Friday, July 31, 2009

Jørn K. Baltzersen on Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Today marks the centenary of the birth of a man who "referred to himself as an extreme liberal of the far right" and for whom "the study and rejection of all forms of leftism was a life-long project" — The Last Knight of the Habsburg Empire.

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We Should Listen to Bill Kauffman's Jukebox

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We Should Listen to Chalmers Johnson

Noting that we are "desperately trying to shore up an empire that we never needed and can no longer afford, using methods that often resemble those of failed empires of the past," the professor offers "three basic reasons why we must liquidate our empire or else watch it liquidate us" — Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire.

"Dismantling the American empire would, of course, involve many steps," he writes, concluding his excellent article with "10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire."

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We Should Have Listened to Jeane Kirkpatrick

    We will need to learn to be a power, not a superpower. We should prepare psychologically and economically for reversion to the status of a normal nation.
Thus spake Her Excellency at the end of 1989, quoted dirisively by neocon Joshua Muravchik — After The Fall: 1989, Twenty Years On. The neocon, not surprisngly, deluded by his own propaganda, comes away with thr wrong lessons, and hubristically asseerts that "if there is to be a modicum of peace and security, it will rest on the same bulwark that made possible the great advances for peace and freedom that unfolded in 1989, that is to say, on American power and principle."

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A XXth Century Francis of Assisi



Today, we learn of a "lay missionary and poet" who had been "an officer in the Gurkhas," a "son of a Church of England vicar" who "was received into the Catholic Church in 1947," a man who had "once walked to Rome, lived for a year in the organ loft of a church and tried to live as a hermit on Dartmoor," and who ultimately "laid down his life for lepers in war-torn Rhodesia," "shot dead, almost certainly by guerrillas" — John Bradburne: anniversary Mass and talk / Hermit, vagabond... saint?

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Thomas An Chunggŭn, Korea's Visionary Nationalist and Pan-Asianist


A fascinating man about whom you've read before on these pages — Catholic, Doctor, Nationalist, Assassin, Calligrapher and Korea's Catholic Freedom Fighter and Assassin — is in the news again as we approach "the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his assassination of the first Japanese Resident General of Korea, Hirobumi Ito, on Oct. 26, 1909, in China" — An Jung-geun Proposed E. Asian Union and Essay Contest in Honor of Patriot An Jung-geun. (An essay on the Catholic reconciliation of particularism with universalism could be submitted.)

"After firing upon Ito, An is said to have yelled for Korean independence in Russian," reports the first article, continuing:
    As he was being interrogated, he shouted, "Ura Korea!" When asked what language he had just spoken, he replied that the phrase could be understood in English, Russian and French. He also shouted "Long Live Korea."
As an English speaker, I have no idea what "Ura Korea!" means, but I fully understand it. Don't you? An excerpt from the same article on an early influence:
    According to his autobiography, An left Korea because he was afraid that the Japanese colonial state would seek to kill those like him who wanted to restore the country's independence.

    His intention was to work in China with other Koreans there to restore independence. However, he met a French Priest, Father Le Gac, who compared the Korean situation to the French loss of Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire.

    He told An that if he left Korea that it would be very difficult for Koreans to build up their national strength and restore independence.

    Many of the people in Alsace-Lorraine who wanted to remain under French control, rather than that of Germany, had left, weakening French influence there. Therefore, Father Le Gac advised An to return to Korea and work to build up the nation so it could one day regain independence. An returned, and began participating in the debt repayment movement and in educational work.
Some quotes from Thomas (he "insisted that [his] captors call him by his baptismal name") An:
    I killed Ito because he was a hindrance to Asia's peace and hampered relations between Korea and Japan. It was in my capacity as a lieutenant general of a Korean resistance army that I masterminded the assassination... The undertaking was not based on a personal agenda ― it was for Korea's independence and peace in the East. It is a part of Korea's war of liberation....

    It is obvious that Asians must unite to withstand the West's increasing attacks of the East. Why is Japan severing ties with a country of the same race at such a time?
I wonder how that last "same race" comment is taken by Koreans, whose "one-race" ideology (Korean-Japanese children are considered as "mixed race" as are my kids) was formed largely in reaction to and imitation of Japanese imperilialism. About this man who "maintained his belief in Catholicism until his death, even asking that his son become a priest in his last letter to his wife," I wrote before, "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.'"

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Boccaccio’s Jew

This week’s post on the Church by Arturo Vasquez is a "reproduc[tion]... in its entirety" of a post by Leon J. Podles — Boccacio on the Church — and I deem it meet, right, and salutary to offer the same:
    A Jew decides to go to Rome to see what the center of the Church was like. He investigated the papal court. He realized that:

    “Not only did they indulge in normal lust but without the last restraint of remorse or shame even in sodomy and to such an extent that the influence of whores and minions was of no little importance in currying favor. Various other attributes he found them to possess besides lechery. They were gluttons, swillers guzzlers in general and devoted to their bellies like brute beasts. Investigating further he saw they were all avaricious and greedy for money.”

    People have asked me how I can remain a Catholic after I discovered what was going on in the clergy. Well, the Jew, after seeing the corruption of the papal court tells a Christian:

    “For all I can judge it seems to me your Shepherd and consequently everyone else with him do their utmost, exercise every care, wit and art at their disposal to ruin the Christian faith entirely and ban it altogether from the world, instead of striving to be its foundation and mainstay. Yet when I notice that their aim is not fulfilled, but that your religion continually grows and becomes more bright and clear, it seems to be very evident that the Holy Spirit is its foundation and support, so it must be the truest and holiest of all faiths.”

    So the Jew becomes a Catholic.

    A lawyer who represented abuse victims and saw the depths of corruption in the Church nonetheless became a Catholic. Like Boccaccio’s Jew, he decided that God must be at work in a Church that survives the determined efforts of the clergy to poison it.
"Abuse in the Catholic Church" was the talk of the town the year she received me, an unworthy sinner, and to be honest, I never gave the matter any thought. It was not only that personal failings of priests or even the hierarchy have no bearing whatsoever on the eternal truths of the religion they profess, I also suspected that the hysteria of 2002 had far more to do with American litigiousness than it did with sacerdotal pederasty.

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Dump Your Dollars

"The U.S. dollar will considerably lose its position regarding the Asian currency soon, the western analysts believe," says this report — U.S. dollar to yield position to Asian currencies. "However, official intervention by regional central banks has traditionally kept Asian currencies a bit weaker than economic fundamentals would suggest" and "is likely to continue, particularly for the more heavily export-dependent economies as the global recovery disappoints."

While you're mulling over Michael S. Rozeff's advice — A Very Few Elements of Gold Strategy — you might want to listen to this eerily prophetic and very catchy tune from 1977 — Peter Tosh - The Day the Dollar Die.

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There'll Be No "Color Revolution" in Moldova

This has to be the most tautological headline I've seen in some time — No fraud seen in Moldova vote; Pro-West side wins. Fraud, by definition, only occurs when the pro-West side loses.

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Our Creditors Come Knocking

"The Chinese Communists invaded Washington on Monday demanding not that we sacrifice our freedoms but rather that we balance our budget," reports Robert Scheer — The Chinese Come Calling. "President Barack Obama’s economic team of Clinton-era holdovers, who a decade ago had hectored China on the virtues of fiscal responsibility, now were falling over themselves to reassure the Chinese..."

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Sino-Vatican Détente?

Francesco Sisci reports on "a very strong indication of a massive improvement of ties between Beijing and Rome and of a radical change of attitude about Catholicism in China" — China and the Vatican take a leap of faith. "The time may now be mature for the normalization of the diplomatic relationship," he says, "as important breakthroughs have also been achieved in talks between the two sides."

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ivan Illich on the Law of "Rising Expectations"

After "unmask[ing] as folly the assumption that every satisfied demand entails the discovery of an even greater unsatisfied one," and exposing the above as "a euphemism for a growing frustration gap, which is the motor of a society built on the coproduction of services and increased demand," on page 109 of Deschooling Society, he writes:
    The state of mind of the modern city-dweller appears in the mythical tradition only under the image of Hell: Sisyphus, who for a while had chained Thanatos (death), must roll a heavy stone up the hill to the pinnacle of Hell, and the stone always slips from his grip just when he is about to reach the top. Tantalus, who was invited by the gods to share their meal, and on that occasion stole their secret of how to prepare all-healing ambrosia, which bestowed immortality, suffers eternal hunger and thirst standing in a river of receding waters, overshadowed by fruit trees with receding branches. A world of ever-rising demands is not just evil-it can be spoken of only as Hell.

    Man has developed the frustrating power to demand anything because he cannot visualize anything which an institution cannot do for him. Surrounded by all-powerful tools, man is reduced to a tool of his tools. Each of the institutions meant to exorcise one of the primeval evils has become a fail-safe, self-sealing coffin for man. Man is trapped in the boxes he makes to contain the ills Pandora allowed to escape. The blackout of reality in the smog produced by our tools has enveloped us. Quite suddenly we find ourselves in the darkness of our own trap.

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Rod Dreher on the Heart

He reports on "evidence, though not conclusive, from medical research to substantiate the TCM [Traditional Chinese Medicine] and Orthodox view that the human heart is in some sense an organ of intuition" — The conscious heart. Mr. Dreher explains that "both Orthodoxy and TCM see the physical heart as the integrative organ of the human personality."

I quoted a report some time ago that "[t]he Vatican City state does not use certification of brain death... because this would tend to equate the human person with brain function" and that "[f]orty years ago a committee of the Harvard Medical School published a report recommending the adoption of brain death as the criterion for declaring a person dead," which in effect "meant the cessation of heart and lung function were no longer the only criteria for declaring someone dead" — Hearts and Lungs, Not Brains.

"It is interesting that traditionally, both East and West, breath has been synonymous with spirit, as evidenced by the importance of breathing in Indic religions or the Greek word πνεύμα," I wrote at the time. "And the heart has traditionally been seen as the seat of emotion and even conciousness, as evidenced by the ideogram 心 which can refer to both the organ and to the concept of mind."

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Rod Dreher on the Limits of Science

He reports on a conversation with Michael Hanlon, science editor of the Daily Mail, who "says that scientists who say questions of teleology and ultimate purpose are meaningless, and ought to be ignored, are simply wrong," which "leaves us with the idea that science -- which relies on testable hypotheses and empirical observation -- simply cannot take us as far as we'd like to go" — Cosmology and our strange universe.

He also reports on a professor who "remarked that so much of this theorizing about multiverses and suchlike makes him think that scientists are trying to smuggle religious ideas into science" and also "some talk about how a prior commitment to atheism conditions at least some of this theorizing." Mr. Dreher explains:
    If you cannot or will not admit to the existence of a Supreme Being who designed the universe, then multiverse theory -- the idea that there are an infinite number of universes -- becomes necessary to account for evidence that our universe appears against enormous probabilities to be suited for the emergence of human life. As we will almost certainly never be able to discover whether or not other universes exist, multiverse theory may well be an essentially religious claim to keep God out of the picture, no matter what the evidence.

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Here's to President Barack Hussein Obama!


I saw the headline in Korean — 美맥주업계, '백악관 3자회동'에 초미 관심 — and first thought it was a spoof — President Barack Obama's White House Beer Party — but it turns out to be real — Obama to Meet with Gates and Crowley.

"This is about having a beer and de-escalate [sic]," said Mr. Obama's press secretary. Here's more — Bud Or Blue Moon? Obama's Beer Diplomacy On Tap.

Brilliant! This is his best and most presidential act thus far. In fact, it is the most presidential act I can recall of any recent American leader. It more than makes up for Mr. Obama's earlier blunder on the brouhaha. This is precisely what presidents and other heads-of-state should do, lead by example, rather than rule by diktat in an attempt to control every affair at home and abroad.

I'm almost reminded of when the great Warren G. Harding not only pardoned the antiwar socialist Eugene V. Debs, who had been locked up by the interventionist (at home and abroad) Woodrow Wilson, but also invited him to a personal dinner at the White House! Bill Kauffman said of this moment that it "suggest[ed] an era when America writ large still had certain of the qualities of a small town" in his book, Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists.

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Man's Best and Oldest Friend

A report on "one of the most brilliant accidents in the entire history of humankind" puts "the origins of the human/canine relationship thousands of years earlier than previously thought" — The Woof at the Door.

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More Evidence for the Shroud

Of course, the Faith does not hang on a burial cloth, but the finding of "traces of words in Aramaic spelled with Hebrew letters" that "were written more than 1,800 years ago" is intriguing — Traces of Aramaic on Shroud of Turin.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Koreans Sing G.P da Palestrina's O Bone Jesu and Sicut Cervus

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Church vs. State in Vietnam

Heroic news of "the most crowded religious protest in Vietnam history" — Half a million Vietnamese Catholics of Vinh Diocese protest against police’s brutality. Click on the link for edifying images of "Catholics waving Vatican flag in the protest... demanding immediate release of detainees."


Our Lady of La Vang, pray for us

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Four Centuries of Hollandic America!


As a Dutch-surnamed son of the far western frontier of what could have been The Republic of New Netherland (Republik van Nieuw Nederland), I am doubly remiss not to have noticed the "four-hundredth anniversary of Hudson’s discovery of what is now New York," which the indefatigable Andrew Cusack brings to our attention — Holland on the Hudson.

Fellow Yorkers Martin Van Buren and Sojourner Truth, both local inspirations to this blogger (as is, to be just, the Kaianerekowa Hotinonsionne), grew up speaking only Dutch as late as the turn of the XIXth Century.

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The Taxpayer’s Freedom of Conscience Act (HR 1233)

Introduced by Congressman Ron Paul (who else?), it "forbids the use of any taxpayer funds for abortion, both here and overseas" — The Immorality of Taxpayer-Funded Abortion. Says the Good Doctor, "The fact that the national healthcare overhaul could force taxpayers to subsidize abortions and may even force private insurers to cover abortions is more reason that this bill and the ideas behind it, are neither constitutional, moral, nor in the American people’s best interest."

The most chilling passage of Dr. Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto describes his experience as a resident having "walked into an operating room without knowing what I was walking into, and the doctors were in the middle of performing a C-Section." He continues:
    It was actually an abortion by hysterotomy. The woman was probably six months along in her pregnancy, and the child she was carrying weighed over two pounds. At that time doctors were not especially sophisticated, for lack of a better term, when it came to killing the baby prior to delivery, so they went ahead with delivery and put the baby in a bucket in the corner of the room. The baby tried to breathe, and tried to cry, and everyone in the room pretended the baby wasn't there.

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"War is a calculated and a condoned slaughter of human beings."


Thus spake "[t]he last surviving veteran of the trenches of the Great War," introduced to us by J.K. Baltzersen, and shown in the above video two years ago at the age of 109 — Harry Patch, RIP.

He was also the "the oldest first-time author," and wrote these words in his book: "[P]oliticians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder."

May God rest this noble soul.

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The Post-Conservative and Post-National Right

"The position of American conservatives regarding the regime they live under is approaching that of a pagan Roman after the eternal fire of Vesta was extinguished, or a Catholic Frenchmen after the slaughter in the Vendee," grimly suggests Kevin DeAnna — The Alternative Right. His central thesis, however, that "the [Ron] Paul movement is the beginning of the post-conservative era for the American Right," is one of hope. An excerpt:
    If conservatism is about defending established institutions, Paul is not conservative. The liberty movement fundamentally challenges the legitimacy of the state, and implicitly challenges the cultural regime that supports it. A group that can cheer wildly when Abraham Lincoln is denounced as the worst president in American history is certainly a radical departure. The Paul movement’s historical revisionism, anti-state line, overt hostility towards the corporate (as opposed to capitalist) and government establishments, and indifference towards questions of respectability and permissible associations suggest that a decidedly anti-system Right is emerging.

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Ishmael Reed on Henry Louis Gates

Not until reading Ishmael Reed's piece — Post-Race Scholar Yells Racism — have I felt the need to link to anything on this topic, everything I had read being equally stupid. While there's much to disagree with this graduate of my alma mater, there's also much food for thought. An excerpt:
    Given the position that Gates has pronounced since the late eighties, if I had been the arresting officer and post-race spokesperson Gates accused me of racism, I would have given him a sample of his own medicine. I would have replied that “race is a social construct”--the line that he and his friends have been pushing over the last couple of decades.
"Gates dismissed a number of black writers as misogynists, including me, whom he smeared throughout the United States and Europe, but when Bill Clinton was caught exploiting a young woman, sexually, he told the Times that he would 'go to the wall for this president,'" reminds the black radical with a conservative critique of his liberal nemesis. "When Queer Power became the vogue, Gates latched on to that movement, too," says Mr. Reed, noting Prof. Gates' laughable assertion "that Gays face more discrimination than blacks."

Mr. Reed says that it was "his alliance with feminists" and "his Op ed for the Times blaming continued anti-Semitism on African Americans" that had him "ordained as the pre-eminent African American scholar when, if one polled African-American scholars throughout the nation, Gates would not have ranked among the top twenty five." He concludes, "Gates is among those leaders who were 'given to us,' not only by the white mainstream but also by white progressives."

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Banality of un-American War Crimes in Iraq

Veterans are speaking of "a breakdown in discipline during their Iraq deployment in which troops murdered civilians" — Soldiers in Colorado slayings tell of Iraq horrors. It is telling to note that the focus of the article is not so much on what happened in Iraq, but on soldiers' "trouble adjusting to life back in the United States."

It will be interesting to see whether those "'conservatives' who melt at the sight of a man in uniform" (to borrow Bill Kauffman's phrase) will soft-pedal or ignore this particular modern American "breakdown in discipline," because it occurred in their favorite, most sacrosanct American institution. Or perhaps America's much-maligned "breakdown in discipline" only manifests itself in music, clothing, and "lifestyle" choices, not in murdering A-rabs.

"Taxi drivers got shot for no reason, and others were dropped off bridges after interrogations," reported one soldier in the article. "You came too close, we lit you up," said another. "You didn't stop, we ran your car over with the Bradley."

The corrupting, soul-destroying effect of this "war of choice" is why its architects, who are still at large, should be prosecuted. It is also why Americans should give a listen to Major General Smedley Butler, at the time of his death the most decorated marine in American history, who in 1933 warned us that the "only two things we should fight for" are "the defense of our homes" and "the Bill of Rights" — War is a Racket.

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Was President Kennedy Returning to His America Firster Roots?

No less an authority than Oliver Stone calls Orbis Books' JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters "the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance" and "one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it" — The MIC Murdered JFK.

Author James Douglass was quoted on these pages as saying that "Kennedy had a conversion experience" and "went from a Cold War warrior to a man of peace, who knew one reckless move could blow up the whole world" — Two on the Conspiracy Behind the Murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Stephen Hand, quoted in the same post, suggested that that the 35th president "had bucked the powers, prepared to smash them, reconfigure things, was reportedly out to break up or reorganize the CIA, reverse the previous administration's course on Vietnam, bring home the 'advisors' and seek a reduction in tensions with Russia, defusing the Cold War." Most crucially, "He bucked the all powerful Federal Reserve" and "sought to dismantle their power, the power of the international bankers, the CIA, even the Secret Service."

I've never been that interested in this particular case or enamored of this particular president, but the idea that he was returning to his pacific and patriotic roots as a one-time America First Committee member and the possibility that he was taken out for the same are intriguing.

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Fed Up?

  • "The Federal Reserve in collaboration with the giant banks has created the greatest financial crisis the world has ever seen," said Congressman Ron Paul to his colleagues — What the Fed Has Done to Us. He continues, "The foolish notion that unlimited amounts of money and credit, created out of thin air, can provide sustained economic growth has delivered this crisis to us."


  • Doug French notes that "despite the Federal Reserve growing its balance sheet by 140 percent and dropping rates essentially to zero, the bankruptcies just keep on coming" — You Can't Print Production and Prosperity. He continues, "Now the word is that zero-percent interest rates are just too darn high."


  • "The grand total of all government and FED programs aimed at absorbing or supporting bad loans has now reached $23.7 trillion," reports Michael S. Rozeff — 23.7 Trillion Reasons To Buy Gold. "This is $237,000 for each of the 100 million households in America," he explains. "This is government and the FED truly in panic mode and running wild. There are frightened little men here who are doing all the wrong things."
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    Sunghoon Simon Hwang Plays the Bach-Busoni Chaconne

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    弘益人間

    Hongik Ingan, Korea's "ancient national motto meaning devotion to the welfare of mankind," has inspired one American educator — Professor falls for nation's foundation spirit.

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    Is the Sleeping Giant Awakening?

    From thirty years of a disastrous, inhuman policy of "forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations, and catastrophic fines" — Shanghai Starts Backpedaling One-Child Policy in Face of Demographic Implosion?

    The article informs us that "by 2020, the number of elderly will make up 34 percent of the city's population," and "that a similar phenomenon is happening throughout all of China, and by 2015 the working-age population will begin to decline, and begin to increase the pressure on the social system to support the aging group of pensioners." Some analysis:
      Population Research Institute, a non-profit educational organization focused on exposing human-rights abuses committed in the name of population-control, says that while small moves toward relaxing the policy are beneficial, they fear that official action has come as too little and too late, "because their demography has been so altered by the policy."

      PRI Media Director Colin Mason told LifeSiteNews.com that he and PRI President Stephen Mosher - Mosher was responsible for documenting and exposing the ruthless enforcement of the one-child policy for the first time to the West - both had recently visited China and found that most of the people with whom they came into contact expressed a desire to have more children, which was stifled by the fines and punishments of the one-child policy.

      "There is no consensus among the Chinese people that [the one-child policy] has been good for their nation," said Mason. He also pointed out that the government also faces an enormous burden with its aging pensioners, because the one-child policy severely damaged a tradition in Chinese society where children acted as a social security net or parents in their old age. In many ways, that responsibility has shifted to the government, which now carries with it severe economic consequences.

      "Our message is pretty consistent: we hold that overpopulation has never been a problem and never will be," Mason told LSN. "Western nations should take the cue from China, now that even China is begrudgingly accepting the fact that it is not overpopulated.

      Mason cautioned, "These nations that think that they are overpopulated should look at themselves and their own policies, and make sure that they are promoting bigger families and basically greater population growth."

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    Saturday, July 25, 2009

    Dick Cheney Wanted to Invade My Hometown

    News that "[t]op Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda" — Bush Weighed Using Military in U.S. Arrests.

    While "advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil," the Decider decided correctly: "Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force."

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    North Korean Defectors Have Been Busy

    Three separate allegations in the last 24 hours — Pyongyang: Christian executed in public for distributing Bibles / Pyongyang using disabled children to test chemical and biological weapons / North Korea crackdown on pants wearers.

    While I wouldn't put any of these past the North Koreans, and some readers of this blog would welcome the last report, it is wise to remember that defectors are driven by a certain agenda. While we might be appalled at what happens in North Korea, it is up to the Koreans alone to rid themselves of that tyranny.

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    The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

    Let us pray that news that "Chinese researchers reported a medical breakthrough this morning, creating living mice from connective tissue that had been reverted to its embryonic state," may mean just that — Ethicist hopes new breakthrough will eliminate ‘need’ to destroy human embryos.

    Not surprisingly, the research may open the door to another evil, as "the Chinese discovery is causing some to worry that we're a lot closer to human cloning than we should be" — 'Fast Forwarding to Designer Baby Era'.

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    Kirkpatrick Sale on E.F. Schumacher's Economics

    Of E. F. Schumacher's most famous essay, Buddhist Economics, Kirkpatrick Sale reminds us that "he never did work it out as an eight-fold path as the Buddha had done" and has attempted to do so for us — Buddhist Economics: The Eight-Fold Path.

    Let us remember what the man himself said: "I might have called it 'Christian Economics' but then no one would have read it" — Schumacherian Catholic Wisdom. Charles Fager explained in 1977 — Small Is Beautiful, and So Is Rome: Surprising Faith of E.F. Schumacher:
      He readily owned up to being a Catholic, a certified convert as of five years ago. This item is not mentioned in his book; in fact, one of the most frequently cited chapters, “Buddhist Economics,” almost made it appear as if he were deeply involved in Eastern religions. But wasn’t this chapter, I inquired, really more informed by the Catholic writings and thinkers he mentioned so frequently elsewhere in the book -- the papal encyclicals, Newman, Gilson and, above all, Thomas Aquinas?

      Schumacher grinned. “Of course. But if I had called the chapter ‘Christian Economics,’ nobody would have paid any attention!”

      This is not to say that the reference to Buddhism was a sham; he is firmly convinced that the basic elements of a common religious outlook are to be found in all the world’s major religions. But it was done artfully, to help get his message across. “You see, most people in the West are suffering from what I call an anti-Christian trauma,” he explained, “and I don’t blame them. I went through that for 20 years myself.”

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    Left Looks Right

    The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy offers a post — How the Left Sees the Antiwar Right — on an article by the Daily KOS's Marcion — What if the right becomes the anti war party? (Of course, the right was the antiwar party up until the first half of the XXth Century.)

    Marcion says that "the marginals who continue to desire peace above all" should "begin to realize that the only other group that will stand with us in opposing the wars are the libertarians and various paranoid right wingers afraid of growing government and international entanglements (affectionately referred to as Paultards here)." To those for whom "political divisions are very significant, and an alliance with libertarian forces is out of the question," he retorts, "Bipartisanship is acceptable on war funding bills, but not on war opposition, it appears."

    The American Conservative article by Chase Madar that sparked Marcion's was about "Samantha Power and the weaponization of human rights" — Care Tactics.

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    Whither Japanese Pacificism?

    Pino Cazzaniga "wonders if the Land of the Rising Sun is still 'pacifist'" — Growing war industry in pacifist Japan. Of country's "Peace Constitution," he suggests that "the fundamental charter of the Japanese nation presents itself as a model constitution, because today it seems one can no longer speak of 'just war'" (except defensive war, of course) and notes that "the country has begun a debate on possible constitutional reform on this issue."

    Mr. Cazzaniga explains that "if we limit ourselves to Article 9*, popular polls shows that the number of citizens who wish to keep it as it is exceeds the number of those who believe it requires some modifications." However, he explains that the usual suspects are behind the push for militarization: "Japanese pacifism is not transparent, because in Japan there are three powers: one democratic and two more occult; the first is represented by the people, the voters; and hence the guarantee of freedom and openness is good; the other two are in the hands of industry and bureaucracy, where the logic of profit or that of the international balance of power prevails over the ethics of democracy."

    *"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

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    Mayra Sandoval, Requiem æternam...

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    Depression as Sloth

    The New Beginning links to this 1996 conversation between the man whose 1971 book, Deschooling Society, I am now reading, and the man whose presidential bid I supported in 1992 — Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown. I found this exchange interesting:
      Brown: So now in your earlier period you were more engaged in thinking about and writing about things like medicine or the medical world or the schools or tools or energy or transportation and now what you're just saying that you really have to focus on friendship, on people, around a table. Is there something that changed in you or something that changed in the world that brought you to that perspective?

      Illich: I guess both. I am surrounded for the first time in my life with people above 25 who were born in the year, or shortly after the year, during which I had one experience of what they call medically in America depression of two weeks. I called it melancholia. I called it acedia.

      Brown: Acedia being one of the seven deadly sins.

      Illich: Which is the inactivity which results from a man seeing how enormously difficult it is for a man to do the right thing.

      Brown: Also called sloth in some translations.

      Illich: In good English. Sloth. I had a period of very black sloth and didn't want to continue writing on that book Tools for Conviviality. I said to myself, you don't have kids yourself. If you had kids now probably you wouldn't do it because you couldn't imagine your own kids. But you'll go on and finish this. I understood what ashes [?] were, what it meant to have to move into a world of the technological shell of which we spoke before. And now these people are born in that age. I can speak differently to these people than I could speak to people of the sixties. In '68 when I made people aware of the horrors implicitly inevitably affected by sickening medicine because it creates more sick people than it can help, stupefying education of which we just spoke, time-consuming acceleration of traffic so that the majority of people have to spend many more hours in traffic jams in order to make a few people like you and me and perhaps even Mitchum omnipresent, that was our main concern. Today my main concern is in which way, and these people understand it, technology has devastated the road from one to the other, to friendship, and yet therefore it is not our task to run out into the world to help others who are less privileged than we are. Some people must do this and I must collaborate with it. The real task is to remove from my own mind that screen. You and Mitchum spoke just a few minutes ago which makes your face inaccessible to me, which removes the thou which you are and from whose gaze, whose pupilla in the eye, I receive myself inaccessible to me.

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    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Ri Hyon Ok, Martyr?

    A report that "North Korea publicly executed a Christian woman last month for distributing the Bible" — Activists claim Christian executed in NKorea. "Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents."

    "It is virtually impossible to verify such reports about secretive North Korea," reminds the report, but that "North Korea appears to have judged that Christian forces could pose a threat to its regime," as one activist suggested, is no surprise; that's a story as old as Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.

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    William Pfaff on the Bush-Obama Wars

    Must-read analysis — From Iraq to Afghanistan, US Wars Not Going According to Plan. About the former, he writes, "Six years ago the American intervention was supposed to end in a multi-party democratic government, an ally of Israel against the supposed menace of Iran, the strategic base and headquarters for the U.S. as dominant actor in a 'New Middle East,' and a permanent and secure source of oil for the United States." About the latter, "The truth is that it is worse than Vietnam."

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    A Lecture on Distributivism

    Allan Carlson explains the "specifics regarding the popssible shape of a contemporary Distributist public policy agenda" — “Servile World: How ‘The Big Business Government,’ ‘The Loathsome Thing Called Social Service,’ and Other Distrubutist Nightmares All Came True.

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    What's In a Name?

    Katherine Dalton looks at the names Americans give their children these days (not only "Bailey, Mackenzie or Caitlin," but "Baeleigh, M’Kenzee and Kaytlynneand") and is "interested in the meaning of words, particularly those that have no meaning, and in the language we use to define ourselves" — Nomen est Omen.

    She says that "if we required any further evidence that we are rearing the Great Deracinated Generation, these names that have no root would clinch it." She suggests that "our media-flogged culture works to undermine our ties to our own places and our own folks is [by] push[ing] the cult of originality" and that "even the names of our children have become sacrifices to to it."

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    "Go Home, Hillary, and Leave Us Alone"

    A post have mine the other day — What Would Asia Do Without America? — has been expanded into a LewRockwell.com article under that title — What Would Asia Do Without America?

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    Papal Economics

    Stuart Reid instructs the "American Catholic Church," a.k.a. "the Weigelian Church, which preaches liberal capitalism, pre-emptive war, the Little Way of Sarah Palin, global democratic revolution, and faith and works" — Is the Pope Capitalist? Mr. Reid writes:
      The fact is that capitalist ideology—as it has emerged in modern times—has never been embraced by the Church, and it should come as no surprise that it is not now being embraced by Benedict. The historian Eamon Duffy summed up Catholic social teaching nicely when he wrote of Pope Pius XI (no lefty he), “he loathed the greed of capitalist society, ‘the unquenchable thirst for temporal possessions,’ and thought that liberal capitalism shared with communism ‘satanic optimism’ about human progress.”

      [....]

      One of the things to remember about the Catholic Church, perhaps, is that it is Christian and therefore not inclined to look with great favor on Mammon. It seeks a way of pursuing the good life, even the prosperous life, that does not involve denial of God or—a key point in Benedict’s encyclical—the abandonment of life at any stage of its development. Not easy, of course, but, though Weigel contemptuously dismisses the idea, there is a Catholic third way between capitalism and socialism, not the one seen by Benedict’s co-religionist Tony Blair—that took us into Iraq and fed us to marketing men, with their spread sheets, Polish nannies, and suits without ties—but by such people as G.K. Chesterton, the Southern Agrarians, and Konrad Adenaeur, whose political principles were based on Catholic social teaching and who led West Germany into her Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle).

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    My Adopted Province, Korea's Confucian Heartland

    "North Gyeongsang Province produced a slew of prominent scholars compared to other regions, mainly due to the environmental benefits that were good for study and meditation," said the curator of an exhibit titled "North Gyeongsang Province, the Unity of Nature and Human Beings," marking "2009: The Year of North Gyeongsang Folk Culture" — Folk Museum Features Confucian Tradition.

    "The region also developed the pavilion culture," the article informs us, "which turned the natural environment into a place of co-existence between people and nature." More:
      Surrounded by mountains, this unique geographical condition provides a perfect natural environment for ``seonbi,'' or Confucian scholars, who want to live with nature to write poetry or meditate as spiritual training throughout their lives.

      As a result, the seonbi built houses with pavilions in the mountains, enjoying a sense of inner peace by becoming one with nature.

      For the seonbi, the natural surroundings of the region were perfect for realizing harmony with the cosmos and for attaining an ideal life in the province.
    "The seonbi believed that providing a proper education in Confucian principles for their children was one of their top priorities," says the author, elaborating:
      They also believed that real leadership is achieved through education and good government in Confucianism. Thus they preferred to home-school younger family members rather than sending them to a public school. Usually, one of the respected, educated and older family members led the youth education. The first of seowon, or private academies, was established in the region. The seowon with their own ancestral shrines provided a Confucian education.

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    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    "Make Love, Not War," Says the Good Doctor


    Video above of the congressman taking apart the president's welfare/warfare state — Ron Paul: ‘Make Love, Not War’. Dr. Paul's recitation of the old '60s slogan is in response to be asked about "the fastest growing relationship site on the web" — Ron Paul Singles.

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    My Crocs

    I bought my first (copyright infringed) pair just a few days ago, and only learned their name from this article announcing the end of "this most heinous fashion crime" — Crocs, RIP. (I had to do an image search for "Crocs" to be sure what the author was talking about.)

    I decided to become a fashion criminal (again) a few years ago after about a (foolish) decade of (moderate) care about how I dressed, and I find the plastic shoes even more comfortable than going barefoot. I'm sold on them, and I'm glad I bought in now that the trend is coming to an end.

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    War Power

    "Samantha Power and the weaponization of human rights" is the brilliant subtitle to Chase Madar's article debunking the woman American liberals saw as "the paladin, the conscience, the senior director for multilateral affairs to bring human rights back into U.S. foreign policy" — Care Tactics.

    "Human rights,'" syas the author, "a term once coterminous with freeing prisoners of conscience and documenting crimes against humanity... can now mean helping the Marine Corps formulate counterinsurgency techniques; pounding the drums for air strikes (of a strictly surgical nature, of course); lobbying for troop escalations in various conquered nations—all for noble humanitarian ends."

    Of her "global bestseller" that "argue[d] that when confronted with 20th-century genocides, the United States sat on the sidelines as the blood flowed," Mr. Madar notes "Power barely mentions those postwar genocides in which the U.S. government, far from sitting idle, took a robust role in the slaughter."

    "For Samantha Power, the United States can by its very nature only be a force for virtue abroad," writes Mr. Madar. "In this sense, the outlook of Obama’s human-rights advocate is no different from Donald Rumsfeld’s." Her "faith in the therapeutic possibilities of military force" is shared by many and she is not the only "human-rights entrepreneur who is also a tireless advocate of war."

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    Jon Huer's Linguistic Jacobinism

    Jon Huer, an American (of Korean descent, I believe) living in Korea, has published an article whose central thesis that "the most awful truth about the Korean language" is "[t]hat there are actually two Korean languages, one formal-written and the other colloquial-spoken," which, unknown to him it seems, happens to be true of all languages — Is Korean Language Scientific?

    His conclusion: "If Korea is serious about its ambition to be an advanced nation characterized and united by a middle-class medium of communication, it must seriously consider developing a national language that would be functional, rational, and democratic for the middle masses of Korea."

    Robert Koehler reminds Mr. Huer that "Korea does have a language issue that separates social classes, one so bad that it has become one of the most contentious issues in Korean education," and "[t]hat language issue, Jon, is English" — A New Language? Really, Jon?

    Cheun-Heui Lee's letter-to-the-editor in response rightly says that while "Huer's lack of understanding of the Korean culture and lifestyle could be dismissed as being awfully out-of-touch," with this piece "he has raised his level of absurdity to the point of where one can easily conclude that Huer has no idea what he is talking about with his latest piece" — Stream of Ridiculous Musing.

    Hoija calls the article "thoroughly erroneous, ridiculous, and offensive to reason and to Korean culture, and even counter-productive to what he proposes," and rightly says that "John Huer hates differences, because they are in his estimate class-based" — Jon Huer Would Hate This Blog.

    (I wrote an article on the subject Prof. Huer took up a few weeks back for my university's newspaper, of which I am the vice-editor-in-chief, aimed toward our foreign students — Learn the “Scientific Alphabet” While in Korea.)

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    Hopi for America

    Brian Volck shares lessons from his having "worked or lived in places – rural Central America and the Navajo Reservation, for example – where material conditions are far worse, yet these lacked the pervasive despair and communal disintegration of inner city America" — Hospitality and the Hopis: Piki.

    The reason is that "the Navajo and Hopi have a culture and sense of community, with traditional practices, however attenuated, to ground them." He says, "To the extent... that the Hopi live within natural and traditional limits, there is much for an Unsettled America to learn." Our task is not to become "member[s] of the wannabe tribe," but "to discover the cognates of their hospitable life in [our] own tradition, hidden beneath modern illusions of autonomy."

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    "Ten Commandments for Ambitious Foreign Policy Wonks"

    Stephen Walt challenges the assumption that "the U.S., armed to the hilt, has a duty to maintain its hegemonic position and reshape the world according to its enlightened dictates," by delineating "the topics or policy positions that a smart young foreign policy analyst should stay away from, especially if she is worried about getting elected, surviving a confirmation hearing, or landing a big job inside-the-Beltway" — Mapping the Minefield.

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    Frank Chodorov on Albert J. Nock

    From a "remarkable piece featuring two titans of the Old Right" — Memories of a Superfluous Man. A "foreshortened description of his philosophy:"
      He took to laissez faire economics, not because of its utilitarian support, but because of his abhorrence of political intervention. He was an anti-statist because he revolted at the vulgarism of politics and its devotees; in his classic, Our Enemy the State, he likens the state to a "professional criminal class." He scorned reform movements because they all involve the use of political power which, on examination, will be found to be at the bottom of the condition the reformers would correct. He was for letting people alone because only under a condition of freedom could they improve themselves, if they have any capacity for improvement in them.

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    Another Neighborhood Razed in Korea

    "It is because the projects focus on money rather than human beings," said one prominent opponent of the project — Cardinal slams redevelopment project.

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    Permanent War

    Burkean scholar David Bromwich has penned a devastating Old Right assault on "the public acceptance of American militarism" that all lovers of the Old Republic (and haters of the un-American Empire) would be wise to read — Serial war as a way of life. The blurb:
      From American humanitarian intervention and wars of choice to President Barack Obama's present Af-Pak war - and finally to wars beyond the horizon - wars have become an American way of life. Yet, one cannot continue as free people while accepting the fruits of conquest and domination: the passive beneficiaries of masters are also slaves.
    "We are now close to codifying a pattern by which a new president is expected never to give up one war without taking on another," he writes. And he places blame where blame is due: "It was Kosovo more than any other engagement of the past 50 years that prepared an American military-political consensus in favor of serial wars against transnational enemies of whatever sort." A noteworthy excerpt:
      Robert Gates put the latest thinking into conventional form, once again, on 60 Minutes in May. Speaking of the Pentagon's need to focus on the war in Afghanistan, Gates said: "I wanted a department that frankly could walk and chew gum at the same time, that could wage war as we are doing now, at the same time we plan and prepare for tomorrow's wars."

      The weird prospect that this usage - "tomorrow's wars" - renders routine is that we anticipate a good many wars in the near future. We are the ascendant democracy, the exceptional nation in the world of nations. To fight wars is our destiny and our duty. Thus the word "wars" - increasingly in the plural - is becoming the common way we identify not just the wars we are fighting now but all the wars we expect to fight.
    Prof. Bromwich counters, "To speak of a perpetual war against 'threats' beyond the horizon, as the Bush Pentagon did, and now the Obama Pentagon does, is to evade the question whether any of the wars is, properly speaking, a war of self-defense."

    He mentions a frightening cause for this neo-American mentality beyond the usual suspects: "our pursuit of refined weapons and lethal technology, or the military bases with which the US has encircled the globe, or the financial interests, the Halliburtons and Raytheons, the DynCorps and Blackwaters that combine against peace with demands in excess of the British East India Company at the height of its influence." It is a cause that should be an alarm for any lover of freedom: "the American military now encompasses an officer class with the character and privileges of a native aristocracy, and a rank-and-file for whom the best possibilities of socialism have been realized."

    "A very different view of war was taken by America's founders," Prof. Bromwich reminds us. "One of their steadiest hopes - manifest in the scores of pamphlets they wrote against the British Empire and the checks against war powers built into the Constitution itself - was that a democracy like the United States would lead irresistibly away from the conduct of wars."

    So, America’s Anti-Militarist Tradition with its opposition to standing armies has morphed into a neo-American vision eerily reminiscent of the Trotskyite Permanent Revolution.

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    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Catholic Calvinism or Calvinist Catholicism?

    While it appears to be taken as a backhanded swipe (with a few compliments) from a religious liberal at both Catholicism and Calvinsim, Alan Austin's assertion "the organisation which today most closely reflects Calvin's vision is the church he sought to destroy" is worth a critical read — Calvin's war on the Catholic Church.

    "In at least eight important respects the Catholic Church today manifests the French theologian’s teaching as emphatically as - if not more than - the Protestant churches founded on his precepts," Mr. Austin writes. Tolle, lege, but caveat lector. Read critically.

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    What Would Asia Do Without America?

    Three billion Asians are thanking whatever gods they worship that they won't have to answer that question — 'US is back in Asia'. "The United States is back," said Madam Secretary. "President Obama and I are giving great importance to this region... I believe strongly the United States has to be involved in this region." Four thoughts come to mind.

    First, I hadn't realized we had left. American forces have been here in Korea the whole time since I arrived a dozen years ago.

    Second, doesn't Madam Secretary realize that such statements are not only laughable but also deeply insulting? She's lucky Asians are known for their politeness or she would have faced some choice words.

    Third, just why are we are "giving great importance to this region" and why is it that "the United States has to be involved in this region?" How about "giving great importance to" and being "involved in th[at] region" sandwiched between Canada and Mexico?

    Fourth, how are is our bankrupt country supposed to finance our "return" to the region? Are we going to go into deeper debt to the Chinese and other Asians so for the privilege of being "involved" in their region?

    Never misunderestimate the stupidity of the American government. (Thank you, H. L. Mencken and George W. Bush.) Perhaps we should reverse the question posed in the title: "What Would America Do Without Asia?" Get along quite well and be a more prosperous and peaceful place.

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    Police State, USA

    Shocking (pun unintended) video "in which a driver is pulled over by police officers on suspicion of DUI, passes the test, speaks politely to the officers, cooperates with orders to lie on the ground, and still gets to 'ride the lightning' when what appears to be a platoon of police fire a Taser into him after he's immobilized, face down, with his arms behind his back" — “A microcosm of America’s foreign policy”.

    The title of the link comes from the "incredulous commentary of the (Scottish?) television personality doing the voice-over[, which] provides a well-needed reality check for those grown too accustomed to the idea that all encounters with law enforcement officers should end in agony." One does have to wonder whether America’s foreign policy of unrestrained interventionism feeds the mindset of these local authorities who are in fact employees of the communities they are supposed to "serve."

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    Chŏmdong Parish in Yŏju

    It's small and rather simple, but I like it — 천주교여주점동성당.

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    All That is Seen and Unseen

    Two fascinating and frightening anecdotes about the nature of reality from Rod Dreher's post today — Vision and conformity.

    Thr first is from "linguist Daniel Everett's experience living deep in the Amazon rainforest with a primitive tribe:"
      [T]he tribe rac[ed] past the hut where he lived with his family, hurrying down to the riverbank, where the tribe all observed some sort of evil spirit jumping up and down on the opposite bank, making threats. Everett and his daughter could see nothing there; the tribesmen were astonished that the Americans could not see what was plain to them. Everett, who is an atheist, says to this day he is not sure what happened there, and what it means.
    The second is from "a paper presented by Prof. John Wilson of the African Institute of London University, in which members of a primitive African tribe were shown a film about sanitation:"
      To Wilson's utter surprise, the people literally could not see the film that was being shown to them. It was so far outside their experience that their minds could not make sense of what was being shown them. The only thing they remembered from the film was the brief appearance of a chicken, which was the only thing that corresponded to what they knew as reality.

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    The Battle Over the Fed

  • Serge with the happy news of "271 co-sponsors in all" — Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill has unanimous House Republican support. Comments a reader, "And it probably would not have gotten House GOP support if there were a Republican in the White House."


  • Lew Rockwell reports that "[t]he Economist, WSJ, and FT have all published articles in the last few days in which the well-rehearsed party line is to talk about Ron Paul’s tricked 'Bruno' cameo, paint his opposition to the Fed in the worst possible light and stress that Bernanke has 'saved us from another Great Depression'" — Coordinated Hit Pieces on Ron Paul.
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    Questioning the Moon Landing

  • Gary North says "the most spectacular and most beloved peacetime boondoggle in the history of bloated government programs... achieved nothing of lasting value for the taxpayers – nothing that they would have paid for voluntarily" — Why I Missed Armstrong's Walk on the Moon.


  • John Derbyshire says the same thing, and "concludes that perhaps the uplifting, 'imaginative' functions of government should be limited to the 'low budget' variety" — Moon Folly?


  • Thomas Fleming recalls having been at the time "revolted by the hype" and "disgusted by the religious zeal with which Americans celebrated the technological conquest of space" — Lunacy: Our State Religion.
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    PRC, DPRK, ROK, USA

    "What does China stand to gain from a nuclear North Korea and the survival of the Kim Jong-il regime?" is the question answered by Cynthia Lee — Conflicts in China's North Korea policy.

    She suggests that "a unified Korea, resulting from the dissolution of the Kim Jong-il regime, would... implicitly recognize US supremacy in the region." She also says that "[a]s South Korea's most powerful and generous benefactor, the US has the resources to help unite two nations whose levels of urban and economic modernization are jarringly different and bound to pose difficulties in the case of reunification."

    Does our bankrupt country have such resources? And if she did, would it be in her interest to use them to help unite the two Koreas? How has being "South Korea's most powerful and generous benefactor" for the past six decades helped anybody back home? How does "US supremacy in the region" help anybody back home?

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    We're Doomed!

    I guess I should say that about today's total solar eclipse, which this article informs us that "the superstitious and religious view as a sign of potential doom," being that I count myself among the former — Solar eclipse pits superstition against science.

    Nevermind that this blog's namesake, Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J., predicted eclipses for the Chinese emperor, "introduced trigonometric and astronomical instruments, and translated the first six books of Euclid into Chinese;" he was religious, ipso facto he was superstitious.

    The Brights, i.e. those non-superstitious and non-religious smartypantses, can enjoy tomorrow's event at 11:00 KST — Solar eclipse to darken Japan, S. Korea.

    UPDATE: It looks like the cloud god is blocking our view of the moon god eating the sun god.

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    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    The Church in China, 1609 and 2009

  • Arturo Vasquez offers his thoughts on the biography of this blog's namesake, summarizing that "the book is about the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci’s ambitions and dreams to convert the Emperor of China and thus the whole country to Roman Catholicism, and all the misfires, foibles, and tragedies that occur along the way" — Lost in translation. Mr. Vasquez concludes, "As for Catholic evangelism in general, I did not come away from the book very optimistic."


  • Sandro Magister looks at the assessment of the great churchman Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, S.D.B., on the second anniversary of "the letter addressed by Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics" — The Pope Translated into Chinese. With Too Many Errors. His Eminence draws attention to a "false interpretation" that "has had disastrous consequences all over the Church in China."



  • Our Lady of China, pray for us.

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    The Good Doctor on Obamacare

    Dr. Ron Paul diagnoses that by "turning the good of healthcare into a right, your life and liberty are put in jeopardy" — Healthcare Is a Good, Not a Right. His prescription is a "return to a true free market in healthcare, one that empowers individuals, not bureaucrats, with control of healthcare dollars."

    The propaganda tells us that it is the "free market" that is to blame for America's very real heathcare woes, but Dr. Paul, who began his medical career in the days before "managed care," sets the record straight in an interview — Ron Paul, M.D. Speaks on Health Care — in which he looked back on his experience as an intern at a city hospital in 1961:
      The amazing thing was it was a city hospital and there was no government; there [was] very little insurance and nobody was turned away whether they were illegal or legal, and nobody, nobody was quizzed. If you didn’t have the money, you didn’t pay, and people came in, and it wasn’t that bad. People didn’t lay on the side walks. You’re more likely to hear stories today of people being neglected in emergency rooms…and dying on stretchers—because we have managed care.
    In a 2001 commencement address to medical school graduates — The State vs. Doctors — he contrasted the above picture with the current situation:
      Managed care is not market-driven; it’s government-mandated. It has driven charity out of the system. No more church-financed hospitals and free care for the indigent. Everyone is charged the maximum, and no test is left undone for fear attorneys will be ridiculing us in court alleging our negligence. And if it’s not the attorneys, it’s the HCFA [Health Care Finance Administration] agents threatening us with fines and prison if we misinterpret any of the 132,000 pages of regulations. This system artificially pushes costs up, bringing calls for price controls, which only mean rationing and shortages.

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    Paul Craig Roberts on Psyops

    "Today, America and Israel’s wars of aggression are preceded by years of propaganda and international meetings, so that by the time the attack comes it is an expected event, not a monstrous surprise attack with its connotation of naked aggression" — Threatening Iran. "By the time the attack occurs, it will be old hat, an expected event, and, moreover, an event justified by years of propaganda asserting Iran’s perfidy."

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    The Decimation of Arab Christendom

    An article that notes, among many grim statistics, that "in 1948 Jerusalem was about one-fifth Christian but today that number stands at 2%" — Middle East Christians hit the road.

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    Monday, July 20, 2009

    General Smedley D. Butler vs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

    "What a dark day for American democracy it was - February 5, 1937," begins left-liberal Robert Naiman's alternative history — The Day They Arrested President Roosevelt. We learn that Mr. Naiman is writing an allegory for the ousted Honduran president when we read that "soldiers under the command of General Smedley Butler arrested President Roosevelt and deported him to Canada, still in his pajamas."

    The truth is that while "General Smedley Butler did testify to Congress that he had been recruited by people claiming to represent corporate interests to lead a coup against President Roosevelt," he was "[a]ppalled at the idea of becoming the first U.S. dictator."

    But the possibility is tantalizing. The heroic General Smedley Butler, known as "The Fighting Quaker," and "noted for his outspoken anti-interventionist views," probably would have kept us out of the disaster that was WWII. He is the author of the book, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier, and the famous speech of the same title, reenacted below:

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    The Need for Korean-Latin Linguists

  • A report of "misgivings in not seeing an early Korean translation of the recent encyclical" as "[t]he Catholic Church in Korea appears not to have a high priority f0r the translation of Vatican Documents" — The Encyclical Caritas in Veritate. "It could be the difficulty of translating without the Latin copy but more likely the desire for perfection which seems to be very Korean."


  • A report that "[t]he Korean translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “Ecclesia Unitatem” (The Unity of the Church) has been released and put on the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Korea" — 敎皇聖下베네딕토16歲의敎令 “Ecclesiae Unitatem” (敎會一致)國語版 – Korean Translation of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio “Ecclesiae Unitatem” — and a very interesting post illustrating the difficulties of translation — Words for “Pope” in Korean.
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    Let Us Pray...

    ... for Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl and the town of Hailey — Idaho town prays for return of captured US soldier. You have to like a guy described as "an 'adventurous' soul who was educated at home, danced ballet and took part in a sport fencing club." (And should the ballet cause you to be suspicious, as I admit I was, the article mentions "his hope to marry his girlfriend.")

    "I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America," he said, about whom we learn: "The family, described by neighbors as deeply private, lives six miles west of Hailey on a remote gravel county road. The humble home has a metal roof and several outbuildings, and vehicles parked in front. The family has chained and locked the front gate, and a small cardboard sign says: 'No visitors.'"

    UPDATE: More on the soldier's home town — Soldier's Idaho town kept mum on Taliban capture. We learn that "a small circle of people in this central Idaho town found out it was one of their own but kept it quiet" because "the family urged them not to talk about the kidnapping out of fear that publicity would compromise his safety" and that a "neighbor just down the road ordered reporters off his property, threatening violence."

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    Brüno, Market Forces, and Social Conservatives

    While "bad word-of-mouth about the filthy flick sent its box office into a tailspin," some conservatives are doing their best to reverse that — 'Bruno' getting lifeline from right? Author Sonny Bunch explains:
      It looks as if "Bruno" finally has shown just how far Hollywood can push audiences and the boundaries of taste before moviegoers push back. The cultural watchdogs on the right would do well to let this movie self-immolate instead of turning "Bruno" and Mr. Baron Cohen into free-speech martyrs.

      The absolute worst thing conservatives could do would be to call for its banning, as Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian Film and Television Commission and publisher of its film branch, Movieguide, has done. The organization sent a letter to local government officials across the country asking them to ban the movie from their multiplexes.

      The letter "asks officials to get an injunction against screening the movie … until officials can look at the movie and determine whether it should be banned because it does not fit the 'community standards' in their area, as defined by U.S. Supreme Court rulings on obscenity and pornography."

      This is an extremely counterproductive course of action if Mr. Baehr is actually interested in getting fewer people to see the movie, as opposed to generating publicity by calling on the government to ban the film. Audiences already are voting with their wallets and their Twitter accounts against Mr. Baron Cohen's film; is there anything to be gained by whipping up publicity and encouraging cultural liberals to see the movie in an effort to stick it to the radical right?

      The only real way to encourage studios to make fewer movies like "Bruno" is to show that they're money-losing propositions. Let the marketplace finish the work it started last weekend instead of calling for the heavy hand of government censorship.
    That posted, I tend to support the idea of "local government officials" banning whatever they like from the communities they serve. When it comes to censorship and other forms of government meddling, I'm stricty a localist. Most of what I oppose the federal government doing I think localities should be free to do.

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    I Maestri

    An article introduces us to the Korean "group [that] consists of some 60 male Korean classical singers in their 30 and 40s" — Male chorus aims at 'classical hallyu. "The chorus, which produces masculine, deep and versatile sounds, need no amplification to reach the audience. They are often descried as a 'voice orchestra.'"

    "Audiences have already been widely exposed to neat and refined sounds that typically characterize classical music," says musical director Yang Jae-moo. "We wanted go beyond just a chorus and pursue a musical style that is strong and sensational." Some examples:



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    Park Geunhye, More Than a Pretty Face

    The daughter of the "modernizing military dictator" mentioned in the post immediately below this one has an independent streak I can't help but admire, as evidenced by her opposition to "the ruling party ramming through... bills designed to tear down the barrier to cross-ownership of print media and television stations" — Park adds to GNP's media bill woes.

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    An American Æsthete in Korea

    "In the West, old means traditional, national and worthy of pride, but in the East, especially in the modern times, old seems to be equal to bad, outdated and unworthy," says Peter Bartholomew — American eye cherishes beauty lost on Koreans. "Sometimes, it takes an outsider's eye to truly appreciate the value of a traditional culture."

    The article informs us that Mr. Bartholomew is "known to the Korean public for his passion for 'hanok,' or traditional Korean houses," and that he "has studied related Korean laws to defend his home," of which he says:
      Many dissuaded me from buying the house back then, telling me that it was just an old, uncomfortable building which would never be appreciated in the real estate market. However, this hanok has filled my life with peace and beauty for the last few decades, and this, I think, is the true value of a house.
    He blames South Korea's modernizing military dictator, suggesting that "the present system of laws and the civil servant society were largely influenced by former President Park Chung-hee's ideas." He contin ues:
      Back then, the government forced people to revere the new and the West, and to disdain the old and the traditional. Such decades-long disregard for the tradition has led to the Korean people's apathy and ignorance about their own cultural inheritance.

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    Servant of God Benedict Daswa

    He was "killed just 19 years ago" but his cause "has recently been completed in its diocesan phase" — Teacher killed for opposition to witchcraft, could become South Africa's first saint. His story:
      Benedict grew up in a traditional family that belonged to the small tribe of the Lemba, who live mainly in the town of Venda, in the province of Limpopo. He converted to Catholicism while studying to be a schoolteacher.

      Benedict soon realized that witchcraft went against the Catholic faith. From that moment, in both is private and public life, he took a strong stance against the practice, explaining that these beliefs had been the cause of the deaths of many innocent people unjustly accused of practicing it.

      Benedict also fought against the use of false medicines and charms for protection from the evil eye. He encouraged sports and other activities. On 2 February, 1990, just days after having refused to pay a tax to pay for a rite intended to expel several 'witches,' he was attacked and beaten to death with stones and clubs. He was only four months away from his 44th birthday.

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    Bukka White's Jelly Roll Blues

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    Three From Sam Chatmon

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    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Farmers' Sunday

    "In the Catholic Church of Korea this Sunday is Farmer's Day," reminds an American Maryknoll Father here who relays "a modern day parable to understand the problems of farmers" — The Grandmother and Her Farming Son:
      Grandmother Anna lives in the country doing her farming. In recent years because of her age she is often sick and in need of attention from her youngest son and daughter-in- law. In the past she was not considerate of her younger son ; she is now sorry for neglecting him and comparing him with her older son.

      Anna was the mother of two sons. Her husband died a few years ago and the oldest son lives in Seoul. From a very early age the older son showed signs of being very intelligent and was the pride and joy of the whole family. It was financially difficult sending him to college; they sold part of their land to send him to the very best schools. He didn't disappoint, and now has a responsible job in a big company. The members of the community in which they live praised his parents for raising such a son which helped them forget their difficulties.

      The oldest son was showered with praise and expectations while the youngest son not very good in his studies, listened to constant reprimands and was ignored. He barely finished high school and ended up helping his father on the farm. He married a farm girl and took over the farm.

      Anna in recent years is beginning to see her younger son with different eyes. He is working the farm; he and the daughter- in- law are taking care of her for which she is most thankful. The older son succeeded in making a place for himself in society which is great but she wonders what would have happened to her without her younger son. The youngest son is taking care of her, farming the ancestral land , and taking care of the homestead, what a great blessing. The oldest son and daughter-in-law pay them a visit a couple of times a year. They are not able to make the trip often and even if they if it were possible the daughter in law, who is not used to difficult work , would not be able to work the farm and take care of the mother.

      I can't help but recall the words of our Lord: the stone that was rejected has now become the corner stone of the building. The youngest son who was of no use was cast to the side but now is the pillar of the family and the farm. In our society those who are working to give us daily necessities ,workers and farmers are on the margins of our society...

      The oldest son of Anna who had become a success in life is precious but so is the youngest son. In our society we need the politicians, the teachers, the entrepreneurs, the artists, etc. But we also need those who give us the produce from the farms. To entrust the food that we need to imports from the outside is a great problem.

      We are letting the farmers and the farms go down the drain. Outside of rice almost all of our food is coming from overseas. In the not too distant future when even the rice will come from overseas the farming section of our society will disappear. Already the desire to live on the farm is disappearing . It is our job to help the farms by making the effort to buy our farm products.

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    Korea's Self-Governing Island of Pacifism and Particularism

    "Folks down on Jeju-do like doing things their own way," reminds Andy Jackson of the only Korean provincials who "even have ‘autonomous’ in their official name" — Another revolt on Jeju-do. The revolt in question has "locals up in arms over their governor’s plan to set up a naval base on the island."

    Mentioned are "the Jeju Peace Forum, the Jeju Peace Institute, Jeju National University’s Institute of Peace Studies and the Jeju Peace Museum." This blogger had long lamented the lack of particularism here in Korea, but it seems I was blinded by focusing solely on the peninsula.

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    Coming Eugenics

    William N. Grigg's must-read article on the horrifying prospect that "the matter of reducing 'undesirable' populations is reaching 'ripeness' now" — Too Many (Other) People.

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    An Inconvenient Truth About the Unborn

    New Oxford Review links to news of a study from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Maastricht University Medical Centre and the University Medical Centre St. Radboud, both in the Netherlands — Fetuses found to have memories.

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    When Atheists Rule

    "Two centuries ago, France's experiment with expelling God and worshipping Reason ended in a sea of blood," says Bill Muehlenberg, who admits to having "shamelessly pinched the title of Edmund Burke’s famous 1790 book" — Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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    The Education of Paul Krugman

    Reading his latest article — The Joy of Sachs — in which he rightly says that "that Goldman is very good at what it does" and "what it does is bad for America," a similar thought to that of Bill Anderson came to mind — Has Paul Krugman Become an Austrian? Not Quite…

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    Tom Piatak and Pat Buchanan Contrast America and China

  • "How many watching as Armstrong took his famous step would have believed that, 40 years later, America would essentially be broke, deeply in debt to a country whose citizens spent 1969 adulating history’s greatest mass murderer and actively trying to destroy their country/’s traditions and culture?" asks the former — Far From the Sea of Tranquility.


  • "China saves, invests and grows at 8 percent," says the latter, while "America, awash in debt, has a shrinking economy, a huge trade deficit, a gutted industrial base, an unemployment rate surging toward 10 percent and a money supply that’s swollen to double its size in a year," says the latter — The End of America.
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    The State as a Work of Art

    Gordon Wood reviews a new book "on the origins of American Constitutionalism, one that uses a literary and aesthetic lens" — Constitutional Aesthetics.

    (A post of mine the other day — The Way and Virtue of Anti-Federalism — sparked the idea of writing a book about the Anti-Federalists through the lens of the Tao Te Ching, following an approach used by Hieromonk Damascene in Christ the Eternal Tao.)

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    Neil Armstrong Lands in Pohang

    The story of how he came to the Korean town I've called home for a decade is told on his Wikipedia page— Neil Armstrong:
      Armstrong first saw action in the Korean War on August 29, 1951, as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin. Five days later, he was shot down for the only time. The principal targets for his armed reconnaissance flight were freight yards and a bridge on a narrow valley road south of the village of Majon-ni, west of Wonsan. While making a low bombing run at about 350 mph (560 km/h) in his F9F Panther, Armstrong's plane was hit by anti-aircraft gunfire. The plane took a nose dive, and sliced through a cable strung about 500 ft (150 m) up across the valley by the North Koreans. This sheared off an estimated six feet (2 m) of its right wing.

      Armstrong was able to fly the plane back to friendly territory, but could not land the plane safely due to the loss of the aileron, which left ejection as his only option. He planned to eject over water and await rescue by navy helicopters, so he flew to an airfield near Pohang. Instead of a water rescue, winds forced his ejection seat back over land. Armstrong was picked up by a jeep driven by a roommate from flight school. It is unknown what happened to the wreckage of No. 125122 F9F-2.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.