Friday, April 30, 2010

Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" Performed by I.U. (아이유)


The strangely stage named young lady will be performing at my university's student festival week after next.

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Adiós, Gran Bretaña

"Brought on by a veritable orgy of promiscuous spending, conspicuous consumption, and obsessive-compulsive borrowing, the affliction spreading northward from the Mediterranean is more of a threat than the Spanish Armada ever was," writes Justin Raimondo, "and the British ruling class knows it" — The Battle of Britain.

It's not just the Mother Country that needs to worry, though: "The Great Fall is coming, and the implosion of the Western banking system seems imminent, as the contagion threatens to spread and leap across the Atlantic to infect our own sick system of similarly 'too big to fail' banking institutions." Mr. Raimondo sees in the near future "imminent economic calamity, rising social protest, and increasing prospects of a major war."

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"The Opposite of an Ideologue"

Philokalia Republic posts a video of a fascinating interview with the great historian and self-described reactionary ("somebody who thinks the clock has to be put back sometimes") — John Lukacs discusses conservatism, ideology and progress with Bill Moyers.

"A conservative is profoundly aware of the sinful essence of human nature, including that of his own country and his own people," says Professor Lukacs. "Patriotism is essentially defensive. Nationalism is aggressive. And our conservatives are nationalists, not patriots." More: "American conservatism is now more enamored with progress, and technical progress, than liberals and progressives were two generations ago."

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"The Permanent Scandal of the Vatican"

Joseph Bottum examines those who argue that "since the past is the evil against which progress fights," the "obvious villain [is] the Catholic Church, that last-surviving remnant of the ancient darkness" — Anti-Catholicism, Again.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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"Don`t Go, Dad!"


"The daughter of one of the 46 crewman of the Cheonan sinking looks at her father’s portrait Thursday while shedding tears in her mother’s arms at the funeral ceremony at the 2nd Naval Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province" — `Don`t Go, Dad!`. Scroll down for a photo that is, perhaps, even more heartbreaking — "Looking for Daddy".

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Love Live the Thai Monarchy!

"Demonstrators claiming democracy’s mantle threaten the centuries of stability monarchy has provided," writes Jim Pittaway — Thailand Runs Red. The author notes that "legitimacy—a matter of identity and loyalty—resides... with a 1,000-year-old, very Buddhist monarchical system that has somehow survived into the modern era." He explains:
    We tend to think of monarchies in European terms. Are they absolute or constitutional? Does the monarch reign or rule? Although the Siamese kings had complete personal control of decisions until the 1920s, the most significant roles of the monarchy here have always been more subtle. Culturally, the monarch is the embodiment of national identity and custodian of the ritual purity necessary to sustain harmony in the complex universe of Theravada Buddhist cosmology. This is how the chaos that stalks neighboring Burma or Cambodia has been kept at bay here....

    Throughout the turmoil that afflicted the region in the decades after the end of World War II and European imperial rule, Thailand has managed to navigate treacherous waters with superb skill. One of the cognomens of Chairman Mao was “The Great Helmsman.” In this part of the world, proven repeatedly over 60 turbulent years, the undisputed Great Helmsman is a quiet, gentle, wise, vastly experienced man named Bhumipol Aydulet, otherwise known as Rama IX, the ninth Chakri Dynasty King of Thailand. His personal virtues have undergirded one of the few remaining indigenously legitimate systems of state to survive the twin Western plagues of imperialist rapacity and communist vandalism.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Maurizio Cazzati's Ciaccona Performed by L'Arpeggiata, Directed by Christina Pluhar


Chaconne was perhaps the first Latin American dance craze to take over Europe, and, in my opinion, far superior to the Macarena, which I had the misfortune of being exposed to a few years before most of the world in 1993, living as I was in Chile. Five years later I would witness a surreal performance of the dance by the female staff members of a Shanghai bowling alley.

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Keynesianism and Fascism

Lew Rockwell on those whose "economic policies are fundamentally the same as Mussolini’s or FDR’s or Peron’s—the classic combine of big-government-big business-big labor controlling and looting the rest of us, lubricated with central banking" — Are Keynesians Fascists?

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Pro-Life Party?

Laurence Vance informs us "that Planned Parenthood received government grants and contracts of $305 million (34%) during fiscal year 2005-2006," a "time we not only had Bush the Republican president but also a Republican majority in Congress" — The Republican Party and Planned Parenthood. "Why wasn’t the Republican Party that concerned about abortion when clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood performed 264,943 abortions in 2005?"

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Donald Kirk on the Koreas

He suggests that "the North's alarming new strategy" might be "to chip away at the South Koreans with attacks such as that on the hapless navy corvette in the West or Yellow Sea - and maybe bold quick hits on Seoul and Incheon" — Cambodian lessons for South Korea.

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Confucian Catholicism

"In the 16th and 17th centuries, at the time when the West was torn by cruel wars between Catholics and Protestants, Jesuits.... were arguing from the farthest East that a man could be both Catholic and Confucian," reminds Francesco Sisci — Deeper unity lurks in Confucian embrace. Mr. Sisci writes:
    They were suggesting a path of communion with the Protestants, but were also brooding on something that was exotically different from the European and scholastic tradition, elaborating on the finest differences. The deeper unity of man, suggested in their approach, was a leap of reason for the West that ended only temporarily in the 18th century, when they were ordered to leave China.
The author suggests that "the West need[s] Confucius as much as China d[oes]," referring to "a spiritual need of all men trying not to be separated from one another through tiny and ultimately insignificant cultural distinctions."

Hinting at "a path already envisioned by the Jesuits centuries ago when they tried to bring Catholicism and Confucianism together and failed because some Western cardinals thought their own tradition was being endangered," Mr. Sisci suggests, "In a way, Confucius was a vessel and Christianity the content, they argued, as early Christianity absorbed Greek thought in its early stages, and this helped the understanding and spread of the new religion."

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Climate Change in Korea

"The entire Korean Peninsula is shivering with a record-low spring chill," reports Park Si-soo — Back to Ice Age? We bought an air-conditioner two summers ago, and have used it not more than five times. This global warming business sure is strange.

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The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in Nepal

A headline not likely to appear anywhere else — Maoists want Church help for May Day rally.

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"Epistemic Closure"

Patricia Cohen on the phrase which is "being used as shorthand by some prominent conservatives for a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement, a development they see as debasing modern conservatism’s proud intellectual history" — The Closing of the Conservative Mind.

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Sell America Short

"Strictly looking at the monthly Treasury statement of receipts and outlays, as an 'investor,' you see a company you might want to short," says Michael Burry, "the investment guru who predicted Wall Street's meltdown and made millions by placing bets against (or 'shorting') the financial sector," quoted by Joel Achenbach — The national debt and Washington's deficit of will.

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"Mutually Assured Economic Destruction"

Ian Bremmer asserts that "the US and China are locked in a new form of 'mutually assured economic destruction,' a dependence that can force some degree of co-operation even as political, economic and security disputes simmer" — China vs America: fight of the century.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Claudio Monteverdi's Beatus Vir, Confitebor and Laudate Dominum Performed by Vox Scaniensis

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The Bush-Obama War on the American Military Family

"The effects of military deployment on the youngest children are only just beginning to be understood," writes Faye Fiore — When Daddy's gone for a whole year. "With the nation at war for eight years, one of the longest stretches in American history, a generation of military children is growing up with a parent in combat," she writes. "War demands a price from military families. Sometimes it's a life, sometimes a limb, sometimes a marriage. But experts are becoming acutely aware that it can also be the well-being of children." She reports:
    According to the Department of Defense, about 2 million children in the U.S. are growing up in military families; an estimated 200,000 have a parent at war at any given time.

    The Pentagon offers programs to help [sic] young families, but the strains of this war are unique from wars past. Deployments are longer and more frequent; some families are on their fifth tour. The stress of the mission is greater across the board — there are no noncombat assignments in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Rates of divorce and child abuse have climbed. Even in families that appear to be holding up, there is concern over the consequences of interrupting early parent-child bonds, when the service member is gone for a year, home for a year, then gone again. A single deployment can be half a toddler's lifetime.
Remember that Bill Kauffman, who told us in his book Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism that "[w]ar... is good for nothing a genuine conservative might cherish," observed at the beginning of these fool wars that "the first casualty of the militarized U.S. state is the family" — George Bush, the Anti-Family President.

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The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Tim Rutten says the author of a new book of that title "probably will be recalled as the most significant of the muscular British neo-atheists who have emerged with such intellectual force [sic] over the last decade or so" but pans the novel as "a polemical fable every bit as wrong-headedly obvious as the title suggests" — Book review: ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’ by Philip Pullman.

Says Mr. Pullman, "When you look at organized religion of whatever sort — whether it's Christianity in all its variants, or whether it's Islam or some forms of extreme Hinduism — wherever you see organized religion and priesthoods and power, you see cruelty and tyranny and repression. It's almost a universal law." What a daring and original thinker! And so brave to regurgitate such ideas in this age of secularism.

Noting Mr. Pullman's "special antipathy toward Rome," Mr. Rutten quotes him as saying of the Church, "I hope the wretched organization will vanish entirely." Imagine, an Englishman rallying against Popery! The irrational rage many Anglo-Saxons on both side of the Atlantic feel toward Rome by those who were never raised in her doctrines is, to my mind, if anything, a sign of her truth.

Mr. Rutten's subject, is, however, in another brilliantly original stance, "apparently fond — even admiring — of Jesus the defender of the poor and scourge of hypocrites" but "loath[ing of] what Jesus' followers and the generations that came after them made of his teachings in the form of an institutional church." Someone please send Mr. Pullman a copy of the Jefferson Bible.

Mr. Rutten suggests that "a committed secularist like Pullman... must be committed to historicism and factuality." Now, that is an original idea.

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Consign N.A.T.O. to the Dustbin of History

"Large and firmly implanted bureaucratic organizations are almost impossible to kill, even when they have no reason to continue to exist, as NATO has not since the Soviet Union, communism, and the Warsaw Pact all collapsed," begins William Pfaff — The NATO Nuisance. "Its existence also is a temptation to Washington to do foolish things."

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Justin Raimondo on the Border

"The US-Mexican border is just as porous as ever, and any attempt to seal it is denounced as 'racist' and the equivalent of setting up a 'police state,'" notes the Antiwar.com editor — South of the Border. He continues:
    While I don’t approve of the recent legislation passed by the Arizona state legislature, which empowers police to check anyone who might "reasonably" suspected of being in the country illegally, opponents of the bill – particularly the professional victimologists and weepy-eyed liberals – refuse to recognize that the effort was spawned, not by hate but by the rising violence of a nearly-failed state – Mexico – which is seeping across the border and threatens to become a torrent of criminality and chaos.

    What I would like to know is this: what country on earth fails to guard its borders this way? We are often told by liberals and "progressives" that the US needs to be more like Europe, with cradle-to-grave security and government-run health care, but what about when it comes to immigration? Precisely because the Europeans have extensive welfare states, the demand to see "Your papers, please" is a common request made by law enforcement agencies in those countries. And no one would think of questioning their right to do so.

    An estimated six million illegal immigrants have flooded the US in recent years – in sheer quantitative terms, this represents the biggest single threat to our national security. And yet the merest suggestion that something ought to be done about it is met with cries of outrage by the liberal media and the usual suspects, i.e. the Big Business lobby, which thrives on a pool of unlimited cheap labor, the "La Raza" crowd, which is basically arguing for a policy of open borders, and the Roman Catholic Church, which seeks to replenish its fast-emptying churches with a fresh crop of congregants.
That last jibe against the Faith that Mr. Raimondo was born into, I'm afraid, has a kernal of truth.

Reminding his readers that "we’re expending tremendous resources in trying to introduce some sort of order to the wilds of Afghanistan," Mr. Raimondo suggests that we "stop trying to protect Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan and start protecting our own border with Mexico." He concludes, "Our government is so busy carrying out tasks it has no constitutional authority to involve itself in that it has no time, energy, or interest in doing what it is supposed to be doing, in this case protecting the physical safety of American citizens."

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$300,000 Homes

A Korean blogger looks at American homes, with beautiful pictures, that cost as much as would a small apartment in Seoul — 3억원으로 살수 있는 미국의 저택들.

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Big Government Tea Partiers

The American Conservative blurb introducing James Bovard's article suggests "protesters seemed all too eager to support big government programs as long as they involve killing foreigners" — Tea Party Patriots or Neocon Nationalists? "Many 'tea party' activists staunchly oppose big government," begins Mr. Bovard, "except when it is warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding."

UPDATE: Ivan Eland looks at Mr. Bovard's article, noting that "the tea sippers extended their pinkies in a salute to torture, harsh policies toward Iran, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq" — To the Tea Party: War and Liberty Aren’t Fellow Travelers.

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Illegal Immigration, a Legal Issue

  • Allow me to respectfully disagree with my country's episcopacy — Catholic bishops blast Ariz. immigration law, call for national reform. The "draconian law" in question merely "compels law enforcement officials to confront individuals whom they suspect of being illegal immigrants," i.e., to enforce the law.

  • Allow me to disrespectfully disagree with Roberto Rodriguez for putting "'States Rights'" in scare quotes and for his dictatorial call for "President Obama and Congress" to "nullify SB 1070 and similar bills nationwide" — This is What Apartheid Looks Like.

  • Allow me to wholeheartedly agree with Patrick J. Buchanan, whose State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America turned me around on this issue — Whose Country Is This? Noting that "Al Sharpton [has] threaten[ed] to go to Phoenix and march in the streets against the new Arizona law," Mr. Buchanan wonders "how many African-Americans, who are today frozen out of the 8 million jobs held by illegal aliens that might otherwise go to them or their children, will march to defend an invasion for which they are themselves paying the heaviest price."
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    Towards a Catholic World

    News that "there are 1.166 billion Catholics on the planet with a growth rate slightly ahead of that of the global population" — Worldwide there are more Catholics, more bishops and more priests. Of note is that "the Church grew... in Asia by 15.61 percent" since 2000 — Catholic global presence increasing, Vatican study reports.

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    Rumors About the Ch'ŏnan

  • Speculation about "the promotion to four-star general of Kim Myong Guk," who "was demoted after the skirmish at sea last November that caused the destruction of a ship from the North"— North Korean general "rewarded" for sinking Cheonan.

  • "A North Korean Party cadre has announced that his country was responsible for the sinking of an unnamed South Korean vessel presumed to be the Cheonan," says Lee Sung Jin, quoting a source in North Korea — Cheonan Rumor Proudly Circulating. "Since our heroic Chosun People’s Army took revenge on the enemy," said the cadre, "all South Chosun has been in fear of our defensive military ability."

  • A South Korean assemblywoman repeats a story whose newspaper admitted was "an erroneous report whose factual basis was not confirmed" — Lawmaker Presses Rumored US Role in Sinking. This rumor is easily dismissed as "the drill was conducted in waters off Taean County in South Chungcheong Province, not near waters off Baengnyeong Island."

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    Chinese Evangelicals Claim to Have Found Noah's Ark

    Terry Nelson has the story — Noah's Ark Found in Turkey. I'm less interested in the veracity of the discovery than in the identity of the alleged discoverers. This seems part of the Back To Jerusalem movement, a "campaign begun in China by Chinese believers to send missionaries to all of the Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim peoples who live 'between' China and Jerusalem," which suggests a general Westward movement of the Gospel over the millennia.

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    Velikovskian Electric Moon Craters

    News that "solar wind streaming over the rough lunar surface may electrically charge polar craters on the moon" — Some Craters on the Moon May Be Electrified. Calling the findings "further evidence that our view on the moon has changed dramatically in recent years," a NASA scientist said, "It has a dynamic and fascinating environment that we are only beginning to understand."

    The Electric Universe Theory comes to mind. Electrical scarring was proposed decades ago by Immanuel Velikovsky, who suggested, "Like on the Moon, enormous craters resulted from bubbling, but some formations, especially surrounded with 'rays,' resulted, in my view, from interplanetary discharges."

    This article of mine lists several other Velikovskian theories later proven true — The Science Cartel vs. Immanuel Velikovsky. Fellow LewRockwell.com writer James P. Hogan has also written of such things — Electricity Powers the Universe and Glowing in the Plasma.

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    Thomas Sowell on Slavery

    "Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans-- more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed," is but one of the truths he reminds us of — Filtering History.

    "If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance," is another.

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    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    J.S. Bach's Lobe den Herren, den Mächtigen König der Ehren, Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling




    "Most of Bach’s cantatas, most of Haydn’s symphonies, originally ended up being filed away after only a few performances," writes R.J. Stove — Pianarchy "We have no right to expect that Bach and Haydn agonized greatly about their masterpieces’ brief shelf-life. They appear to have operated according to a fundamentally stoic attitude of 'Them’s the breaks.'"

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    Margaret Sanger's "Negro Project" Bearing (Strange) Fruit

    The Planned Parenthood's foundress's "race hygiene" initiatives aimed at "genetically inferior races" are proving successful almost century on — 'Black Children an Endangered Species'? Provocative Pro-Life Billboard. This heroine of left-liberals wrote that "we are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all," and hated charity, calling it "symptom of a malignant social disease." She wrote, "Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks [of people] that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant."

    Strange allies have joined the fight against a bill that "prevents coerced racially eugenic abortions" and "protects against the heinous practice of selectively aborting children based upon race or gender" — Does the Georgia State NAACP Support Racially Eugenic Abortion? "Abortions in the black community occur at 3x the rate of those among the white population and 2x that of all other races combined," the author notes, reminding us that "abortion kills more African-Americans, per year, than heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, accidents, homicides, suicide, and cancer-combined."

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    Payback Time?

    Karen De Coster looks at the news that "GM is paying back its loans" and cuts through the lies to explain how it works — Government Motors is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money.

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    "Looking for Daddy"


    Above, "[a] child searches for the face of his father Monday among the portraits of the 46 dead crewmen from the sunken naval patrol ship Cheonan at a memorial altar set up at a gymnasium inside the 2nd Naval Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province" — Looking for Daddy. "The smiling child adds to the sorrow of mourners."

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    Redeeming Confucian Liberal Education

    Sam Crane acknowledges "that Confucianism is often pegged as a key part of the educational instrumentalism in East Asia," and goes on to refute the notion and suggest "that an answer to this problem can be found in Confucianism" — Confucius and Education Reform in Korea. He writes:
      The argument goes something like this: because of the rigid and rigorous examination system in imperial China and Korea (Tokugawa Japan was different), a general culture of rote memorization arose and that has carried over into the modern era. This culture runs deep into family life: parents will sacrifice much and push their children to succeed educationally. And the limitations that this imposes on creative and critical thinking are exacerbated by the extraordinarily competitive pressures of large populations struggling for scarce opportunities in a global economy.

      But all of that gets Confucian education wrong. It is true that Confucianism was appropriated by state managers, as early as the Han dynasty, and infused with Legalist principles to serve as a legitimating political ideology. And that the examination system was the key institution for reproducing state structures and ideology. Confucius himself, however, did not have such a strictly instrumentalist vision of education. For him, education was all about moral development. We have to learn, and teach, how to rightly apprehend what Duty means in particular social contexts and how Ritual is best expressed in specific moments if we are to progress toward Humanity. There are many ways in which the sensibilities of Humanity can be instilled. In his times, he and his immediate followers (i.e. before the Qin dynasty) encouraged a curriculum that included: ritual, music, archery, chariot-riding, calligraphy, and computation. Arts, sciences, athletics - sounds rather like a liberal arts ideal.
    Click on the link for quotes from the Confucian canon demonstrating that "the strictly systematized and standardized, rote-memory educational system that now often bears the name 'Confucian' is not at all in keeping with the educational ideas of Confucius" and how "those original Confucian ideas could be relevant to educational reform in Korea and other parts of the world."

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    Will China's One-Child Policy Wither Away?

    A report that the "widely hated one-child limit that at its peak led to forced abortions, sterilizations and even infanticide... may be on its way out, as some demographers warn that China is facing the opposite problem: not enough babies" — Long-hated one-child rule may be eased in China. From the report:
      Officially, the government remains committed to the one-child policy. But it also commissioned feasibility studies last year on what would happen if it eliminated the policy or did nothing. An official with the National Population and Family Planning Commission said privately that the agency is looking at ways to refine the limit — though not get rid of it.

      A people shortage may seem unlikely in a country of 1.3 billion, the most in the world. The concern, though, is not with the overall number. Rather, as the population shrinks, which is projected to begin in about 15 years, China may find itself with the wrong mix of people: too few young workers to support an aging population.

      It's a combination that could slow or, in a worst-case scenario, even reverse China's surging economic growth. The government and families will have to tap savings to care for the elderly, reducing funds for investment and driving up interest rates. At the same time, labor costs will likely rise as the work force shrinks, squeezing out some industries.
    "My view is that it will gradually be taken apart, piece by piece, over the next few years," said Susan Greenhalgh, an expert on the policy's history, "until we all wake up and discover that, lo and behold, the one-child policy has been dismantled to the point that it's no longer a one-child policy."

    [link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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    Unenlightenment

    "Seeing themselves as fiercely independent thinkers, bien-pensants are remarkable chiefly for the fervor with which they propagate the prevailing beliefs of their time," begins John Gray's critique of those who come to the facile conclusion that "the solution to the world’s problems would be found in increasing internationalism, socialism, the withering away of religion and the continuing advancement of science" — Conventional Unwisdom.

    The central dogma to this belief system is that "history is a record of crime, oppression and superstition; but salvation is at hand through rational inquiry, the gift of the Greeks that was lost in the Dark Ages and rediscovered in the Enlightenment." I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard a version of that story regurgitated by some "independent thinker."

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    Revolutionary? Radical? Right? Or Just Plain Republican?

    The American Conservative's Paul Gottfried and Brian Doherty scoff at the notion of "the Tea Party activists as radical rightists" and remind us that "a revolutionary, anti-government spirit was part of America's founding—though the elites have mostly succeeded in turning it into a thing of the past" respectively — Revolutionary Phoniness and Is There a Radical Right?

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    Korea's Politicized Priests

    "Catholic priests and believers are planning to hold daily life and peace masses calling for an end to the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project at Myeong-dong Cathedral starting on Monday," reports South Korea's main leftist organ, hinting at their efficacy by suggesting these "masses... are expected to have a significant impact on the movement against the Four Rivers project" — Daily Catholic masses to be held in protest of Four Rivers project.

    I oppose this and other massive governmental projects as much as the next guy, but this strikes me as a liturgical abuse of the highest order.The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project was not started when I wrote this article two years ago, but it could be included among the trendy causes I mentioned then — Have Korea's Protesting Priests Chosen the Right Fights? I wrote:
      There is a much greater existential threat facing Korea than Samsung, Mad Cow Disease, the Grand Canal. Every year in Korea, between 1.5 and 2 million Koreans are murdered in the womb by "doctors" at their own parents consent. This holocaust occurs in a country where abortion is illegal, but where authorities and it often seems even Catholic priests, turn a blind eye. For every Korean baby born, three are denied the right to life. Korea aborts more of its babies than does America, a country with six times the population and where legal abortion is the law of the land. Where are the demonstrations in front of Korea's abortuaries?
    This or that government project can (and sometimes should) be opposed (or supported) by this or that Catholic, including priests, using Catholic arguments, but turning the Sacrifice of the Mass into guerrilla street theater borders on sacrilege and blasphemy. Also, these Works Progress Administration style projects, wrong as they may be from an economic standpoint, are not intrinsically evil, as is abortion.

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    Against Indifferentism

    "It is misleading — and dangerous — to think that religions are different paths to the same wisdom," argues Stephen Prothero — Separate truths. Taking on "the pretend pluralism of the perennial philosophy sort," he writes:
      Christians see sin as the human problem, and salvation from sin as the religious goal. Buddhists see suffering (which, in their tradition, is not ennobling) as the problem, and liberation from suffering as the goal. Confucians see social disorder as the problem, and social harmony as the goal. And so it goes from tradition to tradition, with Hindus seeking release from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, Muslims seeking paradise via submission to Allah, and practitioners of the Yoruba religion seeking sacred connections — among humans, between humans and the persons of power they call the orishas, and between humans and the natural environment....

      It might seem to be an admirable act of empathy to assert that Confucians and Buddhists can be saved. But this statement is confused to the core, since salvation is not something that either Confucians or Buddhists seek. Salvation is a Christian goal, and when Christians speak of it, they are speaking of being saved from sin. But Confucians and Buddhists do not believe in sin, so it makes no sense for them to try to be saved from it. And while Muslims and Jews do speak of sin of a sort, neither Islam nor Judaism describes salvation from sin as its aim. When a jailer asks the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), he is asking not a generic human question but a specifically Christian one. So while it may seem to be an act of generosity to state that Confucians and Buddhists and Muslims and Jews can also be saved, this statement is actually an act of obfuscation.
    "If you see sin as the human predicament and salvation as the solution, then it makes sense to come to Christ," he writes.

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    Patrick J. Buchanan on Muhammad Cartoons

    "If you wish to get along with a man, you do not insult his faith," he wrote in 2006 — Cultural Warmongers. "And if you seek to persuade devout Muslims that al-Qaeda is our enemy, not Islam, you do not condone with silence insults to the faith of a billion people.... This is what makes the Mohammed cartoons so stupid and self-destructive."

    "As one explores the arguments of the provocateurs in the West for what they are doing," he goes on to say, "on inspection all appear hollow. 'We believe in the First Amendment!' comes the blustery reply of journalists when asked why they published the cartoons." Mr. Buchanan counters, "Daily, U.S. editors decline to publish ethnic slurs and obscene remarks and cartoons that might offend a race or religion. This is not censorship. It is editorial judgment."

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    Afghanistan War Nearing Its End?

  • That thought came to mind reading this AP headline — UN scales back in dangerous southern Afghanistan.

  • "The majority of Americans are against the war, and every week thousands of Americans continue to put pressure on their representatives in Congress, who can also read the polls in an election year," says Mark Weisbrot — Beginning of the End for Afghan War? "The war has dragged on long after the public turned against it, and long after Washington abandoned any pretence of a coherent story to justify it," he writes, suggesting that "this Congressional rebellion is the beginning of the end of this war."

  • "Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern, Republican Congressman Walter Jones, and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold have introduced legislation demanding an exit strategy and timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan," reports Katrina vanden Heuvel — Demand an Afghanistan Exit Strategy.
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    Another Reason I'm Glad I Live Far From Seoul

    "The North Korean military has recently altered its wartime contingency plans against South Korea to concentrate on attacking the Seoul metropolitan region," says this report — North adopts new war invasion strategy: source.

    "According to the high-ranking source, the North’s military recently decided... to adopt a new plan in which it would occupy only a part of South Korea and start negotiating a cease-fire," replacing "the previous plan" in which the North's goal was to "occupy all of South Korea."

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    Church as "Chaste Whore"

    "Saint Ambrose called the Church 'whore' precisely to exalt her sanctity," says Sandro Magister, debunking a popular formulsa which is "foreign to the Christian tradition" — Sinner Church? A Myth That Needs to Be Busted. An excerpt starting with a quote from the saint who coined the term:
      "Rahab – who in type was a whore but in mystery is the Church – indicated in her blood the future sign of universal salvation in the midst of the slaughter in the world. She does not reject union with the numerous fugitives, more chaste the more closely she is joined to the greatest number of them; she who is immaculate virgin, without wrinkle, uncontaminated in modesty, public lover, chaste whore, sterile widow, fecund virgin... Chaste whore, because many lovers come to her for the delights of love, but without the contamination of blame" (In Lucam III, 23).

      The passage is very dense, and is worthy of closer analysis. But to limit ourselves to the expression "chaste whore," here is how Cardinal Biffi explains it:

      "The expression 'chaste whore', far from alluding to something sinful and reprehensible, is intended to indicate – not only in the adjective, but also in the substantive – the sanctity of the Church. Sanctity that consists just as much in adhering without wavering and without inconsistency to Christ her spouse ('casta') as in the desire of the Church to reach all in order to bring all to salvation ('meretrix')."

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    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Josquin Desprez' O Bone et Dulcis Domine Jesus and In Te, Domine, Speravi Performed by The Orlando Consort

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    Brown Dwarves and Nemesis

    A reader sends along two articles, one about a "'star' is so cold that any residents on an orbiting planet would see a dark sun in their starry 'daytime' sky" — 'Dark sun' is one of our nearest neighbours — and the other speculating that "[a] dark object may be lurking near our solar system, occasionally kicking comets in our direction" — Getting WISE About Nemesis.

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    Justin Raimondo on Stephen Hawking's Warning...

    ... "against trying to establish contact" with extraterrestrials — The Alien Menace! "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet," said the astrophysicist suggesting that, "advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach." Mr. Raimondo says that "the real space aliens, the real threat to our existence, isn’t coming from outer space," but rather "straight from the planet Washington, D.C."

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    A Korean Mission Church

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    An Economics Blog

    Liberty vs. Leviathan informs us of the existence of a blog "dedicated to the Jesuit Scholastics of the School of Salamanca who helped lay the foundation of free-market economics" — La Nueva Escuela de Salamanca.

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    The Real Danger of the Internet

    A warning about the "dangers of conformity, of control, of moral and intellectual relativism, which can already be recognised in the decline of critical spirit" — Pope warns about dangers of internet.

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    Anti-Popery

  • News of "an official document [that] suggested Britain should mark the Pope's visit this year by asking him to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage and launch a range of Benedict-branded condoms" — Foreign Office sorry for Pope paper.

  • An Irish commenter says this "the hate figure du jour in certain circles" is "a sort of replacement bogeyman for George W. Bush" — David Quinn: Pope replaces George Bush as the man some people love to hate.

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    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Heinrich Schütz's Der Herr ist mein Hirt Performed by La Chapelle Rhénane, Directed by Benoît Haller


    Please forgive me for another High Church Lutheranism musical posting. Psalm 22, better known as Psalm 23, provides the text for the 1619 motet. Don't miss this earlier offering — Heinrich Schütz's Alleluja! Lobet den Herrn, Performed by La Chapelle Rhénane, Directed by Benoît Haller.

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    The Patroness of the Sciences and Healing Arts

    She acts again; "the Catholic Church threw its support and resources behind the study of intestinal adult stem cells by a group of experts led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine" — Vatican to Finance Adult Stem Cell Research. "I want to stress that it doesn't involve embryonic stem cells, where one helps oneself and then throws the embryo away and kills a human life," said Cardinal Renato Martino.

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    Two on the Sinking of the Ch'ŏnan

  • "Debate still rages over exact cause of incident," reports Peter Goodspeed, with some of the more interesting speculation — ‘Human torpedoes’ sank South Korea’s ship: paper. Click on the link to see details of "the alleged suicide subs."

  • "South Korea on Friday gave the clearest signal to date it had no plan to launch a revenge attack if it turns out, as widely suspected, North Korea sank one of its navy vessels last month near their disputed border," reports Jonathan Thatcher — South Korea won't retaliate alone for ship sinking.
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    Volunteers of Korea

    John M. Glionna of the Los Angeles Times reports on "one way this bustling Asian nation is marking its emergence as one of the world's most industrialized nations" — South Korea volunteers aim to help world's poor. "Founded in 2009, the World Friends Korea program... now has 3,000 volunteers working in 40 countries, a number second only to the 8,000 enrolled in America's Peace Corps."

    "South Korea's development as a nation is due in part to the generous contribution of the international community," said program coordinator Lee Chan-buom. "We can empathize with the nations we assist because 50 years ago, there was widespread famine in Korea. For many volunteers, that starvation is a childhood memory."

    I see little wrong with the fact that some "see the program as a way to sell themselves in a downsizing job market." Enlightened self-interest and all. I do have some doubts about the long-term efficacy of teaching Nepali kids to brush their teeth and wash their hands or teaching Zimbabwean government workers to use computers, to name two projects students of mine have told me they participated in recently.

    Volunteering overseas was unheard of when I arrived in country a third of my life ago, in 1997. Now, I have had several students who've come back from such programs.

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    Antonio Vivaldi's "Spring" Allegro Performed by Red Priest


    Because I'm happy Spring has finally arrived more than month late after what has seemed to have been an extended Winter. I agree with the commenters that this performance by Red Priest*, "the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil," is probably "like it sounded inside Vivaldi's head" and "how it was supposed to sound."

    *Antonio Vivaldi "was nicknamed il Prete Rosso ('The Red Priest')."

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    Two on the Death Penalty

  • "Zambian prisoners, including those on death row, will be able to learn to pray the rosary, as the result of an initiative from two United Kingdom charities," as "Aid to the Church in Need and the rosary charity Crown of Thorns, will be sending some 1,600 rosary booklets to Kamfinsa State Prison and Kabwe Maximum Security Prison" — Rosary Goes to Death Row. I oppose the death penalty in principle, but it cannot be denied that condemned criminals receive a certain grace knowing the hour of their death.

  • Critics deride this as "an Old West-style of justice that allows killers to go out in a blaze of glory that embarrasses the state" — Condemned Utah killer will face firing squad. I'm generally favor anything "that embarrasses the state," but it seems only fair to allow a condemned criminal "to go out in a blaze of glory" if he so chooses, rather than to be strapped to a gurney like an animal.
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    The Doctrine of the Trinity Mirrored at the Sub-Atomic Level

      At the Quantum level there are particles that are literally three (and other numbers) and one at the same time. You cannot weigh only one, observe only one, or “remove” one from the three, or else the whole particle disappears. In other words, the particle cannot be spoken of as simply one, or simply three. Thus, at a very micro level of reality we see a way of explaining the Trinity. For years, those religious groups (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses) that were founded when enlightenment-style science ruled the day have harped about how the Trinity is pure intellectual nonsense. Quantum physics, at the least, tells us that the world is more complex and mysterious than scientists had previously thought, so we now can speak of something being fundamentally three and one at the same time.
    So explains David Bennett, who reminds us that "St. Thomas used Aristotelean ideas to better understand the faith" and [t]he early Fathers used Platonism to better express and categorize Christian mysteries, including the Trinity" — Quantum Physics and Christianity? Simpleton that I am, I find Saint Patrick's method a bit easier to grasp — Using the Shamrock to teach the Trinity.

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    What Africa Needs

    Gaston Asitaki says it clearly — We need penicillin, not condoms, in central Africa. "US aid agencies want to revitalise family planning in the Democratic Republic of Congo," he writes. "This is certifiably insane." More pointedly, he says that "it is absurd; it is criminally irresponsible, for the United States and international aid agencies to argue that the solution to the DRC’s calamitous maternal mortality is family planning."

    "The African family can teach the West a few lessons," said the Congolese lawyer in an earlier article — In the Congo, you can’t survive without a family.

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    Father Gabriele Amorth

    An interesting and informative article on "the most expert exorcist in the world, having performed this duty for more than 25 years and 70,000 exorcisms" — Memoirs of an Exorcist.

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    Fred Reed on the United States Military

      I wonder whether Americans realize that they have a Vienna sausage military at filet mignon prices. The sorry performance in recent wars is just one example of the ongoing rot, but the whole enterprise has become unbalanced, aimed at fighting the kinds of enemies we don’t have instead of the ones we have recently chosen to make.
    And that's just the first paragraph — Damn the Torpedoes, Fools’ Greed Ahead.

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    My Latest For Lew

    Here's a sneak peak at my latest for LewRockwell.com in which I synthesize some recent posts on recent events, taking up a familiar theme — America's Permanent, Entangling Alliance With Korea.

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    B.V.M. Overlooking D.P.R.K.




    "Probably the most odd thing to see on the summit of Kamaksan is a large statue of the Virgin Mary," writes GI Korea, explaining that the "surprising statue looks towards North Korea and was put here as a religious beacon offering hope towards the impoverished people of North Korea" — Places In Korea: Kamaksan Mountain. His post is occasioned by this week's "anniversary of the Battle of the Imjim, which is best known by the last stand of the Glorious Glosters on Hill 235."

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    Old Atheists and New

    "The only really effective antidote to the dreariness of reading the New Atheists, it seems to me, is rereading Nietzsche," says Orthodox Christian theologian David Bentley Hart, quoted by Rod Dreher — They don't make atheists like Nietzsche anymore.

    I'm not so sure. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the only book I ever put down midway not because it was boring, but because I felt it was evil. And, if I remember correctly, that was before Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy's heretical magnum opus, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, the first step leading me back to the my baptismal faith. Now that I am approaching the age at which Confucius "had no delusions" I may be ready to give the give the German philosopher a reread.

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    Ye Shall Be as Gods

    E. Christian Brugger exposes those who "foresee the feasibility of redesigning the human condition, including such parameters as the inevitability of aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering, and our confinement to the planet earth" — An Introduction to Transhumanism. Apparently they didn't get too far in their reading of Scripture.

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    A Celebrity Shotgun Marriage


    "Actress Ko So-young revealed that she is three months pregnant, Thursday, ahead of her marriage next month to heartthrob Jang Dong-gun," reports Lee Hyo-won — Jang Dong-gun, Ko So-young Expecting Baby. "Jang Dong-gun and Ko So-young, as well as their parents and family, are extremely delighted about the pregnancy and are celebrating," according to Jang’s management agency, AM Entertainment. "They think it is the best wedding gift ahead of the ceremony."

    Hats off the the couple! May many young Koreans follow their example and head to the wedding hall rather than the abortuary.

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    Seungdong Presbyterian Church


    Pictured above is the "piece of Korean Christian history [that] has been designated Tangible Cultural Property No. 130 by the Seoul Metropolitan Government," which was "was established by an American missionary, Samuel Moore, in 1893," became "a spiritual home for downtrodden," and "later became a major center of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese imperialism" — A landmark of Christianity and freedom.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, Orate Pro Nobis

    "As Pope John Paul II said it, from the thirteen-year-old Peter Yu Tae-chol to the seventy-two-year-old Mark Chong, men and women, clergy and laity, rich and poor, ordinary people and nobles-many of them descendants of earlier unsung martyrs-they all gladly died for the sake of Christ," reminds this report that includes "the 'Brief Resume of the Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints' that was presented at the ceremony of their canonization" — Korean martyrs, a perfect example of love for Christ and one’s brothers.

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    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Antonio Vivaldi's "The Nightmare Concerto" Performed by Red Priest


    Red Priest "is the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil." Antonio Vivaldi "was nicknamed il Prete Rosso ('The Red Priest')."

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    Constitutional Coup d'État

    "The Constitution looked fairly good on paper, but it was not a popular document; people were suspicious of it, and suspicious of the enabling legislation that was being erected upon it," begins Albert Jay Nock in this excerpt from 1926 — Liberty vs. the Constitution: The Early Struggle.

    Mr. Nock notes that "the old Articles of Confederation, to which the states had subscribed in good faith as a working agreement, made all due provision for their own amendment; and now these men had ignored these provisions, simply putting the Articles of Confederation in the wastebasket and bringing forth an entirely new document of their own devising."

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    A Voice of Peace and Reason in the House

    Congressman Ron Paul reminds his colleagues that "the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one-trillion-dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran" — Sanctions on Iran Is an Act of War. "The parallels are astonishing," he says, continuing:
      We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These "drones" ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.

      We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq, that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud?
    "The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law," he says. "I urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to turn back from this unnecessary and counterproductive march to war."

    UPDATE: Video of the above — God Bless Ron Paul.

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    Maryknoll Architecture in the North of Korea






    Peter Kim of Totus Tuus posts the above pictures and many more with much information from the time before this peninsula was divided — Catholic Churches in Apostolic Vicariate of Pyonyang (current North Korea). The churches pictures above seem to date from the same era as these built in California — Maryknoll Architecture. (By way of comparison, here's a newer church not far from where I live that has an inculturated "outterior" (as they say in Korea) and tabernacle — 천주교상주 화령성당.)

    For more on the life of the Faith in those times, see these posts from Mr. Kim — Catholic Nuns in Korea, a Century Ago and Separate Seats for Men and Women in the Catholic Church in Korea.

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    Socialism With (un-)American Characteristics

    Christopher Ketcham looks at one "grossly expanding branch of government" — The Real Socialist Threat is the Military. He duly notes that "the bomb-makers and the aircraft and tank and battleship manufacturers and the makers of grenades and rifles and teargas and bullets, and all the ancillaries of the military industrial complex, the 'counterterror' thinktanks and mercenary contractors and intelligence-surveillance-security firms... would not, could not, survive without government contracts, government intervention, government swaddling and succoring and snuggling, and, of course, the perpetual preparation for and making of government-run wars that feed their industries."

    "The imperial war-machine is the great socialist enterprise of our time," he concludes, continuing:
      Indeed, if we want real socialism for actual persons, we should all join the US military: Everything is socialized in the military, the personnel getting socialized medicine and socialized housing and socialized transport and much else (socialized bullets and bombs), the ideal and modus operandi being one of purest collectivism, the training the kind that teaches recognition of hierarchies and obedience in that long chain of command – chain is the operative word – wherein you do what you’re told, you listen to the boss, you don’t question, you don’t fend for yourself, you don’t step out of line. How totally un-American. Thus does the military man, having given up the struggle for self-command and self-reliance, receive diapering and feeding and care, ideally from cradle to grave, never opting to grow up and survive in the rigors of the marketplace. Those filthy pinko-commies in the US Army! Who woulda thunk it!

      It’s astonishing, though, that these same government-trained and -paid personnel so often are to be found griping about the shape and size of the tit that keeps them alive. I have a close relative, for example, who talks the hard-core right-winger line, complaining endlessly about big government and “socialism” – yet he works for the ever-metastasizing State Department. When he calls me a “leftist,” I like to tell him I have never worked for government, never gotten a government paycheck, nor any grant or subsidy from government, nor any loans, never profited from government personally (as opposed, say, to profiting from government roads), never gotten food stamps or welfare or Medicaid or workman’s compensation or unemployment insurance, nor cashed in my Social Security benefits (forced to pay for them in the first place), nor received any other scrap of so-called “wealth redistribution.” What a leftist I must be.

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    End the Entangling Alliance With Korea!

    Doug Bandow argues "the South Koreans would be better served by having a freer hand - without U.S. interference - and the U.S would be better served without a South Korea that may eventually drag them into another war" — Time To Leave Korea.

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    War Clouds Over Persia

    "It is hard to tell whether a major Middle Eastern war is inevitable at this point, but the clouds are getting significantly darker," reports Victor Kotsev — US warms to strike on Iran. "This is a major development, and the next big red line to watch for would be a statement affirming military action coming directly from the US president," the author continues. "If his track record is any indication, when Obama decides to act, he will abandon his reserve and act swiftly and decisively."

    Predictions of just about every one of the past zero attacks on Iran have been reported on this blog. I hope this one is wrong, too. That these past predictions were all made before the most sinister portent of them all, suggested by yours truly a month ago — Are the Attacks on the Pope a Prelude to Attacks on Iran?

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    Tangled Up in Korea

    Joseph Yun Li-sun reports "that the North attacked with a heavy torpedo" based on "intelligence gathered jointly by South Korea and the United States" — For South Korea, a torpedo from the North sank the ship.

    Last night, this blogger denounced President Lee's reaction, or lack thereof, to the North Korean sinking of one of the South's ships — Act of War. I need also to denounce President Obama if Mr. Yun's source is correct; "no formal charges will be made" because "the United States hopes that the North can be brought back to the nuclear disarmament table."

    The source suggests that with "heightened tensions between the two Koreas.... will stop any real inquiry into the sinking." The source clarified, "Washington is still hoping to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table, and an open accusation by Seoul would bury that hope forever."

    So, justice for 46 sailors is sacrificed to pursue the pipe-dream of making progress with a country with whom we have been "negotiating" with since the Clinton administration. Our true policy toward North Korea should be one of benign neglect.

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    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    D. Buxtehude's Alles, was ihr tut mit Worten oder mit Werken Performed by Collegium Cartusianum & Kölner Kammerchor Directed by Peter Neumann




    Continuing with the High Church Lutheranism theme, a cantata that takes as its text starting at the XVIIth verse of the IIIrd chapter of the Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Colossians: "All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

    Incidentally, I first heard the names Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1524-1594) in a most unlikely source: John Steinbeck's non-fiction classic, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, in which bohemian marine biologist Ed Ricketts, the model for the character "Doc" in Cannery Row, cites both composers, along with Johann Sebastian Bach, as exemplars of his philosophy of "Breaking Through."

    More of the great Dane's work can be heard in these previous posts of mine — Dieterich Buxtehude's Alleluja Performed by the Ricercar Consort, Directed by Philippe Pierlot, Dieterich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri Performed by La Venexiana, and Dieterich Buxtehude's Prelude in G Minor Played by Gustav Leonhardt.

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    Act of War

    It's official, almost — S.Korean warship 'hit by N.Korean torpedo'. I learned the truth weeks ago, from an in-law who was part of the rescue effort, but was sworn to secrecy.

    What strikes me as pathetic is that "[t]he assessment was reported to the office of President Lee Myung-Bak and the defence ministry immediately after the ship sank last month." Instead of acting, as Aidan Foster-Carter suggested almost two weeks ago, "[q]uick to deny any North Korean role (while never quite ruling it out), Seoul's spin-doctors set to work," as "the [South Korean] president's Blue House would rather you not think about it, and they've been pretty successful" — The Cheonan cover-up. Mr. Foster-Carter:
      First they focused on the quest to rescue anyone who might have survived - long after it was clear that they couldn't possibly have. It was cruel to keep false hopes alive, but politically it did the trick of distracting the populace for several vital days.

      A second tack, essential to defusing any sense of crisis, was to put out alternative theories. Could the Cheonan have run aground or hit a reef? May its own munitions have exploded? An oldish craft, built in 1989, might it be unseaworthy as some family members suggested?

      Well, maybe. But none of this sounds very convincing. It was getting harder to deny that something had hit the Cheonan, even before the survivors - whose sequestering for nearly two weeks was itself suspicious - confirmed on April 7 that an external blast was to blame.

      But what? Enter the mine hypothesis. An old mine - either the South's or the North's, left over from the Korean War or soon after - may have come adrift and floated into the unfortunate Cheonan's path. Or perhaps been floated? Or maybe not a mine, but a torpedo?
    All this goes to show, suggests Mr. Foster-Carter, that South Korean president "Lee Myung-bak hasn't a clue how to handle the North." He seems to know how to handle his own people, though, on both sides of the DMZ, by allowing the "brother nation" to get away with killing a few dozen sailors to let off some steam.

    Of course, it's not my place pass judgment on the above; as Koreans always plead, "You have to understand the situation." From a Korean standpoint, everything above is probably perfectly reasonable. My question is, why is America pledged to defend a country that does not seem that interested in defending itself?

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    James MacMillian's Christus Vincit Sung by Musica Intima, Directed by John Bolton


    Composer James MacMillan made headlines in 1999 with a speech called "Scotland's Shame" in which he "attacked what he view[ed] as widespread prejudice against Catholics which can be found in the workplace, academia, the media, politics and sport" — Composer attacks 'anti-Catholic bigots'.

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    Goldman Sachs in the Docks

  • "You distract the masses with a villain," says Marc Faber, suggesting "the civil fraud allegations against massive Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs was a smokescreen to divert attention from the financial crisis in the United States" — Claim That Goldman Probes Are Politically Motivated.

  • "Goldman is no guiltier than anyone else," notes Mike Whitney, suggesting "targeting the most hated bank on Wall Street" is "part of a strategy to pass Obama's reform bill or to give him a Teddy Roosevelt-makeover and to boost the Dems' prospects for the upcoming midterms" — Goldman Sachs' Bloody Nose.

  • "If Goldman has become a poster child for excessive power on Wall Street, the SEC might become a poster child for government power run amok," writes Sebastian Mallaby — In SEC vs. Goldman, who's really at fault?
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    Our First Black President?

    "Obama... invented an African-American persona, rather than inheriting one as a product of upbringing," reminds Howard W. French — Dirt off his shoulders: Barack Obama and the question of race. I guess with the general consensus that "race is a social construct" allows Mr. Obama to "pass" for black, but he is in no way rooted the experience of Black America.

    I would have liked our first Black president to have been rooted in that experience, perhaps even surnamed Washington or Jefferson, but would such a candidate have gotten the wide White liberal support that brought Mr. Obama to power? Doubtful. As Mr. French notes, he "impresses whites – winningly – as a black without torment."

    "For all of Barack Obama’s intelligence and charisma, if one could somehow strip race out of his life’s equation, would he have ever made it to the national stage, much less the presidency?" asks Mr. French. "Would we even care about him?"

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    Message From My Democrat, Protestant Mom

      Obama is driving us into the ground and the good old USA is slowly going down the tubes... We will be a third world country soon. I think the Pope is getting shafted and I am beginning to wonder what this big old world is coming too.

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    "Corporal Clegg" Performed by Pink Floyd


    "Clegg is a great name for a Brit opposed to entering a war… keeping in the tradition of the great British rock band Pink Floyd’s antiwar song," says David Bardallis — Why They Hate Clegg. Explains Lew Rockwell, "Not only did Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Britain, oppose British involvement in the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan—and he opposes British involvement in the proposed war on Iran—but he wants a little independence for his country from the empire."

    From later in their career, "the very moving anti-war, pro-family sequence from the[ir] rock opera" — Vera & Bring the Boys Back Home from Pink Floyd's The Wall.

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    America's Permanent, Entangling Alliance With Korea

    "To mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Koran War, a resolution to further strengthen the bilateral alliance between South Korea and the U.S. was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives last week" — US Congress Resolution on the Korean War. Of course, "the resolution got bipartisan support."

    Americans, I'm sure, will be happy to learn that this "relieves Seoul’s worry over national security," one of our most pressing concerns. Americans might also like to know that "the National Assembly in Seoul is doing nothing to express the country’s gratitude for the sacrifices made by countries that sent soldiers to fight in the Korean War, including the U.S."

    Why should one of the world's most prosperous nations have to worry about its own defense, after all, when Uncle Sam has willing to do the dirty work for six decades? As an expatriate who pays taxes to the Korean government, I thank my fellow Americans, who, through their duly elected representatives, have agreed to reduce my tax burden here and pick up the tab themselves. Koreans will not be thanking you. You can rest assured that your sons (and daughters) will remain here within distance of the Dear Leader's artillery and missiles, protecting Koreans from themselves.

    In related news, "Korea and the U.S. have agreed to delay Washington’s transfer of wartime operational command to Seoul that had been scheduled for April 2012" — Korea, US Agree to Delay Command Transfer. Yippee! We'll still be responsible should the Korean War flare up again. Madeleine Albright was right; we're indispensable! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

    You'd think Koreans, famous for their nationalism (and now their wealth), might want to take over defense of their own country. But Koreans are also famous for their intelligence, and they know a good deal when they've got one, and how to keep it going. Here's how they convinced us: "The two countries reportedly agreed to the postponement considering factors such as South Korea’s troop deployment to Afghanistan; U.S. consideration for its ally; Korea’s participation in the U.S. missile defense system; and instability on the Korean Peninsula stemming from the sinking of the Korean naval ship Cheonan."

    South Korea’s troop deployment to Afghanistan was negligible and deployed so as to suffer no danger of casualties (smart of Seoul to support its troops that way); no mention was made of the ally's consideration for the U.S.; the U.S. missile defense system defends South Korea; and how is "instability on the Korean Peninsula" an American, not a Korean problem?

    At least Washington consulted the people about this decsion, albeit not the American people: "The U.S. has also listened to public opinions in Korea on the postponement."

    "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," said our first president — George Washington's Farewell Address. Our third counseled "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none" — Jefferson's First Inaugural Address. "They call upon us to supply American boys to do the job that Asian boys should do," said our thirty-sixth — Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes.

    America has already had troops on this peninsula for more than a quarter of our country's existence. Isn't it time to leave Korea to the Koreans, whether they want their own country or not? Isn't our bankruptcy excuse enough to finally cut and run?

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    Bombed Maria's Peace Pilgrimage


  • A report on the "peace pilgrimage" of a "wooden statue was housed in the Urakami Cathedral, which was the largest Catholic church in East Asia," which "had been built on a site where Christians had for years endured persecution" — Pope Blesses Mary Image That Survived Nagasaki Bomb.

  • "Rome is just the first stop on an international 'peace pilgrimage' by the Archbishop of Nagasaki and the 'Bombed Maria,' which will arrive at the U.N. in time for the start of nuclear non-proliferation talks in May" — 'Bombed Maria' statue blessed by Pope headed to US. The report informs us that "the head of 'Bombed Maria' will eventually be taken to New York City, where it will be placed in St. Patrick's Cathedral... for Mass on May 2, the day before the inauguration of the NPT conference at the U.N."

  • The report informs us that "the archbishop said exhibiting the statue in New York is his attempt 'as the archbishop of a land devastated by nuclear weapons' to add his voice to those around the world calling for disarmament" — Japan: 'Bombed Mary' statue brings home anti-nuclear message. "This is a deeply personal issue for the archbishop, who lost many relatives in the attack on Nagasaki."
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    United in Localism

    Austin Lipari suggests that "both liberals and conservatives see the need to return to a more traditional model of community development" — After Virtue: Localism and the Restoration of Character and Community. "With a return to local towns and communities as the fundamental unit of politics," Mr. Lepari concludes, "perhaps there is a hope for rescuing character and community from the destructive powers of globalization."

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    The New Economy and Empire

    "We can now see that Buchanan was right, and that the promise of the New Economy was a mirage," writes Tom Piatak, a fellow Rust Belt native — Bringing Back the Old Economy. "The decline of American manufacturing is not the natural result of Japan and Germany rebuilding their factories after World War II," explains Mr. Piatak, "but of our decision to allow Japanese and German goods unfettered access to our market."

    I would just add that we offered these countries (and Korea) "unfettered access to our market" in exchange for them allowing us to defend them with our military bases. Part of the deal was also allowing them to close their markets to us and building up their industrial base at American taxpayer expense. Empire, not so much free trade, which never really existed, is to blame for our current mess.

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    Big Pharma and Little Babies

    Evelyn Pringle exposes an "American phenomenon" — The Psychiatric Drugging of Infants and Toddlers. An Australian doctor singles out "pharmaceutical advertising that can feed the natural desire parents of distressed and aggressive children have for a quick solution by suggesting a simple medication fix."

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    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Antonio Vivaldi's Beatus Vir Performed by the Orchestre de l'Académie Baroque Européenne d'Ambronay, Directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini

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    2010: The Year Paul Broke

    The documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke comes to mind reading Jack Hunter's latest piece — The Ron Paul Moment. His analogy to music of the late '80s and early '90s:
      What we might be seeing with Paul, the Republican Party and the mainstream conservative movement is similar to what happened to rock music in the early 1990’s, when the music establishment was still banking on well-established acts like Motley Crue or similar-in-style, newer bands like Warrant, only to see a heavy, underground trio from Seattle called Nirvana come seemingly from nowhere and revolutionize the music industry. Yesterday’s “hair metal” fans and even mainstream pop fans immediately flocked to this newer “alternative” music, which was considered more attractive because it was perceived as being the real thing, as opposed to the same old-same old, popular music of the day, which many began to find stale, manufactured and uninspiring.

      The truth is “alternative music” had developed a mass following under the radar for at least a decade before the mainstream figured out what was happening, where so-called college bands like R.E.M, The Pixies and the Replacements, or heavier acts like Alice in Chains, readied millions of ears for something edgier than what they were hearing on the radio at that time. Similarly, Paul’s conservatism is really nothing new, as the congressman has been peddling his brand of fiscal and constitutionally-focused, Barry Goldwater-style libertarianism under the radar for decades, albeit for a considerably smaller audience than he enjoys today. Now, Paul’s old fashioned conservatism is increasingly seen by many as fresh, attractive and exciting-and not just to his loyal admirers-but to a possible majority of Republican, Tea Party and independent voters, as suggested by recent trends and polling data.

      Of course the media and political establishment do not, and will not, appreciate any emerging Ron Paul revolution, anymore than 80’s heavy metal acts appreciated Nirvana turning the music establishment upside down in the early 90’s. Regardless, trying to stop an idea whose time has come is almost always unsuccessful, and whether or not Ron Paul’s time has truly come remains to be seen. That the mainstream media and establishment will never see him coming, does not.

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    Strange Bedfellows in Support of Israel

    Justin Raimondo reminds us that "the lobby’s most well-known success story is the Christian fundamentalist faction, which believes in the key role played by Israel as a harbinger of the second coming of Christ," and goes on to inform us of the "less well-known triumph of niche marketing [that] is the Israeli propaganda effort directed at the gay community" — The Making of American Foreign Policy.

    "The Israeli government has sponsored ads appearing in San Francisco’s bus shelters extolling the IDF because it doesn’t discriminate against gays, and a recent tour of Israel’s gay hot spots promises a visit with hunky IDF soldiers," Mr. Raimondo explains. "Pat Robertson and the advocates of gay liberation – together at last!"

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    Modernity and Suicide

    "The suicide rate in this prosperous nation of about 50 million people has doubled in the past decade and is now the highest in the industrialized world" — As modern social expectations press in, suicide rampant in South Korea. "Before South Korea got rich, wired, and worried, its suicide rate was among the lowest in the industrialized world."

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    J.S. Bach's Ich ruf' zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ Performed by Paik Kun-woo


    News that the maestro "will help spread the classical music scene" to my wife's hometown, which "is not a classical music hotspot in Korea" — Paik Kun-woo Brings Classics to Ulsan.

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    Michael Novak, Christian über-Zionist

    "The most dreadful war of all time is just ahead of us, is already well begun," says the neocon, quoted and debunked by Daniel Larison — Un-Christian Delusions. Mr. Novak continues, "Many of us want to save the Christian Holy Places, and Israel, too–our best ally in the world, the creator of the most economically creative and democratic society in its region."

    Click on the link for the rest of the delusional statement, for Mr. Larison's dismantling of "the absurd fantasy of the Iranian destruction of the Holy Places," and for one more reason why I gave up reading First Things years ago.

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    Senator Graham Outed?

    "I personally do not care about Graham’s private life, but in this situation his desire to keep this a secret may explain why he is doing a lot of political dirty work," says William Gheen — Lindsey Graham is a homosexual? "Senator Graham needs to come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

    Now that I think about it, there was always something that struck me as queer about that fellow. Like Mr. Gheen, "I personally do not care about Graham’s private life." I'd vote for a practicing homosexual if he took the right stands on the issues in a minute, like the one who ran against the horrendous Nancy Pelosi a few years ago. But having secrets that can be held against you is dangerous for a politician and evenm more so for his constituency, which is what the Monica Lewinski case was all about.

    It was either Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson who advised never to do anything that you would not feel comfortable about being reported as a headline in the newspaper.

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    History Repeats

    "In 1937 propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels organized a campaign to discredit the Catholic Church after Pope Pius XII severely criticised the Nazi regime," reports Massimo Introvigne — How the Nazis engineered a paedophile priests scare.

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    Medea Benjamin Goes to a Tea Party...

    and lives to tell about it — Tea and Empire. Depressingly, the Code Pink foundress found that "the hawks--many of whom were retired military or have close family in the military--outweighed the doves," that "most... were not disturbed by our statistic that every taxpayer had already paid over $7,000 for the wars," and that "when it came to Israel, 80 percent wanted to keep up our $3 billion in aid."

    On the bright side, she reports that "the non-interventionists said we could join forces on the broader issue of our military footprint overseas." She writes:
      Cong. Ron Paul's message of cutting the welfare/warfare state has attracted an enthusiastic following within the Tea Party. While progressives are turned off by his call for ending all kinds of domestic social programs, his anti-war/anti-empire message and consistent votes against war funding is a refreshing turn from liberal Democrats who decry war but always vote to fund it.

      At the Tea Party Tax Day gathering, Cong. Ron Paul was one of the last to take the stage at the evening rally. He began by chastising liberals for their social spending, and then took on the conservatives for wanting to be the policemen of the world. "We're stretched too far with all this government spending overseas," he said to fans who had waited all day to hear him. "We should just mind our own business."

      New York Times/CBS Tea Party poll showed Ron Paul lagging far behind the popularity of hawkish Sarah Palin (only 28 percent had a favorable opinion of Paul, 15 percent unfavorable, and a surprising 56 percent said they hadn't heard enough about him). But Paul won the presidential straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and in a time of soaring deficits, his anti-empire message may be catching on.

      He certainly seems to have influenced Tea Party darling Glenn Beck. The day after tax day, Beck announced that he was ready to take on his own sacred cow--national security --and that he was moving more and more towards a Ron Paul position.

      It was shocking to hear the right-wing Beck talk about out-of-control military spending.

      "I'm tired of being the world's policeman," he groused, complaining about the decades we have been in Germany, Japan and the Korean Peninsula. "We need to have a 'no loitering' policy."
    "As the Tea Party totters precariously between empire and republic, the fragile threads that are holding it together will fall apart on the rocky shoals of foreign shores," she concludes. "Maybe then, Libertarians and social progressives can make common cause against expansive--and expensive--empire."

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.