Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An pro-infanticide candidate
Regrettably abortion cancels out as a deciding issue for voters but non-religious pro-lifer Nat Hentoff (if a candidate’s only religion is the Constitution that’s fine with me) repeats who of the three contenders has the worst record on the subject
Obama — in the Illinois Senate — voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

“I’ve got two daughters... I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals.

“But if they make a mistake,” Obama continued, “I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

Among my children and grandchildren are two daughters and three granddaughters; and when I hear anyone, including a presidential candidate, equate having a baby as punishment, I realize with particular force the impact that the millions of legal abortions in this country have had on respect for human life.
From Joshua Snyder.
Why I am a conservative (and what I mean by that)
The Revd Sam Norton gets much of this right. I’ll leave it to LRC and others to explain that the Republicans haven’t stood for these things for at least 40 years and answer his well-meant misgivings about libertarianism.

The Rector of West Mersea on ethanol:

Just for interest: a position where the traditionally conservative position (no government intervention) is also the most explicitly pro-social justice position, which is traditionally seen as left wing...
  • Rogation Days: another way for the liturgical calendar to mark the changing of the seasons. From Tea at Trianon.
  • New page on Orthodoxy. One of three pages.
  • Icons explained. More.
    While the veneration of icons may be an optional part of any particular person’s piety, it is not an optional part of the Faith. From an Eastern perspective, the veneration of icons by Latins, even before the felt-banner era, seems rather restrained. Icons are not treated as a necessary part of church architecture or liturgical worship. Indeed it seems that Latins pray with icons as a sort of lectio divina — a springboard for meditation and prayer, whereas in the East, we pray with icons by praying in the presence of icons.
  • Also from Eirenikon, standard Catholic stuff on ecumenism worth repeating, from a Russian Orthodox bishop.
    “We must realize that Orthodox and [Roman] Catholic believers are no longer rivals. We are allies. The rivalry must be gone once and for all. If we understand that, proselytism will stop.” The bishop said that “romantic ecumenism,” which he said characterizes the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, is not viable. He said that many Protestants have created a “light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don’t require sticking to Christian moral norms.”
    Without church infallibility it doesn’t work. Non-Catholics misunderstand this as oppressive but it actually limits fallible people’s power.
  • How not to try and spread the truth: Fr Chris Tessone on religious liberty. I like Fr Amphilochios, a guide for this blog for nearly two years: neither indifferentist nor ‘orthodoxy turned into a cult’.
  • On good stewardship of God’s creation as part of a sacramental worldview. From Per Christum.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

US House chairman threatens subpoenas on torture policy

Networks silenced anti-war voices

Ethanol and the food shortage

As Joshua Snyder was saying
Big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry.

In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death.
Prediction about China
Tibet will never be independent and will most likely never enjoy the “true autonomy” the Dalai Lama has been working toward all his life. The youth of China will not overthrow their government. China is not going to fall apart under a barrage of news reports.
Because like the socialist Swedes the Chinese are pretty happy with their country and rising standard of living.

Clinton... left the White House with the highest approval ratings of any departing president in Gallup polling history.
The modern American Freedom Movement is a Dagwood Sandwich stacked high with medallions of Classical Liberals, at least two conflicting flavors of Objectivism, heaping portions of traditional Old Right conservative laissez-faire capitalists, plentiful helpings of “big L,” “little L” and “civil” libertarians, thick slices of Austrians and Chicagoans and Public Choicers, wedges of gradualists and radicals, realists and idealists, purists and big-tenters, rations of Minimal-Statists sautéed with anarchists, salted with anarcho-capitalists, sprinkled with a pinch of agorism, and spiced up with Just Plain Old Curmudgeonly Contrarians, all seasoned... with a shakerful of Iconoclastic Individualism.
Yes, the left have got us sussed: just a load of conformists who want to bring back the 1950s. ;)

A critic of Ron Paul accuses him of financial misdoing
You know what? I don’t care if all the money didn’t go into the presidential campaign. I don’t like the nativist tinge in campaigning either, when Buchanan did it or now, nor do I believe in a radical individualism (a sort of ultimate Protestantism for narcissists?). Must make me half-libertarian and half-palæo or something. I can live with that. Neither by definition is a leader cult but I reckon I’m a Rondroid in this person’s thinking. I can live with that too.

We must imagine a life without oil
I know but still don’t know what to do

Lowering the bar
Enmeshed in two military occupations that have turned into well-publicized quagmires, the Army and Marines are understandably having trouble enlisting new recruits. Their answer: vastly increase the number of convicted felons and other societal miscreants accepted into their ranks.

According to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, from 2006 to 2007 the Army more than doubled its felonious recruits and the Marine Corps increased its share by more than two-thirds.

One problem is ... the U.S. is not fighting a war against what the American public perceives as a dire threat.
Because it’s not! Even the people who say it is act like it’s not and give themselves away.
Another problem is that recruiting societal miscreants might especially impair counterinsurgency warfare. Especially violent people, or those who don’t properly control their behavior, might be adequate for all-out combat against a conventional enemy, but would not be good at winning hearts and minds. In fact, when faced with guerrillas who attack and then melt back into the general population, these recruits might be more apt to commit atrocities against the population.
Immigration law should reflect dynamic labour market
Here the establishment libertarians are right and I and my favourite sites part ways

When right and left agree, something is happening!
This is the only time in my life that I can ever remember when the right and the left agree more with each other than the so-called “centrists” of the GOP and the Democratic Party.

The amazing part of this scenario is that the Right, not the Neo-Cons that claim to represent the right, but actual conservative, independents that abhor governmental control of their lives are expressing the very same sentiments as we on the left are expressing.

I believe that free thinkers from the right and from the left are both coming to an agreement that we no longer trust or support those entities that are controlling our government.
From Rational Review.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Larison on Obama
Of course, the correct conclusion to take away from Obama’s campaign is that he entirely too boosterish when it comes to talking about America’s role in the world. Naturally, mainstream conservatives feel obliged to portray him as a new McGovern, even though coming home is the furthest thing from Obama’s intention with respect to American deployments around the world. They likewise want to insist that he is a bad Americanist, when he basically shares the same triumphalist vision and progressive nationalist interpretation of American history that they have. They wish to portray him as someone who is “pessimistic” about America (because he acknowledges that there are problems and failures), when he is the most irrepressibly optimistic candidate of the last fifty years, and I don’t say that as a compliment.

Obama will necessarily disappoint...
There’s one thing that doesn’t ‘change’: demonising Russia
This election is simply not a case where one candidate has a better or more sane policy towards Russia or better views concerning the pursuit of hegemony in Eurasia. Over the long term, this shared view of U.S. policy towards Russia actually matters a great deal more than whether or not a candidate proposes to end the war in Iraq.
And some history
Every foreign war or foreign policy leading to involvement in war since 1898 has largely been supported and waged by the “diplomatic, communitarian Yankee” set.

Who wanted us to enter WWI? Liberal Protestants and Anglophiles from the Eastern Establishment. Who urged entry into WWII? The same people as had urged entry into WWI, and often for the same reasons.

Southerners, Westerners, fundamentalists, the “unsophisticated” of the land were overwhelmingly against involvement in European wars.

Who has given us the Iraq war? Bush may have lived in Texas for a while, but he is by background and education as thoroughly a product of the Eastern establishment as anyone alive. Do the so-called “Jacksonians” tend to support the war more than others? Yes, but not always enthusiastically or zealously; they support American wars because they believe, sometimes mistakenly, that it is their patriotic duty to do so. It takes Easterners, particularly those reared in the “realist” and “internationalist” schools and weaned on Wilsonian fantasies about democracy and self-determination, to come up with the sort of interventionist and ideologically-motivated crusading of the last twenty years.

Panama, the Gulf War, Kosovo – all were the products of “realists” and internationalists.

After all, who still has the real power? Overwhelmingly, they and urban elites around the country do, while Middle Americans will express their displeasure only if these people openly mock or belittle their beliefs. So long as the pandering and the charade of phony populism continue, Scots-Irish folks and Southerners seem mostly content to accept and even to support a system that consistently works against them, their history and their interests.
A decent third-party candidate
I prefer the Libertarians because they haven’t got the Protestant-right baggage (and promising LP contender Bob Barr apparently hasn’t latched onto anti-immigrant resentment) but the Constitution Party doesn’t suck. Like the world would be better if more liberals were like Dennis Kucinich (we can join in staying out of wars and disagree amicably on how to conduct the peace, well-meant socialism versus Misesian economics) I’d be happy if all moral majoritarians were like Pastor Chuck. Thank God he beat Alan Keyes.

Republic not empire
LRC’s Charley Reese. Mark Twain describing America’s war of conquest in the Philippines sounds like Iraq today and
One reason we are so in debt is that the brainless in our country have been paying for the defense of Europe and Japan ever since the end of World War II.

That allowed Europe and Japan to modernize their factories while ours deteriorated.

For a republic to survive, it needs a well-educated people with self-discipline and high morals, healthy agricultural and manufacturing bases, sound money and a frugal but wise government. I don’t see much of that around these days.
You can’t make this stuff up:

‘Free Tibet’ flags... made in China
Those irrepressible, entrepreneurial Han Chinese ‘making a buck off the marketing of a revolution’ selling to people like these. LOL, brilliant. BTW they also make US military uniforms.

From Joshua Snyder.
People prefer churches that look like churches
From Derek: the boffins confirm cultural common sense
Aesthetics have a lot to do with religious experience. After all, a large part of religion is just that: experience. It’s not just about what we think or what we say we think — it’s about what we do and who we are.
Money and status
Are not the same — social class is different from income — and which do you think means more to people? From Episcopal Café.
Does the ‘abortion is racist’ argument backfire?
I’m not sure I accept Marcus Epstein of Taki’s arguments (Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist and ‘she was a woman of her time’ and ‘lots of people respected today thought that back then’ don’t excuse it) but it’s an interesting point: does so arguing only reinforce the error that people ‘are not responsible for their own actions — an attitude that does not help the black community, or the pro-life cause’? (That is, the left’s possible racism: their version of ‘those people can’t help themselves’ and need the state to take care of them.)

Update: I think this was brilliant: “Affirmative Action Bake Sale,” setting different prices if the baked goods were sold to whites, blacks and Latinos (black people got the best price). They [the creative conservative students] thought this was a clever way to show their disapproval of affirmative action, but many were offended.
I’m sure exposing the illiberality of PCness did offend. Good for them!
Today in LRC
  • Actually forming soldiers’ consciences or just propping up the war state, left or right? Fr Emmanuel McCarthy goes too far (like our holy mother the church I’m not a pacifist) but has a point. How long would a chaplain who questioned the ‘Kill the sand ni**ers!’ indoctrination of basic training last? Or ‘the Nuremberg defence: works for us not for you’. Your thoughts, Fr Mark?
  • Cult books.
    Ayn Rand, giving libertarianism a bad name to this day (rebuttal): Loved by the kind of person who tells you selfishness is an evolutionary advantage, before stealing your house/lover/job.

    The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: A beautifully phrased exercise in pointing out the obvious but Sixties hippy kids loved it.

    Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: If he’d done Greek at school and knew what αρετη meant, we could have been spared most of the 1970s.
  • Don’t blame capitalism for the food shortage from Joshua Snyder. The root of this crisis lies in the fact that grains are being used not to feed people, but to feed cattle and cars. And, not surprisingly, both ideas came from the State and have been financed with State funds, confiscated, it goes without saying, from the citizenry.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hey, dyngus!
Slavic Easter customs and food

More good things about upstate Pennsylvania.

From John Laughland via Tea at Trianon
The traffic jams are a symbol of the vibrancy of Russian life today, with all the good and bad which that implies.

Russia, like England, is a European country which typically does not consider itself to be part of Europe.

Russia is also one of the few countries in Europe where ordinary people retain a basic religious faith. No doubt it has degenerated largely into peasant superstition (as it has to some extent in Italy) but the fact is that you are far more likely to see a Russian person cross himself in a moment of worry than a German, a Briton or even a Spaniard.

Russia, indeed, can never be an ordinary country. She will always be a world unto herself.
Liberating truth: eggs are actually eggs
Reason is conforming to reality (‘reality is, man’), or modern philosophy is a big wank as Chesterton explained in St Thomas Aquinas:
Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody’s system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody’s sense of reality; to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense. Each started with a paradox, a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they would call a sane point of view. That is the one thing common to Hobbes and Hegel, to Kant and Bergson, to Berkeley and William James. A man had to believe something that no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity; as that law is above right, or right is outside of reason, or things are only as we think them, or everything is relative to a reality that is not there.

The modern philosopher claims, like a sort of con man, that if once we will grant him this, the rest will be easy; he will straighten out the world, if once he is allowed to give this one twist to the mind...

St. Thomas stands founded on the universal common conviction that eggs are eggs. The Hegelian may say that an egg is really a hen, because it is a part of the endless process of Becoming; the Berkeleian may hold that poached eggs only exist as a dream exists, since it is quite easy to call the dream the cause of the eggs as the eggs the cause of the dreams; the Pragmatist may believe that we get the best out of scrambled eggs by forgetting that they ever were eggs, and only remembering the scramble.

But no pupil of St. Thomas needs to addle his brains in order adequately to addle his eggs; to put his head at any peculiar angle in looking at eggs, or squinting at eggs, or winking the other eye in order to see a new simplification of eggs. The Thomist stands in the broad daylight of the brotherhood of men, in their common consciousness that eggs are not hens or dreams or mere practical assumptions; but things attested by the Authority of the Senses, which is from God...
— Sheed and Ward, New York, 1934, pp. 177-180

From Stephen Hand.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Taki’s John Zmirak on various and sundry
[Immigrants] claim government checks when things go wrong. (Your grandparents just had to get on the boat and go home.)

Funny, but it seems that the gays are some kind of special victim group. Which is weird, since if you watched TV, you’d think they were half the population. They insist on the right to get married — whatever that means, since marriage seems to be the least enforceable contract around. If it were really important, the Feds would be tightening up the rules... you know, the way they did on bankruptcy. So leave your wife and kids if you want... but those credit card debts are

Abortion. Your daughter can have one, without anybody telling you. But she needs a permission slip to go with nuns to the friggin’ Planetarium. And she’s going to live with you until she’s 30. Then again, when she gets divorced, for another 5 years after that.

Your son found a “smart” way to get a free ride to college. He’s sitting in Mosul now, guarding the ruins of a burnt-out Christian church. With any luck, the Iraqis who got driven out will move to your neighborhood, open a kebab place and a church with a liturgy that doesn’t include crap like “On Eagle’s Wings.” Christ how you hate that song.

You might actually have voted for that tan guy with the nice speaking voice. Except now he has crapped on your head. The thing is, you don’t really blame him. You know his people got screwed even worse than yours did. You know he’s no worse than other Democrats, and he probably won’t send your son to invade Soreassistan. And that’s probably good enough for you.
On the bright side perhaps some are getting a clue. Peggy Noonan writes in the WSJ:
All the frisking, beeping and patting down is demoralizing to our society. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention.

Gate 14 doesn’t think any one of the candidates is going to make their lives better. Gate 14 will vote anyway, because they know they are the grownups of America and must play the role and do the job.

In Lubbock, Texas — Lubbock Comma Texas, the heart of Texas conservatism — they dislike President Bush. He has lost them.

He has left on-the-ground conservatives — the local right-winger, the town intellectual reading Burke and Kirk, the old Reagan committeewoman — feeling undefended, unrepresented and alone.

The reasons for the quiet break with Mr. Bush: spending, they say first, growth in the power and size of government, Iraq. I imagine some of this: a fine and bitter conservative sense that he has never had to stand in his stockinged feet at the airport holding the bin, being harassed. He has never had to live in the world he helped make, the one where grandma’s hip replacement is setting off the beeper here and the child is crying there. And of course as a former president, with the entourage and the private jets, he never will. I bet conservatives don’t like it. I'm certain Gate 14 doesn’t.
We’ll keep the light on for you.

And considering that a man no longer actively campaigning won 16 per cent of the Republican vote in Pennsylvania it seems we’re not going away.
More than a quarter of the voters in the Keystone State’s closed Republican primary voted for somebody other than their party’s all-but-certain nominee.
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.
Talking about the election to Michael Liccione
On obliterating Iran for Israel’s sake
Hillary Clinton’s nuclear umbrella: a little sabre-rattling possibly to secure the Jewish vote, rattling she can afford because the dim and ill-informed assume she’s for peace because she’s a she, identified with the left and of a certain generation. She hasn’t been for a long time. (Which makes sense because once you adopt the idea that the state is a means of social change — as she did in the late 1960s protesting the Vietnam War making some of the same points this blog and others do about Iraq — you end up supporting aggressive wars for that cause like Kennedy’s and Johnson’s adventure in Indochina and the fake conservatives’ in Mesopotamia.) Although I appreciate not hiding behind fog-of-pomposity corporate talk as described by Paul Fussell — ‘we will consider our options’ — I agree with Deacon Jim that this is sick and unneeded:
For my part, let Israel take care of itself. Israel has nuclear weapons, and tons of military hardware provided by this country. Why should we get involved?
War criminals
George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard

Ron Paul on LRC
An outstanding and crucially important Web site I visit every day.
Liberty, free markets, sound money, prosperity, peace, tolerance, and the Golden Rule at home and abroad.
From the LRC blog.
The right kind of ecumenism, old-school: a little story
Catholicism, natural traditionalism that Arturo appreciates for example, is not the same as the common-knowledge caricature (Feeneyism) or obnoxious Orthodox online (I don’t mean all Orthodox) who rail against ecumenism
While attending Augustinian prep school, I billeted across the hall from the headmaster. It was always amusing to hear the voice of Billy Graham coming from the room of this very old-school Roman priest. I asked him one day if he thought that God worked through Billy Graham and his preaching. His answer surprised me. He said, “Undoubtedly He does... but no more so than through the rest of us. The difference is that Mr. Graham listens to Him.”
— Jim Ryland

Row over Holy Fire ceremony (more)
Shameful. Given the recent rapprochement between the Orthodox and Oriental communions I don’t understand why the Greek patriarch in 2002 did that to the Armenians. By the way the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is called the Church of the Resurrection by the Orthodox.

Update: Coming to blows on Palm Sunday! From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

Friday, April 25, 2008

St Cyprian on the crucifixion

The man they still hate
From Joseph Sobran via LRC
When is one an adult?
One of those perennial topics, this time aboard the Ship
Popping into Rod Dreher’s blog
  • Dreher gets judgemental about women’s plastic surgery. I see his point but am far more sympathetic about this and think he’s being a prig. Why wear at least halfway stylish clothes and keep your beard shaved or nicely trimmed? Is that vanity as well? It can be — but often isn’t. What Ms Acosta did wasn’t a sin — there’s no evidence she deprived her son (spending money he needed on herself instead) by doing this. As somebody who thinks many women are beautiful I say if one wants to and has her priorities straight then she can go for it.
  • ‘Candle-holders’, the Russian slang term for politicians who visit churches only for personal gain: my regular readers know I hate it when pols abuse religion Richard III or Tartuffe fashion for cred (taking God’s name in vain) but consider: ex-Protestant Britain ‘doesn’t do God’ but for Russian politicians Orthodoxy is cool. IMO that says something good about the latter country. Dreher like me believes in religious liberty: in the long run freedom helps the church.
  • Some kind words on the good that priests do: Tonight I went to the Holy Unction service at the cathedral, and to confession. After my confession, as I stood on the other side of the church listening to the chanting and praying, and watched Father John receive more of us to hear us whisper to him of our sins and failing, and I grasped that he has been doing this for hours during Lent, and he’s never abrupt, and never fails to be compassionate, no matter how boring our crummy old sins must be, and how much that means to our little flock ...
  • Modernity drives populations to extinction: No matter where our ancestors came from, we today live in a nation that European culture and ideals made. Watching Europe die off is painful, and not to be wished. Children, as I believe George Weigel has observed, are a culture’s vote of confidence in itself. A society that ceases to reproduce itself no longer believes in itself. That’s true patriotism, healthy Catholic or simply Christian particularity not the bad kind of nationalism or racism.
  • It’s probably time to start hoarding food.
Daniel Larison on Pennsylvania and the US presidential campaigns so far

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The last Mohicans of western Aramaic
In the Qalamoun Mountains of Syria. Samer’s LRC pick today.

He writes:
The key word here is ‘Western’ in ‘Western Aramaic’. The people of the Aramaic villages in the area, unlike speakers of Turoyo in Turkey and of the Neo-Syriac vernaculars in Iraq (who are members of the Syriac and Assyrian/Chaldæan churches) are the only people left who speak what survives of the Western family of Aramaic dialects to which the Palestinian Aramaic dialects of Jesus’ time belonged. Contrary to what one might expect, none of these remaining few are members of the churches of Syriac tradition. Instead, they are made up of Muslims, Melchites, and Greek Orthodox.

It’s official: Newman to be beatified
From Joshua Snyder
From ‘no popery’ to ‘no religion’
A Quaker survey (of only 3,500 people) in Britain shows that common knowledge is the dominant view: ‘we don’t do God’ or religion is the No. 1 social evil, which explains Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot (the world’s most carnage was in its most irreligious century). Modern-liberal Americans are ‘spiritual not religious’; Europeans are real secularists.

Benedict XVI on immigration?
You know the restrictionists have gone head-first into the fever swamps when they denounce a Christian religious leader for sounding like a Christian.

The pope welcomes immigrants because he’s Catholic, not because they are. He isn’t “marketing” his faith. He’s practicing it.
An angle on the Episcopal soap opera I hadn’t thought of
Fr Dan Martins notes that by blowing off the Episcopalians left in the old standing committee and setting up a completely new diocese to replace them the Episcopal Church has acknowledged that Bishop Schofield’s diocese has left it

These and worthwhile news stories on the foreclosure fiasco and food shortages (is the worst about to happen?) are at T19.
A Woman in Charge
Coincidentally on the morning of Pennsylvania’s primary election somebody lent me Carl Bernstein’s (of Woodward and Bernstein) biography of Hillary Clinton. I think she often means well (her rarely advertised Methodist faith is sincere like Bush’s and she’s often trying to be charitable) but is just another pro-state, pro-war, pro-abortion pol. After reading only 60 pages so far I understand her good qualities better as well as why she can be horrible. (Long story short: her dad was a bully. She’s tough.)

A mind conservative and a heart liberal... she came up with one way of trying to be that. I chose another.

I probably won’t know until a little later how the woman who opposed the Vietnam War (as did part of the authentic right including the anti-Communist John Birch Society but that’s missing from common knowledge) came to support bombing Serbia on Orthodox Easter, vote to invade Iraq and now talk of a nuclear umbrella defending the state of Israel, threatening Iran. It’s the same self-righteous modern-liberal crusading spirit behind Vietnam (and like Woodrow Wilson).

She should have figured out the answer is essentially vintage Goldwater without her dad’s pathology or the Cold War stuff.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The indivisibility of liberty
From LRC
Surprise! We are creatures made to live within natural limits
Rod Dreher on Wendell Berry, or thrift, delayed gratification and self-denial are still virtues
Ron Paul got 16 per cent in Pennsylvania
Not bad!

Creeping eugenicism in environmentalism
For the day after Earth Day: the notion of limiting the ‘wrong’ kind of people (like the kind not likely to buy into these people’s ideology?) recurs in this movement like warts, or why such people push contraception and abortion on the Third World. A socially acceptable and even sanctimonious way to be racist as humorist P.J. O’Rourke saw. I’ve seen first hand what such really think of the disabled when they’re not cute. And why do you think so many Down babies are aborted? Lebensunwertes Leben.

More on Mr Bush and the Pope
  • A neocon writer has twisted the Holy Father’s ‘dictatorship of relativism’ remark, possibly put into Mr Bush’s welcome speech by a knowledgeable RC, to use as a culture-wars truncheon on ‘those libs and evil Europeans’. Wars of aggression and torture are OK then. If European relativism is well-advanced, Lowry’s relativism is in a critical state of metastasized cancer. Ratzinger has modernists like Lowry pegged.
  • The blasphemous ‘Battle Hymn of Murdering Civilians’, erm, ‘the Republic’ sung by a men’s choir at the ceremony. Today, entire books are written by neocons that urge America’s youth to volunteer to die to “make men free” in, well, in any country the neocons happen to be unhappy with at the time. And oh yes, the people who write such songs, and urge our young people to sing them and follow their advice, NEVER include themselves and THEIR families in the word “us,” as in Let “us” die... The same modern-liberal idea (‘let’s go change the world’) that sent soldiers to Vietnam. And don’t miss Mark Twain’s version of the song.
On driving while using a mobile
This one made me think. No exceptions to liberty:
[It] might be a vice, but, as we know, vices are not crimes. If you cause an accident you should be held accountable. Period. Cell phone or no cell phone.

[Don’t] make people criminals before they have committed a crime.
From the LRC blog.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Charley on the Episcopal row
The communion-level flap and the resistance to covenanting is manifestly about making sure that those third world bishops in Africa, South America, and East Asia do not get any power over the rich, self-satisfied, enlightened first world. In an earlier decade, this would have been called “racist”. Whether it is truly thus is for others to debate, but the elitism is unmistakable and blatant.

I would not belittle the real suffering of any particular woman — or man, for that matter. Real oppression, real privation, real suffering are all easy to find, in past or present. But university professors and college deans are not oppressed, and do not suffer desperate want, and do not risk bodily harm simply by showing up for work.
Or vicars in New Jersey for that matter.
It is unseemly that they summon up those grim prospects in defense of their own license and power.

When are these people going to catch on to the irony (not to say self-parody) of their situations?

I didn’t see that coming
Did Obama shoot himself in the foot in Deer Hunter country? I don’t think tactical votes from dittoheads wanting to derail the Dems (that’s got some coverage here) did the trick. But I could be wrong.
US Army and Marine Corps give more waivers to felons

School principal with hunting rifles in car sacked
Hoover was charged in October with two counts of unlawfully and feloniously possessing deadly weapons on educational facilities.
The kind of language Paul Fussell described perfectly and which at my job I’m dedicated to wiping out of print.

Brussels goes after Scottish sovereignty
Whether you love or hate bagpipes this is bad precedent

From Rational Review.
The real problem with the FLDS
Is that they reaped what they sowed by living on the dole, a point that William Grigg made earlier
While I don’t have any problem with people who want to practice polygamy — it’s practiced in many other countries with no apparent ill side-effects — I do have a problem with the way the group makes it possible to sustain this practice financially.

The state may not recognize unlicensed marriage, but they also have no legitimate legal authority to turn a religious institution into a “legal” institution. However, the FLDS goes a step further by having the “unwed” mothers apply for state welfare. They don’t just want to live their lifestyle in peace; they want to have the people of the State of Texas pay so that they can afford to maintain so many wives and children.

So my fellow Texans and I get to pay into the system so that Warren Jeffs and his followers can afford to live the kind of life they have designed. In real life, only a very rich man could afford to support 70 or 80 children and multiple wives. The FLDS isn’t really an independent body at all.
In Islam a man may have up to four wives if he really and truly can afford to support them.

Jeffs can have his cult but don’t make me pay for it.
When you step back and examine what is going on in this case, you can see that we are being conditioned into believing that the rights enumerated in our constitutions are not inviolate as is stated, but totally irrelevant if the state merely acts as if it has authority.

If the state of Texas can prevail in this terrible attack on liberty against a group that hasn’t much sympathy in the press or public at large, then any “weird” group or family can be targeted with impunity.
In the early 1800s many Americans wanted to do this to Roman Catholics, an impulse that never went away even though Protestantism in blue (liberal) states has degraded into political correctness. (They wouldn’t go after these RCs.)
Unfortunately the state will also bilk the federal taxpayer since the Federal government pays state CPS agencies for every child taken from parents (for whatever reason).

The United States was once a beacon to people all around the world because of its dedication to the principles of freedom. If we cannot avert our country’s current heading, it will be no country for free men.
From LRC.
An inexhaustible subject: the Eucharist

To the US Congress on recognising the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel
Today the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.Con.Res.322, “recognizing the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel and reaffirming the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel.”

In addition, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has reserved time each week through June for Representatives to make statements on the floor of Congress on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation urges all of its member groups and individual supporters to contact their Representative in Congress and ask him/her not to vote for resolutions or make statements that recognize Israel’s 60th anniversary but fail to recognize the historic injustices that Israel has inflicted on the Palestinian people and the injustices that it continues to inflict daily.
US readers should click the link to send e-mails to Washington.
Gandhi the gun nut
Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
Just like the Nazis taking the Jews’ guns away.
He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by nonviolently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor.
Patriotic near-pacifism but not pacifism is the way to go.

Beware the military-journalism complex
From Rod Dreher
You know all those retired generals and other military officers we’ve all seen on TV these past few years, explaining events in Iraq? Turns out that most of them were, or have been, more or less on the Pentagon’s payroll.
CounterPunch on McCain’s PoW past
I almost didn’t include this as I haven’t walked in McCain’s shoes (I can’t take having a cold so who am I to judge a waterboarding victim?) but this is a service-academy graduate who should have been able to take it

On the same page:

Dan Cassidy remembers the Weather Underground
... a mostly upper- and upper-middle class, immature, narcissistic group of misguided ultra-leftists who had no understanding of the working class... Unlike the Panthers, or the IRA, for instance... or the need to build a mass base.

They were, in fact, an impediment to efforts to build a broader based anti-war movement.
Is state-subsidised ethanol contributing to a world food shortage?

From Joshua Snyder.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carter talks to Hamas
... the party that won the elections in Palestine. They’re “terrorists,” we’re told, and the US government does not dirty its skirts by meeting with such people. Say, is this the same US government that palled around with Joe Stalin? That happily held talks with Mao, Chou, and other mass-murdering worthies? No? Oh, good.
This really shouldn’t mean anything
But probably will turn out to be fairly accurate: the A-list or which Democrat’s got the more famous entertainers as supporters

Iraq is
the daily equivalent of Waco.
From the LRC blog.
What makes a film Catholic?
Marco Vervoorst asked this old question and brought up this issue again

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Giuliani publicly disrespects the Pope
By receiving Communion and telling the press afterwards. (More from Arturo on the subject.) I think it’s a sign of the protestantisation of his generation of RCs. As recently as Paul VI’s visit to New York in the 1960s that wouldn’t have happened even with a former mayor. My guess is the Holy See’s and Archdiocese of New York’s reaction, if any, may be something like ‘it’s on his conscience; he shouldn’t have done that’, perhaps wisely not making a scene/making it worse by making a big statement.

By protestantisation I don’t just mean rejecting the unique Roman claims about the papacy but along with that the whole Catholic notion of an infallible church, which doesn’t come naturally in a Protestant country so assimilation is understandable. (I think Arturo understands that.) People of Giuliani’s generation have adopted blue-state America’s default religion, ‘son of Protestantism’ or ‘spiritual not religious’, or as A Thinking Reed puts it
It’s a staple of much writing about religion in the popular media that religious belief simply can’t be a matter of truth, but is instead a matter of preference or, at most, an expression of an utterly ineffable spiritual experience. But this position, ironically, assumes a superior vantage point on the truth of the matter than that occupied by sincere religious believers themselves.
Anima Christi
Music written for and sung by Ann Margaret Lewis

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Obama whistle-stop speech
In Wynnewood, Pennsylvania today
‘A charming fellow and an inspirational speaker’ who says nothing substantial.
Clinton’s nuclear umbrella
From the AmConMag blog
More Dreher on Snobama
A retired high-school teacher and coach... said he wasn’t bothered by the Jeremiah Wright stuff with Obama. He’s about Jeremiah Wright’s age, and talked about growing up in a small town here in the Dallas area, and about what he saw of segregation. He spoke movingly of the way blacks were treated in his town, and of the injustice and cruelty of it all. He said Mike Huckabee was right to say that white people ought to give people like Jeremiah Wright a lot of grace, given what that and previous generations of African-Americans were put through. And he, the Coach, doesn’t believe for a second that Obama shares Wright’s views on race (Coach also shared a pretty moving story about how his father, who was the principal of his high school, taught him to be respectful and kind to Mexican immigrants who were moving into the town back then, in the 1950s).

But, said Coach, he finds it a lot harder to dismiss Obama’s “cling” comment. It’s not hard to see why this is. Obama revealed in that remark that he looks down on people like Coach, and their values. I found this conversation revealing, because it showed me a white man, Coach, who was open to Obama, even through the Wright thing, and also resistant to the kinds of views about Rev. Wright and immigration that are fairly common among white men of his generation around here. It was Obama’s cultural condescension, though, toward small-town and rural white people that started closing that door.
Peggy Noonan adds:
He was only caught speaking the secret language of America’s elite, and what he said was not meant as a putdown. It was an explanation aimed at ameliorating the elites’ anger toward and impatience with normal people.
Never mind the noise from flyover country
Must be those religious gun nuts again
No one is calling for a precipitous withdrawal.
— Barack Obama during the Petraeus hearing
My first reaction to that statement is to ask, “Why the hell not?”

On further reflection, however, I’m constrained to point out that Obama’s assertion is entirely false — unless, of course, removing our troops after five years of pointless brutality would be “precipitous” action, and the Republican Congressman representing Victoria, Texas who urges immediate withdrawal is named “No One” rather than “Ron Paul.”
The dollar falls, the predators awaken
When the copper inside is worth more than the house

More of ‘classical liberalism is classical’
Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a vast scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?

A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of ‘kingdom’, which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.

For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, ‘What is your idea, in infesting the sea?’ And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, ‘The same is yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you're called an emperor.’
— St Augustine, The City of God, book IV, chapter 4

The FLDS and ‘your children are ours’
  • It’s a cult but so what? The civil government is not, and cannot be, empowered to define and punish heresy (apostasy).
  • In practice, the Regime’s evil easily outstrips that of the Mormon offshoot, since the latter is commendably disinclined to impose itself beyond its own ranks.
  • The FLDS ruling elite has been very generously underwritten by government subsidies of various kinds.
  • The law that was the excuse for the raid was only recently created for that purpose.
  • ‘Sarah’, the 16-year-old ‘victim’ whose phone call triggered the raid, probably isn’t real.
  • The Texan foster-care system is arguably more dangerous.
Why the Iraqis fight
As their APC passed beneath a grove of palm trees, Joshua described how easy it would be to ambush the unit. “To my surprise,” Joshua recalls, “the sergeant did not lecture me for speaking my mind. Softly, he told me, ‘I’d do the same thing if people invaded America.’”
From William Grigg.
Coyp eidting
Well-educated Indians generally possess an excellent command of English — much greater than that of most Brits or Americans (including journalists, I expect). A bit of competition in the international market may help sharpen our prose.

That said, please don’t outsource my job to India.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Political mythmaking
Rather less than myth: more like politics as Us Weekly, Mexican wrestling or a bad TV show about high school. The Republicans may have invented this but I don’t think Lee Atwater did. Witness Ike versus Stevenson (‘the egghead’).

Also in Salon:

Hate crime
Whatever Chris Matthews’ real problems are, apparently a few months ago he was slated for not sufficiently acknowledging and bewailing his manifold sins and wickedness such as recognising that the sexes are different and thus get different reactions: some women are beautiful, barn-burning speeches don’t work for at least some women (IMO they don’t for screechy Clinton) and a woman wronged gets sympathy yet Clinton is ‘witchy’ (fair game, to do with personality, different to the more physical insult of its cousin the b-word). I didn’t see the offences so of course I could be wrong but that’s how it looks from here.

Don’t blame capitalism
Blame the state

al-Maliki = Nguyen Van Thieu; al-Sadr = the North Vietnamese; Baghdad = Saigon

From LRC.
More US domestic spying
From John Boyden
Explaining the doctrine of one true church
Following up on this

It’s nothing new and far more nuanced than the (ex-) Protestant mainstream media are willing to admit.
It’s a staple of much writing about religion in the popular media that religious belief simply can’t be a matter of truth, but is instead a matter of preference or, at most, an expression of an utterly ineffable spiritual experience. But this position, ironically, assumes a superior vantage point on the truth of the matter than that occupied by sincere religious believers themselves.
From A Thinking Reed.

Also, apparently, according to the LRC blog, telling the Catholic Church what it ought to think and do is among the Stuff the Upper Middle Class Like.
New film on the World War II German military’s plan to get rid of Hitler and negotiate peace, and the Catholic nobleman behind it.
God willing, we can save Europe from total destruction.
From Andrew Cusack/Norumbega (now apparently merged) via Tea at Trianon.
Political myths
From Daniel Larison
The end of air travel as we know it?

The lingering protestantisation of American RCism

There is no more bloc RC vote and pro-abortion pols think they have a ‘right’ to receive Communion from the Pope

Speaker Pelosi, really the country’s ranking RC, was put in a position to stop the war on Iraq — also opposed by Rome — but didn’t as she is beholden to Israel.

The three candidates from nowhere
Why does this matter? What’s wrong with electing competent but rootless people to public office? Because just as one cannot love the “human race” before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love “the world” unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world. America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories. A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about “the homeland” — a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country.
From Joshua Snyder.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stadium papal Mass in US: no laity distributing Communion
Benedict XVI’s restoration is under way! From T19.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
First two commonly misunderstood Catholic teachings:
  • Hasn’t the church invented new doctrines throughout its history? No.
  • Don’t you believe that all non-Catholics are going to hell? No. That’s a horrible but allowable opinion not doctrine! The gate Jesus built is the (one true) church as the visible means of salvation, not only our sacramental mater but infallible magistra; assenting to it is not arrogance but its opposite. Invisibly God saves who he will (they’re in the church but don’t know it). And of course there’s the terrifying possibility that some in the visible church might not make it to heaven. So no smugness here. One can hope there are no people in hell. Ref’s fairly even-handed here: I think the underlying assumption is Protestant but his implied criticism applies to those who believe in double predestination/limited atonement, once common currency in Protestantism. Moral teachings ≠ purity cult.

Besides the correct criticism of liberal Protestant (in this case ELCA Lutheran) revisionism what struck me here is you can blame Luther for handing marriage to the state from the church although I hold that non-Catholics have the right to marry as they wish. (That’s right: I’m a liberal, a classical one.)

The left is aging and has no young followers to push its agenda. The young either become apathetic about a faith emptied of its truth and power through the progressive agenda, or they become orthodox. I describe the heterodox liberals as spiritual geldings and spays; they have removed the essentials of their faith and cannot reproduce, bringing in neither converts nor vocations. The best they can do is make geldings and spays of those who do possess the faith: this is not an appealing prospect for most people.
— Fr Mitch Pacwa

If you believe in the larger church why look back at Anglicanism?
I don’t believe in Anglican comprehensiveness. (Nooooo!) The ‘Reformation’ was a mistake. So why, other than an accident of birth, is much of my liturgical English from two heretical bishops, Coverdale and even some Cranmer?

Joe Sobran, never an Anglican, gets it.

Not only is that half-timbered language beautiful and orthodox but it stands for
... a homespun gentility shared by every sort of Protestant, an ethos of simple friendliness... that peculiar sincerity. Protestants are supposed to be humorless, but there is a very definite Protestant humor, dry and subtle, and the world could use more of it. If only Osama bin Laden had been raised in Indiana!

A Protestant might almost be defined as a man who has to be warned against his own virtues. He is nothing if not tolerant.
I’d say much of this is simply culturally English, present even when dressed in Italian finery and dearly missed when it’s not there.

The same thing this blog’s classical liberalism comes from.

Speaking of England:
Fr Timothy Kroh on facing east at St Paul’s, Chester

From Facebook
I wonder when we [the US] as a country decided that simply being a charming fellow and an inspirational speaker qualifies one to be commander-in-chief...
Joel Osteen 2012, anyone?
That said I still think of the three contenders he’s the most likely to bring the soldiers home in a year. But he still gets a honk not a vote.

And again he’s held office longer than Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Copy editing is being outsourced to India
Just this morning in the newsroom I was joking about this and now I find this story via Rod Dreher. Scary.
Larison and Dreher go back and forth on Snobama
See, for me, “elitism” is not a dirty word. I believe in elites, at least in theory, but I am not enamored of most of the elites we have. To say one is anti-elitist, whether you’re on the left or the right, is to assume that The People Are Always Right. Which is nonsense. Does anybody believe that?

If you believe in standards, you will have to have some kind of elite class. In fact, if you believe in society, you are going to have to have an elite class.
Classical liberalism gives equal opportunity not equal outcomes (which of course would be unfair and harm society).
Mocking elites is more widespread and widely accepted because it ultimately has no effect on anything and threatens no one. The elites remain just as they were — on top — and it is mostly a way of letting off steam and venting frustrations.

There will also be much more attention paid to any perceived criticism of small-town America, because it suits the interests of GOP supporters to portray themselves as defenders of small-town America. As Prof. Bacevich noted, “GOP support for such
[social] values is akin to the Democratic Party’s professed devotion to the ‘working poor’: each is a ploy to get votes, trotted out seasonally, quickly forgotten once the polls close.”

Most Republican talking heads will gasp in horror whenever anyone on the left dares speak against corporate elites, who are, of course, the “good” kind of elites, because they are the people with whom the GOP is frequently aligned. When corporate elites are mentioned, the liberal disdain for populist appeals against academia, the media or Hollywood and the like will suddenly be replaced by a ferocious anti-elitism. This typically entails giving more power to the state, which many on the left pretend is populism, just as many on the right pretend that empty symbolic gestures constitute cultural populism.
Larison agrees with me on what Obama was trying to do.
From Deacon Jim.

P.S. Wishing Pope Benedict a very happy 81st birthday. He gets it right: Islam is wrong/irrational (the Regensburg speech or this just in, the Pope is Catholic) as is Bush/Cheney’s war demonising Muslims.
It’s not that oil is becoming so much more valuable
It’s that fiat paper is becoming less so
NEWS FLASH: debasing a currency causes prices to rise!
The good needless wars
Were World Wars I and II — which can now be seen as a thirty-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction — inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men’s control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment? In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen — Winston Churchill first among them — the horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins. Half a century of murderous oppression of scores of millions under the iron boot of Communist tyranny might never have happened, and Europe’s central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations.
I have been a financial adviser for 20 years. There has also been a change among my clients in their attitude about government in general. Many in the WW2 generation love big government. It is like they are slaves who love being slaves and love their master. Their children, on the other hand, are afraid of liberty, but resent their master.
From the LRC blog.
The Bush/Cheney Iraq war will end
With the US financial collapse and not at a time of our choosing

It’s an occupation not a war

The 9th of April: the fall of America

By Layla Anwar

From LRC.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

US RC nonpartisan political group rightly protests neocon takeover of National ‘Catholic’ Prayer Breakfast
For the second year in a row, Catholics United has called for scrutiny of an event labeled the National “Catholic” Prayer Breakfast, which is scheduled for April 18, 2008 at the Hilton Washington. Although the event is billed as nonpartisan, its board of directors is made up entirely of Republican operatives, several of whom are engaged in [Roman] Catholic outreach for the GOP and for presidential candidate John McCain. This year’s prayer breakfast will feature an address from President George Bush as well as the expected attendance of Senator McCain himself.

Catholics United has launched a widespread effort to inform individual Catholics and members of the media about the true nature of the prayer breakfast, and to remind Americans that President Bush and Senator McCain are out of step with Catholic teaching on a number of issues – chief among them war and torture. This week the organization will be reaching out to reporters who are covering the event, and calling on its 25,000 members to bring the Pope’s message against war to the prayer breakfast by signing an online petition or by participating in a prayerful demonstration outside the Hilton Washington on the day of the event.

Catholics United also sent a letter to prayer breakfast keynote speaker Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, encouraging him to use his position “to honor the fullness of the Catholic faith by speaking prophetically for a responsible end to the war in Iraq, and by drawing a clear line between the Church and partisan politics.”

“The National ‘Catholic’ Prayer Breakfast is at best a shameful attempt to shoehorn authentic Catholic teaching into a partisan political agenda,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United “Even as Pope Benedict XVI delivers an historic address to the United Nations next Friday, calling on the global community to reject violence and strive for a more peaceful world, these partisan operatives will be using the name of our church to lend support for a morally compromised agenda that includes torture and unjust war. These are threats to human life that the pope and the U.S. Catholic Bishops have repeatedly condemned.”

The White House has used the president’s past prayer breakfast appearances to shape media coverage suggesting that the Administration’s policies enjoy widespread support within the Catholic community. While the National “Catholic” Prayer Breakfast pretends to be a church-sanctioned event, in enjoys no formal relationship with the U.S. Catholic Bishops.

“The host of Republican activists that comprise the breakfast’s board of directors make its partisan commitments very clear,” said Catholics United organizing director James Salt. “The organization has a long way to go to achieve the nonpartisan requirements of its nonprofit tax status.”

Just shut up and push the button for McCain, kid
More on Snobama
Classical liberalism really is classical
And not a misbegotten invention of the ‘Enlightenment’ contra some traditionalists. Its ideas go back through the Schoolmen to Aristotle and, as Rational Review pointed out yesterday, Lao Tzu (I like the Tao te Ching; it reads like the Old Testament’s Proverbs).
‘And now a few words from a man who really understands hope’
An old German professor and bishop who is a better American than most American pols, a classical liberal
The right state of human affairs, the moral well-being of the world can never be guaranteed simply through structures alone, however good they are... Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom.
— From Spe salvi
O put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man : for there is no help in them.
— Psalm 145/6:2

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pro-gun, pro-peace and anti-militarism at home and abroad
Steve Sailer via Joshua Snyder on a racial aspect of white liberals’ anti-gun stance (they really fear blacks and thus believe their holy mother the state should disarm those people; the pro-gun folk in Deer Hunter country might not)
Of course, the Just War Doctrine articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges the existence of “legitimate defense by military force,” ruling out pacifism as anything other than a personal option. What follows will be some thoughts on what constitutes “legitimate defense by military force” not from a Catholic perspective but from an American one.

et al. would have been hanged at Nuremberg.
— Joshua
The demise of the militia and rise of a standing army would spell the end of freedom and liberty.
— America’s founding fathers

Pope rebuffs US president
Evviva il Papa. It’s only meet and right so to do as after all Mr Bush and his minders have blown him off. Only yesterday I was saying I hoped he’d do something like this (only more, literally speaking out against the Iraq war to Bush’s face), as unlike the Queen he has the freedom to do that (part of having real power), and celebrate Mass wearing a fiddleback chasuble and facing east in a big American cathedral, perhaps in the world’s capital, New York (and while I’m at it why not add Solemn Vespers instead of the late JPII’s rock-concert style?).

Also, his opposition to euthanasia is not only doctrinal, having run across Nazi eugenics personally. (Yes, I know it’s from Lifesite.)

Stuff White People the Upper Middle Class Like

Sometimes a picture really does speak a thousand words

Knowing what’s best for everybody else, knowing your culture better than you do and loving humanity but hating people
Couldn’t he have picked on someone his own size, or at least his own sex? I feel the need to apologize to that serene little Chinese woman, whose only crime is loving her country. What does that man love? Would he love his own country? Does he really love Tibet? Or does he love some abstraction based on a collective fantasy? Or does he merely love the way he feels venting his “righteous” anger, the cause du jour being only secondary? Pathetic.
The hippies’ good points

Why Americans are tuning out Iraq
It would take another column to list all the movies and TV shows about Iraq that have gone belly up at the box office or in Nielsen ratings in the nearly four years since the war’s only breakout commercial success, Fahrenheit 9/11.

The simple explanation for why we shun the war is that it has gone so badly. But another answer was provided in the hearings by Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, one of the growing number of Republican lawmakers who no longer bothers to hide his exasperation. He put his finger on the collective sense of shame (not to be confused with collective guilt) that has attended America’s Iraq project.

No new taxes, no draft, no photos of coffins, no inconveniences that might compel voters to ask tough questions. This strategy would have worked if the war had been the promised cakewalk. But now it has backfired. A home front that has not been asked to invest directly in a war, that has subcontracted it to a relatively small group of volunteers, can hardly be expected to feel it has a stake in the outcome five stalemated years on.

The prevailing verdict on the Petraeus-Crocker show is that it accomplished little beyond certifying President Bush’s intention to kick the can to January 2009 so that the helicopters will vacate the Green Zone on the next president’s watch. That’s true.
Joshua, who lives in South Korea, often questions why that country, with the world’s twelfth largest economy, remains an American protectorate after six decades.