Friday, January 16, 2004

On the Upcoming Roman Missal Translation.

Austen Ivereigh's article above contains a few pseudo-"progressivist" canards about the Vatican "reversing collegiality"{1} and "reversing inculturation"{2} and other such absurdities. Notwithstanding these deficiencies, the above article is nonetheless helpful in making it clear that the upcoming translation of the Roman Missal *will* be translated with a much greater fidelity to the typical Latin edition than the current translation is. I for one will be glad to see the former dynamic equivalence interpretation principle{3} given the axe. It was "weighed in the scales and found wanting" (Dan v,27) to put it charitably. But I digress.


Notes:

{1} Ivereigh demonstrates in the above article that he quite clearly does not understand what authentic collegiality as taught by the Second Vatican Council really is about.

{2} Ivereigh also does not understand the principle of inculturation. It does *not* mean a bunch of liturgists putting into the liturgy whatever quaint ritual they find appealing after dreaming it up the night before mass. Inculturation is a much more gradual process than this. But I do not have the time nor the desire to discuss it at this time.

{3} Amply satired by Gary Hoge at this link.

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Miscellaneous Musings:
(On President Bush, the Upcoming Primaries, the Upcoming Election, and Standing on Principles)

I have in recent days taken an attitude of defeat on President Bush by my own admission. I noted HERE that I will vote for Senator Lieberman if he wins the nomination and noted HERE that I believe enacting the proposal that President Bush recommends would endanger this nation and possibly would qualify as treasonous. But lest I appear to be throwing in the towel on this matter, kindly allow me to give you a snapshot of my present frame of mind on this matter.

Will I vote for Senator Lieberman for President if he wins the nomination??? Yes, but only if President Bush actually approves in the form of legislation the illegal aliens proposal he has proposed. I am not sure that in that situation I could vote for any other Democrat but the very idea of me voting for a Democrat is something I have done once in my life in a contested election.{1}

That does not mean that the Republicans get my vote per se since I have voted for many an Independent candidate, some Libertarian candidates, and even other third party candidates on rare occasions. But I generally vote Republican admittedly. But despite this, I have little tolerance for those commonly referred to in modern vernacular as RINO's.{2} And the more I see Bush, the less I like him. He is in many ways a Rockefeller Republican of the sort that makes my skin crawl.

I kid you not my friends: if President Bush approves of legislation enacting this illegal alien defacto amnesty, I could never vote for him again. I know what those who think single-issue (read: abortion) will say but I am being honest here. I refuse to play the game of voting for Republicans who are of the Rockefeller mould simply because "the Democrats are evil." And I refuse to contribute to the charade that the Republicans need to be squishy quasi-socialists to win elections.

George W Bush's father betrayed my trust integrally{3} and as a result he did not get my vote in 1992. And it appears that his son is about to do likewise.{4} In all honesty my friends, I am at a loss for what to do essentially. I know what needs to be done, indeed I have talked about it repeatedly on this weblog and other places over the years. But the problem is finding candidates who (i) understand what needs to be done and (ii) who have the courage to actually do it while (iii) not being zenophobic cranks.{5}

The problem is, I do not see a single candidate of the sort I refer to on the horizon; however that does not mean that an alternate plan cannot be utilized. President Bush will be the nominee no matter what -the parties have rigged their primaries to prevent the kind of near upsets that happened in years past.{6}

What it boils down to essentially is that if President Bush is to wake up and shake off the rovehaze, he needs a strong primary challenge to slap him back to reality here. The question is: will any Republican take the mantle and (perhaps) sacrifice their political career on the altar of the common good??? For that is what it would be essentially: getting President Bush to ditch a lot of this liberal drivel and -at the very least- not rest on his laurels with the presumption that people like me "have nowhere to go." Wrong Mr. President.

For we can stay home and watch you crash and burn. Or we can vote for Democrats for President and retain a Republican Congress. We are not compelled to vote for you despite the insinuations Rove is giving you. In fact, there is one value in voting you out of office and it is this: at the very least the Republicans in Congress would have to earn our trust again and stop blindly going along with you.{7}

I will level with you Mr. President: the only thing keeping this from being a slam dunk decision is the issue of national security and the specious idea that the Democrats can be trusted with national security. But your proposal for the illegal aliens is also a danger to our national security as well as our economy. Caught betwixt Scylla and Charbydis we are: and frankly it is a sickening feeling to say the least.

Surely your exasperated weblog host is not the only person who knows the principles needed for fixing the current perversion of law in society and how to properly implement them for the best effect. I know in my heart that there are some of you out there who have not bent the knee to the socialist Baal.{8} Unfortunately, I wish some of you who feel as I do would contact me if (for no other reason) than to alleviate my anxiety on this matter.


Notes:

{1} In races where there is no opposition of course, I generally vote Democratic but not always. But I do not count these since if there was opposition I would never vote for such candidates.

In the one exception, it was not a properly informed vote but one where hormones were involved. (It was a woman candidate and I was young and stupid okay???)

{2} "Republican In Name Only" for the seven of you who do not know what the term means.

{3} That is right: I voted for Ross Perot in 1992. George Bush Sr. ran as another Reagan and governed domestically like another Nixon. And George Bush, Jr.'s Medicare program supplement is straight from the handbook of the stuff that LBJ promoted and promulgated. (And to a lessor degree Nixon after him.)

{4} I have put up with a lot from W the past two years. I liked him in 2000 and also in 2001 when I gave him high marks despite discerning that he was not a great president even then. And yes, I also supported him in Afghanistan and also (though less so) with the Iraq war. However, his social agenda is inexcusable for someone who claims to be a "conservative."

{5} For example, Patrick J. Buchanan.

{6} Such as Reagan nearly winning the nomination from Ford in 1976 to name one significant example.

{7} Or those who think as you do. The same ideas your propose that they lap up would be criticized and ripped to shreds by them if they were proposed by a Democrat president. Without a doubt.

{8} Of course I could be wrong and maybe I am the last person who thinks these things. If that is so, then here I stand seriously depressed but nonetheless contra mundum.

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Points to Ponder:

There is deep falsehood in the principle of comparison which is the basis of the pathos for equality. One never achieves anything by comparison - the source of envy (why he, not I?), protest (we must be equal), then anger, rebellion and division. Actually, it is the genealogy of the devil. There is nothing positive; all is negative from beginning to end. In that sense, our culture is demonic, for at its basis is comparison. [Orthodox Theologian Fr. Alexander Schmemann: Journal Entry pg. 107 (February 11, 1976)]

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We at Rerum Novarum would be remiss if there was failure on Our part to extend to Apolonio Latar III the wish for a happy birthday today. For a summary of what this gifted individual has learned in his lifetime, please see his weblog link.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

In light of the announcement of my latest essay and some of the material contained therein, the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG has been updated.

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New Essay Announcement!!!

"It is a shorter thing and sooner done, to write heresies, than to answer them." [Saint Thomas More]

Though the quote above addresses actual heresies; nonetheless this principle of St. Thomas More applies also to answering inquiries of any kind. And with that I want to formally announce at this time the release of an essay I wrote predominantly during the first three weeks of December.{1} You can read that work if you are so inclined at this link.

Though it was completed before my vacation trip in December, I did find myself in the first weeks of January reviewing the piece and making some adjustments.{2} And while I may still make some minor adjustments to the conclusions section in the coming days, there is nothing preventing me from announcing the essay's availability at this time.

For those who already knew about this work when it was being drafted, I apologize for the repeated delays but time was needed to get it to read properly. Hopefully the work for those people will have proved to be worth the wait but I digress.


Notes:

{1} Though part of the essay (the url on the Fathers) was completed in October and the idea that it might be used as a "partial response" to the essay in question was briefly entertained.

{2} They were mostly of a minor nature however I did revise my definition of one of the key terms as well -which then needed to be reflected throughout the subsequent templates of the work. (Minor adjustments but they did take time to implement properly.)

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"This Land Is Was Your Land, This Land Is Was My Land" Dept.
(Musings on President Bush)

I hate to say it but on the Bush illegal aliens idea, Pat Buchanan is right. Which prompts a question I am mulling over at the moment that essentially goes as follows:

If we can impeach presidents for lying under oath, can we impeach them for endangering the survival of the nation???

Treason is an impeachable offense -and Clinton should have been impeached for it rather than what they went after him on. (Chinagate fit to a T the requirements for treason lest anyone wonder.) I cannot see how can it not be treasonous if President Bush actually enacts this policy proposal. Anyway, mull it over and maybe I will talk about it more tomorrow.

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Monday, January 12, 2004

Brownsen vs. Newman

I am reminded in reading the above article of the exchanges that a Catholic friend of mine (with whom I have often sparred) and I have had on areas of significant theological differences.

I will note say whom I am referring to here except to note that if each of us was a character at the above link, my friend would unquestionably be Brownsen. Though they strive for the same kind of rigorous approach that was characteristic to Brownsen's work; at the same time my friend's approach is not generally as rough as Brownsen. (The similarity is in the more firmly "cold, hard, logical" of Brownsen's style of argument.)

To a large extent though, my approach contrasts that and is a much less refined version of Newman's styling. And I have a similar advantage in knowledge of patristics and theology over and against my friend as Newman had over Brownsen. I am also more personalist and less textbook like Newman - though I sometimes use the manualist approach as well. However, just as my friend is not as rough as Brownsen, I am not remotely as refined as Newman.

Having noted all of that though, I was quite struck by the similarities between us and the combatants in the article above: not the only reason for posting it here but the only one I felt like talking about in brief.

In summary, Newman and Brownsen -though they had a respect for one another- were not friends if you will so the comparison is not as precise as it could be. Nonetheless, it is nice to see similar conflicts as my friend and I have had as the above example between greater Catholics than us entails. It provides a bit more optimism as the new year starts to unfold but I have digressed long enough on that point now and have to start getting ready now for Uncle Ed's rosary service which is at 3pm today in Fremont.

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News on Fr. Benedict Groeschel:

EWTNews- Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, well known to EWTN viewers for his numerous series and appearances on the network, is in critical but stable condition at Orlando Regional Medical Cent er after being struck by a car near Orlando International Airport in Florida. The incident occurred Sunday evening. Details are sketchy but sources say the priest was walking to a restaurant for a meal when he was hit. EWTNews will keep you informed of th is situation as it develops. Please keep Fr. Groeschel in your prayers.

I shall and hopefully you readers will as well. (And not only because Fr Groeschel is a model priest and we do not have enough priests like him.)

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I added a footnote to the JYB update from yesterday in anticipation of getting emails from people wanting to tell me about the last mass-amnesty plan our government utilized. (Based on past experience from dealing with host oversights.) So kindly do not send email on that subject in the form of a "did you know" or "correction" please.

Of course anyone who wants to defend this amnesty idea of Bush's can feel free to send email on that. But be warned in advance: I *will* insist on consistency from such emailers. I have virtually no patience for half-truth polemics of *any* stripe (philosophical, religious, social, etc) so if you support this idea, you should have your ducks in a row to discuss it with me. I am willing to listen but not passively if this weblog is not a clear illustration enough of that. But I digress.


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"JunkYard BLOG" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum Ten Part Mega Blast)

Your weblog host feels rather embarrassed that it has been about two and a half months since the last JYB update. To faciliate expediency here, the usual protocol of posting JYB segments in purple font with my words of commentary in regular font will be suspended. In this post, it will be JYB's words in regular font while your weblog host's words will be in this dark teal cyan colour. Without further ado, let us get to it.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS CACHE FOUND IN IRAQ?

It looks like Danish troops have found the unfired, and therefore not smoking, gun on Iraq's chemical weapons:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Danish troops have found dozens of mortar rounds buried in Iraq (news - web sites) which chemical weapons tests show could contain blister gas, the Danish army said on Saturday.

The initial tests, which have yet to be confirmed, were taken after Danish troops found 36 120mm mortar rounds on Friday hidden in southern Iraq. The Danish army said the rounds had been buried for at least 10 years.

Ten years or ten minutes, if they're blister bombs they were illegal. Saddam should have destroyed them rather than buried them. If it's a confirmed find, the "no WMD" argument is over.

Prediction: this will not shut up John F-word Kerry, Howard the Duck Dean, Weasley Wesley Clark or the captain of the Geptanic. Nor for that matter will it silence rabid Bush haters like the Deanings.

WES CLARK: ABORTION RADICAL

Retired Gen. Weasley Clark has finally taken an absolute, bedrock hardline position--he's for infanticide. Oh, that's not what he said. What he said is that he favors abortion right up to the moment of birth, but it's the logic behind the position that pushes him from mere radical to potential baby killer. And note well: The Vietnam war hero was probably called a baby killer upon his return from that war. Today marks the first time he may actually deserve it.

Saying "life begins with the mother's decision," the retired general told the Manchester Union Leader he would never, as president, appoint a pro-life judge.

So even if the child is born, using Clark's logic, the mother can still decide to "abort" as long as she hasn't unilaterally declared it alive.

No matter what the father says.

No matter what the doctor says.

No matter what the medical evidence--a beating heart, a smiling face, and inquiring eye--says. And no matter what morality says.

She can kill the baby, right there in front of everyone. And Clark is okay with that. It's all her choice. He even says no law should interfere in any way with her decision, ever. By that logic, my mom could drive up to Maryland, declare that I was never alive, and kill me--and the legal system couldn't do a thing about it.

There's a word for the kind of person whose logic leaps so far from common sense and morality that it's gone beyond bounds--monster. And if Clark maintains his stated position, that word will apply to him. For more, go here...

By all means read the rest of the post. Bryan is so dead-on accurate with his logic that it is scary to think that there are people who will blindly follow people like this.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS...

...recruited thousands of US soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines during Gulf War I, with the intent of turning them into operatives at some future point. It was an al Qaeda operation.

An al Qaeda operative sought to recruit U.S. veterans as paramilitary trainers and combat volunteers in 1992 and 1993, at the explicit direction of a cleric who converted thousands of Gulf War soldiers to Islam on behalf of the Saudi government.

Clement Rodney Hampton-El was convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks in a 1993 terror plot linked to the World Trade Center bombing in February of that year.

An al Qaeda-trained bomb expert with ties to Ramzi Yousef and radical cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, Hampton-El testified that he was summoned to a meeting at the Saudi embassy in December 1992.

During the meeting, Hampton-El was informed that wealthy Saudis were sponsoring jihad operations in Bosnia, according to his testimony in the 1995 trial (U.S. v. Omar Abdel Rahman, et al). Hampton-El said he was allotted a budget of $150,000 to train volunteer mujahideen fighters and support their families in the U.S.

"They said that it would be a budget of $150,000," Hampton-El testified. "These moneys, a small portion would be given to me to establish a training program. The remaining would be given to people who went to Bosnia to help the people to support their families, to pay their bills, etc., here in America."

Hampton-El's list of U.S. military contacts came from a Saudi-trained cleric named Bilal Philips, according to the testimony. Philips gave him the list at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after a meeting that Hampton-El characterized as an Islamic conference for military personnel, according to the testimony.

Bilal Philips began working for the Saudi government in March 1991, leading an educational program for American soldiers stationed in the Gulf. Ostensibly to teach the Americans about Islamic and Saudi culture, the program was in actuality an aggressive campaign to convert U.S. soldiers to Islam, by Philips' own admission.

As they say, read the whole thing... For more, go here...

Now I will not deny that I think the "threat level" colouring and other aspects of the "war on terror" are manipulated for political reasons to some extent. But information such as this points to the need for a federal department of Homeland Security.

Indeed even someone like me who thinks around 90% of the federal departments should be defunded and disbanded sees a value in this one as the federal government has few tasks it is assigned to do by the Constitution pace the prevarications of modern "conventional wisdom" (falsely so-called). One of those tasks assigned to the federal government is national defense.

However, there is a leak in the dyke if you will on the aforementioned subject with President Bush's idea for granting a kind of "amnesty" to illegal aliens.{1} Or at least *I* see it but that is a subject for another time perhaps.

CALL ME A SKEPTIC

Are American soldiers capable of committing atrocities in a war zone? Absolutely. But they have always been exceptional acts, out of character both for our nation and our fighting forces. And we punish our own war criminals whenever we find them, and as we train new troops we teach them about rules of engagement. Our forces are committed to winning wars without undue civilian deaths. While most of the world has signed on to the Geneva Conventions, we're one of the few nations that actually follows them.

Via Instapundit, a letter on Healing Iraq has been making the rounds of the blogosphere. If you haven't read it, it's worth a look. It tells the heartrending story of an Iraqi mother who alleges that her son was murdered by US Army soldiers. It's well written, but I'm afraid that for reasons mentioned on Glenn's site, in the comments on Zeyad's site and elsewhere, it just doesn't ring true.

I have two major problems with it. Well, actually three. The letter alleges that the soldiers were drunk on duty, and their duty was manning a checkpoint. That's simply impossible, as drunkenness in such an environment will get you killed, and in a war zone a soldier's first duty is staying alive. No soldier would man a checkpoint with drunks, and no commander would allow this kind of behavior. And I highly doubt that the 130,000 soldiers we have in theatre even have access to much alcohol. It's not as though the Army sets up bars on the front lines, and it's not as though our soldiers can spend their off hours carousing the happening barfly scene in Baghdad. So that's a big red flag to me. For more, go here...

MR. BUSH, YOU'RE PLAYING WITH FIRE

Conservatives, it may be time to issue an ultimatum: Either the White House drops its asinine amnesty plan for illegal aliens, or we stay home next year and don't vote for Bush.

Either way if we don't--Bush wins but lets illegals rip off our social services, Dean wins and we treat terrorism like a criminal problem--we'll lose the war.

Because via amnesty we're hanging out a sign that says to terrorists "We will hunt you down in Afghanistan, Iraq and anywhere else you hide in the Middle East. But we'll make it all too easy for you to slip across our border with Mexico and wreak havoc right here." And we're further burdening our social services with people who will be able to take out from it funds they never paid in.

I'm with them. No amnesty. Certainly not in the middle of a war, and granted to citizens of a country that has opposed our prosecution of that war at almost every turn.

Citizenship should mean something. Abiding by the law should mean something. And we should protect our border, not encourage more people to ignore it on the way in

Amen to that!!! But then again, you already knew I would agree with that view right???

ANOTHER MASS GRAVE FOUND IN IRAQ

This one apparently contains the bodies of about 800 Shiites killed in their 1991 insurrection, and is in the Baghdad
area.

It's one of about 40 mass graves found so far.

But still, Bush is Hitler, etc etc.

Typical.

DON'T TRUST THIS MAN

Anyone who writes as extensively about North Korea as Josh Marshall does--or, to be more accurate, quotes others writing about North Korea as extensively as Josh Marshall does--and charges the Bush administration with various forms of sliminess, backtracking and general incompetence as Marshall does, yet fails to mention, even a single time, the Proliferation Security Initiative, is not to be trusted. He is either ill-informed or intentionally omitting highly relevant facts.

The PSI is the single largest brick in the Bush strategy. It helped net Libya. It helped get the Chinese to come around a bit. Its value is obvious to anyone with eyes to see.

Yet the vaunted Josh Marshall can't bring himself to write about it, preferring instead to quote others who play up this and that little backchannel, inside-baseball move that probably doesn't amount to anything in the grand scheme of things.

I pressed him on this omission a while back, and got a non-answer.

The man's a spinner, and an overrated one at that.

Those who wonder what he is talking about can view this link for an overview. Bryan is right about this if Josh Marshall never mentions PSI while continuing to slam Bush's administration. But then again, We at Rerum Novarum have read very little of Josh Marshall's stuff and -as of this notification from a trusted source- will avoid Marshall's stuff completely from this point forward until he stops telling only part of the story.

TEXAS REDISTRICTING MAP UPHELD

Can't say I'm surprised, since I wrote the still unchallenged backstory behind the Texas GOP's efforts to redraw a map that distorted the Lone Star State's Congressional delegation. And in fact, the new map replaces an old map that the Dems drew for the express purpose of thwarting the will of the people--Texans favor Republicans something like 56-44, yet the state's Congressional representation is majority Democrat because the districts created by the Dems in the 90s put Republican voters into ghettos.

The Dem's reaction is as nuanced and insightful as has become typical:

"By judicial fiat, a three-judge federal panel has effectively repealed the Voting Rights Act and turned back the clock on nearly 40 years of progress for minority voters," said U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas.

It's hard to square that hyperventilitation with the fact that, under the new map, minority representation in Texas' Congressional delegation will most likely go up, not down. What Frost is really steamed about is that the new map will reflect how the state actually votes--it's a majority Republican state that will have a majority of Republicans in Congress. Can't have that, can we.

Indeed get as many Republicans elected as possible to the Congress. But I have made my mind up on the presidency: if Lieberman wins the Democratic nomination, he has my vote. Period, end of story. The same may well go for Kerry whom I frankly cannot stand. It remains for Bush to retract his stupid proposal for legitimizing illegal aliens to get me to reconsider. But now as it stands, Lieberman has my vote if he wins the nomination. And Kerry may well have it too if he wins. I shudder to think what I might consider if anyone else except Clark wins.

WORST. NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL. EVER. TO DATE.

Starting off the New Year with a dud, the Times editorial writers outdo Dowd.

On behalf of all Dowd's everywhere -including my paternal grandfather's mother, Maimie Eisenhower (related to the former), etc Maureen is an embarrassment. I pray that she is not in the slightest way related to me but alas she may well be...

A Wounded United Nations

Poor word choice. Try "irrelevant." Or "counterproductive." How about "useless?"

Indeed.

These are difficult times for the United Nations. The Bush administration's taste for unilateral action and its doctrine of preventive war pose a profound challenge to the U.N.'s founding principle of collective security and threaten the organization's continued relevance.

Since when is involving more than 30 countries considered "unilateral?" That words surely has to be the single most abused term of the past year. And since when is it "unilateral" to create new alliances to do jobs that the UN has clearly failed to do? Is the NYT simply unaware of the Proliferation Security Initiative? If they are, they're incompetent. If they're aware of it but fail to mention it or at least consider it before dubbing the Bush administration "unilateral," they're guilty of the shoddiest and most dishonest journalism.

About that UN founding principle--collective security. The UN failed to do that job, when it failed to enforce a boatload of anti-Saddam resolutions. That's the Bush administration's fault? And 12 years is a "rush" to war? Wait, getting ahead of myself there--they haven't actually used the "rush to war" bit yet. But they will.

Bryan's upcoming analysis is on target and it reminds me of what certain pseudo-"traditionalist" groups do with their pet peeves. Forget me writing a blog entry on the similarities, this JYB post does the work and the analysis for me!!!

The editors wrote this turkey on autopilot, just hitting copy/paste from every lame left-wing blog entry of the past year. They must have these terms and phrases--unilateral, rush to war, etc--keyed into macros. Need to bash Bush? Just pop around on the Functions keys and you can create your own Mad Lib anti-Bush editorial screed. Trained apes could have written a more cogent, original editorial than this one.

The same analysis applies to periodicals like The Remnant. But I digress...

Since the day the administration took office, it has been chipping away at the multinational diplomatic system that America did so much to build in the past two generations. It has walked away from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, waged war against the International Criminal Court and disparaged international arms control agencies and weapons inspectors.

More macros, it seems. Kyoto--a treaty so bad the Clinton administration wouldn't even submit it to the Senate for a vote. The ICC--built to try Henry Kissinger, but not Fidel Castro. We should submit ourselves to this monstrosity, when it's already bleeding obvious that the left will just use it to try US presidents, cabinet secretaries and generals--but not Kim Jong-Il or Robert Mugabe?

Who are of course "not as evil as Bush" in the world of stupid Deanings. But I digress.

And the "international arms control" line--what does the PSI do? It's an arms control alliance, doing a job the UN's arms control agencies have failed. It was the PSI, not the IAEA, that forced Libya's disarmement. It is the PSI, not the IAEA, that's caging North Korea. And it's the PSI, not the IAEA, that has forced China to close its airspace to North Korean weapons shipping. The US once depended on the IAEA, but that agency has proven itself soft on weapons proliferation. Should the Bush administration just pretend the IAEA is still competent, or do something about actually getting a handle on WMD proliferation?

The modus opperandi of those who live in various districts of The Land of Make Believe is exalting symbolism over substance. For this reason, these kinds of people or course pretend that IAEA is worth having around or promoting.

Endorsing nothing that works in reality versus raising the shibboleth of proposals which do not work is the hallmark of this outlook. I am not for a moment surprised at this.

The war in Iraq brought these conflicts to a new height. Washington's rush to invade split the Security Council in ways that have still not healed. Yet the months since the Iraq invasion have shown how much the United States still needs the U.N.'s unparalleled ability to confer international legitimacy and its growing experience in nation-building.

Editorial writing by cut and paste. The "rush to invade." What a pile. And it's all the US' fault that France et al used the UNSC to shield Saddam. Even the French are starting to recognize that they screwed the pooch on all this, but leave it to the Times to keep defending people whose idea of national defense is to wrap themselves in a white flag and brush up on their German.

If these people's policies were followed back during WWII, we would all either be speaking German or be a lampshade. The really annoying thing is, these so-called "geniuses" are too stupid to realize where the implications of their policies really lead to.

Even after the U.N. was shoved aside over Iraq, it tried to play a constructive role in rebuilding that shattered country.

It did?

Already they are revising history...sigh.

The price it paid was the terrorist bombing of its Baghdad headquarters last August, perhaps the most costly blow the U.N. has ever endured. Its top diplomat in Iraq was killed, along with 21 others.

Because the idiots rejected American security assistance, offered because we knew they needed some help. But the UN didn't want to be too closely identified with the US, and got 21 of its people killed. That's our fault too, I guess.

Of course.

Despite standing aside from the invasion and being excluded from the subsequent administration, the U.N. found itself a prime target of Iraqi guerrillas, and a particularly vulnerable one because relief and reconstruction work cannot be carried out from behind impregnable barriers. Since August, the U.N. has all but withdrawn from Iraq.

So we should just turn everything over to an organization that, first, rejects sensible security assistance, then, turns tail and runs (while blaming the US) at the first sign of trouble? What kind of sense does this make? Let's find the most cowardly among us and make them front-line Marines. That would make about as much sense as entrusting Iraq to the UN.

The U.N.'s global concerns reach far beyond Iraq.

And so do its scandals. All across Africa and the MidEast, wherever there's a corrupt dictator with a taste for graft, you'll find a UN toady willing to confer that international legitimacy that the Times says only the UN can deliver.

Precisely.

In Afghanistan, a senior U.N. diplomat is responsible for assisting the transition to a fully elected government.

What did that diplomat do to oust the Taliban and make the transition possible?

Not a damn thing.

The U.N. is part of the quartet group, which is trying to get Israelis and Palestinians to carry out their responsibilities under the agreed road map for peace.

And we can all see how well that's going.

About as well as the Hindenberg avoided destruction, the Titanic avoided sinking, or the Maginot Line defended France from the Nazi invasion in 1940...

Its nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is charged with detecting nuclear weapons programs.

And its utter failure forced the US to form the PSI. The IAEA has become an enabler, not a barrier, to proliferation.

Just as important is the U.N.'s role as a crucial catalyst for education, health and poverty-reduction programs, which can help prevent future armed conflicts.

Can you say "mission creep?" What on earth is a collective security organization doing meddling in education?

Extreme liberalism is not a political philosophy Bryan. Instead it is a mental disorder. These mental patients actually think that the very fact that the UN has failed miserably around the world is precisely the reason why we need to invest them with even more authority.

This work has suffered from the fallout over Iraq and the resulting tensions between the United Nations and Washington. Unless the U.N. finds a way to reclaim a leadership role on Iraq, it could have an increasingly hard time mobilizing the political and financial resources it needs.

Failure breeds irrelevance.

The degree of incompetence that a particular program or policy shows to be, the greater the resources and authority social architects believe should be assigned to it. That is one of the McElhinney Dictums under the subsection of "communism/fascism/socialism." (And yes, all three are the same thing contra conventional propaganda which would claim otherwise.)

That seems to suit the Bush administration.

Is this one of Howard Dean's "interesting theories?"

Possibly.

Does the Times think the Bush administration wanted to kill the UN?

Frankly I wish they would. The UN proved that they are incompetent for the last time on the world stage. They need to be overhauled or scrapped completely and a new organization for coordinating world affairs is needed. It can be founded on the same charters as the original UN was provided that an additional constitution is added which safeguards against the same kind of abuses that have taken place with the UN since...well...at least the early 1970's.

Maybe we paid Chirac to act like a jacque-ass all of last year. Maybe Karl Rove pays Michael Moore to make the entire left look like it feeds on nothing but Oreos and conspiracy theories.

Bush should dump Karl Rove like a bad habit.

Maybe Howard Dean is really a GOP Manchurian candidate. It's an interesting theory, and perhaps if we could get the minutes from all cabinet meetings since Bush took office we could prove or disprove it.

The White House continues to disparage the effectiveness of U.N. weapons inspectors, most recently in Libya.

Pointing out facts is not "disparaging" anyone. The IAEA failed in Libya--it had no idea how extensive Libya's WMD program was. The PSI proved it. That's not the US' fault and it doesn't bolster the UN's case, no matter how the Times wants to spin it.

It complains about the U.N.'s reluctance to return to Iraq without acknowledging its legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear political mandate.

We're just being nice. Calling them "cowards" probably wouldn't get them to go back in.

But the U.N. cannot afford to wait until Iraqi sovereignty is restored next July. It must take on increased responsibilities in the coming weeks.

Why? The Times just takes it as a given that the UN, which fought Iraq's liberation, is more legitimate than the US, which actually shed blood to accomplish that liberation.

Frankly, we should try "Pinchy" Sulzberger for sedition against the United States during a time of war. I doubt it would happen but that man is a disgrace to this country and should rot in prison indefinitely or be strung up. The rationale for the latter is the self-defense of this nation.

Instead of complaining about the U.N., Washington should smooth the path for its return. It should take up Secretary General Kofi Annan's suggestion of a three-way meeting of U.N. officials, the American occupation administration and the Iraqi Governing Council later this month to clarify the role the U.N. can play in shaping the transition to a self-governing Iraq. One meeting would not resolve all the differences between Washington and the U.N. But it would be a useful start.

Yeah, let's have a meeting. Let's talk. That's what the UN is good at--empty talk. But why the Times believes any of this is a good idea is a mystery--the editors never even bother to justify it. You're just supposed to accept like a good little drone.

America needs the United Nations as an effective partner in Iraq, not as a whipping boy for the administration's continuing problems there.

No, we either need the UN to step and do its job or get out of the way. And the Times needs to stop using the Bush administration as its whipping boy. No American president would ever have gotten Kyoto passed, because it's a horrible treaty aimed at curbing our economy. Bashing Bush over that is just the Times' way of angling for one of its pet issues.

Precisely. It is communism with a pretty face. Though it is sad to say it, such a treaty would be more likely to pass by Bush than by someone like Clinton. Perhaps I will explain this later on but the rationale can be linked to the recent illegal immigrants idea.

No one will convince me that the Republicans would have failed to try and crucify Clinton for this kind of proposal. If it is wrong for Clinton to do, it is wrong for Bush to do. It is because of this crap that I disassociated with the Republican party after the 1996 elections and have been an Independent ever since.

The U.N. needs to be involved, most immediately so it does not default on its responsibilities to the Iraqi people.

I'd say 12 years of dithering constitutes "defaulting on its responsibilities to the Iraqi people." But that's just me.

Agreed.

By taking a strong role in shaping Iraq's return to the community of sovereign nations, the U.N. can also demonstrate that it is determined not to let its global influence be marginalized.

Too late, Kofi. You had your chance and you blew it. You've been benched. Learn from it. In the mean time, the US will take care of business without you. We've got a backup arms control alliance (PSI) and a backup security alliance (the Coalition of the Willing). But don't worry--you've still got your cheerleaders at the New York Times on your side. I'm sure they'll get you back in the game.

Nice fisking Bryan.

A QUESTION FOR DR. DEAN

I have very rarely experienced racism directed at me or someone with me. It's happened a time or two--once in Japan, when I was riding a train through Tokyo and an old codger gave me the evil eye. I can't say it bothered me, because a day or two earlier on that same train another old codger saw me and immediately struck up a conversation about baseball. Hideo Nomo was in his glorious rookie season, and he was the talk of Japan. The first old guy was more representative of the Japan that I lived in for four years--friendly, open to Americans and eager to treat gaijin with respect. The second old guy was just a harmless crank, probably one of those Imperial officers who threatened to commit seppuku after the war, but whose courage failed them and they ended up making boatloads of money working for Honda or Sony and resented Americans for every last yen. I figured he had his own issues to work out, and I was merely a convenient target for a few minutes.

The other time that sticks out was in early 1995. My fiancee and I were walking down a street in San Antonio along with a couple of our friends. We made quite the quartet--two obviously white-bred guys with two attractive Oriental women. As we were walking down the street, minding our own business, talking about this and that, a car with three or four African Americans drove by, and as it passed us, a rather overweight female stuck her large head out of the window and shouted at us:

"Go back to China!"

Which amused us, because none of us had ever been to China. The ladies were from Japan. The ignorance of some knows no bounds--not all Orientals are Chinese, though I suppose a majority are if you look at it in terms of hard numbers. Maybe our verbal assailant was just playing the odds? In any case, you can't go back to a place you've never been.

But how should we square that little incident--being ordered by an ignoramus who happened to be black to leave the country simply because of appearance--with recent utterances by the increasingly offensive Dr. Howard Dean? To the Boston Globe, he said:

"Dealing with race is about educating white folks," Dean said in an interview Tuesday on a campaign swing through the first primary state where African-American voters will have a major impact.

How would "educating white folks"--collateral targets in my San Antonio scenario--have made one bit of difference? It wasn't white folks who shouted at two Japanese women--who for all our shouter knew were American citizens by birth--and told them to leave the country. It wasn't white folks who started an anti-Semitic riot in New York a few years ago, a riot that ended up killing 8 people (that riot was started by a Democrat presidential candidate named Al).

Racism isn't any single race's property, and no single race is alone in guilt. And actually, one of the least reported patterns of racism, but one of the most prominent forms of it in urban areas, is black vs Asian racism, mostly directed at Korean merchants who set up businesses in black neighborhoods. How does "educating white folks" deal with that kind of racism? For more, go here...

Yet again Bryan nails it. If not for Tim Enloe, this guy would be my favourite internet Reformed Protestant. Nevertheless, that updates you on the JYB for 2004. Again, We at Rerum Novarum apologize for the long delay here.

Note:

{1} Yes, I know that President Reagan went along with a proposal for granting amnesty to about 2.5 million illegals in 1986 who had been in the country for at least four years or more. However well-intentioned signing onto this Congressional plan was, it is on the short list of mistakes made by Ronaldus Magnus. Plain and simply: the plan did not work as envisioned. (In other words: it was par for the course for federal programs.)

Bush's plan would involve at least four times as many illegals and (if implemented) it will not work either. Mark my words friends, it will fail worse than the plan in 1986 -one of two legislative boondoggles from 1986 I might add- did.

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Sunday, January 11, 2004

More on SAM's Post:
(Rerum Novarum Bogarts SAM's Message Boxes, Etc.)

Well, We at Rerum Novarum did hog at least half of one of them anyway. I suppose I owe SAM something since I promised him last night I would not respond again to Don and yet I did so anyway.

As a form of restitution, I will at this time point you to the post on his weblog that was unseated as his "best" IMPSABNMIO{1} by the one I previously noted. And that new silver medalist post would be this one from last September.

Note:

{1} Acronym for "in my purely subjective and by no means infallible opinion."

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"Correcting A Common Canard" Dept.
(With exposition at no extra charge!!!)

My words will remain in regular font with sources in darkblue font.

The framers specifically rejected the idea of setting up the American system as a democracy. After the Convention, a woman asked Franklin, "What sort of government have you given us? A
monarchy or a democracy?" He replied, "No, madam. A republic, if you can keep it."


Go read the real quote. :-) He said "A **democracy** ...if you can keep it."

And your source for this version of the quote is ----??? All citations of the quote I have read use the phrase "a republic." If you can cite a clear, established reference for your version, I will accept it.

XXXX is referring to a gloss on Franklin's comments that in recent years has become common. The truth is, Franklin did not say "democracy" he said "republic." And this is a distinction with a difference.

Indeed the best evidence of the fact that we are not a democracy is the manner whereby this country's government was set up. If we were a "democracy" than every position in government would be voted upon by the people. But we have judicial branches which are by appointment of the executive with the legislators acting in the capacity of advisers. We have posts in the president's administration all of which are by appointment. (Again, not very "democratic.") And of course the very election system that saved us from a Gore administration is another example of "non-democracy." For by your logic XXXX, Gore should have won by virtue of having more votes than Bush.{1} But Bush won because of the electoral college: an example of republican-style electing.

Now one could argue that this country is more a democracy now than it was at its founding. This would be true in that the Senator was initially an appointed position contrasted with the House positions which were elected by those in the populace with the right to vote. But the structure is still republican to the core: a nation ruled by law and not by mob rule as in a democracy.

I will not go over at this time how the law is being perverted in America: indeed readers of my weblog are aware I have addressed this repeatedly in various ways.{2} But to settle this question: an examination of the historical records will bear out that Franklin did not say what XXXX claims. But that is not all.

The structure of the American government is far removed from that of a democracy. And in fact, the chief political heresy of our age is the mantra that America is a democracy. It is not and it never has been. And if we expect to avoid going the way of ancient Rome, this lie needs to be exposed and crushed. I am doing my part but I am just one man.

"Was it then a Democracy the framers created? Hardly. The system of restraints, on the face of it, was directed not only against individual tyrants, but also the tyranny of the masses...'What have you given us?' a woman asked Ben Franklin towards the end of the Constitutional convention. 'A Republic.' he said, 'if you can keep it...'" [Senator Barry M. Goldwater: "The Conscience of a Conservative" pgs. 18,19 (c. 1960)]

Notes:

{1} Leaving aside for a moment the 50,000 odd servicemen whose votes were not considered worth counting while only three heavily Democratic counties were considered "worth a recount."

{2} Here is one of the many such links at my weblog on the matter:

Developing a Consistent Principle of Argumentation (An Exhortation to Readers of Rerum Novarum)

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Building the Foundations for the Free Society: Finding Common Ground in the Political Theory of Saint Robert Bellarmine and John Locke.

The above link comes to your weblog host courtesy of The Curmudgeon.

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