — Ron Paul.

    Say the editors, "And now that we think about it, we probably should have taken his advice about gold." Also, they say, "For all his fundraising acumen, the media never saw Paul as anything more than a fringe player." To be more honest, they never labeled him as anything other that a fringe player.

    Look back, I'm impressed by the strategist that Congressman Ron Paul turned out to be. Running for the nomination of a major party, he was able to get his message beyond the LewRockwell.com and Alex Jones' Infowars crowds and appear on major networks.

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    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Six Years


    Above, "[m]embers of 25 peaceful anti-war organizations hold a demonstration to urge the United States to end Iraq War in front of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on March 20" — No war in Iraq.

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    Stop the Presses!

  • "The far bigger story being ignored is the US Federal Reserve effectively telling foreigners, such as the Chinese, that the US does not need their money; it will print its own," says Julian Delasantellis — US Fed's move is the bigger problem.


  • "If the US government is forced to print money to cover the high costs of its wars and bailouts, things could fall apart very quickly," concludes Paul Craig Roberts — When Things Fall Apart.


  • Peter Schiff on the "intention to purchase an additional $1 trillion worth of U.S. treasury and agency debt... with money created out of thin air through the Fed’s printing presses" — The Mother of All Bells.


  • Of course, "the 'Fed' no longer prints money" but "just pushes a button on a computer and now literally creates money 'out of thin air'" — NPR: The "Fed" No Longer Prints Money.


  • "A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar" — UN panel says world should ditch dollar.
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    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Cecilia Cheung Retro


    The New Beginning to the video above — 四季歌 天涯歌女 周璇 张柏芝. I long thought that the Anglo-quadroon Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi was the epitome of something that survives in the East that we've long since lost in the West, and about which I've blogged before — Chinese Glamour.

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    "Quit Bankrupting this Country... Quit Destroying the Dollar!"


    Comments to the post below this one bring our attention to the above video of Congressman Ron Paul speaking truth to power on the floor of the House.

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    Queer Attack on Gentleman of the Old Republic

    "This guy is a queer!" shouted the Good Doctor, who would have been within his rights should he have punched the guy in the face — Ron Paul's insane cameo in Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming Bruno movie. Click on the link if you really want to know the details of how Dr. Ron Paul fell victim to a movie "targeting celebrities and conservatives of various stripes;" I won't print them here. Here's what our man's people had to say:
      A spokeswoman for Paul confirmed that the episode took place but declined to provide details. "We don't want it to distract from his message," said press secretary Rachel Mills. "Now is the time when people need to be listening to him on economic issues."

      Mills, who was present at the taping, did elaborate on the "queer" line. "I heard him say 'weird,' " she wrote in an e-mail. "In any case, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk … it's not exactly a shocking term if that's what he did say."

      Mills also noted that Cohen's people were "very deceptive in their tactics." At the time, she thought they were "legitimate," but now confesses to some concern. "I'm familiar with his work, so you can imagine how I feel about it," she said.

      The rest of the movie is a mix of interviews and stunts targeting celebrities and conservatives of various stripes. At one point, Bruno enrolls in a homosexual reprogramming course with evangelical Christians and spends the whole time hitting on the trainers. He sits down with a leader of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who tells Bruno to leave after Bruno tells him "your King Osama" looks like a "dirty wizard." During an interview with Paula Abdul, Bruno makes immigrant day laborers get down on their hands and knees and serve as furniture. And in the movie's much-hyped set piece, he stages a cage fight in Arkansas where, to the audience's surprise, he proceeds to make out passionately with another man.

      Jesse Benton, senior vice president of Campaign for Liberty and former campaign spokesman for Paul, said Paul was not familiar with Cohen's HBO program, Da Ali G Show. "If it's not on hard-core financial news, he doesn't follow it," Benton said. But, he added, "It sounds like it's going to be pretty funny."
    No. It won't be funny. This idiot's humor, from what I understand of it, involves luring unsuspecting people under false pretenses into compromising and embarrassing situations. I suspect people who find him funny also found it funny when bullies picked on other kids in high school. Perhaps his fans, being in on the joke, feel superior to his clueless victims. How pathetic! Even more pathetic is that this half the country will reject as a buffoon and the other half will reject as a "homophobe" the man who's leading what may be the most important fight we face — Abolish the Fed. It's cold comfort that I have seceded from popular culture.

    (Sacha Baron Cohen, by the way, "is the youngest of three sons in an Orthodox Jewish family," "first acted in theatrical productions featuring the Socialist-Zionist youth movement Habonim Dror," "spent a year in Israel at Kibbutz Rosh HaNikra and Kibbutz Beit HaEmek as part of the Shnat Habonim Dror," and "keeps kosher and generally observes the Jewish Shabbat, refusing to answer the phone on Shabbat.")

    [link via Western Standard's Terrence Watson — Poor Ron Paul]

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    The End of Utah as We Know It

    Sad news that "a state dominated by teetotaling Mormons is willing to reconsider decades-old mores if it helps the economy" — Last call for arcane drinking laws in Utah.

    I hold no brief for either Mormonism or teetotalism, both of which I hold to be heretical, but I hold considerable brief for Localism, Decentralism, and Jeffersonianism. One of the things that make places what they are are "arcane drinking laws." Where I'm from, no alcoholic beverages were sold on Sunday before noon. I once drove for about sixteen hours and found myself in New Mexico wanting a beer at five minutes after midnight only to be told by a convenient store clerk that I was five minutes too late. A friend from Tennessee said that his community forbade the selling of cold beer after midnight. I'm all for tyranny of this sort, as long as it's local, and as long as I can leave.

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    Stunned, Stunned!

    The Captain Louis Renault Award goes to the President — Obama tells Leno he was stunned by AIG bonuses.

    "[D]oes Pres. Obama perhaps find it convenient that finally, at long last, he has been able to criticize something that he believes Wall Street has done wrong?" asked Prof. Michael Hudson, who explains how "the public outrage against $135 million in AIG bonuses is a godsend to Wall Street" — The Real AIG Conspiracy. The Alex Jones' Infowars documentary The Obama Deception (2009) makes the convincing case that we are dealing with a[nother] pathological liar.

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    Mr. Obama's War

  • M. K. Bhadrakumar reports that "the new Afghan war strategy of the Barack Obama administration is getting its final touches," warning "that uncharted territory lies ahead" — US spills Afghan war into Pakistan.


  • "When the drones hit Balochistan a disaster movie will be in the making," suggests Pepe Escobar — Burn, Balochistan, burn.
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    Conservatives Coming Home?

    Steve Chapman notes that "defending the nation's basic security" is but "a small share of our military outlays"— Obama's Mythical Defense Cuts. He concludes:
      If we focused on what is vital for our safety and independence, we could spend a lot less money. But if there is no limit to what we have to do to police and remake the world, there is also no limit to what we can spend.
    Reading this on Townhall.com makes me think that with the new president we really maybe getting some "hope" and "change we can believe in."

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    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    The Obama Deception (2009)


    Above, The Obama Deception, the absolutely must-see "hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people" produced by Alex Jones' Infowars.

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    Andrew Napolitano and Alex Jones Simulcast on the N.W.O.


    The above is one of the most frightening conservations you're likely to hear; some of the developments discussed, from M.S.M. sources:Mr. Jones mentions his absolutely must-see free feature-lenth documentary, The Obama Deception, which deserves a post of its own.

    [link via the LewRockwell.com Blog]

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    Three From Stephen Hand

  • "As the growing world-wide economic crisis deepens, military forces from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom are preparing to meet angry citizens on the street," begins Daniel Taylor — Western Military Forces Turning Inward in Anticipation of Domestic Unrest.


  • Mr. Hand notes that "the herd of independent thinkers in the dominant western culture believes" that freedom "simply being shackled to one's own passions and desires and impulses" — Hey, Girl, Sleeping With That Guy---Why Should He Even Think of Marrying You? You're Very Inexpensive!


  • "In Buddhism and its variants, whether you are sitting lotus in the park reading Hans Kung amid falling blossoms on a beautiful Spring day, or being raped, slashed and strangled in a back alley---or shot in the back by a fan as Lennon was---it is all the same at the end of the day," writes Mr. Hand — Buddhism and Christianity.
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    From the Alternative Right

  • Paul Craig Roberts argues that "what’s really going to blow the legs out from under conservatives is the realization that the great superpower is the chattel goods of the Israel lobby" — Israel’s American Chattel


  • "While there are differences of opinion on some very important issues, the emergence of a decentralist Left is hardly something the decentralist Right should be wary of," writes Dylan Hales— Left-liberals and “The Left”.


  • Bill Kauffman introduces us to the "consumptive duelist, fearlessly radical hero to New York City’s working classes of the 1830s, theater critic turned New York Evening Post editor whose coruscant polemics made him the galvanizing editorialist of his age" — The Agrarian Libertarian of Manhattan
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    The Late Cardinal Kim's Witness Bears Fruit

    "Priests, nuns and parish leaders in Seoul have said they have seen a marked increase in the number of people wanting to become Catholics," states this report today — Surge in people taking catechism after cardinal's death.

    The report reminds us that "Cardinal Kim was seen as a defender of human rights against dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s and many have called him Korea's guardian of human rights and democracy." Furthermore, "comprehensive media reports of the late cardinal's life in the wake of his death could have helped people learn about his contributions to society." Also noted is the fact that "Koreans these days are struggling to find hope, especially because of the economic downturn."

    This is the continuation of an ongoing trend. The The Hankyoreh, a leftist newspaper, in a 2006 report — Catholicism, not Protestantism, captures minds of Koreans — attempted to answer the question, "Why has Catholicism increased so dramatically in South Korea, while the number of those following Protestant Christian religions has petered off?" The article quotes Father O Gyeong-hwan, an emeritus professor of Incheon Catholic University, as suggesting that the reasons for this are: "The integrity associated with Catholic priests, their participation in justice and human rights movements, their flexible attitude related to traditional Korean ceremonies involving ancestor worship and funeral practices, as well as their generous acceptance of other religions."

    A 2007 JoongAng Daily report — Ritual and robes make a good brand — noted that "there are now 5.1 million Roman Catholics in Korea, an increase of 74.4 percent over the last 10 years... in sharp contrast to the 3.9 per cent increase in Buddhists, to 11 million, and the 1.6 per cent decline in Protestants to 8.6 million." stated that the the Church reports far fewer believers than the government statistics do, quoting a Roman Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea secretary as saying that "about 480,000... people who hadn’t even registered their names at the church told the survey that they were Roman Catholics." Why would half-a-million non-Catholics declare themselves Catholic? Said the secretary, "[I]t’s very likely that they are emotionally drawn to the religious image of the Roman Catholic Church even when they are not Roman Catholics."

    The article also notes the unique history of the Korean Catholic Church: "Roman Catholicism is one of the few religions in Korea that began without assistance from foreign missionaries. Roman Catholicism initially spread via Koreans who went to Beijing in the late 16th century to be baptized."

    This recent growth caught the attention of Vatican insider Sandro Magister, who notes that "the Catholic Church is especially vigorous i[n] South Korea" in his interview of Korea's second cardinal, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul — Mission Asia: The Laboratory is South Korea.

    During my own RCIA study here in Korea in 2002, a nun told us that among Korea's non-religious population (about half the population), Catholicism was held in the highest esteem, compared to Buddhism and Protestantism. This is due, I believe, to the Faith's commitment to both Social Justice and Tradition. Koreans are, paradoxically, both egalitarian and hierarchical. The Church's emphasis on Social Justice appeals to the democratic side of the Korean psyche, while her emphasis on Tradition appeals to the Confucian side.

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    Today's Memorial


    Commemorated today and depicted above by El Greco is "the second greatest saint in the Catholic Church," "the model of a husband, a father and an adorer of the Holy Eucharist" — St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Father of Jesus, Patron of the Universal Church.

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    Mary, Mother of Europe

    A report on those who suggest "that the EU emblem - a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background - symbolises the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, by the Roman Catholic Church" — Dutch Protestants find EU Mary quite contrary. Says P. H. op 't Hof, "Most people don't think about it, but the EU symbol was thought up by a Roman Catholic in honour of Mary."

    If only! I have much sympathy for all Euroskeptic sentiments and, being of Dutch ancestry and Protestant upbringing, I am happy to see a religious objection being raised to the E.U., but, as I posted before — Either Mary Is the Mother of God or Her Son Is Not God. If any recognition of Mary, Mother of Europe, is retained, it is to be welcomed and preserved.

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    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Korea's African Neocolonial Adventure Comes to an End

    What "started with a Korean land grab" has "ended today with a coup," reports Restrained Radical, a fourth-generation Korean-American and "compassionate-conservative neoclassical-liberal libertarian-paternalist violent-papist" — Madagascar Unrest Ends in Coup.

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    The Magisterium

      [W]hat is different about Catholic magisterium is precisely the opposite of what Protestants have accused us of for 5 centuries — the Magisterium is in fact remarkable in its stability and resistance to innovation. Rather than being the accretions of dark centuries, the Magisterium carries forward into a fickle world the very light of Christ’s Gospel. Rather than being confining in its power to bind the conscience, it is a freedom from the constant urge to redefine, manipulate, repackage, indeed regift Jesus himself.
    Thus wrote Fr. J. Steele, a Holy Cross Father, excerpted from an e-mail conversation with the Young Fogey — The Catholic criterion.

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    "The Overpopulation Scare"

    Thomas Storck questions the "article of unquestionable faith that the world has a population problem" — The Problem Is Not Too Many People. Mr. Storck concludes that "governments of Western nations would rather kill Third World babies with abortion or maim Third World mothers with chemical contraceptives than inconvenience ourselves even a little bit."

    The article is thirteen years old, and much has come to light in the intervening years supporting Mr. Storck's research, but there are still many people who follow butterfly scientist Paul R. Ehrlich, despite the fact that his 1968 claim that "[i]n the 1970s and 1980s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death" didn't exactly come true.

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    Nigra sum sed formosa

    The Queen of Sheba's line from the Solomon's Canticle Of Canticles is the title of "[a]n exhibition in Venice [that] sheds light on a Church that is almost unknown in the rest of the world, and yet is numerous and flourishing, with extremely ancient origins and strong Jewish traits" — Ethiopia, an Astonishing Christianity on African Soil. Sandro Magister offers this brief but informative history:
      According to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 8, the first pagan converted to the Christian faith was an Ethiopian follower of Judaism, a high official in the kingdom, baptized by the apostle Philip along the road between Jerusalem and Gaza.

      In any case, Ethiopia was already Christian by the first half of the fourth century. Its closest connection was to Alexandria in Egypt, the patriarch of which appointed the metropolitan archbishop of the kingdom's capital. The two Churches, Coptic Egyptian and Ethiopian, have also been bound together since then by their Monophysite faith, which recognizes only the divine nature of Christ. They accept the first three councils, of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus, but not the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which established the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, divine and human. For this reason, the Coptic and Ethiopian churches are also called "pre-Chalcedonian."

      The isolation of Christian Egypt was reinforced by the expansion of Islam, which surrounded the kingdom and repeatedly tried to conquer it, but was always pushed back by a tenacious resistance.

      The greatest danger came in the 16th century. Ethiopia asked for help from Portugal, which sent an armada and defeated the Muslims. At that time, an attempt was also made to bring the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia back into union with the Church of Rome. St. Ignatius of Loyola worked on it personally. Jesuit missionaries arrived in two waves. At the beginning of the 1700's, Ethiopian kings embraced Catholicism. But immediately afterward, this attempt at union foundered.

      In the 20th century – after the bloody interlude of the Italian colonial war – efforts were made to reinvigorate the Ethiopian Church by the emperor at the time, Haile Selassié. Until then, the sole bishop of that Church had been appointed and sent by the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt. Haile Selassié first obtained an autonomous ecclesiastical hierarchy, and then, in 1959, autonomy in appointing the metropolitan, who was elevated to the dignity of patriarch.

      In 1974, the Marxist-Leninist regime of Colonel Menghistu seized power. Patriarch Teofilos was arrested and later strangled in prison. His successor, Paulos, was also imprisoned and tortured, for seven years, and then sent into exile in the United States. He returned to his country in 1992, after the fall of the Menghistu regime, and is still in office. In 1993, he met at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II, who offered him a church in Rome for the celebration of liturgies for Ethiopian rite immigrants.
    Patriarch Paulos says the Church of Ethiopia can boast of "more than 50,000 churches in the entire country" and of "80 percent participation at Mass each Sunday" as well as "1,200 monasteries in the whole country, and about 50,000 monks and nuns."

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.