Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Arvo Pärt's Fratres Performed by Vadim Repin and Nikolai Lugansky

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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Responds to Kartik Athreya

"Dr. Kartik Athreya of the Federal Reserve wrote a paper excoriating all those who blog on economic matters, but who lack Ph.D.’s in it, as 'chronically stupid' and 'a threat to public order'" which is responded to by "Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who does not have a Ph.D. in economics, remind[ing] us of the many things which Ph.D.-bearing individuals in economics did to bring us this current point" — The arrogance of the Fed. An excerpt from the latter's article:
    Economics should never be treated as a science. Its claims are not falsifiable, which is why economists can disagree so violently among themselves: a rarer spectacle in science, where disputes are usually resolved one way or another by hard data.

    It is a branch of anthropology and psychology, a moral discipline if you like. Anybody who loses sight of this is a public nuisance, starting with Dr Athreya.

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Them Russky Spies

"Why arrest spies now and, in particular, why Russian spies?" asks Conservative Heritage Times in a brief but excellent analysis of what's really going on — The Obama Regime’s “Russian Spy” Distraction. It may well be "a desperate act to try to save a failing presidency" and "because Russia is a white, Christian nation, a natural ally." (To be fair, the whiter President Bush and his neocons did their share to alienate the Russians as well.)

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Exorcisms

Father Thomas J. Euteneuer offers "a list of the possible scenarios an exorcist may encounter in trying to liberate people from demons," which "explain[s] the varying degrees of time and effort required to expel demons in different situations" — Seven Degrees of Demonic Persecution.

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More From Cheju, Korea's "Island of Peace"

Paul Hwang reports on "the Church’s protest movement against the naval base, which began a few years ago when the plan was announced" — Objections grow to Korean naval base.

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John McWhorter Pans Robert McCrum

"If you really take in the awesome variety among the world’s languages – ones with only three verbs, ones with almost two hundred sounds, ones with only eight, ones where one word covers what we need a sentence for, ones where the basic word order is object-verb-subject, ones where there really are more exceptions than rules, ones with a hundred genders, and so on – then the idea that there is anything especially anything about little English becomes as hopeless as rhapsodizing over the aptness and universality of a squirrel" — Is English Special Because It's "Globish"?

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Indian Atheist Defends Crucifix in Italian Schools

Lenin Raghuvanshi says, "Human rights and democracy do not exist in a vacuum, in a value-neutral space" — For atheist human rights activist, crucifix in Italian classrooms not against secularism. "Denying the identity, culture and history of a society is a violation of secularism and human rights," said the recipient of the 2010 City of Weimar Human Rights Prize. "The crucifix in Italian classrooms is not a tradition that goes against the values of secularism."

The Indian activist went on to say, "A secular education means learning from history and logic. Jesus Christ brought peace, reconciliation, non-violence and justice in the world. It is important that children study this historical personality." He stressed that the "ethical views that are the basis of a culture... cannot be separated from that culture without destroy it."

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The Need for Real Health Care Reform

A post from yesterday — Ivan Illich and Thomas Fleming on Health Care — comes to mind reading this report today that "Americans increasingly are treated to death, spending more time in hospitals in their final days, trying last-ditch treatments that often buy only weeks of time, and racking up bills that have made medical care a leading cause of bankruptcies" — Americans are treated, and overtreated, to death.

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J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 1 Performed by Le Concert Français, Directed by Pierre Hantaï

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Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart Narrated by Jack Celli, Accompanied on Piano by Mark Marquis




Used in class today, to good effect I might add.

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¿Cómo se dice fútbol en guaraní?

You wouldn't have guessed this from last night's incredibly boring Paraguay-Japan game — L’Osservatore Romano suggests soccer was invented by Paraguayan Indians. The article acknowledges that "many British soccer enthusiasts would be quick to dispute such a claim."

"They often played with a ball that, although it was made completely of rubber, was so light and quick that instead of them hitting it, it bounced around without stopping, driven by its own weight," wrote a Spanish Jesuit in 1793. "They did not throw the ball with their hands like we do, but rather they kicked it with the upper part of their bare feet, passing it and trapping it with great agility and precision."

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"It's All About the Children!"

The latest call rallying the troops against the Church is mentioned by a commenter to ex-Catholic (and anti-Catholic?) Rod Dreher's post justifying the events in Belgium — Why Belgian police raided the Church — decried in these stories, linked to by New Oxford Review:On our shores, "The US Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal by the Vatican for immunity in a high-profile pedophilia cased" — Setback for Vatican in key US pedophilia case. This lawyer "wants to put the Pope on trial and [whom] the Supreme Court just gave... the go ahead to sue the Vatican," Terry Nelson of Abbey Roads reminds us, "has long been condemned for his anti-Catholic lawsuits to bring down the Church and enrich himself in the process" — Peter in chains.

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Limited Government

  • Along with "individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, free-market economy, and the moral norms of Western civilization," it constitutes one of the "six core principles on which America was founded" — Back to First Principles: Limited Government. "The rightful functions of government are to guarantee individual liberty, private property, internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice. When the state exceeds this proper role, it accumulates power and becomes a threat to personal liberty."

  • "What is the legitimate role of government in a free society?" is the question answered by Dr. Walter E. Williams in this lecture in which he "not only examines the limited government established in the Constitution but also explores how and why government continues to grow, despite what the Founders intended" — The Role of Government in a Free Society.
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    Some Second World War Revisionism

  • "The British and French guarantees to Poland were among the gravest diplomatic mistakes (and among the most dishonourable false promises) ever made by either country," writes Peter Hitchens — The History Boys. "I think Patrick Buchanan's 'Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War' ... shows beyond doubt that the conventional narrative of World War Two is simply unsustainable in the light of modern knowledge," he later says. "Its poor reception arose partly out of the fact that, like all courageous history, it upset so many academic and political vested interests."

  • "When Roosevelt heard of the attack, he was surprised, but several witnesses reported that he actually seemed relieved at the news – at least until he learned the extent of the disaster," Bettina Bien Greaves says of Pearl Harbor, which launched "a war the president had secretly pursued while publicly promising to avoid" — Japan's Gift to FDR. "The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor made war inevitable," she writes. "But the attack was not Roosevelt's reason for going to war. It was his excuse."

  • Eric Margolis visits "[w]here, in February, 1945, US President Franklin Roosevelt, Britain’s Winston Churchill, and Soviet ruler Josef Stalin met to decide postwar Europe’s future" — Yalta: The Great Betrayal. "In modern history’s greatest betrayal, the Allied war leaders handed half of Europe to Soviet rule, betraying tens of millions of its people to the gulag, dictatorship, and confiscation of all their property."
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    Johann Sebastian Bach's "Goldberg Variations" Performed by Glenn Gould


    On occasion of a second night of work-fueled insomnia (not even the Paraguay-Japan game has managed to put me to sleep), the Goldberg Variations, composed for a "former Russian ambassador to the electoral court of Saxony" who "was often ill and had sleepless nights" and requested of the composer "some clavier pieces... which should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights." For purists, the original instrumentation (the piano had not yet been invented in 1741) — Pierre Hantaï Perfoms J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations.

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    From Jazz to Rock

    Thomas C. Reeves ponders the "drifting away from America's only original contribution to Western music" and "the cultural revolution of what has been called the 'Dreadful Decade', 1965-75, [that] cemented public taste to rock" — Farewell to all that jazz. "The important and rarely asked question is: was the move from jazz to rock inevitable?"

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    Cheju to Be Korea's Okinawa?

    "The use of Jeju for bellicose purposes has long seemed counter-intuitive to its inhabitants," informs Matthew Reiss in his report that "residents of one tiny fishing village [have] announced they would fight the administration 'to the death' before allowing their island paradise to be turned into another Okinawa, where more than half the 47,000 American troops stationed in Japan are based" — Jeju islanders want love, not war.

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    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    William Byrd's Galliard No.6 Performed by Glenn Gould

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    Presidential Calls to Prayer

    Sorry, John-Henry Westen, I'm not sure I can join your lament — Mr. President, With all the Crises, Where's the Call to Prayer?

    "It would seem that with the devastating, still unresolved Gulf oil spill crisis, the real possibility of Western military defeat in Afghanistan, the powderkeg situation in the Middle East, and the World economic crisis, the President of the United States would urge Americans to special prayer for the protection of America and for peace and stability in the world," Mr. Westen writes, lamenting that "unlike many of his predecessors, and especially unlike his immediate predecessor, President Obama has not indicated he sees any value in appealing to God for special help regarding these dangers."

    Mr. Westen mentions that "President George W. Bush, despite his flaws, called the nation to prayer after 9-11." That night (it was night here in Korea), I offered some of the most heart-felt prayers of my life, without needing the President to tell me to do so.

    I see little harm in having presidential calls to prayer, unlike militant secularist whiners who see them as the establishment of a theocracy à la The Handmaid's Tale (an entertaining but utterly implausible novel). Of course, there is potential for much good in having presidential calls to prayer, but not having them beats fake religiosity or attempts to score cheap political points.

    "America is a nation with the soul of a church," said G. K. Chesterton, which I see not as a compliment but as a recognition of a tendency toward a certain idolatry on our part.

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    Mrs. Clinton Announces Permanent Alliance With South Korea

    "We will stand with you in this difficult hour and we will stand with you always," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently in Seoul, prompting Doug Bandow to ask, "Always? Whatever for?" — How Much Longer?

    Such talk must would have horrified the Father of Our Country, who wrote, "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world" — George Washington's Farewell Address. I hope Madame Secretary didn't get any ideas misreading this article by yours truly — America's Permanent, Entangling Alliance With Korea.

    As a resident of Korea, having her interests at heart, I cannot help but be disturbed by Mr. Bandow's suggestion that she is following in the mistaken footsteps of her imperial protector: "Unfortunately, Seoul appears to have begun shifting its gaze to regional and international military missions, leaving it more vulnerable at home."

    [link via The Marmot's Hole]

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    Empire or Us?

    "I firmly believe that there is enough waste in the military budget that we can both save money overall and at the same time be safer," says Congressman Ron Paul, noting "the obvious way to save money and be safer is to stop meddling in the affairs of foreign countries and just bring our troops home" — Military Spending Must Be on the Table.

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    The Return of Friedrich Hayek

    "With the failure of Keynesian stimulus, the late Austrian economist’s ideas on state power and crony capitalism are getting a new hearing," writes Russ Roberts of George Mason University, quoted by Karen De Coster — Austrian Economics in the WSJ … Again.

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    Ivan Illich and Thomas Fleming on Health Care

    The New Beginning connects the dots — Ivan Illich on the Right to Health Care. "For over a century now it has become customary to speak about the 'conservation of life' as the ultimate motive of human action and social organization," said the former, as the latter "demand[s] certain liberties for those who would celebrate living rather than preserve 'life.'"

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    Local Gun Control Overturned

    The American Conservative's Matt Cockerill, on "landmark Supreme Court decision [that] strikes down Chicago’s handgun ban," suggests that "a justice more strictly devoted to the Constitution’s original design, before the rise of the incorporation doctrine, would have had to acquiesce to arbitrary and immoral handgun confiscations carried out by state and local governments" — Shooting the Constitution?

    "So should paleoconservatives and libertarians welcome the ruling?" he asks. "It depends whether one prioritizes individual liberty or the Constitution. Most of the time, these principles don’t conflict. But cases like today’s remind us they’re not inextricably bound." This blogger joins the dissenters on the grounds of localism, decentralism, and constitutionalism.

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    Senator Robert Byrd, Rest in Peace

  • "Although he might have been the typical 'pork barreling politician,'" writes Conservative Heritage Times, "at least he tried to put the people of his own state first" — Senator Robert Byrd, RIP. Remembered is the man who "has been right on a number of issues;" who "filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964," who "along wtih Strom Thurmond, voted against the Immigration Act of 1965 (possibly the worst piece of legislation in American history)," and who "voted against the Iraq War."

  • Vox Nova posts video of the the late senator's magnificent speech on the last occasion — Robert Byrd’s finest hour. A conservative blog for peace has more — RIP Robert Byrd.
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    Monday, June 28, 2010

    W.A. Mozart's Nel Grave Tormento Performed by Patricia Petibon and Wiener Philharmoniker, Directed by Daniel Harding


    Above, something to watch before or after listening to this — Sir John Tavener on Mozart.

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    Department of Injustice

    Rising in opposition to H. Res. 1422, honoring the 140th anniversary of the Department of Justice, Congressman Ron Paul said to his collegues, "I voted against this resolution because of the Justice Department’s history of violating individual rights" — Justice Department’s History Not Worth Celebrating. "Instead of honoring the Justice Department, Congress should begin to repeal unconstitutional laws and start exercising congressional oversight of executive branch agencies that menace our freedoms."

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    Mr. Obama's Wars

    Justin Raimondo says that the American preisdent "is committed to prosecuting the war in Afghanistan and now Pakistan on a scale that even the nuttiest neocons never dared suggest, a 'nation-building' project that is nothing less than the construction of a US colony, or satrapy, from scratch" — Colonialism, Obama-Style.

    "This idea that the Obama-ites are really peaceniks in disguise, who have to hide their 'true' beliefs in order to pass electoral muster, is a myth woven by Fox News and the neocon Right: he and his Pentagon are no such thing," Mr. Raomondo writes. "Indeed, they are even more serious – albeit not as visibly enthusiastic – about projecting American military power globally than their predecessors in the White House."

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    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Wolfgang Seifen's Missa Solemnis, Tu Es Petrus, Humboldts Studentische Philharmonie & Humboldts Philharmonischer Chor, Constantin Alex

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    When High School Evangelizes Better Than Your Local Parish

    "I thought Catholicism was literally a joke of a religion until I got to my European history class at my public high school," writes Hoanyeon, continuing to say that "in that history class, I saw that here is a Church that actually did stuff, good and bad, instead of doing absolutely nothing singing Kumbaya and playing degenerate music from guitars for one or two hours on a Sunday" — Fr. Robert Barron on Dumbed Down Catholicism.

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    Hey, Mothers and Fathers!

    "When your first child is born, your life stops being about what you want and starts being about what they need," says Joe Carter, quoted by Rod Dreher — He's begging: stay together for the kids.

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    Post-Confucian China

    "Decades ago, the idea that China's eldest residents would be put in the care of non-family members was laughable — impossible" — Double-whammy: Aging China has fewer children to care for it. "In China's tradition-ruled society, parents and grandparents have always depended on their children, grandchildren or in-laws to care for them in their old age." Times have changed:
      Largely due to government policies, birthrates have been falling for the past few decades. At the same time, the explosion of China's middle class has produced millions of upwardly mobile, two career families that are more than willing to move about the country or even abroad for their jobs.

      Xu Anqi, a professor and the deputy director of the Center of Family Research at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said China's birthrate has been falling for 16 years. Though it's hard to pinpoint the cause, many point to population control policies that date back to the days when China was barely able to feed itself.

      In the 1950s and 1960s, the government tried promoting contraception, and then encouraged later marriages and longer waits between children. In 1979, China grew desperate and resorted to what's known today as the One Child Policy. Under this policy, urban couples are limited to one child, while farmers and rural couples are limited to two.

      The policy worked. From 1960 to 1980, China's fertility rate fell from six children per woman to two — the most rapid decline in fertility ever recorded.

      It was a win for the government, but many Chinese consider it the loss of a tradition.

      "Families traditionally used to having many siblings around to take care of older residents suddenly find themselves faced with a problem," Xu Anqi said. "All the pressure is on one child to take care of his parent and grandparents and spouse's parents. It's too much for just one person."

      Researchers have dubbed it the "1-2-4 problem" — one child taking care of two parents and four grandparents.

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    The Kim Dynasty

    "We are now faced with the sacred revolutionary tasks to develop the WPK . . . into an eternal glorious party of Kim Il-sung and further increase its militant function and role to glorify the country as a great prosperous and powerful socialist nation," read a Workers' Party of Korea statment — North Korea soon to have new leader.

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    J.S. Bach's Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott Performed by Münchener Bach-Chor Münchener and Bach-Orchester, Directed by Hanns-Martin Schneidt

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    Homosexuality Is a Disorder, Not an Identity

    "A Lutheran pastor ardently critical of allowing gays into the clergy is on leave from his Minneapolis church after a gay magazine reported his attendance at a support group for men struggling with same-sex attraction" — Minn. pastor likely to keep job despite gay report.

    "The fact that he said one thing publicly, and privately he's a homosexual — that's somewhat inconsistent," said the magazine's president. "This company has a policy not to out people. The one exception is a public figure who says one thing and does another."

    But what did he do? A fellow pastor noted that when asked about the article he "simply said he indeed has been attending this Christian group, both going there and being honest about temptations he has, and is being held accountable so he never would do anything with that temptation." The "Christian group" in question is "Faith in Action, ... the Minnesota affiliate of the Catholic Church's Courage program, described on its website as a 'spiritual support system which would assist men and women with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love.'"

    "I think anybody who appreciates confidential support groups would just be aghast at what they did," said administrator Father James Livingston said. "It's one thing to be opposed politically to someone; it's another thing to worm your way into a group like that and expose the secrets of the group."

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    American Drones

    "The newest American form of war, drones, captures perfectly a larger detachment from the wars the United States fights," writes Tom Engelhardt — Truly detached from war. "This is not just the separation by thousands of kilometers of pilots from the battlefields on which they shoot their missiles, but the very detachment of the American public from the conflicts they send their army (and a vast corps of for-profit private contractors) out to fight."

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    There's Lithium in Them Thar Hills!

    Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould notes that "the Obama administration dredges up a new reason for staying in Afghanistan past the 2011 deadline" — Afghanistan, the Saudi Arabia of Lithium? I'm doubtful, given country's violent history.

    Steve Sailer noted that "that El Paso has long been famous for an anomalously low crime rate," quoting a four-decade-old study finding that "El Paso's water is heavily laced with lithium" — El Paso's low crime rate.

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    Faith and Hope

    John Choi reports that the "sharp rise in suicides in Korea has sparked a call for religions to take a leading role in preventing people killing themselves by teaching the dignity of life and offering spiritual aid to their faithful" — Korean faiths take aim at rising suicide rate.

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    Pornography and the Crisis of Masculinity

    Mentioning "the growing problem of younger men, college students, who are incapable of relating to females," Catholic psychotherapist Peter Kleponis argues that "pornography use contributes to overreacting in anger as men lose a sense of refinement and true manly confidence in how to relate to a woman" — What to Do About Pornography (Part 2).

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    Syro-Malabar Church vs. Surrogacy

    "An Oriental-rite Catholic Church in Kerala, southern India, says it plans to try and torpedo an upcoming bill to legalize surrogacy in India, which it says will destabilize a family system already struggling 'under Western influence'" — Kerala Church looks to scupper surrogacy bill.

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    Libelles et Liberté

    Robert Cushman informs us "that 18th-century French publishing had a well-known category, libelles, which covered many books that delighted newly literate readers by undermining the authority of the monarchy and the Church" — French dissing, the scandalous literature that liberated a country. The author exposes the myth that "that modern freedom was won by high-minded altruists devoted to human progress" suggesting "that much of the vast terrain on which literature and politics stand was in fact cleared by some dubious characters publishing books that no one, even the authors, considered respectable."

    "Libelles helped create the demand for liberty [sic]... [and] were a major factor in the monarchy’s collapse," the author writes. "In the 18th century, libel was a French industry."

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    "Confessions of a Fake Businessman From Beijing"

    Mitch Moxley on how he "became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here" — Rent a White Guy. "Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave," he writes. "My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: 'Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.'"

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    Sign of The Times

    Rod Dreher reports, "The great libertarian thinker Charles Murray was paid $75 for an NYT op-ed piece" — Going broke as an op-ed writer.

    I was paid twice that for each of these articles for my university-employer's newspaper — Learn the “Scientific Alphabet” While in Korea and Tasan, 19th Century Korea’s Confucian Classical Liberal. Everything else I've written was for free, except my chapter of Ron Paul: A Life of Ideas.

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    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Africa Addio


    Above, "a scene showing captured slave traders (on the Red Sea Coast) and their torture devices, which deformed Baduku beggar children" — The Mondo Cane Collection. The manufacture of deformed beggar children is a profitable enterprise in some parts of our fallen world.

    The above is from Mondo pazzo (1963), a documentary series started with Mondo cane (1962) and continued with La donna nel mondo (1963), Adios Africa (1966), and others, which I stumbled across today at a local bookseller for under five bucks a piece. Instead, for the same price, I picked up the familiar Triumph of the Will (1935) and Animal Farm (1954). I'm deliberating about whether or not to return.

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    Antonio Vivaldi's In Furore Iustissimae Irae Performed by Hyun-Soo Seok, Camerata Antiqua Seoul, Directed by Winfried Toll

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    Mr. Truman's War

    "By invading Korea without consent of Congress, he brought us to this moment," says Justin Raimondo on today's "sixtieth anniversary of the war that never ended" — Why I Hate Harry Truman.

    "Truman... simply ignored Congress and went ahead and made war on the North Koreans," he writes. "The Constitution, by this time, had become a mere parchment: this relegated it to the attic, finally, where it has lain ever since."

    "As we sink in the mud of yet another quagmire, this time in the wilds of Central Asia, let us remember how we got here, and who brought us to this moment," he concludes. "Let us remember, and curse their names."

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    Two Approaches to Combating Pornography

  • Radical feminist Robert Jensen frames his "critique [of] men’s sexual exploitation of women in pornography" with "arguments rooted in a larger radical feminist critique of a patriarchal system that routinely socializes men to pursue dominance and conquest through aggression and violence" — Pornography and the Military. I'm not sure how well his "feminist case against pornography" with its "analysis of masculinity and violence" went over well with the marines he was speaking to at the "Heroes and Healthy Families" conference.

  • Catholic psychotherapist Peter Kleponis, in contrast, "encourage[s] husbands to respond to their vocational calling to be the strong leaders and protectors of their wives and children," arguing that "pornography... turns a man in upon himself, thereby damaging his calling as a man to be a protector and a mature giver, another Christ to his wife and children" and that "[h]e loses his sense of healthy masculinity and fulfillment as a husband and as a father," as "[p]ornography weakens men in every way and harms their ability to lead" — What to Do About Pornography (Part 1). I'm not sure if his message that "as men we are called to be leaders, providers and protectors, of our families, parishes and society" would be allowed at the "Heroes and Healthy Families" conference by today's Marine Corps brass.
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    Conserving Conservatism

    "It’s really too bad that so many wimps are running away from the word 'conservative,'" writes John Wilson, offering this definition of the term" "The opposite of 'conservative,' in fact, has never been 'liberal'; it has always been ideology" — Why I am a Conservative.

    "If you love place, limits, liberty, and think they are words that have meaning, you are probably conservative, and should honor that word also," says the author. "If you waffle, and want to be cosmopolitan and sophisticated and make up your own names and categories, you probably want to live in a world dominated by what Walter Lippmann called in 1938, the 'dominant dogma of the age,' that government has the ability to make us happy."

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    Louis Armstrong and Transcendence

    "At the heart of my confession, therefore, is the hunch that with beings such as Mozart we are forced to speculate about transcendence, and this makes us very uncomfortable," said Saul Bellow, quoted by The American Conservative's Scott Galupo, who then quotes Murray Horwitz as calling the opening of Louis Armstrong - West End Blues 1928 "maybe the most important 15 seconds in all of American music" — King Louis and All That Jazz.

    Not mentioned is the jazzman's audience with Venerable Pope Pius XII, or more properly the pope's audience with the jazzman, as it was the pontiff, a fan as a boy, who requested the meeting.

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    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Claudio Monteverdi's Domine ad Adiuvandum Me Festina from His "Vespers of 1610" Performed by Cantar Lontano, Directed by Marco Mencoboni


    Above, the opening to what this blogger beleives to be the greatest work of music in human history, Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610, in honor of some Church events that took place in the same year:

  • Tea at Trainon reminds us of an important event for English-speaking Catholics — Douay-Rheims, 400th anniversary. Note that the Catholic translation was published a year before the Authorized King James Version.

  • On the missionary fronts, the year also saw the passing of the missionary to China — The CDth Anniversary of This Blog's Namesake's Death — and also important events in the New World — Canada: 400th anniversary celebrations of first aboriginal baptism.
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    McChrystal Round-up

  • "The McChrystal goes rogue/McChrystal gets fired story is yet one more classic Pentagon non-event magnified to dementia," suggests Pepe Escobar — Mistah McChrystal - he dead. "It's been a long time since the immense, absurdly expensive, the-road-goes-on-forever American war obsession bore any relation whatsoever to politics and reality."

  • "Whether McChrystal’s assessment was correct is not the point: it is the threat to the war racket of having insiders purporting to address the reality of war that so disturbs the state," writes Butler Schaffer — Making It McChrystal Clear. "Gen. McChrystal has discovered what so many others before him learned – from Socrates to Thomas More to Gen. Smedley Butler to Sophie Scholl to Daniel Ellsberg to Seymour Hersh to untold governmental 'whistleblowers' – even, more recently to Helen Thomas – that it is dangerous to speak truth not to power, but to ordinary people."

  • "Whatever the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan, the U.S. war effort will continue its carnage and futility," says Normon Solomon — From Great Man to Great Screwup: Behind the McChrystal Uproar. Noting that "the most profound aspects of Rolling Stone‘s article 'The Runaway General' have little to do with the general, Mr. Solomon contines, "The takeaway is — or should be — that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is an insoluble disaster, while the military rationales that propel it are insatiable."

  • While "Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff were guilty of colossal stupidity" and "President Obama had cause to cashier them," the latter's "decision to fire McChrystal may prove both unwise and costly," argues Pat Buchanan — Obama vs. the U.S. Army. "Had Obama, instead of firing McChrystal, told him to shut up, can the interviews and go back to fighting the war until the December review of strategy, he could have shown those soldiers he is a bigger man than they or McChrystal’s team give him credit for."

  • "Now that the McChrystal side-show is over, it's time for Congress and mainstream media to focus on the main event: the deteriorating war in Afghanistan," writes Tom Andrews — Three Things You Missed in Rolling Stone's McChrystal Profile.

  • "Despite President Barack Obama's denial that his decision to fire Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander in Afghanistan and replace him with Gen. David Petraeus signified any differences with McChrystal over war strategy, the decision obviously reflects a desire by Obama to find a way out of a deepening policy crisis in Afghanistan," begins Gareth Porter — Why McChrystal Did Obama a Big Favor.
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    The Court of the Gentiles and the Evangelization of Atheists

    Pope Ratzinger hopes "to open a systematic dialogue with the men who are farthest from God, so that they may approach him 'at least as Unknown,'" reports Sandro Magizter — The First "Court" of Believers and Atheists Will Open in Paris. Heading the initiative is Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, who said, "This path can even lead to the question of the Unknown, the 'Àgnostos Theòs,' the unknown God, to whom Saint Paul referred in his famous speech in the Areopagus of Athens, recalled in the passage from Benedict XVI that we cited at the outset."

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    George Dyson's Magnificat in D and Nunc Dimittis in D Performed by the King's College Choir




    George Dyson is the father of Freeman Dyson, subject of the post immediately below this one — Freethinking Physicist. His compositions have been described as "skilful, sometimes deeply felt, but never forward-looking in idiom." Said fellow Anglican C. S. Lewis, "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

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    Freethinking Physicist

    The foreword of the book mentioned in an earlier post, Abiogenic Oil, was written by Freeman Dyson, "a British-American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, and nuclear engineering," whom I first came to know of for saying "all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated" — Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society.

    "In Princeton I am Presbyterian, but in England I am Catholic because I go to Mass with my sister," he said in his 2000 Templeton Prize acceptance speech — Progress in Religion. "Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here."

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    The Dear Coach

    The North Korean dictator "gives regular tactical advice during matches using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye," which "were invented by Kim Jong-il himself" according to the country's coach — Kim Jong-il Blamed for N.Korea's Foolish World Cup Tactics.

    "The invisible-mobile-phone part may be silly, but it's probably true that Kim Jong-il's orders are delivered to the coach," said a South Korean official. The result — Portugal 7-0 North Korea.

    However, according to the report, "It appears that North Korea had high hopes of the game, which it broadcast live for the first time in its history." Said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University, "The North Korean leadership seems to have wanted to consolidate its hold and look for ways to turn the tables through a victory in the World Cup as it is struggling both economically and diplomatically."

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    Brave New India

    "This law radically changes our society and the structure of the family and its values," said Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, C.SS.R., Syro-Malabar archbishop of Ernakulam–Angamaly in Kerala of this news reported by Nirmala Carvalho — Indian law to legalise uterus rental, making children genetically orphans. His Eminence continued, "A child that develops over a nine-month period may no longer have a biological tie under the law with the mother."

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    Is War Good for the Economy?

    "Basic economics answers a resounding 'no,'" says David R. Henderson taking apart one of the most common fallacies those in power want us to believe — War Makes Us Poor. Referenced is Frédéric Bastiat and his parable, which Henry Hazlitt retells here — The Broken Window Fallacy.

    Of course, this comes from a free market perspective. War may be bad for free economies, but it may be quite good for socialist and corporatist economies in their various forms, something peace-minded folks on the left might reflect upon. "War is the health of the state," wrote Randolph Bourne.

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    Abiogenic Oil

    Lew Rockwell writes, "Forget all the protectionist, anti-Arab, environmentalist propaganda against the fuel of industrial civilization, petroleumForget all the protectionist, anti-Arab, environmentalist propaganda against the fuel of industrial civilization, petroleum" — The Truth About Oil. Mr Rockwell continues:
      Oil is not formed from rotting dinos, and therefore limited. It’s not a “fossil fuel.” The earth produces oil from natural processes deep in our planet. Oil—and natural gas—are constantly being replenished. They represent real renewable energy, unlike, for example, those eery, ear-blasting wind turbine farms. To understand what the regime doesn’t want you to know, read Thomas Gold’s The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels.

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    Drink More Coffee

    "From lowered cancer risks to a sharper memory, more studies are showing that coffee is good for you" — Coffee's Mysterious Benefits Mount.

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    The Sage of Kentucky and the University of Kentuky

    "The University's president and board have solemnized an alliance with the coal industry, in return for a large monetary 'gift,' granting to the benefactors, in effect, a co-sponsorship of the University's basketball team," he wrote in a typewritten letter, quoted in this report sent by a reader — Wendell Berry pulling his personal papers from UK. The sage added, "That — added to the 'Top 20' project and the president's exclusive 'focus' on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — puts an end to my willingness to be associated in any way officially with the University."

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    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Johann Kuhnau's Magnificat in C Major Performed by the Amsterdam Baroque Ensemble, Directed by Ton Koopman

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    Tide Turning in Afghanistan?

    "When [General McChrystal] visited troops on the front lines, to the extend that such things exist in an anti-guerrilla war, and gave them usual pep-BS talk," reports Lew Rockwell, "they responded by staring at him expressionless" — The Best News Out of the McChrystal Interview. "When he left, not one man cheered or even applauded," Mr. Rockwell continues. "The US war on Vietnam, and its 4-6 million deaths on the other side, ended when the troops began to say No. Could that be happening again?"

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    Dastgah Shur Performed by Lloyd Miller and Azar Hashemi


    Dr. Lloyd Miller "is an American musician who is well known for his research work on Persian music" and "is also known as Kurosh Ali Khan, a name he used while hosting a prime-time television show in Tehran, Iran in the 1970s... known as Kurosh Ali Khan va Dustan, or Kurosh Ali Khan and Friends, a variety show with music."

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    War on Iran (and World War III) This Summer?

    Maurizio d'Orlando reports that "12 US warships transited through the Suez Canal a few days ago" — US military pressure increasing in the Persian Gulf. This in addition to the "387 bunker buster bombs... shipped to the US base in Diego Garcia" and the "three naval squadrons with fighter planes... in position in the region, plus planes deployed at the US airbase at Diego Garcia," means that "[p]reparations thus are complete for a possible attack against sites where, according to the United States and Israel, Iran is building its first nuclear bomb." Mr. d'Orlando suggests, "If war does break out, the best period would be the end of July and early August."

    "The main factors behind the timing of this political-military crisis are economic in nature," Mr. d'Orlando suggests, noting that "it is already clear that Obama’s 'economic stimulus', as advised by Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman, has not only failed to increase employment, but that it has, through higher government spending, punched a huge hole in the US federal deficit, certainly more than 10 per cent of the GDP."

    "In order to hide the economic and social fiasco (with real unemployment at 22 per cent of the active workforce)," the author continues, "a foreign threat and a military and political emergency are needed, but they must come before tax and employment data are released in order to achieve a minimum degree of credibility and be picked up by big information media." Noting that "Iran’s governing regime also needs an external threat to hold onto power," Mr. d'Orlando argues that "both sides appear to follow the rationale that led to the Falklands War when Argentinian generals were in charge of a country on the brink of economic bankruptcy and the British establishment was still facing tough domestic choices in order to restructure the country’s economy in the wake of Britain’s long movement away from empire." His conclusion:
      A foreign threat or a war overseas are one of the oldest and most tested political tools to close ranks at home. However, today’s social, political and economic instability are global in scope. It is hard to imagine how an intervention could be surgically limited to a specific context, especially if that context is the Persian Gulf. Lighting a match and throwing it in to start a fire could quickly get out of hand and blow up the world’s powder keg.
    On a personal note, my grandfather picked up a lung fungus that eventually killed him while serving in Iran in World War II.

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    Big Government and Highways

    "By 1921 only constitutionalist dinosaurs objected to federal aid to highways," reminds Bill Kauffman in his latest book review — Road to Perdition. "Engineers and bureaucrats grabbed the wheel," he writes. "Powered by eminent domain and tax dollars, they leveled city neighborhoods as a sacrifice to the god of efficient transportation. Community and beauty—not to mention property rights—became anachronisms..."

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    End Game

    "What we are witnessing is the beginning of the end for the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen" — 50 statistics about the US economy that are almost too crazy to believe.

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    President Obama Does Good

    Let's hope a once-thriving American industry returnes to something of its former glory — Obama to lift Reagan's ban on hunting whales.

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    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Bob Dylan's "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word" Performed by Earl Scruggs, Joan Baez, and Merle Watson


    Above, again, this time con subtítulos en español, an indication of the beautiful music that might have been made together had only the hippies and the rednecks realized they were on the same side. Alack!

    Gabriel García Márquez once said that the English translation of his Cien años de soledad was better than his own original; I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether the same can be said of the above translation of Mr. Dylan's lyrics, of which I confess to never having been able to make much sense.

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    Joe Hill's "There Is Power in a Union" Performed by Billy Bragg


    Above, a song (which could and should have been sung for the contemporary Solidarność) from what should be an embarrassing 1986 performance for all involved in the former German Democratic Republic, something in honor of this local news — Native English teachers sign first collective deal. I saw the singer at least once at around the same time.

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    President George W. Bush, Peacemaker?

    "Christian groups in South Korea have denounced an invitation to former US president George W. Bush to address a major prayer meeting organized by major Protestant churches," reports John Choi — Koreans up in arms over Bush peace prayer. The report mentions a "joint statement on June 21 welcoming the peace prayer meeting but describing the invitation as 'absurd.'" From the report:
      President Bush waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintained an antagonistic policy against North Korea, the group said.

      “Inviting him as a messenger of peace shows the organizers’ lack of historical consciousness,” they lamented.

      The groups also insisted that Christian peace is based on reconciliation and love, not on weapons and suppression of the enemy.

      Up to 70,000 Protestants were expected to attend the June 22 prayer meeting hosted at a Seoul stadium by conservative churches including the Full Gospel Church.

      The meeting, which addresses the theme “Beyond division, towards peace”, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War on June 25, 1950. The war ended on July 27, 1953, finally dividing the Korean peninsula into North and South Koreas.

      Bush is slated to speak on the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas and on freedom.

      Meanwhile, the National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace issued a statement on June 14 criticizing the invitation to the “jingoistic Bush” as “crazy.”

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    Laos and Me

    "Laos aims to lift itself out of least-developed country status by 2020," reports Brian McCartan, "but a shift underway from reliance on Western aid to Asian private capital has sparked criticism from development specialists who believe the trend towards large-scale projects is unsustainable and works against the country's long-term economic goals— Big is beautiful in Laos. Whatever works for them.

    A Laotian refugee friend in my hometown of Orchard Park, New York, whose family had been taken in by the local Presbyterian congregation, was my gateway drug to the Orient. He and his seven siblings or so were equally divided between go-getters and pot-heads. (I'll leave the reader to decide which camp my friend, and by extension, yours truly, belonged). His father, an anti-communist air force officer, called our friend not by his Laotian name, which we had shortened to "Chanty," but by "Dwai," which we latter learned was in honor of Dwight David Eisenhower.

    Anyway, at his family's abode, a five-minute walk from mine, I learned the value of steamed rice, ping pong, and a traditional culture, much more than I ever learned in high school.

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    Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Black America

    Cal Thomas' review of "a major biography of this giant of faith" offers some insights into the Lutheran theologian and martyr's life of which I was unaware — Bonhoeffer: A True Believer:
      Bonhoeffer came from a family of intellectuals. His father was Germany's leading psychiatrist. His siblings succeeded in their chosen fields. Dietrich became a theologian to the surprise and initial disappointment of his parents and puzzlement of his siblings.

      Twice Bonhoeffer visited the United States. On the first occasion he studied at the liberal Union Theological Seminary in New York where he met the theological giants of the time, including Reinhold Niebuhr. Bonhoeffer quickly tired of the "God-lite" theology at Union and decided to visit churches that held more substantive beliefs. He discovered an African-American church in Harlem where Adam Clayton Powell Sr. preached riveting sermons and people joyfully worshipped God as if they actually believed He exists.

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    Spiritual Warfare in Korea

    "Calling for worldwide prayers for peace and reconciliation in Korea, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) has warned of 'imminent humanitarian catastrophe' in North Korea and has said war would be 'a terrible tragedy'" — Prayer the most powerful weapon to prevent tragic war in Korea, bishop says.

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    J. Lennon and P. McCartney's "For No One" Performed by Emmylou Harris


    The above, from Auntie Beeb's Transatlantic Sessions, is in response to a reader's comments on a post yesterday — The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" Performed by Neil Young:
      I get the impression that some of the older rock, pop and country performers like Neil Young, Jeff Beck, and say Willie Nelson or even Tony Bennet are still playing because they enjoy it. At least that's what comes out in their music to me. Someone like Madonna, however, will go down swingin' against old age and not very gracefully either. As if grace could ever be associated with Madonna in the first place. A total contrast to Emmylou Harris who remains a class act.
    In response, I suggested that "the difference between Emmylou Harris and Madonna... is like the difference between the Old Republic and the Empire that usurped it." Here's a a stateside rendition of the same number — Emmylou Harris - For No One.

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    "Having Kids—What's In It For Me?"

    "An economic perspective on happiness, nature and nurture provides an answer" to that question, says Bryan Caplan: "Parents' sacrifice is much smaller than it looks, and much larger than it has to be" — The Breeders' Cup.

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    Doug Bandow's Latest

    "Washington must begin scaling back foreign commitments and deployments," he concludes; "Japan would be a good place to start" — Get Out of Japan.

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    Cathólica Asiatica

    Cathólica Coreana suggests that "what is so frustrating to the evangelizing the Orient is that Christianity is viewed as Occidental" and notes that "Catholicism, though it is by the providence of God first took root in Europe and thus is occidental, should be presented as a fulfillment of the spiritual longing of the Asians (and all mankind)" — On Inculturation in the Orient.

    Click on the link to learn how "the concept of a monotheistic deity and the offering of sacrifices, though imperfect, was of that entity is not foreign to the Orient" and how "Matteo Ricci notes this very fact in the True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven quotes from various Confucian classics, reminding the almost-deistic Neo-Confucians of their past." Noted also is the fact that "Matteo Ricci also presented Catholicism as a supplement to Neo-Confucianism" which "is why the first Catholics in China and Korea were from the Confucian literati."

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    Peace in Our Times?

    "Gadahn urged the US to withdraw 'all soldiers and spies' from all Muslim nations, to release all Muslim detainees, and to end all support for Israel" — Al-Qaeda spokesman offers peace deal to US. Is our involvement in Muslim nations and our support for Israel serving any vital American interest?

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    Makkŏlli Makes the News Again

    Another report on the resurgnence of "the milky white alcohol" which "had been the go-to alcohol for ordinary Koreans for so long thanks to its rich taste and affordable price before its popularity waned in modern times due to West[ern] alcoholic beverages such as beer and spirits" — Here comes draft 'makgeolli' to go.

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    The Dear Smokers

    Maybe our dear leader and North Korea's could share a smoke together — Kim Jong-il Lights Up Again. The report suggests that he "smoke[s] Marlboro cigarettes." One thing I'll say in favor of Kim and against Obama is that at least the former is brave enough to smoke in public.

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    Your Tax Dollars at Work in Afghanistan

    Old news for readers of the alternative media is finally making the mainstream — Report finds U.S. tax money may be funding Afghan insurgents. "Private security contractors protecting the convoys that supply U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in 'passage bribes' to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found." So, once again, why are we still there?

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    A Common Word, a Common Enemy, a Common Fight

    Bernardo Cervellera reports on "the annual meeting of the scientific committee of the Oasis Foundation" which this year "brought together about 60 leading Christian and Muslim figures from Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Americas" — Oasis: educating Christians and Muslims to save the world from scientific and religious fundamental[ism]. "Education can be the chief instrument to bring Christians and Muslims to live together if it is free from 'absolute positivism' and 'formal fundamentalism'."

    My title refers to A Common Word Between Us and You, the "open letter, dated 13th October 2007, from leaders of the Muslim faith to leaders of the Christian faith" that "calls for peace between Muslims and Christians and tries to work for common ground and understanding among both faiths, in line with the Biblical and Quranic commandment to love God, and one’s neighbour." Why is it that so many Western Christians are more interested in sharing a "common word" with the militant atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, just because she renounced Islam? One of the tragedies of the post-9/11 world is that many Western Christians have chosen to align themselves with militant secularists against Islam, duped that the terrorist attacks were religiously, not politically, motivated.

    Thus, we not only lost sight that our foreign policy decisions have consequences but also lost an important ally against the "absolute positivism" that threatens us all. If Muslims could be our allies back in the Reagan years, before the Orwellian term Jihadist came to denote those once termed Mujahideen, why not now? If they proved such a formidable ally against atheistic communism (remember Rambo III (1988)?), why could they not be the same against atheistic secularism?

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    "The New Old Right"

    E.J. Dionne, Jr., argues that President "Obama brought back to life" what he labels "a venerable if disturbing style of conservative thinking," and that "one of his presidency's major legacies may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism" — How Obama changed the right.

    The author argues that "the Tea Party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional" and "perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with 'American values.'" Mr. Dionne observes, "The language of the new anti-statists, like the language of the 1950s' right, regularly harks back to the U.S. Constitution and the Founders in calling attention to perceived threats to liberty."

    The author seems to lament "the extent to which the Tea Party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy." He writes that their "issues have been overshadowed by the broader anti-government themes pushed by the New Old Right, and the 'compassionate conservatism' that inspires parts of the Christian political movement has no place in the right's current order of battle."

    Good, I say! I wish I could believe what Mr. Dionne writes were true. I'm skeptical of the whole Tea Party phenomenon, but if it supplants the "religious right" and "compassionate conservatism" then that would be a good thing. The "battle" of recent decades between the Demoblican and Republicrat parties to impose their "values" on the rest of the country from Washington would be seen as very tyrannical by the Founders. Shrink the federal government to at least 95% of its current size and let churches and local communities worry about "compassion" and whatnot.

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    Guns at Church

    It seems like a fine idea to me, while "the idea seems to sit pretty uncomfortably with clergy, whom legislators thought they were helping by providing homegrown security" — New Orleans Clergy Cool to Idea of Armed Parishioners.

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    Catholicism in Saudi Arabia

    "It is at least three decades that the land which gave birth to Islam and the Prophet is top on the chart of the areas in the world where Christianity is at its maximum increase," reports Giuseppe Caffulli, quoted by Sandro Magister — Christians in the Middle East. Who's coming, who's going. There are two million Catholics in Saudi Arabia, and "these immigrants, above all coming from the Far East, are Christians belonging to the entire confessional range," but "according to the numbers Catholics are the majority of Christians present in the Arabian Peninsula."

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    End the Blockade

    Vatican Radio has said that "food aid programs to help the population amid food shortage should be developed" — South Korean Christians warn of famine in North, urge lifting of blockade.

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    151 Proofs

    LewRockwell.com offers 151 things to ponder — 101 Thoughts on America's Economy and 50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Gold. The last items on each list: "'Things that cannot go on have a tendency to stop.' ~ Herbert Stein" and "Henry VIII, Diocletian and Nero were infamous gold debasers, mixing other metals into gold coins and decreasing their value."

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    Monday, June 21, 2010

    The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" Performed by Neil Young


    Something to accompany the news that "John Lennon's hand-scrawled lyrics to the elusive, mesmerizing 'A Day In the Life' sold for $1.2 million at auction, well above the price expected" — I Read the News Today, Oh Boy. Probably my favorite of their songs. Aficionados might enjoy this earlier post of mine with footage from thirty-seven years earlier — Neil Young in Concert, 1971.

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    Catholicism in Korea

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    Pohang and Whale Meat

    Happy news that "[o]rdinary sushi places and also beer joints are serving whale meat as regular side dishes" accompanied by the sad news that "police in North Gyeongsang arrested eight men for illegally hunting whales and supplying the meat to restaurants in the area" — Hunger for whales feeds illegal trade.

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    Dear Leader Duped

    News that "Kim Jong-il’s subordinates are duping their leader with false or deliberately incomplete reports on national affairs," suggesting "a possible indication that his grip on power may be weakening" — Kim being duped by subordinates.

    The "two possible reasons why Kim is being cut out of the information loop" are that "power may be shifting to his son Jong-un, perhaps faster than the North Korean leader desires," and that "the situation in the North, in particular its economy, is simply too bad for Kim’s subordinates to admit."

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    Antonio Vivaldi's "Summer" Performed by Mari Silje Samuelsen and the Trondheim Soloists, Directed by Øyvind Gimse

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    Friendly Advice From the Right to the Left

    Conor Williams suggests that "what seemed to be a strong political movement for change, premised upon hope for a more just America, is now slipping into broad-based cynicism and political despair" — Mobilizing on the Left: Progressivism, Populism, and the Language of Political Salvation.

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    "How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s"

    A discussion on how "the latest in the ongoing US war in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in American history," "has troubling parallels with the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan of the 1980s" — Tom Engelhardt on "The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s".

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    Not Your Father's Pravda

    The LRC Blog informs us that "the great Russian newspaper" has a "link to LRC on their news-partner page" — Pravda=Truth. Also linked to are Antiwar.com, Common Dreams, and others.

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    El Cid, the Mayans, and the Shrinking Sun

    The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel has an interesting post referencing yours truly — God will not allow it.... Like the author, "I am not a die-hard advocate of the 2012 scare[;] I think there is plenty on the world to be afraid of without relying on an old Mayan calendar..." Also, "If there is any truth to what the Mayans believed, then I think were ought to see more signs of it before then - if that is in any way related to solar activity. If is is all bunk, well I think we will figure that out too in short order."

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    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    J.S. Bach's Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ Performed by Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart & Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Directed by Helmuth Rilling

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    Social Engineering and Particular Friendships

    Rod Dreher asks, "Is there no natural social phenomenon that levelers and militant egalitarians won't seek to destroy to create their Utopia?" — Crackpot educators call best friends social evil. The report linked to claims that "the classic best-friend bond -- the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school -- signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying."

    Particular friendships are rightly dangerous in convents and monasteries, but not in the real world; this sounds a lot like Brave New World.

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    The Beautiful Game?

  • Taki Theodoracopulos asks, "Is there anything worse than listening to those hucksters in South Africa going bananas over the ugly game called football?" — The World’s Longest Con. "FIFA is a con, a money-making con which pretends to be a link between nations and cultures."

  • "It’s akin to the invasive foreign species that disrupt our landscape and waterways," says Tom Piatak, "like the ugly but prolific Asian carp moving ever closer to the Great Lakes, much to the horror of local anglers" — Still the Metric System in Short Pants. "Indeed, the American rejection of both soccer and the metric system represents a healthy spirit of patriotic defiance."

  • David Ker Thomson, "Even leftists who understand how brutal nation-states are and how thoroughly they lick corporate cockamamie will, in a desperate bid for a bit of street cred, toss World Cup nation names around" — Against Sport.
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    The Cost of Empire

  • "Fiscal conservatism must extend to reining in the warfare state, not just the welfare state," reads The American Conservative's blurb introducing Lawrence Korb and Christopher Preble's article — Militarism We Cannot Afford. "The Pentagon, too, is big government."

  • Reminding us that already "we have poured in scores of thousands of troops, spent $300 billion, lost 1,000 soldiers and seen thousands more wounded," Patrick J. Buchanan, speaking of our president, says that "saying the U.S. can succeed in the next 12 months in what we have failed to accomplish, at a rising cost in blood and money, for the last eight years, is not credible" — What Price Afghanistan?
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    North Korea in South Africa

    "Two of four players (goalie Kim Myong-won, mid-fielders Kim Kyong-il and Pak Sung-hyok and striker An Chol-hyok) not on squad list are thought to have asked for political asylum in an African country," reports — Two North Korean players try to flee, perhaps punished. "FIFA denies, claiming an error in list transcript," which leads to this next story Joseph Yun Li-sun — FIFA Wary of Upsetting N.Korea at World Cup.

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    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Jean-Philippe Rameau's In Convertendo Performed by Les Arts Florissants, Directed by William Christie

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    Gloom and Doom From Rod Dreher

    While I've realized this for some time and have been preparing myself accordingly — Sorry, but you will not retire — news that "the sun is acting all freaky, and scientists don't know why" is new to me — Hey Sun, what's your problem?

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    The Triumph of Feminism

    A conservative blog for peace links to Hanna Rosin's "report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences" — The End of Men.

    "Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history," she reports. "Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality."

    Then she asks, "But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?" But the question remains, is "modern, postindustrial society" desirable and if it is, is it even sustainable?

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    Servant of God Thomas An Chunggŭn

    "The Seoul Diocese will begin the process to canonize An Jung-geun (1879-1910)," reports Maryknoller in Korea — An Jung-geun Not Only Patriot But Saint? Some earlier posts of mine on the man — Thomas An Chunggŭn and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thomas An Chunggŭn, Korea's Visionary Nationalist and Pan-Asianist, Korea's Catholic Freedom Fighter and Assassin.

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    We Are All Americans

    Kyle Peterson reports that "Tea Party protests pop[ped] up in places like Moscow, Tel Aviv and the Hague" — An International Brew.

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    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina " Performed by Rose Jang and the Mostly Philharmonic Orchestra, Directed by Park Sanghyun

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    Korea vs. Argentina

    In honor of tonight's game, one of the few mildly interesting moments in the history of the sport — Diego Maradona's Goal of the Century.

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    Stephen Prothero and Stephen Colbert

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    U.S.S.A.

    "It seems we’ve finally entered the Soviet era in America," says Tom Englehardt — Soviet America. "Looking back, the most distinctive feature of the last years of the Soviet Union may have been the way it continued to pour money into its military — and its military adventure in Afghanistan — when it was already going bankrupt and the society it had built was beginning to collapse around it. "

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    Paul Craig Roberts and Ralph Nader Support Helen Thomas

    The father of Reaganomics and the perennial man of the left find common ground — Helen Thomas: an Appreciation and The Scourging of Helen Thomas.

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    William Pfaff's New Book

    The author explains it's not "just one more American recitation of how the Bush and Obama administrations have gone wrong" — Historical Lessons Warn Against Modern US Foreign Policy.

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    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz's "Tarantela" Performed by Arianna Savall and Pedro Estevan

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    The Abiogenic Deep Origin of Petroleum Theory

    "What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia," said Vladimir Kutcherov , Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, quoted in this link sent by a reader — Gulf Oil Spill "Could Go on Years and Years" ….

    F. William Engdahl, author of the article, argues that "the enormoity of the oil spill... further discredit[s] clearly the oil companies’ myth of 'peak oil' which claims that the world is at or near the 'peak' of economical oil extraction, ... which," he says, "has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis."

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    Island Synagogues

    "A glimpse of a little known history" linked to by Maria Elena Vidal — Caribbean Jewish Communities. "That's the sort of architecture that could only work in a hot, sunny climate with blue skies," says commenter Brian Hughes. "It'd look completely out of place in Blighty."

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    Guns, Moonies, and ex-Miss Korea Hopefuls


    Pictured above is "Park Ji-yea (31), the wife of Moon's fourth son Kook-jin (40)" — Ex-Miss Korea Hopeful Models Guns for Moonies. "The runner-up in the 2003 Miss Korea contest is apparently a daughter-in-law of Unification Church founder Moon Sun-myung and now models for U.S. gun maker Kahr Arms, which is owned by the Moonies."

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    Why Are We in Afghanistan?

    While the Pentagon finds a reason to stay — Afghan Mineral Find May Be Worth $1 Trillion — private citizen Gary Brooks Faulkner, God bless him, still remembers why we went there in the first place — American Hunting Osama Bin Laden Was Intent on Avenging 9/11.

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    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Giacomo Carissimi's Plorate Filii Israel Perfomed by Les Arts Florissants, Directed by William Christie

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    "Harvard-Princeton-Yale-Bullets-Bombs-Banks"

    "As the second stage of the financial crisis hits," Gerald Celente tells Lew Rockwell, "we can expect them to start another war to divert people’s attention from the wholesale robbery of the productive" — We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.

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    Rule By Purge

    "History suggests that Pyongyang's recent execution of elite officials over last year's bungled currency reform herald the start of another bloody purge, with dire signs of famine adding to its likely intensity," says Yong Kwon — Pyongyang purge echoes Stalin. This is, of course, nothing new:
      Kim Jong-il may have pushed his luck too often. In October 1992, even before his father Kim Il-sung's death, the Dear Leader executed 20 officers with Soviet training and dismissed 300 when it was revealed that they criticized "the system". Analysts say that this was a ploy by Kim Jong-il to take control of the military, which at the time was dominated by Soviet-trained officers, to secure his position in the line of succession.

      In April 1995, after the death of Kim Il-sung, the Dear Leader consolidated his military and political authority by executing those accused of plotting a coup and embezzling funds used for foreign exchange. Popular narratives estimated several hundred army officers were executed. The man in charge of the 1995 purge, Kim Yong-chun, is currently chief of the general staff of the North Korean People's Army.

      The most repressive purge ran parallel to the most dire moment in Kim Jong-il's regime, the 1995-98 famine. While millions starved to death in the "Arduous March", the regime accused agricultural secretary Seo Gwan-hee of being an American spy and summarily disposed of him.

      Along with the agricultural secretary, 2,000 others (along with their families) were purged for crimes of espionage dating to the Korean War in the early 1950s. In the aftermath of this purge, and recognizing the extensive damage to party loyalty caused by excessive killings, Kim Jong-il eliminated those who were responsible for the purge by accusing them of "alienating the party from the people for the selfish pursuit of power".

      It was a grim parody of Stalin's own purges, which in the end claimed the lives of those who were the most adamant supporters of the murders (Genrikh Yagoda and Nikolai Yezhov).

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.