Saturday, April 17, 2010
Hrm, just discovered Larry Naritelli, who advertises himself as the Tea Party candidate. He's just wrong about energy, but that's probably true of all the other candidates as well. It seems the Republicans all think the economy will be fixed by a reduction in taxes -- maybe there are some differences as to the extent and amount of the cuts. (Naritelli is wrong even if he is playing the blame-game correctly.)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Cardinal Roger Mahony (L) walks with his successor, San Antonio, Texas Archbishop Jose Gomez (2nd L), after a news conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on April 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Gomez, 58, will take over the archdiocese of Los Angeles when Cardinal Mahoney retires. (Getty/Daylife)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Cardinal Roger Mahony (L) listens as his successor, San Antonio, Texas Archbishop Jose Gomez, during a news conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on April 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Gomez, 58, will take over the archdiocese of Los Angeles when Cardinal Mahoney retires. (Getty/Daylife)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, speaks during a news conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on April 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Gomez, 58, will take over the archdiocese of Los Angeles when Cardinal Mahoney retires. (Getty/Daylife)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, speaks during a news conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on April 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Gomez, 58, will take over the post when Cardinal Roger Mahoney retires, making him the first Latino cardinal in the U.S. (Getty/Daylife)
Given Mr. Rosen's' mention (and implicit criticism) of Archbishop Gomez, I am posting some information about him, and his connection to Opus Dei. From the website for the Archdiocese of San Antonio:
San Antonio's Archbishop José Gomez named by Pope to be successor to Cardinal Roger Mahony upon his retirement as Archbishop of Los Angeles.The people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the United States, now know who will be the successor to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony upon his retirement. San Antonio's Archbishop José Gomez has been named the "coadjutor archbishop" of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope Benedict XVI, which carries with it the right of succession. As coadjutor archbishop, Archbishop Gomez will aid Cardinal Mahony in the governance of the diocese and would take his place if he is absent or impeded. The appointment was made public by the Vatican this morning at 5 a.m. San Antonio time,
The Vatican did not name a successor to Archbishop Gomez when making the announcement. An Archdiocesan Administrator will be named for the Archdiocese of San Antonio on an interim basis upon Archbishop Gomez's departure which is scheduled for May 26.
Watch video of Archbishop Gomez's statement.
Watch video of Cardinal Mahony's statement.
Today's Catholic Coverage.
San Antonio Express-News Coverage
KENS TV San Antonio Coverage
KSAT TV San Antonio Coverage
View pictures from Los Angeles Press Conference
USCCCB news release
Cardinal Mahony Announces San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez As Successor
Opus Dei Today
McChrystal Backtracks By GARETH PORTER
U.S. Military Reneges on Pledge for Local Input in Kandahar Operations
High-Frequency Trading as High-Tech Robbery By MIKE WHITNEY
Where are the Regulators Who Will Regulate?
The China Charade By MARK WEISBROT
China Will Do What It Wants
Lie to Congress; Get a Fourth Star By RAY McGOVERN
Alexander the Not So Great
Then there is this, which reminds us that while Counterpunch may be able to report on events that are ignored by the MSM, it still embraces a worldview that is opposed to traditional conservatism:
David Rosen, The New York Times vs. the Pope: a Case of Selective Journalism
The pastor of my home parish was encouraging me to continue looking for a job. I didn't want to tell him my plans, as I would think that he would judge them to be unrealistic. And maybe they are. But I still am going down that road... which reminds me I need to sign up for something. (It turns out that most of the events for May are already filled. bah.)
Admission is free!
I took a look at the people who had RSVPed on FB for the event. Alas, a lot of old people.
Sadness and sloth result from peak oil awareness need to be fit into such a model? Or is it just a normal human reaction? And more importantly, what can I do to ameliorate it?
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The whole theory of the income tax is that those best able to pay it, pay it. It sounds halfway sensible until one starts to reckon with human notions of justice (”to each his own”) and the disruptive implications of upsetting those notions by government edict. A nation, half of whose citizens don’t pay income taxes, is in a bad position to say fewer and fewer should toil for the support of more and more.
It seems that the income tax is related to distributive justice, rather than commutative justice. But does the Federal tax code pay sufficient attention to the differences in the standard of living that exist between states? Do deductions sufficiently allow for middle- and lower-class families to take care of necessary expenses? (In general, should an income tax be levied on what is truly surplus, rather than what is reckoned by the Federal government to be net income?)
On a related note:
Social Security and Medicare Funding Issues: Even Worse when One Considers Resource Constraints
When we think about the taxes and the federal deficit, we don't usually think of Social Security and Medicare, because in government lingo, the payments we make for these programs aren't taxes, they are contributions, and the funding deficit for these programs is not taken into account in determining the federal deficit.
German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (C) poses for a group photo with German army Bundeswehr soldiers in their field camp in Kunduz April 14, 2010. Guttenberg is visiting Uzbekistan and the German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. (Reuters/Daylife)
Sharon Astyk responds: At Home with the Numbers Game.. or John Michael Greer is Singing my Song!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The label "conservative" could be applied to some who are implicated, and not just to some American Catholics -- opposed to the extraordinary form, they nonetheless profess to be right-believing Catholics.
Following Bertone's gaffe, Pope Benedict XVI has the chance to clear out the useless old guard from the Vatican
On Catholic Answers today, Philip Lawler seemed to be supporting the assertions of Cardinal Bertone about homosexual priests being the primary cause of the sex scandal, since most of the acts were not of pedophilia but pederasty.
The Institute for New Economic Thinking, established with the support of George Soros, held its inaugural conference this month at the United Kingdom's University of Cambridge. To mark the event, Asia Times Online publishes an essay on Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes, whose differing theories were a feature of the gathering. - Henry C K Liu
The al-Qaeda financed suicide mission on the United States consulate in Pershawar in Pakistan on April 5 was meticulously planned for over a month. When the six militants set off in their mini-van they knew exactly how to break through the security cordons to reach the American spies they were to take hostage. Then things went horribly wrong. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Apr 14, '10)
There will be at least three major consequences of recurring drought conditions in southwestern China. First will be that millions of people and head of livestock will have to find a source of water or move. Next comes the food supply. The third problem of a lasting drought is the collapse of hydro-generated power in China. Should the hydro-power shortages continue for long we can expect that higher oil imports and world prices will not be far behind.
The period since the end of the last ice age provided the large-scale stability in which human civilisation emerged. Climatic stability provided the opportunity for diverse human settlements to 'bed' down over generations. This formed the basis upon which knowledge, cultures, institutions, and infrastructures could build complexity and capability over generations without, by and large, having it shattered by extreme drought or flooding outside their capacity to adapt. (excerpt)
by B. Cervellera - A. Lam
Loading farm animals on trucks is something that requires the patience of Job and often ends up with a person sitting on a heap of dung too. This experience seems to be both the destiny and the downfall of every beginner in farming and quite a few oldtimers too.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I won't be considering meditation as a method of prayer, but just as a method for coping with emotions. (Even as such, it can be connected with a belief system or religion -- meditation was briefly shown in one of this weekend's episodes of Three Brothers. The mother was exasperated by her sons and she was doing her best to calm down through meditation. It wasn't working. iirc, the father made a comment about meditation in connection with Buddhism.) There seems to be a confusion of a physical exercise with a moral exercise. Some physical exercises can help the body relax (and cope with stress) and may even induce some sort of euphoria. But they cannot achieve true apatheia. (And if by apatheia we mean the suppression of all emotion, this is not even a state we should want to achieve.) Changing our body does not necessitate a change in our desires -- the moderation of our desires and the consequent emotions can only occur through our choices and the practice of detachment -- understanding the proper order between goods and observing that order in our actions.
For example, if we are impatient with others, taking deep breaths can help us deal with our emotions temporarily, but this is only a temporary solution. The vice that is the foundation of impatience must be addressed (through prayer, and the practice of charity and humility).
Return to "Indian Country"
The GWOT is an attempt to fight tribes as nation-states?
Edit. April 15, 2010
Dr. Wilson writes: "Our leaders must pretend that Afghanistan is a country because they cannot understand a world in which there is anything except consolidated obedient states under the unfied control of people like themselves. To admit to it would undermine their confidence that they can manage the world."
Ignorance of Afghan Culture Leads to Botched Raids and Civilian Deaths
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and his chief of intelligence, Gen. Michael Flynn, have admitted the profound ignorance of the U.S. military about Afghan society, while avoiding the implications of that ignorance for the issue of false intelligence on the Taliban.
McChrystal acknowledged in his "initial assessment" last August that his command had to "acquire a far better understanding of Afghanistan and its people".
In an interview with National Public Radio Aug. 13, Flynn admitted, "What we really have not done to the degree that we need to is really truly understand the population: the tribal dynamics, the tribal networks, the ethnicity…."
Such dynamics are different "from valley to valley", Flynn observed.
And in an unusual paper published by the Centre for a New American Security last October, Flynn was even more frank, saying, "I don't want to say we're clueless, but we are. We're no more than fingernail deep in our understanding the environment."
Flynn avoided any suggestion that this profound ignorance of the society in which U.S. troops are operating could affect targeting of suspected Taliban. He asserted that the intelligence problem is not about the Taliban but about the lack of knowledge about governance and development issues.
But a foreign military force that is so fundamentally ignorant of the socio-political forces at play inevitably allows local sources which have access to it to act in their own self-interest.
More often than not, the U.S. and NATO have depended heavily on ties with Afghan tribal leaders and warlords. That has proven disastrous over and over again.
Col. David Lamm, who was chief of staff for Gen. David Barno, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, has said that it became clear to top officials in the command that it should not make alliances with tribes to obtain information on the Taliban.
It often turned out that a group which a tribal leader said was the Taliban was actually a competing tribe, Lamm recalled in a September 2008 interview with IPS.
Barno also ordered his commanders to shun local police as intelligence sources on the Taliban. "Local police were too close to the local elite," said Lamm.
Despite such warnings, however, CIA and military intelligence operatives have continued to rely on tribal patriarchs and local warlords as intelligence sources on the Taliban. As recently as December 2008, U.S. intelligence officials were telling Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick that their operatives had been using gifts of Viagra, among other inducements, to get warlords and tribal leaders to provide such intelligence.
The U.S. military, including SOF units, have also relied on local warlords to provide security for their bases and logistics, as documented by a study by the Centre on International Cooperation at New York University last September. Those ties translate into channels for intelligence as well.
The universal cause is like a winter torrent: it carries everything along with it. But how worthless are all these poor people who are engaged in matters political, and, as they suppose, are playing the philosopher! All drivellers. Well then, man: do what nature now requires. Set thyself in motion, if it is in thy power, and do not look about thee to see if any one will observe it; nor yet expect Plato's Republic: but be content if the smallest thing goes on well, and consider such an event to be no small matter. For who can change men's opinions? And without a change of opinions what else is there than the slavery of men who groan while they pretend to obey? Come now and tell me of Alexander and Philip and Demetrius of Phalerum. They themselves shall judge whether they discovered what the common nature required, and trained themselves accordingly. But if they acted like tragedy heroes, no one has condemned me to imitate them. Simple and modest is the work of philosophy. Draw me not aside to indolence and pride.
Meditations, Book IX
Monday, April 12, 2010
Mr. Spencer writes:
While Sotomayor was a fairly straight-forward ethno-advocate, Liu is something different -- a theorist of the "Living Constitution." In this clip from a discussion of the prospect of giving African-Americans reparations for slavery, Liu seems to argue that everyone in the country should take on the burden of "white guilt," with the federal government redistributing Americans' wealth, forcing integration, and promoting blacks in the Ivy League.
If this is correct, then Goodwin Liu is another example of how the labelling of East Asians, such as the Chinese, as members of a "model minority" does not follow the right sort of model. It makes me angry that Chinese have been indoctrinated to undermine the old constitution, and fearful that a white backlash against East Asians (among others) may occur if the current order collapses.
Nonetheless, Barack Obama and his cohorts have recklessly decided to try to extend our period of dependence on oil for "business as usual" instead of using a significant portion of it, along with a lavish amount of federal funds, to establish a firm foundation for alternative energy provision and the massive, societal changes that are on the way. In other words, they are still trapped in an all-out effort to support globalized industry (including its offshored job market and gargantuan transportation network) instead of their preparing the public for post-peak oil lifestyles in which human welfare and regionalized community development are emphasized.
Assuredly, facilitation of such a constructive switch would help America across the board. The reason is that the redirection of wealth away from horrific resource wars, macro-scale business and pernicious corporate bailouts towards the creation of robust decentralized economic bases would yield many benefits. The action could generate jobs, serve to protect the raw materials and the natural environments on which communities rely and curb fossil fuel use since many products would be created and used locally. It could, also, lead individuals and groups into gaining the necessary skills and understandings to create assorted merchandise, foster developments of co-ops and other innovative organizations like Simple Gifts Farm, as well as strengthen the U.S. economy at the grassroots level.
I believe this is the report? “The Joint Operating Environment” on the Energy Crisis. Energy Bulletin article.
The descendants of those men who pulled coal-loaded barges upstream in 19th century now drive shiny cars powered by oil and work in front of computer screens. But the problem of oil is the same as it was for coal: it is not infinite and there is not enough of it for everyone.(original)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
It is said that you are the last representative of the school of “Roman theology”, which was made famous by Cardinal Palazzini or by the dear and regretted Monsignor Piolanti. Is your voice as a theologian an isolated voice in Italy, or do you see in some university, some magazines, theologians who share your preoccupations and your analysis of the situation?
I do not know how far I may be considered as an epigone of the glorious Roman School. Even the illustrious names which you refer to belong to a descending stage of this school. After the Second Vatican Council, the voice of this school, increasingly weak, could still be heard through two Roman academies (the Pontificia Accademia di Teologia and the Pontificia Accademia San Tommaso d’Aquino), the reviews Divinitas and Doctor Communis, and the Thomistic Congresses. Today, if risking oneself still to be aware of it, it is just an isolated voice, admired by some, but more often despised and scorned. This is how I perceive the situation. However, listened to or not, it still resounds, and if you recognize the timbre of the Roman school in my voice, I am pleased.
Woody writes in the comments:
From Fr. H's blog it appears that "The Ecumenical Council Vatican II: A Much Needed Discussion" is available in English and someone had already sent a copy to Fr. Hunwicke, whose posts on it show its evident great value.
Another reader of that blog and I have corresponded and it will be of interest to Rorate readers to know that the book is being published by the publishing arm of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. My correspondent told me that he had contacted the US bookshop of the FI and was told that they had sold out of it here in the US. I am planning to call first thing tomorrow to put in my order for one copy from the next shipment to hit our shores.
One can also email the FI in Italy, but I have yet to hear back from them in response to mine.
From Fr Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes: Canon of S Peter's calls for review of Vatican II
Perhaps, amid all the press and hubbub of Easter, you might have noticed, with the Sovereign Pontiff at S Peter's, the 85-year old but sprightly figure of Mgr Canon Brunero Gherardini ... whose many distinctions include that of being a consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and a professorship in the Pontifical Lateran University. Monsignore published last year Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II: Un discorso da fare. This has now appeared in an English Translation as The Ecumenical Vatican Council II A MUCH NEEDED DISCUSSION. It is published by the Casa Mariana Editrice, who offer not an ISBN number but an email address: email@example.com
Franciscans of the Immaculate
Franciscans of the Immaculate
Academy of the Immaculate Bookstore
Mount Saint Francis Hermitage
Marian Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe
NLM: Holy Week with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Castello
The lecture itself was very interesting. He briefly discussed the idea of a gift economy found in Pope Benedict's encyclical Caritas in Veritate, and how our first response to the benefits we have received should be one of gratitude. He talked about caritas, not justice, being the principle virtue of economics. He then went on to develop the practical implications for companies and business owners. The Q&A session after his lecture had many good questions, some asking for his predictions, others asking what responsibilities consumer/customers and employees have.
We are accustomed to thinking of justice as being the central virtue of economics (or politics)-- it is, after all, the virtue that governs exchanges (and relations) between people. It is also the virtue most related to positive law. It seems to me that the legislator and the virtuous man who is concerned with good laws will be thinking of economic matters primarily in terms of justice. Nonetheless, the Christian cannot stop with justice, since all things must be ordered to God, to the love of God and the love of neighbor. But, the observance of caritas as a virtue presupposes that a society has been successfully evangelized. Mr. Médaille reminded us that the laity are called to be the leaven of society. If our political economy needs to be reformed, this is the sort of work with which Christians should be engaged.
I was fortunate to be able to talk to him a bit after Mass at the reception. We talked a little about my education, and I mentioned my dissertation topic. He asked if I thought there was anything of an account of [subjective] right in Aquinas, as he did not think so. I brought up rights of the Anglo-American political tradition--he thinks that the Anglo-American political tradition is mostly identical to liberalism (with Jefferson being the exception?). Culturally I think Americans are liberals. But is there more to the Anglo-American political tradition than liberalism?
He does not think that the Austrian analysis of the business cycle or of the current economic crisis has much to offer. Moreover, the Austrian school puts most of blame on the Fed instead of fractional reserve banking. Mr. Médaille believes that that the problem lies with fractional reserve banking itself, and that given its existence some sort of institution like the Fed is required. The cycle between bust and boom is not caused by the Fed, but by usury. I'm always up for raising awareness of usury as a sin, one that hurts a political community.
He recommended one book dealing with fractional reserve banking: The Lost Science of Money. (See also the American Monetary Institute.) As the book is rather thick and expensive, he suggested that I take a look at the books listed in the bibliography in order to get something shorter.
Dr. Cordova asked him a question about academics and the question of remuneration -- they had an interesting discussion about self-interest. Mr. Médaille holds that the desire for self-respect a greater motivator for action than what is called "self-interest," referring to traditional societies in which honor was one of the important parts of ethical thinking.
He does not believe that the current system can endure much longer -- it is not sustainable, and predicts that things will really start to fall apart in 2012. He thinks that there will be false signs of improvement until August, as the stimulus package plays itself out, and then it will get interesting. Given the current price of oil with the economy as it is, he thinks we have reached the peak in global oil production. I didn't follow up with the objection I've read that the price of oil is more a reflection of the devaluation of the US currency, rather than production and supply.
While the US may be in bad shape, China is in even worse shape, and it is better to be in the US than in China. Chinese government policies should have focused on China's peasants and developing an internal market, instead of the export market. China cannot help but buy US bonds and spend money at home through its own stimulus packages in order to keep things going. If China hits a severe economic crisis, so will Australia, since its fortune is tied up with China's. I haven't read anything about this, though my friend told me that China is investing much in western Australia. Mr. Médaille explained that Australia is China's source for many natural resources.
I asked him if his judgments of the current situation ever got him down -- he said it used to, but now he sees it more as a time for opportunity. (Having an active faith life undoubtedly helps.) But the question is what we are made of, and he's doubtful about the character of the American people. What does someone who does not have much money do? He can't really be an entrepreneur.
He said it make take a while to persuade people, 5 or more years. There is much value in asking them questions they cannot answer so as to prompt them to reconsider their beliefs.
Mr. Médaille has new book coming out from ISI in the Summer: Toward a Truly Free Market:
A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More