Saturday, January 23, 2010

John Médaille gives a longer response to the SCOTUS decision: Welcome to the Plutocracy (via Nathan Contra Mundi)
NLM: Book Notice: The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite by László Dobszay
NLM: Pontifical Consecration of New Chapel of the Northern American FSSP Seminary with Cardinal Levada

(Catholic Church Conservation)

It'll be shown on EWTN! Must mark March 3 on my calendar!

When he was archbishop of San Francisco, Cardinal Levada did not do anythingn to make the EF more accessible to the laity. I don't know if he was personally hostile or indifferent to the EF, or if it was a matter of diocesan politics. Now that the PCED has been subsumed under the CDF, as the head of CDF it may be a part of his duties to be present. But perhaps the Holy Father is having an influence upon him as well.
Today for lunch I went to Amber India with the siblings --it was the first time for me. Was the quality of the food better than Bombay Garden? Probably, but the number of dishes was limited, and I missed the fried bread of Bombay Garden. The naan was ok, but more burnt than I like. A lot of the chicken dishes used chicken breast, so they're probably more expensive than those using dark meat but the problem is that the chicken breast was rather dry. (As was the tilapia.) The butter chicken, using shredded pieces of tandoori chicken, was good. The lamb dish was nice the first time I ate it, but afterwards I found the spices to be too much. I liked the rice pudding -- they added some almonds to it. I didn't try any of the vegetarian dishes; my sisters did, but I didn't ask them what they thought. It's $15.95 for lunch on Saturday and Sunday, $14.95 on weekdays. (Same prices as Bombay Garden, I think.)

(I think if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick Bombay Garden, though it might be "riskier." Nevertheless, more Indian cuties probably go to Amber India.)

"Who's your favorite Founder?"

Is Mr. Reinsch representative of the City Journal staff?

Richard M. Reinsch, Madison’s Gift to America
A new study points to the Virginian’s emphasis on civic virtue

Dr. Wilson: "It was the centralists who made up theory post facto against established understanding. Their theory was bolstered by semantics and false history. James Madison was not the "Father of the Constitution" but a weaselly trimmer who constantly contradicted himself. Which is why he is the hero of every bad historian, "political philosopher," and tyrannical judge in the land."
Why Grass-Fed Beef Won't Save the Planet
The Supremes Bow to King Corporation

There is a glimmer of hope and a touch of reality in yesterday's Supreme Court decision. Unfortunately it is the powerful 90 page dissent in this case by Justice Stevens joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justice Stevens recognizes the power corporations wield in our political economy. Justice Stevens finds it "absurd to think that the First Amendment prohibits legislatures from taking into account the corporate identity of a sponsor of electoral advocacy." He flatly declares that, "The Court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation."

He notes that the, Framers of our Constitution "had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind." Right he is, for the words "corporation" or "company" do not exist in our Constitution.

Were the protections of the First Amendment understood by any of the parties ratifying the Constitution as extending to juridical persons? If there is nothing in the document itself to warrant this interpretation, is there anything in the common law of the time? If not, then is not the ruling by the "conservatives" dependent upon a reading that is imposed upon the Constitution? How can this be originalist?

Alexander Cockburn:

This being America, the U.S. Supreme Court returned fire that same Thursday with its Citizens United v. FEC decision striking down ancient laws and precedents and giving corporations their First Amendment rights to have nine fingers on the nation’s political windpipe instead of eight – which was the status quo ante which editorialists bizarrely lament as a Golden Age of electoral probity, only now destroyed by Chief Justice Roberts and his black-hat gang of judicial activists. There’s doleful talk of a “return to the era of the Robber Barons”. I thought we had Barons’ Homecoming a generation ago, though Citizens United v FEC does, even more brazenly than usual, blare the message that in America corporations rule and that the Supreme Court is their errand boy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mish, Why Is California Broke?
The comments to the Western Confucian's "Corporations Are Not Persons" got me thinking about legal/juridic/moral/artificial personhood again. Perhaps the problem is not conferring the status of personhood on a corporation. iirc, corporations (and corporate personhood) finds their origins in the medieval period, if not earlier. (I haven't been able to do much research on this yet. I have yet to read through Bruce Brown's The History of the Corporation.)

I believe governments or other communities (a university, for example?) were early examples of medieval corporations. However, it seems to me that just because such entities are legally defined as persons does not mean that they automatically bear the same sort of rights as human beings. It all depends upon the definition, and it may be the case that a corporation, even if it is made up of human beings, while being more than a group of particular people, does not have the all of the same rights of those members taken individually, or the sum of their rights taken collectively.

Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Corporation.
The current Code of Canon Law's definition of Juridic Persons.
"Canon Law" by Rev. John J. Coughlin, O.F.M.
Orion Magazine: iDubai
An ephemeral empire, captured in phone
Photographs by Joel Sternfeld, Text by Hal Clifford
"US raises concern over China oil policy"
by Kjell Aleklett, President of ASPO International

Let’s return to China and its oil policy. In the autumn of 2007 Professor Pang from China University of Petroleum in Beijing (CUPB) was invited to be the keynote speaker at the ASPO conference in Cork, Ireland. On the way there, he and the Chinese delegation stopped over in Uppsala for a mini-workshop. One of the items of news that he delivered was that China had adopted a new oil policy whereby they would aim to control oil production equivalent to 50% of the nation’s needs. At that time in 2007 China produced approximately 50% of its needs. However, China’s enormous economic growth required more production than it could deliver domestically so that today 50% control means they are forced to buy production rights outside of China. What we are now seeing is China consciously applying its oil policy.
Thomas Storck, Is Thomas Woods a Dissenter? A Further Reply, Pt. 3
Fr. Z: Pope’s second book on Jesus of Nazareth is finished

I guess we won't have to wait until Christmas for the second volume to be published here in the US?
Fr. Maciel compared to Chariaman Mao -- so what's the equivalent to the Red Book?
John Médaille offers a short comment on the SCOTUS decision:

The Supremes were merely recognizing an established fact: that the government of the United States is a wholly owned and operated subsidary of corporate America. Why should the plutocracy be limited in the amount of money they spend in supporting their employees? What the Supremes did was to reveal how little they cared for “original intent,” since the founders never intended to give corporations the rights of natural persons.

Thomas Linzey on the SCOTUS decision

Whose Rights?
Thomas Linzey, Mari Margil, Yes! Magazine
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—giving corporations the ability to spend money directly to influence federal elections under the Constitution’s First Amendment—was inevitable. It represents a logical expansion of corporate constitutional “rights”—which include the rights of persons which have been judicially conferred upon corporations. “Personhood” rights mean that corporations possess First Amendment rights to free speech, along with a litany of other rights that are secured to persons under the federal Bill of Rights.

Peak Moment 160: A Young Couple Find Freedom in Simple Living
Yuba Gals Independent Media, Peak Moment Television

Rather than follow the customary American dream, Tammy and Logan sold their home and car, and moved to a bikeable/walkable neighborhood in Sacramento, California. After reading Derrick Jensen’s writings, this couple used Your Money or Your Life as a means to get out of debt and, they feel, regain their lives and their future. While they recount the psychological challenges of facing a future of declining resources, the catalyst that continues to move them forward is a dream of living in an affordable tiny house within a supportive community.

What will happen if they decide to have children? (I haven't listened to it yet, so I don't know if they've ruled that out or not.)
If the "One" continues to disappoint whites, will he inspire more generalizations among whites about blacks that will poison race relations? (I don't think it is unfair to call him an AA president -- it's a comment about both him and those who voted him into office. He is not qualified for office, and was able to get there only because of white liberal guilt and pride which ignored his shortcomings in order to make a "historic" statement.)

I don't Stephen Hayes because of his attempts to defend the Bush administration by playing up the supposed connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. But his article in the Weekly Standard, to which Laurence Auster links, highlights the apparent contradictions in the rhetoric and actions of the current administration. If we are in a war on terror, should we be treating captured terrorists merely as criminals? Should they allowed to be questioned, without the protection of Miranda, for the sake of gathering intelligence about terrorist activities? (Under the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war only have to give their name, rank, and serial number.) If someone is caught in the act of terrorism, it should be relatively easy to convict him. Can he not then be questioned by a legitimate authority, for the protection of a community?
SHOT Show 2010: Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT)

Daniel Defense - 2010 SHOT Show - AR15.Com
More reactions from Counterpunch to the SCOTUS decision yesterday:
The Supremes Have Opened the Floodgates

Freedom of Speech for a Fiction

Corporate Personhood and Political Free Speech

I'm waiting for a dependable scholar of the Constitution to weigh in.
How Wall Street Destroyed Health Care

Wall Street is romanticized by libertarians and “free market economists.” They believe, entirely on the basis of their ideology, that Wall Street finances venture capitalists who bring economic progress and higher living standards. Wall Street does no such thing, especially since financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a speculative hedge fund.
NYT: How Corporate Money Will Reshape Politics (via John Robb)
Credo Ambrosiano
Responsorium: "Congratulamini mihi omnes qui diligitis Dominum"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tommy Carruthers has a website.
How can one avoid the impression that the supposed "conservatives" of the SCOTUS and the Republican party are nothing but tools of the corporations?

The LA Times: Supreme Court overturns ban on direct corporate spending on elections
In a 5-4 decision that strikes down a 1907 law, the justices say the 1st Amendment gives corporations, just like individuals, a right to spend their own money on political ads for federal candidates.

Reaction at LRC blog: Liberals on Free Speech and Finance Campaign Laws
Liberal Hatred of Civil Liberties

Paleolibertarians: friends or foes of republicans? Kinsella makes a good distinction between what the Federal Government is empowered to do, and what state governments are empowered to do. Can it be definitively shown though that the rights enumerated by the Bill of Rights extend to corporations and other groups?
Robot Farmers
Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer
Tractors have gone robotic too. This is good news for us wordsmiths, strange as that may seem. I happened to look inside the cab of one of the tractors that can drive itself across the field without benefit of clergy or anyone else. The cab resembled the console and cockpit of a 747 jet.. Right there beside the air conditioner was a stack of magazines, not all of them necessarily the kind you leave out on your living room coffee table. The farmer grinned sheepishly. “Gotta have some way to stay awake,” he explained.

EB: Extreme commuting
Daniel Pargman, Life After Oil
Extreme commuters - who spend at least three hours per day traveling to and from their workplace - doubled in the U.S. between 1990 and 2005. Since the onset of the subprime and financial crises, the trend to move further and further away, and to travel longer and longer distances, has reached the end of the road.
EB: Biophysical economics: Putting energy at the center
Kurt Cobb, Scitizen
Many scientists have long complained that standard economics fails to account for the biological and physical systems that form the basis of the economy. In short, the economy is a subset of the environment and governed by the same biological and physical laws as every other system on the planet.

Fr. Finigan recommends James Corum's blog.
Fr. Z: 21 January: St. Agnes of Rome, virgin and martyr
Asia News: Chinese authorities for Confucius against Avatar
Movie buffs complain that the US blockbuster will be pulled from most movie theatres. Chinese authorities deny any discrimination. In two days, a nationalist movie about Confucius will hit the screens across the country. In Taiwan, man dies of a stroke from the overexcitement caused by Avatar.

I'm assuming this is the movie with Chow Yun-Fat as Confucius.
Asia News: More than 200,000 political and religious prisoners in North Koreaby Joseph Yun Li-sun
South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission of Korea releases its findings on the matter. It is the first government agency that officially deals with the issue. Sources tell AsiaNews that many of those in detention are religious believers.

A side note: I was watching Iris with English subtitles last night, and the KBS translator wrote PRC instead of PRK. I haven't seen an instance of Corea though.
In response to the latest post at The Archdruid Report, someone with links to freemasonry (and proud of them) explains why freemasonry is dangerous:

The Masons have been a force for the good since their inception hundred of years ago, when they opposed the domination of religion and supported the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Obama Still Doesn't Get It By MARSHALL AUERBACK
Did Commercialization Kill the Bees? By ADAM FEDERMAN
Last Chance to Save Wild Bumble Bees

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One more...

Had to put this up, since it's for Glock.

Glock Gen4 Unveiled! | The Firearm Blog
Military Times Gear Scout – Gen4 Glocks on the line at Shot
SHOT Show 2010: Glock Introduces Gen4 Pistols - News - POLICE Magazine

More from SHOT Show 2010

AR15.Com 2010 SHOT Show - Magpul

AR15.Com 2010 SHOT Show - Magpul Dynamics Theory Based Products

SHOT Show 2010: LaRue Tactical OBR Lite

AR15.Com 2010 SHOT Show - LWRC

2010 Shot Show: Massad Ayoob talks about carrying a second firearm

Massad Ayoob (columns; Massad Ayoob Group)
PWS 2010 Demo Video

Primary Weapons Systems - PWS
JMG, Secret Handshakes

Yes, I’m a Freemason. Some years back a series of accidents clued me in to the huge role that the old fraternal orders had in structuring American communities a century ago, and in the process I also learned that the handful of fraternal orders that still survive are rapidly going under for lack of new members. The obvious response was to apply for membership in a lodge, which I did. The results have been an experience, in almost every possible sense of the word. I’ve given and received quite a range of secret handshakes, and worn some very exotic headgear; I’ve spent evenings in mostly empty lodge halls while a handful of elderly members try to remember the details of initiation ceremonies none of them have had a chance to perform in twenty years; I’ve seen old men, proud as hawks, get teary-eyed as they reminisced about the days when the rest of the community responded to the lodges and their charitable work with something other than total indifference.

Now of course this is not the way lodges, and particularly Masonry, are portrayed in today’s popular culture, and I’m quite aware that to a certain percentage of my readers, my Masonic affiliation defines me as one or more of the 31 flavors of evil incarnate. It doesn’t matter that membership in Masonry has been dropping like a rock for decades, that most Masonic lodges are struggling to find enough members to keep their doors open, or that Freemasonry has less influence in this country than at any time since the Revolutionary War – the last Mason in the White House was Gerald Ford, for heaven’s sake. There are still plenty of people who use the Craft, as Masons like to call their oddball institution, as the perfect inkblot onto which they can project their fantasies of organized wickedness, whatever those happen to be. At a time when people can get million-dollar book contracts and all the radio air time they want to bash Masonry, it may seem a little odd that they can insist that Masons control the media and the rest of American society to boot – when’s the last time you saw something favorable about Masons on the media, by the way? – but contradictions of that sort are pretty much par for the course in our collective discourse these days.

The irony here is that all this vituperation is being flung at the last struggling remnant of what was once a huge social force in America. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, by reliable estimates, half of all adult Americans – counting, by the way, both genders and all ethnic groups – belonged to at least one fraternal lodge. The Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Grange, and many other orders – some 3,500 different organizations, all told – formed a crucial element in civil society in America; they had a similar role elsewhere in the English-speaking world, where they were called “friendly societies,” and a somewhat less active presence elsewhere.

What makes this explosion of voluntary communal organization particularly relevant to our time is that the old lodges weren’t simply social clubs. With few exceptions – Freemasonry, interestingly enough, was one of those – they had a vital economic role. In an age when governments didn’t consider people starving in the streets a matter of public concern, in fact, the fraternal lodges filled many of the same roles now filled by the welfare state.

A positive appraisal of Freemasonry from a freemason. Did the medieval guilds fulfill the same social functions?
John Robb, JOURNAL: Brands and Hollow Nation-States
Thomas Storck, Is Thomas Woods a Dissenter? A Further Reply, Pt. 2

Team CoCo

Is Conan leaving NBC? Jay Leno seems poised to return to 11:30. Personally I think Leno should just retire, as he had announced he would, before NBC decided to give him the weeknight 10:00 slot. (Another bad decision on NBC's part.) But more importantly, Conan gives me more laughs than Leno. Does this late-night feud really engross America to the point that they are distracted from the vital issues of the day? It seems not. But it does make the US look stupid, that this seems to be such important news. Maybe Americans have nothing else to talk about at the water cooler; or the prospect of talking about health care "reform" or what the banks and mortgage companies and so on did to precipitate the economic crisis is too daunting.
Damian Thompson, The Pope's visit to Britain: Opus Dei swoops in
"Le Royaume Oublié" Jordi Savall entrevistat a Carcassona

Ancient Korean Traditional Music - Hwang Byeonggi - Kayagum Sanjo Variation (Filmed in 1966)

North Korean Kayakum Prodigy Cho Okchu
TJF, When the Going Gets Tough . . .

A Dark Age is what you make of it. The true American character was forged in danger and hardship and bitter necessity, but that character has been diluted by mass immigration and weakened by the very success it achieved. The weakness of our character was revealed by the numbers of people who, against all reason, voted for Barack Obama, because they were afraid. The majority of mankind, however, is always made up of weak and frightened people. It has always been an elite—the whaling men and pioneers, cowboys and entrepreneurs—who have defined the real America. Perhaps I am letting my optimism show, but, whatever happens to the country as a whole, I believe that we Americans need not fear any Dark Age, so long as there are still a few men like my father or the Texans he came to admire.
Last Lecture, by James R. Stoner, Jr.

In short, I want to talk about human happiness, and what I have called my first and most important thought is simply this: Although no one can be happy who is determined not to be, happiness is not achieved by merely wanting it, much less by getting what you thought you wanted. For to be happy, a person has to know what is good and make it one’s own—not exactly as a possession, for none of the goods I’m going to talk about are material things, but as integral to one’s world and oneself.

He lists five goods: constitutionalism, learning, beauty, faith, marriage, freedom, and patriotism. Where is religion? (Faith may be required for religion, but religion is more than faith.) What of friendship and justice? This list of goods reminds me of the New Natural Law Theory and similar attempts to delineate human goods. (Aquinas himself does give a list of goods when explaining how the precepts of the natural law are derived in I II, but he does not give an exhaustive list there. The goods are enumerated through the virtues.) Did Aristotle himself believe in an ultimate end, to which all other goods were ordered? And what is the principle by which goods might be ordered to one another? This has been a point of controversy for Aristotle scholars and for others as well.
PCR, The Rule of Law Has Been Lost
Daniel Larison, Learning The Wrong Lessons
Drunken Koudou (via the Western Confucian)

There's a review of Aliens.
Coakley Loses and a Good Job Too by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Because the Democratic majority in the US senate is now reduced to 59, the common prediction is that the Democrats' health reform bill is doomed, since it takes 60 votes to override a filibuster, which the Republicans would mount to kill the bill. More likely is that the insurance companie , (which dictated the basic terms of the "reform" and stands to gain millions of new customers who will be forced by law to take out health insurance), will be loath to throw away months of successful lobbying and will dictate some new "compromise" that will allow both Republicans and Democrats to claim victory. Obama will delightedly sign any insurance bill landing on his desk bearing the necessary label, "reform".

Why I Voted for the Republican in Massachusetts By JOHN V. WALSH
James Matthew Wilson, The Treasonous Clerk: Art and Beauty against the Politicized Aesthetic, Part VI

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fr. Z: VatRadio: Crd. Schönborn apologizes for Medjugorje controversy
Reuters: Iran says may hit Western warships if attacked

The Pentagon is aware of possible Iranian responses to an attack by the US or Israel. The White House should be aware of these responses as well. So what is the point for Iran making this statement? Are they really reminding the US? Or are they trying to send a message to someone else?

Dmitry Orlov weighs in on communities

Real Communities are Self-organizing
Dmitry Orlov, ClubOrlov

John Médaille, The Politics of Ingratitude

Here is the great secret of my generation: What our parents gave us as a gift we have received as an entitlement. No one is not grateful for an entitlement. Indeed, everyone is resentful that it is not larger. Worse, we are resentful of everybody else’s entitlements because they compete with our own. Politics because a matter of getting as large a share of the pie as you can, while giving as little as you can get away with. We ended up resentful on both sides: we are resentful about how little we get (no matter how much it is) and resentful about how much we have to pay (no matter how little it is).

Avarice and injustice -- everyone seeks his own private advantage, over what is good for the community. What else can we expect from what the ancients call democracy?

Reflections on the lay vocation for men

This is primarily focused on men living in the United States, but much of it seems to me to be universally applicable.

The motto of the Boy Scouts is "Be Prepared" -- I won't be looking at how this is explained by official Scout literature or Robert Baden-Powell, but instead appropriating it. One should have the virtues necessary to deal with contingencies, especially the virtue of prudence, or practical wisdom.

Most men naturally perceive that they have a responsibility to protect their loved ones and also to defend the community at large. While it may be the case that not all should serve in the armed forces (indeed, there may be strong reasons for a Christian not to serve in the American military), they should be able to defend their family and local community if the need arises -- this means not only acquiring the necessary skills but the proper mindset. At the very minimum, learning basic hand-to-hand skills seems necessary. To fail to do this, without a serious reason, is to be negligent of one's duties. Some men may be exempt from this requirement because of their state in life (those who are religious and unmarried, for example, but even they may be required to defend the community in extreme cases of necessity), but I do not see how this is not the case for laymen.

I can understand the arguments that not every man needs to learn how to use a firearm. It is too expensive to own a handgun, or it is difficult to get a concealed weapons permit and so on. One may argue that even having one in the home, when one cannot secure it or does not have the mental readiness to use it in an emergency, is pointless. But if things begin to breakdown, learning how to use weapons other than one's body may become incumbent, not only for protecting one's family (and here I don't mean just one's wife and children, but the extended family) but also as a prerequisite for forming a local militia for communal defense.

This brings me to the point that if the United States is to become once again a union of republics, then republican virtue, with its martial foundation in the citizens' bearing arms in defense of family and community, needs to be restored. Financial circumstances may prevent many from learning how to defend themselves -- should it not be a priority of community centers to offer free classes or classes at reduced cost to men? Then again, we should be aware that governments at all levels generally do not have the interests of men, and by extension the true good of the community, at heart.

(Alas, I missed out on scouting when I was young, even though I was interested in it. I don't think I ever asked if I could join, or if I did, it was quickly dismissed.)

Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship
Daniel Larison, Democracy Promotion And Hegemonism
Wall Street's Power Grab By MICHAEL HUDSON
Thomas Storck, Is Thomas Woods A Dissenter? A Further Reply, Pt. 1

Monday, January 18, 2010

Zenit: Papal Address at Synagogue of Rome

Sandro Magister, In the Synagogue of Rome, the Pope Rereads the "Ten Words"


In the article, Anna Foa endorses the ideas of one of the leading scholars of Zionism, Georges Bensoussan. In the opinion of both, the state of Israel was not born as"redemption" from the extermination of the Jews carried out by Hitler. The real force behind the state was Zionism, already during the British mandate, with the settlement of that land by Jews who wanted to create a new man. The idea of the Holocaust as the foundation of the state of Israel gained strength only much later, after the Eichmann trial and especially after the war of Yom Kippur, in recent decades. And what paved the way for it – Anna Foa writes – was precisely the fifteen years of postwar silence: a silence "inhabited by repressed memories, by new fears identified with the ancient fears that had come true in the Holocaust, by the sense of guilt and the desire for revenge."

Interpreted this way, the birth of the state of Israel is no longer that "original sin" which even today many of its friends and enemies ascribe to it. The latter of these include many Catholics, first among them the Arabs living in the region. The most authoritative of these, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, was also in the synagogue of Rome yesterday, at the pope's arrival.

According to this "vulgate," the state of Israel was created by the great powers in order to remedy the previous extermination in Europe of six million Jews, which meant that one injustice was compensated by committing another against the local Arab population. In 1964, when Paul VI went to the Holy Land, the Church of Rome had not yet accepted the existence of the new state. And when three decades later, in 1993, the Holy See finally recognized the state of Israel and established diplomatic relations with it, the Arab Christians took this act as a betrayal.

But on the part of John Paul II, and now of Benedict XVI, the recognition of Israel no longer has any reservation.

While, on the other hand, the incessant use of the memory of the Holocaust as a weapon of accusation against the Church of Pius XII and of his successors prevents Judaism from leaving behind its identity as a victim.

This is how Anna Foa concludes her article in "L'Osservatore Romano." By taking the Holocaust, instead of Zionism, as the foundation of its political and religious identity, Israel risks "clinging to catastrophe instead of hope in the future"; it closes itself off in "a sorrowful identity that always oscillates between Auschwitz and Jerusalem."

While Zionism may be more "positive" and "hopeful," how can it be the the foundation of Israel's political and religious identity if it was not legitimate to begin with, sanctioned by God?
Pope Wants Laity to Become More Involved in Politics

Nothing new here--we see this in the Catechism and JPII's addresses as well...

“I think the Holy Father is responding to what he sees as insufficient lay participation or involvement, a weak or strong sense of identity, or just a lack of participation in regions that are very Catholic but where the presence of Catholics in public life is not strong enough,” Ms. Betancourt said.

I can see how this exhortation is applicable to Catholics living in "regions that are very Catholic" -- but what of regions that are not? I'm curious to see if any document endorses universal sufferage (as opposed to accepting it as reality).
Peter Hitchens responds to criticisms by Americans of his position regarding the BNP. (For example, see this post at CHT or this comment at VFR.)
County Sheriff Can Bust Big Bro (via Jeff Culbreath)

The duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county. He has law enforcement powers that exceed that of any other state or federal official.

This is settled law that most people are not aware of.

County sheriffs in Wyoming have scored a big one for the 10th Amendment and states rights. The sheriffs slapped a federal intrusion upside the head and are insisting that all federal law enforcement officers and personnel from federal regulatory agencies must clear all their activity in a Wyoming County with the Sheriff’s Office. Deja vu for those who remember big Richard Mack in Arizona.

Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis spoke at a press conference following a recent U.S. District Court decision (Case No. 2:96-cv-099-J (2006)) and announced that all federal officials are forbidden to enter his county without his prior approval ……

“If a sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody.”

The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.

Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact, they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.” Go back and re-read this quote.

The court confirms and asserts that “the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official.” And you thought the 10th Amendment was dead and buried — not in Wyoming, not yet.

Does the Santa Clara County Sheriff care about being a check on the Federal Government? I doubt it. I suspect her personal politics are in line with most people in state government.

Magpul Dynamics has a new DVD set coming out

It's available in February. I don't see it in their online store yet.

Their catalog.
CHT links to this piece by Marcus Epstein: Myths of Martin Luther King. Given the incident last year and the attention from liberal anti-racism groups, has his credibility been thoroughly compromised? It would seem so, though that does not mean that is essay is all false. One does question his motivations in writing it, though. I can imagine someone giving an amateur psychoanalysis of Mr. Epstein -- being of mixed ethnicity, he felt he had to prove himself to white (Southerners?) and so he became a racist. So ready to excuse the failings of those on the same part of the ideological spectrum, would liberals be willing to hear another side to what happened last year? In their zeal to promote harmonious living between groups, they are so quick to ostracize without understanding the individual.

A reader of VFR writes to Mr. Auster, giving suggestions on how to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.:
I'm pretty firm in the above opinion but there is another reason that I find I dislike the debunking that I'm not as sure about. This is that I've always thought a certain amount of respect is to be accorded to any people's cultural myths. Every race and ethnic group has its heroes and villains, its triumphs and tragedies, real and legendary that I think are owed a certain amount of polite circumspection when approached by the history-minded. The authors of deconstructions of King and Rosa Parks seem almost the equivalent of a man who goes to a Scottish patriotic celebration and announces that the movie Braveheart was completely inaccurate and, oh, by the way, Rabbie Burns was a cad and a rake who wrote indifferent poetry at best. I would consider this to be impolite even if the truth is on one's side. There isn't anything wrong with racial self-boosterism and its inevitable myth-making. I've never minded Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad being taught in elementary school (provided they come after Lincoln, Grant and Lee) so that little black children can see their own heroic ancestors in the history books.
I think it is correct that we should not needlessly offend others by pointing out the flaws of their heroes, especially when there is a possibility of the races working together to conserve tradition.
And even if we've gone too far down the road of tribalism, we should avoid being antagonistic and be provocative without a purpose. "Live and let live." I do think that race relations is something that must be handled by members of the races, whether in the South or in the major urban areas of the North, instead of being managed by the Federal Government. "Well-meaning" legislation only produces white flight.

SWPLs rail against racism from the comfort of their suburban fortresses. How many of them would be willing to walk the talk, with respect to their own lives and the lives of their children? One does not have to hold to strictly defined "race realism" to acknowledge the unpleasant parts of reality. There are stories of a few SWPLs who stupidly endanger themselves by going to areas people with sense avoid.

If self-government is still possible, then only we can take responsibility for our communities and seek the amelioration of culture, the promotion fo responsibility, relocalization and local management of affairs. If the opportunity for self-government is past, and we reject any outside intervention or imposition of authority, then we must live with the consequences.

From the Western Confucian:
Carolina Chocolate Drops' "Genuine Negro Jig" Preview
Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Sugar Grove Music Fest
The Thinking Housewife's post on Jimmy Carter made me think of someone's stepfather -- he's not from GA but KY, but in some ways he's similar to Jimmy Carter. When did Southerners become such tools of the anti-tradition forces in this country?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Whoever wrote the script for this season of 24 doesn't understand the structure of Iran's government. No surprise--most Americans don't. Or maybe the scriptwriter does, but had to choose the Iranian president to be the peacemaker and negotiator for the sake of drama. After all, it would be a bit incredible if the supreme ayatollah was having an affair, wouldn't it?

We see that Jack is once again indispensable because management is too incompetent to do its job correctly. Why bother to reconstitute CTU if its leadership continues to be a failure? Doesn't the Federal Government have any other agents who can do the work, instead of making Jack come out of retirement?

The show paints itself into a corner because of the requirements of drama; it shouldn't be a surprise if the stories lose plausibility and become worse and worse with time.
The French blackout and the Byzantium delusion
Damien Perrotin, The View from Brittany
The American press probably hardly noticed but southern France has experienced a major blackout around Christmas and in my own region – Brittany - local authorities have urged people to reduce their power consumption, lest the whole regional grid catastrophically fail. The lights are still on in the small Breton village I am writing this from, but it is probably a matter of time before they go off.

Useful work versus useless toil revisited
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
William Morris offered a radical vision that sounds very much like the radical vision of those now proposing the relocalization of human society in response to the myriad challenges we face to our very survival as a species.


"Useful Work Versus Useless Toil"

Some news about the Remington ACR (the former MagPul Masada)

Defense Review: Remington ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle) “Leaked” Promotional Video Demonstrates Weapon in a 21st-Century Combat Environment: MagPul Masada Rifle/Carbine Finally Making it to Market? and Breaking News: Federal Lawsuit Claims Remington ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle) Violates RDMI (Alex Robinson of Robinson Armament) Patent

The foldable stock on the "Masada" still hasn't grown on me, but it can be changed out for one that doesn't fold. Will the rifle be produced? I put up the video more for the shooting that is shown than for the rifle.