Saturday, February 27, 2010

Philippe Jaroussky Sings Andrea Mattioli's Ave Regina Cœlorum

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Four-Hundred and Ninety-One Years and Counting

Noting the common knowledge that "heresies run themselves out after about 500 years," former Episcopalian no Catholic Father Eric Bergman, quoted by Rod Dreher, says, "I believe we are seeing the last gasp of the Reformation in the mainline Protestant groups" — Is the Reformation ending?

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The Heretical Roots of Modernist Marriage

"In accepting one aspect of Christian marriage–consent–and then kicking out God and His laws–liberals/libertarians revolutionized and destroyed marriage, as they have destroyed social life in general," argues Thomas Fleming — Three Weddings and a Funeral. "They have taken the idea of consent of persons and turned it into an abstract theory of human rights."

Heresy often enshrines and then distorts one truth at the expense of all others. The Modern Phase was rightly labeled as such Hilaire Belloc in his The Great Heresies.

Also interesting is the reminder that while "[t]he Church, generally speaking, was the ultimate arbiter in disputes over marriage and divorce," it was "Martin Luther, however, [who] took the position that this weakened paternal authority and the family, which is why Lutherans and most other Protestants transferred the power of regulating marriage from church to state."

To Dr. Fleming's swipe at "liberals/libertarians," I would just add that, as Andrew Norton said, "Classical liberals—their adjective a response to the then new ‘social’ liberalism [John Stuart] Mill helped usher in—question the priority Mill gave to ‘individuality’ over other forms of life, and his critique of the role of custom in social life" — Liberals, Classical and Social.

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Post-Saddam Iraq

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Robert King Directs Carolyn Sampson, Robin Blaze and the King's Consort in Their Performance of G. B. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa

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Old Mass vs. New

"The old Mass reminds me of what they used to say about the Catholic Church and the U.S. Navy: 'It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots'" — The quotable John Zmirak. "The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege," Dr. Zmirak explains. "The new rite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly."

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Pray for the Beatification of Ignatius Cardinal Kung

His Eminence was appointed "cardinal in pectore in 1979 when he was purging a life sentence for 'counterrevolutionary activities'" and "spent almost 33 years in prison" — Waiting for the beatification of Card Kung Pin-mei ten years after his death. Learn more about him and his country at the Cardinal Kung Foundation.

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The Cleanest Race Reviewed

The "insightful and interesting book" gets "past the sanitized propaganda of the Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) and its ilk to the stories and ideas that the North Koreans themselves see and hear," says Chris Green — The Cleanest of the Clean?

The book describes domestic propaganda as "a brand of racist 'paranoid nationalism' which asserts the innate moral superiority of the Korean people" with "more in common with the ideas of imperial Japan and Hitler’s Germany than the rest of the former communist bloc." The reviewer states that "the most important contribution the book is likely to make" lies in "its ability to take the reader from a historical overview of the birth of the North Korean state through to a convincing argument that, given its racist worldview, absolute lack of moral compass in international dealings."

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Final Solution for the Disabled

"Dread genetic diseases are disappearing," reports Mark Mostert, "because parents and doctors are eliminating the children who have them" — The disappearing disabled. "How is this not eugenics?"

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Karen Clark, Contralto, Accompanied by the Kronos Quartet's Hank Dutt on Viola, Sings Hildegard von Bingen's O Virtus Sapientiæ

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Quit the Permanent Entangling Alliance That Is N.A.T.O.!

Antiwar conservative military historian Andrew Bacevich argues that "the United States must withdraw from NATO" — Let Europe Be Europe. He says that "the United States should dare to do the unthinkable [and] allow NATO to devolve into a European organization, directed by Europeans to serve European needs, upholding the safety and well-being of a Europe that is whole and free -- and more than able to manage its own affairs."

That such an idea is "unthinkable" shows just how far we have steered from the course set by our Founding Fathers.

"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," advised the Father of Our Country — George Washington's Farewell Address. "The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible," he went on to say. "Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation." Our third president, and greatest political theorist, called for "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none" — Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address.

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"Can the Right and Left Work Together to Oppose War and Empire?"

So asks Kevin Zeese in his report on a Voters for Peace-sponsored "meeting of 40 people from across the political spectrum who oppose war and Empire" — Time for a Broad-Based Antiwar Movement.

"One point repeatedly made by people on the left and right was that historically there have been conservatives who opposed war and empire," the author reminds us. "Before the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II, strong opposition to foreign intervention not only came from progressives but also from traditional conservatives rooted in the recommendation of George Washington’s farewell address – 'avoid foreign entanglements.'" This bit is most interesting:
    Some conservatives warned against describing the United States as imperialist – that would get up the hackles of many Americans. But, they were comfortable describing the United States as an empire.

    Personally, I found that of interest. Americans never hear discussed in the media whether or not our country is an empire. And, if we were to have such a discussion, the critical questions would be: Is empire good for us, for our national security, for our economy, for our democracy? Having those questions debated would be a breakthrough in political dialogue.

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Confucius on Wealth

    The Master said: “If there were an honorable way to get rich, I’d do it, even if it meant being a stooge standing around with a whip. But there isn’t an honorable way, so I just do what I like.” (7.12)
    子曰:“富而可求也,雖執鞭之士,吾亦為之。如不可求,從吾所好.”

    The Master said: “Poor food and water for dinner, a bent arm for a pillow – that is where joy resides. For me, wealth and renown without honor are nothing but drifting clouds.” (7.16)
    子曰:“飯疏食飲水,曲肱而枕之,樂亦在其中矣。不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲.”

    The Master said: “How noble Yen Hui is! To live in a meager lane with nothing but some rice in a split-bamboo bowl and some water in a gourd cup – no one else could bear such misery. But it doesn’t bother Hui. His joy never wavers. O, how noble Hui is!” (6.10)
    子曰:“賢哉回也!一簞食,一瓢飲,在陋巷。人不堪其憂,回也不改其樂. 賢哉回也!”
Prof. Sam Crane quotes the above in a post taking up from one of mine yesterday — East Asia is not Confucian.

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Hispano-Conservatism

Mark in Spokane looks at the news that "half the Hispanic population in Texas now identifies as 'conservative'" and makes note of the "marked aspects of Hispanic culture that are inherently conservative (focus on family, faith, hard work)" — Attention Heather MacDonald and Pat Buchanan.

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The de-Catholicization of Buffalo

"We’ve sold to Muslims; we’ve sold to Buddhists," said diocese spokesman Kevin Keenan — Buffalo finds success in new life for old churches. The most famous story if of the "century-old St. Gerard Catholic Church [which] is about to be disassembled stone by stone, pew by pew and moved 900 miles to suburban Atlanta, where it will be reconstructed as Mary Our Queen Catholic Church."

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Daniel McCarthy on Ralph Nader

The former makes note of the latter's "emphasizing the primacy of Congress in the constitutional system and the importance of localism" and says "his anti-corporate philosophy is not something conservatives or libertarians ought to dismiss too readily" — Carl Oglesby Was Right — and "not altogether wrong about what the doctrine of corporate personhood has led to" — Origins of the Corporate State.

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Catholics and Mormons Together

"I'm personally grateful that after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have begun to see each other as trustworthy partners in defense of shared moral principles," said His Eminence — Cardinal George urges Catholics and Mormons to defend religious freedom.

"Any attempt to reduce that fuller sense of religious freedom, which has been part of our history in this country for more than two centuries, to a private reality of worship and individual conscience so long as you don't make anyone else unhappy, is not in our tradition," the prelate also said, clarifying by example, "It was the tradition of the Soviet Union."

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Batavia Madrigal Singers and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa Perform the Kyrie From W.A. Mozart's "Coronation Mass" in Macau

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What Darwin Got Wrong

That's the title of "a new book by Jerry Fodor, a professor of philosophy and cognitive sciences at Rutgers University, and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, a professor of cognitive science at the University of Arizona, [which] comes not from the religious right, but from two atheist academics with -- surprise -- a nuanced argument about the shortcomings of Darwin’s theories" — "What Darwin Got Wrong": Taking down the father of evolution. "Their book details (in very technical language) how recent discoveries in genetics have thrown into question many of our perceived truths about natural selection, and why these have the potential to undermine much of what we know about evolution and biology."

[link via Rod Dreher]

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Old Right News

  • Justin Raimondo basks in the "panic on [the] neocon Right [and] Obama-ite Left" — Ron Paul’s Victory: How Sweet It Is! He concludes this "means, not that we’re winning, necessarily, but that we can win."


  • W. James Antle III notes, among other things, that "the movement is even losing its cult of personality aspect, as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and bestselling author Thomas Woods become significant figures alongside Paul" — Anti-Statists Arising.


  • Jeremy Lott reports on "several quiet libertarian victories that expand American freedoms and that may work to put the brakes on more government intrusions in the future" which "were engineered or assisted by libertarians who have decided to press their case not just in the political arena but through the courts" — Quiet Victories.


  • Karen Kwiatkowski's "abridged transcript from panel discussion recently given at CPAC called: 'Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror'" — Empire Built On Terror.


  • "The Right should not wage a Hundred Years War," cautions George W. Carey, noting that "opposition to the interventionist policies initiated by George W. Bush is hardly confined to libertarians and the political Left" but rather "includes traditional conservatives—those conservatives who take their bearings from Burke and Tocqueville, who regard society as both fragile and complex, so complex that no one individual or group can ever presume to comprehend its intricacies" — In From the Cold.
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    Remittance World

    "Does the astonishing volume of global remittances redeem the moral ambiguities of migrant labour?" asks John Gravois — Bringing it all back home. And the "astonishing volume" is truly astonisging, with "estimates that $338 billion in remittances poured into developing countries," while "[a]ll the foreign aid in the world, by comparison, added up to just about $100 billion." The author suggests that "the paradox of remittances" is that "the most vulnerable players in the global economy add up to one of its most formidable forces."

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    The Korean and Thai Churches

    Weena Kowitwanij reports on the shared history — Korean and Thai Catholics under the protection of the martyrs:
      The history of the Korean Church and its martyrs is linked to the history of the Thai Church. Fr. Barthelemy Bruguiere, of the missionaries of Paris (MEP), after being coadjutor to the Apostolic Vicar of Siam, was sent to Korea where he became apostolic vicar and later the first bishop of Korea (1831 -1835).

      In 1829 Mgr. Esprit-Marie-Joseph Florens, MEP, Apostolic Vicar of Siam sent Fr. Laurent Marie-Joseph Imbert, also a missionary of the MEP, to succeed Fr Bruguiere April 26, 1836.

      Bishop Imbert was later beheaded in Saenam t'o, near Seoul, during the persecution unleashed against Christians. Bishop Imbert, along with other MEP priests, was canonized by John Paul II in 1984, along with dozens of other Korean martyrs. Bishop Imbert was also the first to collect a precise historical documentation on the Korean martyrs.

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    Materialistic Asia

    This headline does not surprise me in the least — Koreans Most Materialistic People in the World. Asked whether they "consider[ed] money the most important sign of success," citizens of "Korea and China topped the poll... at 69 percent.... followed by India (67 percent) and Japan (63 percent)."

    Korea, China, and Japan are among the least religious societies on Earth, but Mother India? The report notes that "respondents in Western countries regard money as a less important indicator of success." And those greedy, materialistic, money-loving Americans? "Even in the U.S., only 33 percent of Americans agreed that money means success," well below the "worldwide average [of] 43 percent." Not surprising at all to any who knows the country, not the stereotype.

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    Silence

    "Silence is the enemy of everything superficial, stupid, and ugly," writes Thomas C. Reeves, noting that "people all over the West and industrialized Asia today, perhaps especially the young, cannot abide silence" — Quiet as a basic human right.

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    Booker T. Washington on the Peculiar Institution and Providence

      I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extend that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery--on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive--but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us.
    From Up From Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington.

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    In Hoc Signo Vinces


    Above South Korean figure skater Stella Yuna Kim makes the Signum Crucis before earlier performances, as she did today — World champion Kim sets record, routs strong field in women's short program. The two-year-old story of her conversion — Korean skating superstar 17 year old Yu-na Kim converts to Catholicism.

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    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Logos Choir Performs Kim Suho's Kyrie in Seoul's Myŏngdang Cathedral

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    The Absurdity of the American Imperium

      Indeed, how do conservatives justify borrowing hundreds of billions yearly from Europe, Japan, and the Gulf states – to defend Europe, Japan, and the Arab Gulf states? Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billion annually from China – to defend Asia from China? Is it not a symptom of senility to borrow from all over the world in order to defend that world?
    So asks Patrick J. Buchanan, before concluding that "Ron Paul’s victory at CPAC may be a sign the prodigal sons of the Right are casting off the heresy of neoconservatism and coming home to first principles" — Liquidating the Empire.

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    Talking With China

  • Noting "the internal polyphony which has been at work both in the construction of Europe and in the making of China," David Gosset suggests, "A true world civilization would burgeon from constant dialogue, exchanges and cross-fertilizations between the ancient traditions, and far to flatten their depths or to reduce their differences, it would mature owing to their experiences and wisdoms in an endless conversation" — Conversation as a taste of harmony.


  • A report on an effort "to mark the 400th anniversary of Father Matteo Ricci’s death in Beijing in 1610" — Jesuits to link Chinese and American scholars. "Father Ricci’s first publication in classical Chinese was a treatise On Friendship in 1595," states the report. "His methodology was to inculturate Christianity through respect for local culture and the formation of personal relationships."
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    "Worth the Cost"

    Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, used those words to describe this incident — NATO airstrike in Afghanistan kills 27, including women and children. Since we gave up the hunt for Osama bin Laden almost as soon as it began, just why are we still over there?

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    Monday, February 22, 2010

    The Beatles, "Eleanor Rigby"


    Above, the best song from the album that tops this list — The Vatican's Top Ten Album List.

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    Washingtonian Foreign Policy

    The Founder's birthday is a good time to re-read this important document — George Washington's Farewell Address. Congress reads it every year, and then goes about to ignore its sage advice. An excerpt:
      31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

      32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

      33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

      34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

      35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

      36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

      37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

      38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

      39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

      40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

      41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

      42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

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    Bombing Civilians

    While "[t]he British government has long denied that wartime air raids on German cities were intended to kill as many civilians as possible," Leo McKinstry argues that "the raids... were motivated largely by a desire to hit back and destroy indiscriminately" — The revenger’s tragedy.

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church - Paragraph # 2314, "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."

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    The Winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference Poll

  • Justin Raimondo on the man whose "victory is a stunning repudiation of the War Party’s long-standing dominance of the GOP, and is bound to ramp up the already quite active campaign to smear and destroy him" — Ron Paul!


  • "The Beltway Conservative establishment has its hands full right now, not to mention pie on its face," begins David Franke — Ron Paul Routs the Neoconned at CPAC.


  • A statistical analysis — What That CPAC Straw Poll Really Said.
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    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Kouda Hiroko, Handa Miwako, Fukui Kei, Kono Katsunori, & the NHK Symphony Orchestra Perform the Kyrie from W.A. Mozart's Große Messe

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    Three Shots Against Empire


  • If you've enjoyed listening to Gore Vidal speak, you'll enjoy his Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated, as the same sarcastic contemptuousness is carried over the page. The author shares insights from his "up-close view of the death struggle between the American republic, whose defender I am, and the American Global Empire, our old republic's enemy." The book is a compilation of previously published articles, most interesting among them The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh. The weakest part of the book is an inexplicably included essay denouncing a Southern Baptist boycott of Disney.


  • John Perkins's The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World is an entertaining read, but it fails to live up to its title. A better title would have been Some Anecdotes of the American Empire. It offers useful insights into the thinking of the imperialists, who often come from idealistic, left-leaning backgrounds. The "How to Change the World" is the weakest part of the book, as it merely suggests in essence making wiser consumer choices.


  • Patrick J. Buchanan's State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America might seem an unlikely choice for this list, at least less likely than his A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny, but the book takes on the latter part of the "invade the world, invite the world" neoconservative/neoliberal program. Most notable is how the "racist" author repeatedly demonstrates that our Black fellow citizens ("We are two races, one nationality," he reminds us on many occasions) are hurt most by both legal and illegal immigration, and are the demographic group most opposed to it. The book suffers from occasional weak arguments by example; the case against Canadian multiculturalism, for example, is limited to a single preposterous incident in which Muslims were arrested for plotting to storm parliament and behead the prime minister.
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    Paleolibertarianism in South Korea

    The country where I reside is second on the list of "countries where LRC is most popular" — The Free World. The United States is third.

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    Bishop Raymond Wang Chonglin, Requiescat in Pace

    "He leaves behind an enormous legacy as the 'truly good shepherd' of the Diocese of Zhaoxian, China, where the Christian communities he established remain" — Chinese underground Bishop Wang remembered for legacy of faith. "Out of his 60 years as a priest, 20 were spent in detention."

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    A Conversion Story

    Illustating that "that anger is often the beginning of conversion" — Woman who brandished knife at abortion clinic protester now glad she did not abort. The story:
      On Nov. 24, 2009, Winandy and her mother, Sarah, were passing out pamphlets and protesting abortion at the building on behalf of Pro Life Ministry of Duluth. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Hall confronted the women.

      “I was there to ask mothers not to kill their babies at the abortion clinic,” Winandy said, reporting that Hall walked towards her. “She pulled out a knife and waved it at me saying ‘Don’t come near me.’ I said, ‘Please don’t kill your baby. Fear God.’ I came to the edge of the courtyard. I said, ‘Look and listen to your ultrasound.’ She turned around and came back with a knife and held it up to my throat.”

      Hall told the Tribune that she never had the planned abortion but decided to keep the baby after the confrontation. She said she was stressed out and the protesters made her realize that she did not want to end the life she was carrying inside her.

      She said she wanted to tell the Winandys “Thank you for being there.”

      “If they weren’t there, I probably would have gone through with it and regretted it for the rest of my life. It probably would have gone the other way. I’m sincerely sorry for doing that to her.”

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    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Chinese Hell


    "There is no end to suffering in here; stop sinning before it's is too late," reads an inscription, appropriate for Lent, at one of Singapore's more interesting tourist destinations — The Bloody Ten Courts of Hell. (Click on the link for a foreshadowing of what awaits those who fail to heed the inscription's warning.) The courts are the main attraction at the Haw Par Villa, built by the brothers who gave the world Tiger Balm. (Had only the makers of Mentholatum done something similar for my hometown!)

    The near universality of belief in Hell is interesting to contemplate in light of what both Natural Theology and Perennial Philosophy teach, especially since many moderns wrongly label the idea as a relic of the "judgmental" (uncool) religious traditions of the West absent in the "non-judgmental" (cool) East.

    Self-described "crypto-perennialist" Arturo Vasquez recently reminded us that "it is profitable to study other forms of religiosity and cultures, since... in them are embodied foreshadowing echoes of the Word of God" — On the inherent superiority of Western culture. He continues, "They also teach us concepts that we, in our sanitized, modern mentality, once understood but some time ago forgot."

    So, the Chinese (and just about everyone else) were aware from time immemorial of the reality of eternal punishment, and in 1937 two Chinese-Singaporean brothers used their wealth to create not only "a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values" where grandmas could take their grandkids and scare them into behaving properly, but also, unwittingly, a place where souls might be offered "foreshadowing echoes of the Word of God" and His call to repentance.

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    Debtor Nations

  • Charles Goyette ponders news [that,] "open as it is to multiple interpretations, is the sort of thing that keeps markets interesting" — China Dumping US Treasurys: What’s the Message? "The last administration repeatedly warned the Chinese, who were only showing the virtues of good capitalists, not to save as much," reminded Mr. Goyette. "That begged the question, who is going to fund our debt if Chinese savers don’t?


  • "As of today, the British government must pay a higher interest rate to borrow money for ten years than either the Italian or the Spanish governments, despite the extraordinary ructions going on within the eurozone," reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — Britain and the PIGS. "While Britain went in to this crisis with a much lower public debt than Greece or Italy (though higher total debt than either), it now has the highest budget deficit in the OECD rich club — and perhaps the world — at 13pc of GDP," he explains, confessing "a very nasty feeling that markets are about to pounce on Britain."


  • Julia A. Seymour reports on a prediction made "one day after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. wouldn’t lose its 'top-notch' credit rating" — Marc Faber Says No to Greek Debt, Warns All Governments Will Default. "I’m not interested in government or sovereign debts because I think that all governments will eventually default, including the U.S."
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    From Nagasaki To Guernica


    The above-pictured "Marian statue, damaged during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, is set to meet its counterpart in Spain as part of a 'peace pilgrimage' marking the 65th anniversary of the bombing" — Nagasaki’s ‘Bombed Maria’ to visit Spain.

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    God's Philosophers

    In a new book of that title, "historian of science James Hannam uncovers the unknown story of medieval scientific discovery, showing how, without the work of medieval 'natural philosophers' (as scientists were then called), there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution" — How modern science was born in the devoutly Christian Middle Ages -- not the skeptical Enlightenment. What the book informs the reader:
    • How spectacles, the mechanical clock and the windmill were all invented in thirteenth century Europe

    • How ideas from the Far East, like printing, gunpowder and the compass were taken further by medieval Europeans than the Chinese had imagined possible

    • The extraordinary leaps in scientific thought made at the universities of Oxford and Paris in the fourteenth century -- including important discoveries about the implications of the earth's rotation and the motion of accelerating objects

    • The myth of Church opposition: How many of the most significant contributors to medieval science became bishops or cardinals

    • How Copernicus's sun-centered universe, Kepler's optics and Galileo's mechanics all owed their inspiration and much of their detail to medieval antecedents

    • How medieval scholars overturned much of the false scientific wisdom inherited from the ancient Greeks

    • The surprising amount a well-educated medieval person would know about "natural philosophy"

    • How the West recovered the lost heritage of ancient Greek learning from Arab and Byzantine sources

    • How St. Thomas Aquinas "Christianized" Greek philosophy, allowing medieval scholars to build on it

    • How new inventions in the late Middle Ages had a profound effect on European society and, thanks to the voyages of Columbus and others, the rest of the world as well
    • How the Renaissance, often associated with the beginning of modernity, saw a surge in magical belief that especially affected those at the cutting edge of science

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    The Calder Quartet Perform W. A. Mozart "Dissonance" Quartet








    Lent will not be an easy season during which to find music, religious or otherwise, to post (I'll probably conclude many days with a paintings by favorites like Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, or Francisco Goya), but Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Quartet No. 19, upon listening to it today with the kiddies, seemed somehow appropriate, non-religious though it is, given its moniker and the facts that the sins we repent of during this season are what create dissonance in our lives, and in the piece the dissonance is overcome, unlike in much of modern music.

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    Taki Theodoracopulos, America Firster

    Noting that "the United States never understood the realities in Vietnam and it does not understand the realities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, and so on," the "descendant of a titled family from the Ionian island of Zante" echoes Lenin and asks, "So, what is to be done?" — American Failure.

    "Easy," he answers: "Get the hell out of foreign entanglements, bring the troops home, tell Israel and the neo-con press to go to hell, and think of what the country can do for its own people for a change."

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    The Mogambo Guru on Keynesianism

    Richard Daughty debunks the "the asinine neo-Keynesian econometric stupidity currently being swallowed whole by the vast majority of university halfwits, media halfwits, political halfwits and a host of voters that I variously describe as, for want of a better term because I am peculiar that way, 'halfwits'" — Keynesian Economics: A Halfwit’s Guide to Monetary Inflation.

    These "halfwits," he says, "actually think that by electing government representatives who will always spend more than the government gets in revenue, by the simple, brain-dead expedient of creating more and more debt, all happily aided and abetted by the despicable Federal Reserve creating the money necessary to buy that much new debt, so that the government can spend this new money, for the childish, Pollyanna-expressed aim of equalizing everyone’s outcomes in everything."

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    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    The Empire's War on the American Mother

    "Sending fathers into military combat has been a tragedy for as long as war has existed," reads the Arts & Letters Daily blurb introducing Mary Eberstadt's article; "Sending mothers along with them makes life unimaginably worse" — Mothers in Combat Boots. Ms. Eberstadt is more pointed:
      With the obvious assent of the American people, as well as most of our political and military and other leaders, the United States military now routinely recruits mothers or soon-to-be mothers of babies and young children — and often puts them in harm’s way more or less as it does every other soldier. This is a practice so morally questionable, and in virtue of that fact so fraught with policy difficulties, that both its persistence and its apparent lack of controversy fairly beg for explanation. It is past time to ask the question: Why?
    She observes, "The armed forces have apparently adopted lock, stock, and barrel the longings of yesteryear’s feminists." Noting that "American laws like most others delineate what kind of civilization ours is," she continues, "And currently, ours is one in which military and political and cultural leaders appear to believe that there is nothing intrinsically wrong about deploying mothers away from their children and into the wars."

    (In Korea's recent vassal state deployment's augmenting the Empire's wars, only unmarried volunteers were considered.)

    Remember Bill Kauffman's observation that "the first casualty of the militarized U.S. state is the family" — George Bush, the Anti-Family President.

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    Axis of Bioethical Evil

    Ethics thrown away in the race to be first in the world (in something, anything) — Korea Closer to Cloning Embryonic Stem Cells. An excerpt from the report suggesting that the headline is highly speculative at best:
      Currently, a team at the Cha Medical Center is working on a project after getting state approval last year, while another team headed by professor Park Se-pill at Jeju National University is also set to begin research.

      Park and his associates are awaiting final approval from the National Bioethics Committee.

      "If the endorsement is made before June, we should be able to clone human embryonic stem cells sometime next year," said Park, who extracted stem cells from human embryos, not cloned ones, in 2000.

      "Our embryologists' technology is leading on the global scene. Hence, I believe that Korean teams should be able to create cloned embryonic stem cells in the not-so-distant future," he said.
    I teach English to, among others, graduate students and researchers in life science at one of Korea's (and Asia's) top science and technology universities. I tutor their scientific presentations, giving me a good idea of what's happening here (and elsewhere) in the field.

    Unlike the unknown institutions named in the article, where I work, no one is thinking about ESCR. There are better things to devote one's research to than a technology with serious moral and ethical questions (and not just for Christians; Korea's Confucianists declared their opposition to "research using the human embryo, which breaks natural law" — The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR)) and very questionable (at best) merit (it is politically motivated, unnecessary and on its way out before it even begins — "Politics Over Science", "Morally Objectionable" and "Scientifically Obsolete", and The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?).

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    No Japanese or Korean Nukes in America!

    A certain Lee Jeong-hoon, however, would like to see just that — Three Mile Island Revisited. Of the disaster mentioned in his title, the author says, "President Jimmy Carter visited the reactor site and said the U.S. would never build another nuclear power plant." (Did the nuclear engineer really say that? I was seven at the time.)

    Mr. Lee reminds us that "Washington has changed its mind on nuclear power," or, more accurately, Emperor "President Barack Obama yesterday said the construction of nuclear power plants will resume in America." He also informs us that "[a]s the nuclear power industry has virtually disappeared in the U.S., the world’s largest nuclear power generation company Westinghouse has handed over management to Toshiba of Japan." Comforting that a manufacturer of cute little radios has been entrusted with such a task, isn't it? Mr. Lee suggests that "Korea is well positioned to advance into the U.S. market for nuclear power generation."

    Why should small government conservatives be opposed to nuclear power? Ask Ralph Nader. "Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital?" he asks, quoting Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, as saying that "nuclear power... can't survive free-market capitalism" — No Nukes.

    Old Right Nader made the clearesr conservative, anti-statist argument against nuclear energy, quoted in a post of mine entitled Atomic Corporate Socialism, observing that "the atomic power industry does not give up... as long as Uncle Sam can be dragooned to be its subsidizing, immunizing partner;" i.e. nuclear energy would be impossible in a free economy:
      For sheer brazenness, however, the atomic power lobbyists know few peers. They remember, as the previous Atomic Energy Commission told them decades ago, that one significant meltdown could contaminate “an area the size of Pennsylvania.”

      They know that no insurance companies will insure them at any price, which is why the Price-Anderson Act hugely limits nuclear plants’ liability in case of massive damages to people, property, land and water.
    Just in time for this post, CounterPunch's "Website of the Day" documents another example of State and atomic power industry collusion — Chernobyl: a Photographic Essay.

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    "Marriage Equality" and Religious Liberty

    You can't have 'em both — Same-sex ‘marriage’ law forces D.C. Catholic Charities to close adoption program. "Although Catholic Charities has an 80-year legacy of high quality service to the vulnerable in our nation’s capital, the D.C. Government informed Catholic Charities that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same-sex marriage law," announced the venerable organization.

    The diktat "require[s] religious entities which serve the general public to provide services to homosexual couples, even if doing so violated their religious beliefs." This is not the first time for this to happen in lands whose liberties were first preserved in Magna Carta, whose first article, it will be remembered, guarantees "that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired:"
      Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to close its adoption services in 2006 because it would no longer place children with homosexual couples, as required by state law. Laws have also forced Catholic adoption societies in Britain either to close or to disaffiliate from the Church."

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    Triduum Comes Early in Iraq

    Grim news of "the fourth targeted murder in three days against the Christian community" — In Mosul, 20-year-old student killed, for Christians it is like Good Friday. Wissam Georges, 20, was collateral damage in George W. Bush's ill-begotten war.

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    Jessica Alba Nude

    Something you won't see onscreen, vowed the actress, "citing the influence of her Catholic upbringing" — Jessica Alba rejects screen nudity. The report states that "she's happy to take on sexy roles and don revealing outfits in movies, but fans shouldn't ever expect her to bare all for the cameras." Miss Alba explained, "I can act sexy and wear sexy clothes but I can't go naked."

    Unlike many Catholics with a blog, I am not an expert in Catholic moral theology, but the idea that to "go naked" is intrinsically evil while to "act sexy and wear sexy clothes" is fine and dandy seems problematic. The innocent nudity in Tuvalu (1999) (or, the Bulgaria-filmed movie reminding of Polynesia, The Bounty (1984), one of my favorites as an adolescent) and the disturbing nudity in Schindler's List (1993), which would only arouse a seriously sick person, are a far cry from that of Debbie Does Dallas (1978) or such films. Or think of the visual arts. Pin-up girls, while not naked, are intended to incite concupiscence, whereas the naked bodies in religious art, e.g. Jheronimus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights are intended to arouse contemplation of higher things:


    Jessica Alba's Wikipedia page is quite revealing (pun intended) about her thinking: "Alba was raised as a Christian in the Catholic denomination [sic] throughout her teenage years, but left the church after four years because she felt she was being judged for her appearance, explaining: 'Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing, when I wasn't. It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman.'" (We also learn of her "objections to the church's condemnations of premarital sex and homosexuality, and the lack of strong female role models in the Bible.")

    If your "youth pastor" tells you your clothing is "provocative" it probably is, given what I've seen some young girls in America wear to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, if we should still use such lofty language to describe the ''AmChurch'' Novus Ordo Missae. In the article that begins this post, Miss Alba confesses that she "was always very uncomfortable about the way my body developed." Maybe she wouldn't have been had she been given some clear guidance by her family (aside from the "grandmother [who] would freak out and throw a towel over me if she saw me wearing just a bra and panties"), her Church (aside from the above mentioned "youth pastor"), and her culture.

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    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "Lent"


    Shawn Tribe had more on the painting from where the above detail comes yesterday — A Visual Meditation for Shrove Tuesday: Pieter Bruegel's Fight Between Carnival and Lent.

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    Lonely at the Top

      His torment is the disappearance of faith. His program is to lead men to God. His preferred instrument is teaching. But the Vatican curia doesn't help him much. And sometimes it harms him.
    So reads the blurb introducing Sandro Magister's lastest — Lent 2010. Pope Benedict's Ash Wednesday.

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    "Morale Welfare Recreation"

    The name of the expense account under which it is alleged that "Blackwater officials kept a Filipino [sic] prostitute on the company payroll for a US State Department contract in Afghanistan" — Contractors stirred by sexy tale.

    "It may be sad to say but, given the history of sexual activities and some private contractors, the alleged use of a prostitute may actually be a step up," says author David Isenberg. "At least they were not trafficking in child sex slaves, as some DynCorp contractors did in Bosnia in the late 1990s."

    Your tax-dollars at work, my fellow Americans.

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    Left and Right Wrong About Sarah Palin

    Richard Cohen argues that she's neither "a harbinger of the hard-right government takeover" nor "the leader [who] would someday lead America out of its current socialist wilderness" but rather "a phony" who "has sold out for money, quitting office so that she could cash in" — Sarah Palin, finally a fallen star.

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    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Queen Ida and Her Bon Temps Zydeco Band Perform "Rosa Majeur"

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    Turkey's Crypto-Jewish Elite

    Steve Sailor on "the descendants of followers of the Jewish False Messiah of the 1660s, Sabbatai Zevi (spellings vary), who after Zevi's apostasy, had publicly converted to Islam but had continued to worship Zevi, and remained a small, relatively endogamous elite who played key roles in Turkish revolutions and subsequent life" — "The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks".

    "Perhaps a certain amount of the former neocon ardor for Turkey as the Good Muslim Country, which was so rudely interrupted in early 2003 when the Turkish parliament voted to not allow the U.S. to use its big base in Turkey to invade Iraq, much to the surprise and dismay of Paul Wolfowitz, had to do with Americans and Israelis being used to dealing with Turkish diplomats with many of whom they felt culturally compatible."

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    America Abroad: What About the Children?

  • Ivan Eland reminds us that "the arrogance of simply ignoring the rule of law in foreign countries is a rich American tradition, practiced by the U.S. government as well as missionaries" — American Arrogance Overseas Should End.


  • "What justification has been provided by the government of the United States for its decision to kill these five children?" asks Robert Naiman — Team America Kills Five Kids in Marja. "The U.S. government did not decide to kill these particular children; it only decided to kill some Afghan civilians, chosen randomly from Marja's civilian population, when it decided to launch its military assault."
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    Why We Fight

    Justin Raimondo rallies the troops — An Antiwar Credo. "As libertarians," the Antiwar.com editor writes, "we oppose the expansion and expression of State power in all its manifestations, but particularly when it comes to war. This is the ultimate expression of statism – that is, State worship – and one’s attitude toward it is decisive."

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    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Emiko Morimoto Sings Antonio Vivaldi's Nulla In Mundo Pax Sincera

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    Confucianism, Nationalism, Modernity

    The Useless Tree's Sam Crane has an enlightening post — Why Modernity Challenges Confucianism — and a follow-up — More on Confucianism and Modernity.

    Among the interesting ideas, "that nationalism is a product of modernization, especially industrialization and that the 'nation' (by which we can presume he also means national identity) is a product of nationalism," that "Confucianism might have a hard time gaining intellectual traction under conditions of modernity" and "a modernized Confucianism, if it is to preserve the basic elements of the ancient philosophy, would have to reject the idea that the 'old stability' of social roles is somehow so incompatible with modern industrial and post-industrial life that they, the roles, can some be disregarded."

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    An Atheist on What Passes for Catholic Music

    "[I]t was when the singing started that my heart sank," says Gord Sellar — The Polo Shirt of Religious Art. Mr. Sellar continues:
      I’ve been to masjids, to Buddhist temples, to Hindu temples, and at each place some degree of modernity had crept in. But the music in Catholic Churches — recognizable worldwide, by the way, from its earnest, inoffensively tonal strains, its simple (and incessantly repeating) sub-Broadway-melodies accompanied by mediocre piano music. It is inoffensive, but also unflattering, uninspiring, and completely interchangeable piece-to-piece.

      It reminds me of the polo shirt, a style that itself is styleless: it bespeaks, in both women and men who don it, a milquetoast conservativism, that thoughtless preppiness, that mediocre concession to fashion. It makes men look all alike, and flatters not at all the female form; rather, it is — at least in Korea, where it remains immensely popular — the shirt of refuge for women who hate their bodies. It is less a fashion than an inoffensive option from a set of options set out before one of a certain mindset or social class and background — social class and background so often translating to mindset anyway.

      Yes, indeed, Catholic Church music is the polo shirt of religious music. Which, when you have actually heard the works of Ockeghem, and Bach (Lutheran though he was), and other amazing European composers who produced sacred repertory, is especially depressing. Europe’s finest music was written on church coin, and now the best they can offer is folksong sing-along verse-chorus-verse. So predictable and unartistic it hurts. Hurts, I tell you…

      It’s like having the Bible translated by Hallmark Card writers, just to achieve mass appeal. Sigh. Anyway…

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    Nuclear Power, Impossible in a Free Market

    "Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital?" asks the man who got my vote in '08 — No Nukes. He quotes Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, as saying that "nuclear power... can't survive free-market capitalism," as it "is being dramatically outcompeted in the global marketplace by no and low-carbon power resources that deliver far more climate solution per dollar, far faster." Dr. Lovins concludes that "because it's uneconomic and unnecessary, we needn't inquire into its other attributes."

    It was the same Ralph Nader who best made the conservative, anti-statist argument against nuclear energy, quoted in a post entitled Atomic Corporate Socialism as observing that "the atomic power industry does not give up... as long as Uncle Sam can be dragooned to be its subsidizing, immunizing partner;" i.e. nuclear energy would be impossible in a free economy:
      For sheer brazenness, however, the atomic power lobbyists know few peers. They remember, as the previous Atomic Energy Commission told them decades ago, that one significant meltdown could contaminate “an area the size of Pennsylvania.”

      They know that no insurance companies will insure them at any price, which is why the Price-Anderson Act hugely limits nuclear plants’ liability in case of massive damages to people, property, land and water.

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    Friday, February 12, 2010

    G. P. da Palestrina's O Bone Jesu and Sicut Cervus Performed by the Dong Sung TEEN OB Male Choir





    Above, something to accompany Jeffrey Tucker's piece on that "music that employs several independent lines of music simultaneously but without using a dominant melody with accompaniment" — The Five Greatest Things about Polyphony.

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    The End of the Ch'ing Dynasty

    J.K. Baltzersen (who else?) reminds us of the sad events "[t]wo years short of a century ago today" — Chinese Abdication. And today, Puyi's Manchu language has "fewer than 70 native speakers."

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    Some Great Fiddlin'

    The New Beginning, to whom I am forever indebted for having introduced me to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, introduces me to some more great American music — Daniel and Amy Carwile.

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    "The Battle of the Aging Wunderkinds"

    Steve Sailer on "Hollywood’s niche for high IQ cinephiles who aren’t exactly Merchant & Ivory tasteful" — Tarantino vs. sThe Coen Brothers. The former I can't stand; the latter I have enjoyed and agree with Mr. Sailer, "Personally, I liked even The Hudsucker Proxy, so what do I know?" (Jennifer Jason Leigh stole the show as the fast-talkin' dame Amy Archer in the 1994 film.)

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    A Global, Korean, and Austrian Economic Portent

    "In the aftermath of the shipbuilding boom that began in 2003 and the global financial crisis, shipbuilders are facing huge drops in global ship orders in the coming year," begins this report on the "crisis... manifesting itself in the world’s top shipbuilding industry" — Shipbuilding crisis unfolding in S. Korea.

    "The crisis facing the world’s top-ranked shipbuilding nation does not stem entirely from the slump in the global economy," concludes the leftist paper's report, continuing with an Austrian School understanding that "the situation that arose following the boom in the 2000s, when large shipbuilders got carried away with the boom and focused on bulking up rather than developing technology or new projects, while new shipbuilders cropped up everywhere."

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    "[A] Bush-like Obama Doctrine"

    "Liberals get a war president of their very own," notes Murray Polner — Left Behind. "To the applause of liberal hawks and formerly critical neocons, the president declared in his Nobel Peace Prize speech that the U.S. will continue to wage war—though naturally, only 'just' war—anywhere and against anyone it chooses in a never-ending struggle against the forces of evil."

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    A Sarah Palin Threesome

  • "I hate to drag Sarah Palin into this but as soon as I heard what she named her kids I knew I could never vote for her," said a wise anonymous commenter to this post by Rod Dreher on an old topic — Will a superblack name hurt your child's prospects?


  • "She's more than willing to trade liberty for safety," argues Steve Chapman, saying that "judging from the applause for Sarah Palin at [the tea party's] convention, the movement's suspicion of government power is exceeded only by its worship of government power" — A Weak Brew.


  • "After criticizing Obama for using a teleprompter, it was discovered that she had crib notes written on her own hand to answer a rather simple, straightforward and indeed softball' question," reminds John Médaille, noting that "missed in all the merriment is what she had actually written, because that tells a story all its own" — Sarah Palin's Hand Job.
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    Okinawa, Guam, and Jeju

    Christine Ahn and Gwyn Kirk look at three islands' resistance against the Empire — Democracy Thwarts US Base Plans. "The Obama administration should rethink the expansion of bases in Okinawa, Guam, and South Korea," say the authoresses.

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    Justin Raimondo Nails Andrew Sullivan

    "Andrew Sullivan relates to the public discourse as a weathervane does to the weather," begins the Antiwar.com editor — The Weathervane as Metaphor.

    "To read his blog regularly is to experience the fads and fashions of the middlebrow masses," Mr. Raimondo continues, "their momentary enthusiasms and hatreds, their cultural and political prejudices frozen in time, and forever preserved by Google and the gods of the internet as the perfect record of post-9/11 folly." And that's just the first paragraph.

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    Pro-Life Doctors

    The South Korean group of that name has essentially started the country's anti-abortion movement* by "report[ing] three hospitals to prosecutors for allegedly conducting illegal abortions," to good effect — Doctors performing fewer abortions.

    Maryknoller in Korea further reports that "90% of the obstetricians are refusing to perform any abortions for fear of being singled out by the pro life gynecologists, and prosecuted by the government" — What Has Happened to Abortion in Korea? "The pro life doctors are forcing discussion on abortion on a government and a society that did not want to see what was going on," Father observes, noting that these "pro life gynecologists have started a successful movement the religious groups could not."

    *The Korean episcopacy has long defended the unborn, but few among the laity, not to mention the priests, have taken up the cause.

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    Don't Chip Me, Big Bro

    From the land of Thomas Jefferson, some more welcome news — US lawmakers label implanted microchips "mark of the beast". "Lawmakers in the US state of Virginia are set to vote on a bill that would protect Virginians from attempts by employers or insurance companies to implant microchips in their bodies against their will."

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    Post-Snowpocalyptic Anarchy in D.C.

    They don't call it an "Act of God" for nothing — Record blizzard shuts down the government. The report cites "an estimated $350 million in lost productivity by federal employees" but fails to estimate how much will be be gained in lost destructivity, if I might coin a word.

    In this state of anarchy, some spontaneous order has arisen — Volunteers drivers get hospital workers where they need to be — but imperfectly — After D.C. snowstorm, sidewalk-clearing rules and etiquette fall short. Washington's spontaneous order appears to be less spontaneous and less ordered than in places like the City of Good Neighbors, near which I grew up, which are quite used to such happenings and relying on neighbors rather than the government.

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    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Aaron Neville and Linda Rondstadt Sing Jennifer Warnes' and Leonard Cohen's "Song of Bernadette"


    Above, a popular music retelling of the story of Saint Bernadette's vision of Our Lady of Lourdes, commemorated tomorrow, which is also retold in a must-see film, The Song of Bernadette (1943).

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    "Welcome to the New Paleolithic"

    Charlotte Allen argues that "tens of thousands of years of human mating practices have swirled into oblivion like shampoo down the shower drain and Cro-Magnons once again drag women by the hair into their caves—and the women love every minute of it" — The New Dating Game. She continues:
      Louts who might as well be clad in bearskins and wielding spears trample over every nicety developed over millennia to mark out a ritual of courtship as a prelude to sex: Not just marriage (that went years ago with the sexual revolution and the mass-marketing of the birth-control pill) or formal dating (the hookup culture finished that)—but amorous preliminaries and other civilities once regarded as elementary, at least among the college-educated classes.

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    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Uni String Ensemble Perform Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor

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    Two Degrees of Separation With Henrietta Lacks

    Through the graduate students I tutor, who, today, like biologists the world over, experiment using the cells of the woman "who died of cervical cancer in 1951, [and who] is the source of the HeLa cell line, the first human cells able to reproduce on their own in the laboratory" — Henrietta Lacks' 'Immortal' roots. From the article:
      By the time of her death, researchers at Johns Hopkins University had been trying for years to find cells with such reproductive properties. Lacks' cells -- powered by something in her cancer -- were so remarkable that Hopkins shared them with scientists around the globe. A new industry of mass-producing human cells grew up around them.

      HeLa cells have been used in experiments for decades, enabling countless scientific discoveries, including the polio vaccine and the discovery of chromosomes. The were blown up with an atom bomb and sent into space.

      Still in use, they have been produced at mind-blowing volumes -- enough to wrap around the world three times. They've been called immortal. Yet as vitally important as they have been to science, few have thought about their origins.
    HeLa cells "that have been propagated in cell culture far exceeds the total number of cells that were in Henrietta Lacks' body," and have even been given their own own genus and species, Helacyton gartleri. As far as the woman Henrietta Lacks is concerned, however, the "cells from the carcinoma were removed for research purposes without her knowledge or permission."

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    Nope, It All Started With King John

    "Americans' distrust of government has deep roots," says Gregory Rodriguez, who begins by suggesting that "Americans' profound distrust of government is neurotic -- irrational, defensive and born of emotional trauma" — It started with King George III. "No way, José!" I say.

    It all began with King John, who usurped the both ancient Anglo-Saxon and Catholic liberties, a situation corrected when the tyrant was forced to sign the Magna Carta, whose first article guarantees "that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired."

    Of course, to make the connection from 2010 back to 1215, one need accept Jeff Culbreath's (and Russell Kirk's) thesis, "that America still has an identifiable and redeemable culture, and that this culture is British in form and substance" — America’s British Culture.

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    More "Chinese Century" Skepticism

  • Joshua Kurlantzick counters "some of the most important foreign policy thinkers [who] have chronicled America’s decline, and argued that Asia is rising to preeminence," — Dazzled by Asia. Rather, the author argues, "predictions of America’s decline are vastly overstated" and "Asia is indeed increasing its economic footprint in the world, but it still lags far behind the United States in military might, political and diplomatic influence, and even most measures of economic stability."


  • China's "$2.4 trillion of reserves is a bubble all its own," says William Pesak calling it "an Asia-wide phenomenon" and suggesting "we should stop viewing this monetary arms race as a source of strength" as "it’s fast becoming a bigger liability than policy makers say publicly" — The Next Bubble. Rather, the author suggests, "it’s a massive and growing pyramid scheme,"
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    Three Minutes to Impact

    After reading, "as a courtesy to the next passenger, consider leaving your copy of this guide in the seat-back pocket" — How to Fall 35,000 Feet—And Survive. There's a lot of water between Korea and California, where my folks now live, so these excerpts are the ones I need to keep in mind:
      Contrary to popular belief, water is an awful choice. Like concrete, liquid doesn’t compress. Hitting the ocean is essentially the same as colliding with a sidewalk, Hamilton explains, except that pavement (perhaps unfortunately) won’t “open up and swallow your shattered body.”

      [....]

      Water landings—if you must—require quick decision-making. Studies of bridge-jump survivors indicate that a feet-first, knife-like entry (aka “the pencil”) best optimizes your odds of resurfacing. The famed cliff divers of Acapulco, however, tend to assume a head-down position, with the fingers of each hand locked together, arms outstretched, protecting the head. Whichever you choose, first assume the free-fall position for as long as you can. Then, if a feet-first entry is inevitable, the most important piece of advice, for reasons both unmentionable and easily understood, is to clench your butt.

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    Macy Gray Sings "I Try"


    "It's a rough day for a journalism major when he learns he was grammatically bested by Macy Gray," confesses this anonymous writer, referring to the first item on his list — 11 Little-Known Grammatical Errors That Will Shock and Horrify You. I've known most of these for a long time, but it serves as an excuse to post one of the few popular songs in recent decades to have caught my ear.

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    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Louis Armstrong Plays "When The Saints Go Marching In"

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    Good Cop

    "It’s easy to see the weeds and miss the flowers," says Rowman, with "a good story to counter balance all the bad stories of tasing, bad shootings and asset forfeitures" — Do unto others...

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    George W. Bush, Old Right Isolationist America Firster

    Of course not, but giving credit where credit is due, Ben Smith reminds us that "the War President saw sense on Georgia" — The War Bush Didn't Start. And it wasn't the first time; let us not forget the ex-president's "rejection of an Israeli request for overflight permission and perhaps military assistance in bombing Iran’s nuclear reactor" — The War President Bush Stopped.

    "If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us; if we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us," said Candidate Bush — Online NewsHour Presidential Debate- October 12, 2000. I remember being stunned by his statement, it being the most intelligent utterance by a major party nominee I would ever hear in my lifetime.

    And I think he may even have meant it; such a position was not yet heretical in the G.O.P., especially after eight years of Clintonian "indispensable nation" nation-building and cruise missile diplomacy. What a pity that President Bush took seriously the media's allegations that he was "inexperienced" (as if that's a negative) and surrounded himself with the same foreign policy "experts" who would get us into so much trouble, rather than sticking to his own "humble nation" guns.

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    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Edvard Grieg's Ave Maris Stella Performed by St. John's College Choir

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    "How Could Anyone Think This Is Satanic?"

    A friend's response, funny on several levels, to photos of mine like these of Thaipusam comes to mind reading Rod Dreher's very unfunny post — If Haitian vodou isn't demon worship, what is?

    An atheist friend's response to my photos of the Indian-Malaysian festival (banned in India) was as unfunny as Mr. Dreher's; "Religion makes people stupid," he said. But I had been a few feet away from people unflinchingly receiving skewers through the cheeks of tongues (and sometimes their cheeks and tongues) and hooks in their backs and, and, at the time, in my last years as a liberal Protestant, saw nothing stupid nor satanic about it. Should I have? The devotees were all in some altered state to varying degrees, most intensely serene but some somewhat violent, like the shouting Chinese-Malaysian auntie participating in the Hindu ritual, but, at the time, I never thought them possessed by demons. Should I have? While I had some admiration for their faith, I had no desire to join in. I know I should not have.

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    The Peril of Overcrowding?

    "The next big population bogeyman" debunked by Vincenzina Santoro — Monaco to Mongolia: population density and prosperity. The international economist who represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations writes:
      Which is the most densely populated country on earth? It happens to be Monaco – that wonderful principality bordering France on the Mediterranean. Monaco is by far the most densely populated country, with a population of only 32,140 but a population density of 41,971 per square mile. Singapore is the distant second, followed by Malta.

      What is life like in Monaco? Certainly not what the population doomsayers would predict. The tiny country has one of the highest standards of living, quality of life and personal wealth anywhere on earth. Per capita income is the 20th highest in the world, according to the World Bank. Monaco’s population density is 2.5 times that of next ranking Singapore, which is also among the most prosperous countries, and life in Malta is equally pleasant.
    She concludes by noting that "if all the 6.8 billion people currently on earth were to move to the United States... the U.S. population density would become the same as that of the Netherlands." My ancestral homeland has a density even lower than that of the country in which I reside, South Korea, which has plenty of land on which to farm and hike.

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    "The New Face of American anti-Romanism"

    "How many think if he said something as negative about Judaism or Islam he’d still have a job?" asks the Young Fogey — Obama ‘faith adviser’ knocks Pope. "Me neither."

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    Three Old Rightists on War and Empire

  • "I hope," concludes Congressman Ron Paul's statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, "as we begin to debate the foreign affairs budget for next year, that we may yet change course from that of the last administration, where the failed policies of interventionism, militarism, and nation-building have left the United States in a diminished position in the world" — US Out of Yemen.

  • "The Senate is trying to force Obama’s hand, box him in, restrict his freedom of action," suggests Patrick J. Buchanan, "by making him impose sanctions that would cut off the negotiating track and put us on a track to war — a war to deny Iran weapons that the U.S. Intelligence community said in December 2007 Iran gave up trying to acquire in 2003" — Will Obama Play the War Card?

  • Justin Raimondo reminds us that "there is no 'right' to engage in mass murder, and, under the current regime as well as the previous one, that is precisely what the US military is engaged in: unabashedly naked aggression" — Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — Don’t Go.
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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.