Thursday, June 30, 2005
Buckley on Iraq
Last week a conservative dissenter submitted an analysis to his colleagues. Several points were made.
After the success of the military enterprise, "two goals then took form. The first was to organize elections, giving Iraqis' tribal divisions an opportunity, acting together, to record their willingness to establish a self-governing republic. Once again, the results were gratifying. Some 80 percent of those who voted registered their endorsement of a constitutional regime change.
"The second goal has been to bring such order to Iraq as is required to effect the self-government the voters had endorsed. This objective has failed."
The failure, it is argued, cannot be redeemed by prospects that remain illusory. There isn't freedom of civil action in Iraq. There are areas in which order is routinely exercised, but there are no areas where Iraqis can assume safety from insurgent disruption.
In the past 12 months, our policies have been expediential: an attempt to effect such order as is required to permit a devolution of authority to Iraqis. The planted axiom has been that it is only a matter of time before the two great passions -- for stability and for political self-government -- converge into a new and viable Iraq.
That's not to be taken for granted. "No developments in the first half year of 2005 warrant confidence that these goals are being met, or even that they are predictable. The blame for this cannot responsibly be assigned to any one delinquent body. The United States military has performed with courage and perseverance. The Iraqis have never submitted to the insurgents, by whom they are nevertheless frequently overcome."
The critic persuasively argues that no commitment by the United States can be interpreted as extending beyond a reasonable allocation of the nation's resources.
Buckley's concluding graph:
A respect for the power of the United States is engendered by our success in engagements in which we take part. A point is reached when tenacity conveys not steadfastness of purpose but misapplication of pride. It can't reasonably be disputed that if in the year ahead the situation in Iraq continues about as it has done in the past year, we will have suffered more than another 500 soldiers killed. Where there had been skepticism about our venture, there will then be contempt.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Janet Reno Contradicting Janet Reno
The Richmond Times-Dispatch also reports that "the former U.S. attorney general said she thinks the government would be hard-pressed to find a legal basis to prosecute many of the Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners being detained at Guantanamo Bay." We all know Jan (Flamethrower) Reno's solution for this little problem...
Seminary Education SHOULD Include...
Saint Thomas, moreover, asserts the truth that it is often from our outward movements that other men form their judgment about us. Thomas encourages us to study our outward movements so that if they are inordinate in any way, they may be corrected. Such things need to be addressed in formation because they have a definite effect on our ability to be and bring Christ to others. Does the seminary deal with a seminarian that sways when he walks, who has limp wrists, who acts like a drama queen or who lisps? It must. This not about a witch hunt but being honest enough to admit that such external behavior affects our ability to share Christ. I knew a seminarian that spoke in a very effeminate manner, and to his credit he recognized this impediment to his future preaching the Gospel, and on his own sought help from a speech instructor. The seminary did not see this glaring problem and did not move this man to get assistance. That is the problem.
When we are at the altar or preaching the Gospel, we are Jesus Christ and must do our best to image him to our people. Anything we do that takes people's attention away from this reality must be addressed. Over dramatic movements, purposeful lisps, swaying, in short, effeminate behavior removes attention from Christ and His word and puts it on the priest. This is not just distracting to other men but I know my sisters will roll their eyes when the Liberace-like priest celebrates himself while celebrating the Mass. (Fr. James Mason, Dir/Vocations, Sioux Falls)
The whole article should be read. It's not long.
Benedict XVI on Liturgical Music
Cardinal Ratzinger On Liturgical Music
In an article entitled "Liturgie und Kirchenmusik" published in 1986 in Communio, Cardinal Ratzinger referred to the incompatibility between rock music and the liturgy of the Church. A storm of progressive protest ensued, most of it aimed at the messenger instead of arguing to the contrary. How can a theologian judge modern music? What right does a Curia official have to say how today's young people should participate in the Liturgy? Implicit in the controversy was the hackneyed caricature of Ratzinger as the Teutonic-academician-turned-doctrinal-watchdog.
A revisionist view became necessary in 1996 with the publication of another book-length interview with the Cardinal (this time by German journalist Peter Seewald), because the second Ratzinger Report began with eighty pages of biographical information. His Eminence, we learn, is only human after all. Reminiscing about his childhood in Bavaria, Cardinal Ratzinger admits that music (especially Mozart) had a major role in his family life. "Music, after all, has the power to bring people together . . . Yes, art is elemental. Reason alone as it's expressed in the sciences can't be man's complete answer to reality, and it can't express everything that man can, wants to, and has to express. I think God built this into man."1
Being an intellectual does not disqualify one from commenting upon either music or liturgy, provided one recognizes the limits of rational discourse. As Cardinal Ratzinger himself put it, theologians "cannot enter into musical discussions per se, but they can nonetheless ask where the seams are, so to speak, that link faith and art."2
What follows is a summary of three articles by Cardinal Ratzinger on liturgical music which appeared in German journals during the years 1986-1994 and were reprinted in English as part of the anthology, A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today.3
The essays were written for different occasions, but they follow the same pattern: the author contrasts a problematic theory or a pernicious trend with the true theology of the liturgy, and from that draws conclusions as to the proper place of music in the liturgy and suggests guidelines for practical applications.
A) The Cultural Challenge Vs. The Biblical Culture Of Faith
("' Sing Artistically for God': Biblical Directives for Church Music," pp. 94-110.)
"Since church music is faith that has become a form of culture, it necessarily shares in the current problematic nature of the relationship between Church and culture" (94). This relationship was in crisis during the Renaissance and the Reformation, but as of the Enlightenment, secular culture "emancipated" itself from the faith: they went their separate ways and have drifted further apart ever since.
Since the seventeenth century the Church has seen the Caecilian reform of sacred music, the rediscovery of Gregorian chant, and the renewal of polyphonic church music. Nevertheless, as a result of cultural dislocations, "we are at a loss as to how faith can and should express itself culturally in the present age" (95).
The picture from the culture's side is bleak. In the absence of religion, art becomes groundless aestheticism with neither direction nor purpose. Music in particular has split into two worlds: pop (a manufactured commodity) and rationally constructed high-brow music (an elite, degenerate form of "classical" music).
A middle ground remains: "a staying at home in the familiar music that preceded such divisions, touched the person as a whole and is still capable of doing this even today . . . Church music mostly settles in this middle ground" (95).
Many are the calls for the Church to dialogue with culture today, but few imagine the talks as being bilateral. You can't expect the Church to subject herself to modern culture, which, having lost its religious base, is in a never-ending process of self-doubt. Culture, too, must question itself radically and be opened to a cure, a reconciliation with religion.
Are there any biblical directives for the path that church music should take? Cardinal Ratzinger narrows the question: "Can we find one biblical text that sums up the way Holy Scripture sees the connection between music and faith" (96)?
The Bible contains its own hymnal: "the Psalter, born from the practice of singing and playing musical instruments during worship." Furthermore this practical tradition contains "essential elements of a theory of music in faith and for faith." Within the Old Testament, the Psalter is like a bridge between the Law and the Prophets; it also serves as a bridge connecting the two Testaments. From the earliest days of the Church, the psalms are prayed and sung as hymns to Christ, the Son of David the psalmist. "Christ himself thus becomes the choir director who teaches us the new song and gives the Church the tone and the way in which she can praise God appropriately and blend into the heavenly liturgy" (97).
Cardinal Ratzinger selects one psalm verse which appears throughout the history of theological reflection on church music. Psalm 47:7 (in some numberings Psalm 46 and/or the eighth verse) exhorts us to "Sing praises with a psalm" (RSV). The Hebrew word maskil is variously rendered in modern translations as "an inspired song" (M. Buber, German) or as playing "with all your skill" (Jerusalem Bible, French), or as singing "artfully" (in a version approved by the Italian Bishops Conference).
The ancient translations of the Church also shed light on the subject. "The Septuagint, which became the Old Testament of Christianity, wrote psalate synetos, which we might translate as: ' . . . Sing with understanding' — in both senses of the word: that you yourselves understand it and that it is understandable" (97).
Of course this involves more than a merely rational act; we are to sing "in a way worthy of and appropriate to the spirit, disciplined and pure" (98). St. Jerome's rendering is along the same lines: psallite sapienter. Sapientia means more than understanding; "[it] also denotes an integration of the entire human person . . . with all the dimensions of his or her existence." Just as the gift of wisdom integrates knowledge and experience with the requirements of Divine Law, so the singing of the inspired psalms involves the human person, body and soul, with all its faculties, in divine worship.
The first word of the verse, "Sing praises with a psalm," in Hebrew zamir, is also laden with history. "The emphasis is on articulated singing, a singing with reference to a text, which is instrumentally supported, as a rule" (98-99). In stark contrast to the orgiastic cult music of the pagans, zamir refers to "logos-like" music, "which incorporates a word or wordlike event it has received and responds to it in praise or petitions, in thanksgiving or lament." The Septuagint Bible chose psallein as its translation, giving a new, culturally conditioned meaning to a Greek word that previously had meant only to play a stringed instrument, but never to sing.
From this word study, Cardinal Ratzinger draws several conclusions about possible biblical directives for music in the Church.
The command, "Sing to the Lord," runs through all of Scripture as part of the call to worship and glorify God. "This means that musical expression is part of the proper human response to God's self-revelation . . . Mere speech, mere silence, mere action are not enough" (100).
There is no such thing as a faith completely undetermined by culture, which could then be inculturated any way you like. "The faith decision as such entails a cultural decision; . . . Faith itself creates culture and does not just carry it along like a piece of clothing . . . This cultural given . . . is capable of encountering other contemporary cultures . . . This ability to exchange and flourish also finds its expression in the ever-recurring imperative, 'Sing to the Lord a new song.'" The Christological interpretation of the psalms is a particularly dramatic example of this capacity for development in what is an irrevocable and fundamental cultural form (101).
The various meanings to be found in the second word of our psalm verse range between the two translations sapienter and cum arte. Singing in accordance with wisdom implies a word-oriented art, which is not concerned merely with intelligibility but "stands under the primacy of logos" and makes demands upon our highest moral and spiritual powers. The second translation, artfully, tells us that encountering God challenges a person to respond to the best of his or her abilities. God gave Moses detailed specifications for the tabernacle; artistic endeavor in the book of Exodus is portrayed as a participation in God's creativity (103).
The New Testament, by both frequent citation and explicit command, takes up the psalm tradition as an integral part of its own teaching and worship. "When you come together, each one has a hymn [Gk: psalmon], a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:26). To the early Church the psalm appeared as a gift of the Spirit. The epistles also give evidence of exalted Christological hymns newly composed in Greek. By the second century, however, as a precaution after the musical innovations of the Gnostic sect, the Church reduced liturgical music to the Psalter. "The theology of the Psalter sufficed and set the standard in terms of content, but also . . . the way of making music specified by the Psalter became the musical model of emerging Christendom" (104). To put it in a less scholarly way, revelation was complete with the end of the apostolic age, and the divinely inspired hymns found in Sacred Scripture were sufficient for the Church's worship.
In light of the foregoing discussion, both "pop" music and the music of elitist aesthetes are unsuitable for divine worship. The latter, proclaiming art to be "for art's sake" and for no other purpose, elevates the composer to the level of a "pure creator." "According to Christian faith, however, it belongs to the essence of human beings that they come from God's 'art' . . . and as perceivers can think and view God's creative ideas with him and translate them into the visible and the audible" (106).
On the other hand, hasn't the Church's liturgical music always drawn on popular music to renew itself? Isn't "pop" music just what the Church needs in order to "relate" with contemporary culture? Cardinal Ratzinger recommends "treading carefully" in this area (107-108). In the past folk music was the expression of a clearly defined community held together by language, history and a way of life. Springing from fundamental human experience, it conveyed a truth, however naive the form may have been. Pop music, in contrast, is a standardized product of mass society, a function of supply and demand. The 20th-century composer Paul Hindemith called the constant presence of such noise "brainwashing," and C. M. Johansson claims that hearing it gradually makes us incapable of listening attentively: "we become musically comatose . . . This medium kills the message" (p. 108 cf. footnote 19).
Cardinal Ratzinger insists that the faith must not be trivialized in the name of inculturating it. Today we do not have to limit church music so strictly to chanting of the psalms, because we have "an infinitely larger trove" of good liturgical music to draw on. But to hold the line against the onslaught of misguided attempts to import "modern" musical forms into the liturgy requires "the courage of asceticism, the courage to contradict. Only from such courage can new creativity arise" (109).
B) The Sociological Challenge Vs. True Christian Anthropology
("The Image of the World and of Human Beings in the Liturgy and Its Expression in Church Music" pp. 111-127.)
"Conversation with God transcends the boundaries of human speech" (111); therefore it calls on music, both vocal and instrumental, for help.
After the Second Vatican Council there were disputes over the right form of music in worship. The initial clashes were between pastoral expediency ("We worship in the vernacular now . . .") and musicians who maintained that their traditional repertoire had intrinsic and pastoral value. The question underlying such differences of opinion then was: how do we apply liturgical directives? More recently, a second wave of controversy has been "pushing the questions forward, as far as the foundations themselves." The issue has become: what is liturgical action in the first place, what are its anthropological and theological foundations?
Symptomatic of the new thinking is the Nuovo Dizionario di Liturgica (1984), article on canto e musica. It declares the starting point of liturgy to be the gathering of two or three in the name of Christ (Matt. 18:20). This sounds harmless enough, but it gains revolutionary momentum when the verse is isolated and pitted against the entire liturgical tradition. Such a definition places the group before the Church and brings "autonomous" individuals into conflict with an "authoritarian" institution. "It is evident that with the adoption of sociological language the prior adoption of its evaluations has also occurred" (113). New music good; old music bad! Gregorian chant and Palestrina are seen as "tutelary gods" for those in power who, threatened by cultural change, cling to an ancient repertoire.
Cardinal Ratzinger turns the hermeneutic of suspicion back on the liturgical theorists. "There is of course not only an idolization of sociology at work here but also a complete separation of the New Testament from the history of the Church" (114). The notion, that the Church has been in decline since Jesus began it, is a familiar Enlightenment myth, which ultimately becomes an excuse for cut-and-paste editions of the Bible (like Jefferson's) or the Marxist texts of the Missa Nicaraguensis sung in the 1980s.
What are the new and better ideas of the liturgical experts? They insist on two basic values: "The 'primary value' of a renewed liturgy is, we are told, 'the full and authentic action of all persons.'" The people of God proclaims its identity in song. The second value judgment follows: music is the power that brings about cohesiveness within the group. Celebration, ergo, becomes creativity; the "how" becomes more important than the "what."
Condensed in this way, the argument reads like a lampoon. Yet Ratzinger's full analysis of the effects of modern "scientific" sociology upon liturgical music is trenchant. "I would not be speaking of all this in so much detail if I thought that such ideas were attributable to only a few theoreticians" (115). It is all too common that "so-called creativity, the active participation of all present, and the relationship to a group in which everyone is acquainted with and speaks to everyone else" are mistaken for the real categories of the conciliar understanding of liturgy.
The philosophical basis of this sociological "take" on liturgy is the view that power opposes freedom. This assigns, a priori, a negative quality to the concept of "institution" and reduces the object of hope from Paschal redemption to social progress. Herein lies the "tragic paradox" of this trend in liturgical reform: the institutional Church is seen as a hindrance to "freedom," yet liturgy without the Church is a self-contradiction. "Here it has been forgotten that the liturgy should be the opus Dei in which God himself first acts and we become redeemed people precisely through his action. [If] the group celebrates itself . . . it is celebrating nothing at all since it is no cause for celebration" (117).
In actuality, the Church is the communio sanctorum of all places and all times (118). Romano Guardini has elaborated upon the momentous consequences of realizing that the communion of saints (and not the Base Community) is the true subject of the liturgy. The Church's liturgy has an objective and positive character, because it lives in three ontological dimensions: cosmos, history and mystery. Liturgy has a cosmic dimension because as believers we do not create it, but participate in something greater that transcends us all. As a result of its historic dimension, it develops as a living thing while maintaining its identity (cf. the discussion of biblical culture, above). Finally, liturgy's dimension of mystery means that we do not initiate the liturgical event; rather, it originates in a call and a divine act of love, to which our response is obedience.
This vantage point is of great importance for the artistic questions involved in preparing liturgical music. The music of emancipation is inconsistent with true liturgy. Furthermore, "creativity" that ignores the creaturely status of man "is by its very nature absurd and untrue since humans can only be themselves through receptivity and participation." The real human condition is that we stand in need of a redemption which human effort cannot bring about.
Our faith is Logocentric, and so must our worship be (Cf. logike latreia Rom. 12:1). "The ' Word' to which Christian worship refers is first of all not a text, but a living reality: a God . . . who communicates himself by becoming a human being. This incarnation is the sacred tent, the focal point of all worship which looks at the glory of God and gives him honor" (121).
"Liturgical music is a result of the claim and the dynamics of the Word's incarnation . . . Faith becoming music is a part of the process of the Word becoming flesh" (122). At the same time (one might say: in counterpoint), the flesh becomes "logocized" or spiritualized, restoring harmony to postlapsarian creation. "Wood and brass turn into tone; the unconscious and the unsolved become ordered and meaningful sound."
Our Incarnate Lord, who was raised up on the cross, raised up our fallen human nature. Western music, from Gregorian chant through Renaissance polyphony to Bruckner and beyond, lives from this great synthesis "of spirit, intuition and sensuous sound . . . [T]he liturgical music of the Church must be subject to that integration of the human state which appears before us in incarnational faith" (124).
Practically speaking, the prerequisites for sacred music include "awe, receptivity and a humility that is prepared to serve by participating in the greatness which has already gone before" (125). Furthermore, the Church has posted road signs: the great liturgical texts (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) and the references in her official documents to Gregorian chant and Palestrina as models providing orientation.
C) The "Postconciliar" Challenge Vs. The Cosmic Liturgy
("'In the Presence of the Angels I Will Sing Your Praise'; The Regensburg Tradition and the Reform of the Liturgy," pp. 128-146.)
The point of departure of this essay is a description of the medieval frescoes in the crypt of the monastery of Marienberg in South Tyrol. "The real focal point is the Majestas Domini, the risen Lord lifted up on high, who is seen at the same time and above all as the one returning, the one already coming in the Eucharist . . . Liturgy is anticipated Parousia . . . " (129).
Indeed, St. Benedict, in his Rule, reminds his monks of Psalm 138:1: "In the presence of the angels I will sing to you," and admonishes them, "Let us reflect on how we should be in the presence of God and the angels, and when we sing let us stand in such a way that our hearts are in tune with our voices." Cardinal Ratzinger goes on to explain, "The liturgy is not a thing the monks create. It is already there before them. It is entering into the liturgy of the heavens that has always been taking place." This is the clear meaning of the frescoes.
Sadly, this "already, but not yet" character of the earthly liturgy has been obscured lately by a preoccupation with a liturgical reform that is "already" with us but has "not yet" overcome the old Tridentine order. According to this strange perspective, "a chasm separates the history of the Church into two irreconcilable worlds: the preconciliar and the postconciliar" (130).
Cardinal Ratzinger's brother served as choirmaster in the Regensburg cathedral from 1964 to 1994. When he began, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II had not yet been implemented. The music at Regensburg Cathedral realized in an exemplary way the artistic standards expressed in the motu proprio of Pius X, "Tra le sollecitudini" of November 22, 1903. As bishop of Mantua and patriarch of Venice, Pius X had opposed the operatic style of church music prevalent in Italy. "Insisting on chant as the truly liturgical music was for him part of a larger reform program that was concerned with restoring to worship its purity and dignity and shaping it according to its own inner claim" (131).
Another historical note helps to narrow the chasm between pre- and post-conciliar. Sacrosanctum Concilium, in laying the foundations for reform, constructed a large framework permitting a variety of actualizations. "The reform itself was then shaped by a postconciliar commission and cannot in its concrete details simply be credited to the Council." The history of liturgy is always marked by the tension between continuity and renewal; in the twentieth century the real tension has not been between tired tradition and radical reform, but rather between two stages of reform.
The Cardinal warns that "the dualistic historical view of a pre- and postconciliar world" leads to notions that call the very essence of liturgy into question. One example of this exaggerated "either-or" is the idea that the priest alone was the celebrant of the liturgy before the Council, but now it is the assembled congregation. This implies that the congregation determines what happens in the liturgy. But the priest never had the right to decide arbitrarily what was to be done in the liturgy. It was a "rite," that is, an objective form of the Church's corporate prayer (132).
The new Catechism, on the other hand, sums up the best insights of the Liturgical Movement. Liturgy means "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." But "the People of God is not simply there, as the Germans, French, Italians, or other peoples are; it comes into being again and again only through the service of the Son and by his lifting us into the community of God which we cannot enter on our own . . . Every liturgical celebration is an action of Christ the priest and his Body which is the Church (p. 134; cf. CCC 1069-1070)."
Cardinal Ratzinger does not mince words. "Liturgy presupposes . . . that the heavens have been opened . . . If the heavens are not open, then whatever liturgy was is reduced to role playing and, in the end, to a trivial pursuit of congregational self-fulfillment in which nothing really happens. The decisive factor, therefore, is the primacy of Christology" (133).
We must resolutely defend ourselves against "postconciliar" efforts to assign an absolute value to the "community." In the liturgy, the priest acts in persona Christi. The Catechism discusses the role of the congregation also, significantly in the chapter on the Holy Spirit: "The liturgical assembly derives its unity from the 'communion of the Holy Spirit' who gathers the children of God into the one Body of Christ.' This assembly transcends racial, cultural, social — indeed, all human affinities. The assembly should prepare itself to encounter its Lord and to become 'a people well-disposed'" (CCC 1097, 1098).
What significance does this Catholic understanding of liturgy have for church music? The Council's reform was aimed at counteracting modern individualism and the moralism connected with it, so that the dimension of mystery in liturgy could reappear, its cosmic character which embraces heaven and earth (p. 135; cf. SC 8). For Christians, the Logos orients our worship towards the historical origin of faith, preserved for us in Scripture and Tradition. Church music should not be a performance on the occasion of worship, but is to be liturgy itself, "a harmonizing with the choir of the angels and saints." Gregorian chant and classic polyphonic music are ordered to the mystery in liturgy and to its Logos-character, as well as to its bond to the historical world. They furnish us with a norm which does not exclude new musical forms, but which guides us more surely toward what lies on the horizon.
Attention to the essence of liturgy clarifies the question concerning the place of music in liturgy. You might say, "As liturgy goes, so goes musica sacra." Philipp Harnoncourt has put it this way: "Jews and Christians agree with one another that their singing and music-making point to heaven, or rather that these come from heaven or are learned from heaven" (137). Cardinal Ratzinger elaborates: "Faith comes from listening to God's word. But wherever God's word is translated into human words there remains a surplus of the unspoken and unspeakable which calls us to silence — into a silence that in the end lets the unspeakable become song and also calls on the voices of the cosmos for help so that the unspoken may become audible."
Because church music comes from the Word — both as expression of the Truth and response to a call — its character must correspond to the words in which the Logos has expressed himself. Hence not all music is appropriate for liturgical use: "By its nature such music must be different from music that is supposed to lead to rhythmic ecstasy, stupefying anesthetization, sensual excitement, or the dissolution of the ego in Nirvana, to name just a few possibilities" (138). St. Cyprian's treatise on the Lord's Prayer offers a useful guideline: "Discipline, which includes tranquility and awe, belongs to the words and posture of praying."4 It should also belong to sacred song.
Cardinal Ratzinger quickly dismisses two other specious demands of the "new" liturgists. Some, mistaking external busyness for "active participation," would veto the use of the choir as intruding between the congregation and the liturgical action. But the choir is part of the community and its singing legitimately represents the prayer assembly. The concept of representation, of standing in for another, affects all levels of religious reality, including worship, and is a fundamental category of the Christian faith.
Another commonly heard "postconciliar" objection is a "fanaticism about vernacular," even to the point of forbidding chant and hymns in Latin. The Cardinal wryly observes that, in a multicultural society, such an insistence on the vernacular has about as much logic to it as the demand for a hand-shaking, on-speaking-terms community does in an age of increased mobility. Harnoncourt notes that "The traditional, so-called 'Latin Mass' always had Aramaic (Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, Maran atha) and Greek (Kyrie, Trisagion) parts, and the sermon was usually given in the vernacular. Real life is not acquainted with stylistic unity and perfection; on the contrary, where something is really alive, formal and stylistic variety will occur . . ., and the unity is an organic one" (140).
In concluding his talk, Cardinal Ratzinger commends the departing cathedral choirmaster for striving "to manage continuity in development and development in continuity" during the theological and liturgical upheavals since the Council, "so that the liturgy in the Regensburg cathedral kept its dignity and excellence and remained transparent to the cosmic liturgy of the Logos in the unity of the whole Church without taking on a museum-like character" (140). He also expresses the hope that true reform will "flourish in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council — reform that is not discontinuity and destruction but purification and growth to a new maturation and a new fullness" (146).
In each of the articles just summarized, Cardinal Ratzinger responds to a specialized, academic-sounding challenge to the traditional Catholic understanding of the liturgy by considering the issue from a wider, ultimately theological perspective. To multiculturalist demands he replies with a reminder that Catholic faith and worship are rooted in a historical religion and thus are part and parcel of a specific cultural tradition. When the sociological gauntlet is thrown down, he arms himself with the insights of a comprehensive Christian anthropology. The notion that Vatican II divides Church history into a reactionary past and a glorious future is gently corrected with evidence that the reform of the liturgy has been the ongoing work of a century and more.
This technique of "taking the broader perspective" is evident in the very arrangement of essays in the anthology, A New Song for the Lord. The articles on liturgical music are grouped with one on church architecture at the end of Part II, preceded by an essay on "The Resurrection as the Foundation of the Christian Liturgy" (explaining Sunday as a Little Easter and the new Sabbath). Part I of the book, "Jesus Christ, Center of Faith and Foundation of Our Hope," treats more fundamental questions of Christology, catechesis and the true understanding of power in the Church. The essays are cogently argued and can be read independently, yet taken together they offer an almost systematic, theological treatise on the liturgy.
We have grown accustomed to hearing famous professors weigh in with expert commentary, each presenting his own abstruse "take" on a given issue. Not so when Cardinal Ratzinger writes about the liturgy or sacred music. The themes and arguments in his essays on liturgical music recur throughout his works, because he is writing about the lifeblood of the Mystical Body and the atmosphere that baptized souls breathe in their life of grace.
A few random examples illustrate this consistency. In Co-Workers of the Truth, a selection from Cardinal Ratzinger's writings arranged as meditations for each day of the year, there are (besides excerpts from the articles summarized above) two other readings concerning sacred music:
"The first Christmas carol of history . . . had no human origins — Saint Luke records it as the song of the angels who were the evangelists of the holy night: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men, those with whom he is pleased, those of good will. This song sets a standard . . . Peace among men results from God's glory. Those who are concerned about the human race and its well-being have to be concerned about God's glory first of all . . ., [which] is not some private concern . . . [but] a public affair."
"Three great symbols dominate the liturgy of this night of the Resurrection: light [the Paschal candle], water and 'the new song,' that is, the Alleluia . . . Granted, we shall not sing this new song in its fullness until we are in the 'new world,' until God calls us by a 'new name' (Rev. 2:17), until everything has been made new. But we are permitted to anticipate something of this [beatific] newness in the great joy of the Easter vigil."5
When arguing about the liturgy, one runs the risk of abstracting, of prescinding from the mystery. Cardinal Ratzinger's well-reasoned essays on sacred music bring to mind vividly the fact that the liturgy is, after all, divine.
1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium (an interview with Peter Seewald, translated by Adrian Walker), Ignatius, San Francisco, 1997, p. 47.
2. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today (translated by Martha M. Matesich), The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1997, p. 96.
3. The Crossroad Publishing Company, 370 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017. In this summary, the actual title of each article is given after a descriptive heading in bold. Page numbers for citations are included in the text.
4. St. Cyprian, De oratione dominica, 4.
5. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year (edited by Sr. Irene Grassl, translated by Sr. Mary Frances McCarthy, S.N.D. and Rev. Lothar Krauth), Ignatius, San Francisco, 1992. The readings cited are for December 29 (pp. 408-409) and April 14 (pp. 123-124).
Mr. Michael J. Miller is a translator for Ignatius Press and a free-lance writer. His articles have been published in Faith and Reason, Catholic World Report and the Month. His last article in HPR appeared in March 1999.
© Ignatius Press 2000.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Those Frozen Embryos
"Did you see Arlen Specter's justification for subsidizing stem cell research on human embryos? The senator from Pennsylvania noted that 'there are some 400,000 of these frozen embryos, which were created for in-vitro fertilization, which are going to be thrown away....' So why not put them to good use?
For some reason -- can't imagine why -- listening to the senator brought back the reasoning that German doctors once used to justify their experiments on concentration camp inmates. They were going to die anyway; why just throw them away?
So these subjects of scientific curiosity would be dipped into freezing water to determine how long downed fighter pilots might be expected to survive in the North Atlantic. When they froze to death, the experiment was successfully concluded. Or the victims were injected with deadly germs to study the course of terrible diseases.
Yes, they died awful deaths, but science would be advanced, terrible plagues cured. It was all for the greater good. The trick is not to think of the subjects of these experiments as human, but as Jews, Slavs, Gypsies -- the eugenically undesirable.
And remember that they were doomed anyway, and you can see the (brutal) logic of it.
That's the trick in this case, too: Think of these embryos as something other than human, not as microcosms somehow programmed to turn into fully developed human beings with all of a human being's capacity for good -- and evil. Think of them as microscopic dots, as pre-human, or under-human, literally untermenschen, and anything we do with them is ethically permissible. Even commendable."
Nothing to add.
Xoff, the Democratic-talking-points-relay-machine has yet to address Kelo.
See, if he says Kelo is bad, he's not going to be a member of the Liberal Establishment any more. The Libs are Statists, after all--all for the State, more for the State, and there's no second place to the State.
On the other hand, if he says Kelo is good (heh) then he simply affirms all of the prior paragraph, which will not be taken well by the normal citizen (whom the Libs pretend to defend.)
Still waiting, after all these years....
Another Reason for the 2A
Why Kelo? Scrappleface Answers:
- increasing tax income to a municipality,
- returning a favor to a wealthy developer who supported your city council campaign,
- improving the view of the waterfront from the Mayor's house, or
- getting rid of grumpy old people who have lived in their homes long enough.
That last one would seem to be a veiled threat to certain bloggers...
Math for Bigots
So the latest "hot stuff" for Math Education (!!!) has crawled out from under its rock:
Partisans of social-justice mathematics advocate an explicitly political agenda in the classroom.
A new textbook, "Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers," shows how problem solving, ethnomathematics and political action can be merged. Among its topics are: "Sweatshop Accounting," with units on poverty, globalization and the unequal distribution of wealth. Another topic, drawn directly from ethnomathematics, is "Chicanos Have Math in Their Blood." Others include "The Transnational Capital Auction," "Multicultural Math," and "Home Buying While Brown or Black." Units of study include racial profiling, the war in Iraq, corporate control of the media and environmental racism.
The theory behind the book is that "teaching math in a neutral manner is not possible." Teachers are supposed to vary the teaching of mathematics in relation to their students' race, sex, ethnicity and community.
Want to Carry Concealed? Join the Egg Police!!
"There is usually no limitation on open or concealed carry either, and training is rarely specified in statute," Korwin notes. The total number of federal employees with these special powers is unknown.. . .
Three federal agencies have unrestricted "may carry" language in statute: the Secret Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals.
Some of the more unusual federal "police" forces are the egg inspector police, the print shop police, the EPA police, and one of the newest, the Federal Reserve Board police. The latter is supposed to protect the Board, and is granted power to carry guns wherever the Reserve does business. "That would be anywhere there's money, which struck me as a rather ingenious way to grant power broadly," said Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America. He can be reached at gunlaws.com. . . .
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Remember when the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, commissioned a post-Judas investigative report on the causes of treachery? Neither do I.
Bishops also agreed to spend up to $1.5 million from a $20 million endowment fund to partly fund a massive study on the causes of priestly sexual abuse. The USCCB hopes to raise the remainder of the cost of the study, slated to cost between $3 million and $5 million, from private foundations.
Is there a single Catholic on the planet -- and I include the bishops' own mothers in the question -- who really believes the purpose of this study is to discover -- and not to camouflage -- the causes of priestly sexual abuse? Bishop Howard Hubbard's private investigator charged him $2.4 million to come to the conclusion that allegations of sexual misconduct made against him had "no merit" -- and nobody laughed. Here too we can be sublimely confident that the scholars whom the bishops commission will find the principal "cause" of sexual abuse to be insufficient attention to the notions of the scholars whom the bishops commission. * Expect multiple appendices detailing improved reporting procedures, seminary screening for doctrinal rigidity, and recipes for Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats.
In the same spirit of confidence, let me foretell some conclusions the researchers won't draw.
- Apostolic pro-Nuncio Jean Jadot (1973-1980) significantly damaged the U.S. episcopacy by the appointment of young, gay-friendly bishops who formed a self-defense network still in force.
- The institutional "occasion" of the crisis is not secrecy, but blackmail, in which secrecy is merely instrumental. A clergyman with dirt in his past -- whether hetero or homosexual in nature -- is blackmailable and incapable of acting against the crimes of other clergy except under duress.
- Psychotherapists don't fix sins.
- Too many individuals employed in priestly formation were and are in the business because they like to be around young men. This is not unconnected with the grossly defective instruction common in post-WW2 seminaries.
- "Between men who want to have sex with adolescent boys and men who do not want to have sex with adolescent boys, the former are more likely to have sex with adolescent boys." (Richard Neuhaus)
- Blackmail is not eradicated by systemic change or bureaucratic adjustment: firings (or firing squads) are necessary.
- While Bishops Dupre and O'Connell are still refusing to testify about their own sexual abuse -- with their brethren at least tacitly consenting -- $1.5 million plus is going into the pockets of those who will almost certainly not tell us what Dupre and O'Connell can tell us about "the causes."
Trust restored, yet?
This is one of the first articles I have seen from a respected Catholic publication which mentions "blackmail." About time; there's never been a doubt in my mind that blackmail has been the 1000 pound monkey in the living room.
One also wonders how long (and how much more money) it will take for the Bishops to arrive at the MOST obvious conclusion: DO NOT ORDAIN HOMOSEXUALS!!!
* Courtesy of Terrence Berres, following is a report on the "Study Authors" from Peter Iseley, the local SNAP honcho:
Most alarmingly, a new study is being commissioned at the urging of Dr. Paul McHugh of the National Review Board.
McHugh, once head of the department of psychiatry at John Hopkins, has a long and controversial history of taking anti-law enforcement positions on the treatment of child sex offenders. McHugh was appointed three years ago by the bishops to the lay National Review Board.
While the chair of psychiatry at John Hopkin's university, McHugh's subordinate, sex disorder clinic head Dr. Fred Berlin admitted that he covered up for sex criminals and violated state law.
Dr. McHugh said that the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic was correct to conceal multiple incidents of child rape and fondling to police. This, despite a state law that required that staffers report these crimes against children.
The Sexual Disorders Clinic was founded by Dr. John Money, who openly defends pedophilia and once gave an interview to Paidika, the Dutch journal of pedophilia. In his interview, Money said that a relationship between a boy and a man would not be pathological in any way-as long as it was by mutual consent.
McHugh, along with priest psychologists from St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, Frs. Steven Rossetti and Canice Conners, have long advocated the return of "some" child abusers to ministry. Both Conners and Rossetti are members of the bishop's ad hoc committee on sexual abuse.
Rossetti, the current president of St. Luke's, has been cited by Maryland authorities for never reporting a child sex offender cleric while head of he St. Luke's institute.
Indeed, against the majority of clinicians and scientists working with sex offenders, McHugh, Conners and Rossetti have all championed to bishops the idea that most child priest sex offenders are not "real" pedophiles.
In an alarming development last year, the Vatican hosted a symposium on pedophilia, which, of course, included Frs. Conners and Rossetti. Both men continued to urge the Vatican to drop zero-tolerance for all acts of criminal child sexual abuse.
DUUUUUUHHHHHH!!!! Ya think?
Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe may be vilified by the civilized world as a result of his campaign to demolish the homes of hundreds of thousands of his country's poorest residents, but he is beloved among certain segments of American academia.
The brutal dictator has received honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts and from Michigan State University, where a campaign is underway to strip him of the doctorate of law degrees the institution awarded him in 1990. [Not UMass, yet...]
The campaigners say that at the time "Mugabe was known for killing his opposition on a small scale, but since then his terror has gone to the next level."
"Minority black tribes, white farmers, democracy activists, newspaper publishers – anybody who doesn't fit into Mugabe's plan for Zimbabwe – are being killed or persecuted," the campaign's website notes.
"And MSU gave him an honorary degree to recognize his great contribution to the legal field. Just what kind of laws is Mugabe known for?" Amnesty International says Zimbabwe "is still using repressive legislation to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly of all Zimbabweans, in particular political opponents, independent media workers and human rights activists."
As WorldNetDaily reported, when Mugabe systematically burned out white farmers and murdered them for their valuable land in the name of "wealth redistribution," the international community paid little notice.
Now Mugabe has turned his deadly attention to the poor – driving hundreds of thousands from their homes in what he euphemistically calls an "urban renewal" program – or "Operation Drive Out Trash."
At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200 international human rights and civic groups said the campaign was "a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human dignity."
International rights groups said at least 300,000 people have lost their homes by conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the figure as high as 1.5 million, though Zimbabwe police only acknowledge about 120,000.
More than 42,000 people have also been arrested, fined or had their goods confiscated.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Xoff Missing In Action
Is Christofferson a Statist or a crypto-Statist?
You decide: http://www.wisopinion.com/blogs/xofffiles.html
Don't Scorn the Women!
Furious that her geriatric romance was ending, a 78-year-old woman clad in a hairnet, stockings, bathrobe and slippers fatally shot her 85-year-old ex-beau as he read the newspaper in a senior's citizen's home, police said.
Justice Kennedy Demands Obeisance
"When judges are attacked unfairly, it's proper for the bar over the course of time, in a professional and elegant way, to explain to the public the meaning of the rule of the law," Kennedy told several hundred lawyers attending the Florida Bar's annual meeting.
In the past year, the judiciary has come under attack from U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who openly criticized the federal courts when they refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Delay pointed to Kennedy as an example of Republican members of the Supreme Court who were activist and isolated.
The fact that the Justice spoke in Florida is ironic in the extreme; Florida's judiciary is the Poster Child for every known legal disease.
Kennedy, as you recall, wrote the Casey opinion which may stand as the greatest example of Judicial Conceit since Marbury. Likely he also read the polls which reflect that 94% of the public thinks Kelo is utterly wrong.
Justice Kennedy wants lawyers to 'professionally and elegantly' explain that Statism is a good thing.
My suspicion is that there are damn few lawyers out there who will "elegantly" explain Kelo. They can't. The Supremes attempted to repeal the English language with their asinine blather. While some are attempting to "cover up" this kitty scat with the scented clay of "State's Rights," others know better.
"State's rights" is a transparent curtain showing the King's New Clothes: pure, raw, unmitigated Statism.
Late Afternoon Silliness
During the segment, he made a statement to the effect that '[Red] China is a vast market, which will be buying American-made goods, thus the US will be enriched by encouraging the Chinese...'
Really? The jingoistic conceits buried under the Pollyanna frosting in that thesis are striking.
The first presumption is that the Chinese will buy 'American-style' goods because, after all, everything in the USA is superior to anything in any other society.
Another presumption: that the Chinese will reverse their track record and stop stealing designs and manufacturing techniques from the US and the West in general.
A third presumption: that the Chinese dictators will allow the import of US goods in favor of home-grown goods.
The radio host's thesis is seriously flawed; we were reminded of that by another newsletter which arrived this morning. While the newsletter made the point that the British Empire was different from the Roman Empire in a lot of ways, even the newsletter missed the larger point.
China's foundational culture is, simply, totally different from that of the US, or England, or the Hapsburgs, or the Spaniards. The West is Judaeo-Christian. China is not.
The gross, egregious, and fatal conceit is that 'China wants to be like the US.' Why would they?
It so happens that my #3 offspring was on the phone with the PM host when this host's fatuous point was made--or I might not have paid attention. (For you longsuffering parents--my kid was on the RIGHT side...they do 'get it' after a while.)
Friday, June 24, 2005
NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY (for you Lefties)
10 Top Gun Safety Tips, slightly edited:
8. No matter how responsible he seems, never give your gun to a monkey.
6. When unholstering your weapon, it's customary to say "Excuse me while I whip this out!"
4. If your weapon misfires, don't look down the barrel to see what went wrong. Have someone else do that for you.
3. NEVER use your handgun to pistol-whip someone. That could mar the finish.
1. And the MOST important rule of gun safety: Don't piss me off.
1) Sandra Day O'Connor resigns next week.
2) Bush appoints Gonzales
3) Genuine conservatives scream that Gonzales is not conservative
4) Rove retorts that "He's a little more conservative than O'Connor, quitcha b$^%&-a."
5) Conservatives finally understand that GWB is a poseur.
Fraud on the Court
The women behind the Supreme Court cases that led to legalized abortion told a Senate panel Thursday they never intended to help the abortion rights movement and claimed they were duped by lawyers representing them more than three decades ago.
The anti-abortion views of Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, the anonymous plaintiffs in Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, are well-known, but it is the first time both have testified together in Congress.
Both women have tried unsuccessfully to overturn the cases that have spawned years of bitter debate over the question of abortion. They were called, along with legal and medical experts, to testify on the consequences of the 1973 decisions that found a Constitutional right to abortion.
The hearing before a packed Senate conference room was convened by Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, an ardent abortion opponent who is eyeing a run for president. He called it "the first in a series to highlight the effect certain Supreme Court decisions have had on American life."
Brownback, chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, already has held hearings this year on the need for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage and the need for more federal obscenity prosecutions.
Cano, 57, told the panel she was uneducated, poor and pregnant with her fourth child when lawyers recruited her to challenge Georgia's anti-abortion statute. She claims she never authorized lawyers to say she wanted an abortion.
"I feel like my name, life and identity have been stolen and put on this case without my knowledge and against my wishes," Cano said.
McCorvey, 58, called herself "a pawn of the legal system" and recounted her decision to join the anti-abortion movement 10 years ago after she spent time working in an abortion clinic.
Neither Cano nor McCorvey ever had the abortions at issue in their cases.
Among those testifying in favor of Roe v. Wade was Kenneth Edelin, associate dean of Boston University School of Medicine. Edelin recounted his experience as a young doctor in 1966 trying to save the life of woman who had a botched illegal abortion and urged lawmakers not to "turn back the clock" on abortion rights. (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/11969357.htm)
From other sources:
The choice of panelists was made equally by Brownback and Feingold. The constitutional law attorneys arguing that Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were constitutionally unsound decisions were Teresa Collett, Esq., Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas Law School, Minneapolis, MN and M. Edward Whelan, Esq., President, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC.
Those arguing that they were "sound law" were R. Alta Charo, Esq., Professor of Law and Bioethics, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI, and Karen O'Connor, Esq., Professor of Government, American University, Washington, DC.
[Sen. Jeff Sessions commented]: "I've heard these ladies before, known about their wanting to change what was done in their names and without their permission, but to have them here before us, is remarkable. It sounds like fraud was done on the [Supreme] Court. We need to look into this." (http://anniebanno.blogspot.com/2005/06/sounds-like-fraud-upon-court-pls.html)
The hearing was sponsored by Sen. Brownback. Sen. Feingold was present throughout and did not comment extensively.
Security? WHAT Security?
CROOKED call centre workers in India are flogging details of Britons’ bank accounts, a Sun probe has found.
Our undercover reporter Oliver Harvey was sold the top secret information on a thousand accounts, and numbers of passports and credit cards.
And today City of London police launched an investigation after receiving a dossier of information from The Sun giving details of the banks whose security may have been compromised.
A number of high street banks including Barclays, the Woolwich, HSBC and Lloyds TSB, said they were working with police.Harvey, who paid a total of 5,000 US dollars (£2,750) for the information and was asked for another £275 to be sent later, was told details usually cost £4.25 but he was getting a special deal.
Kkaran Bahree, who said he got the details from a network of call centre workers in Delhi, also boasted that he could get up to 2,000 account details a month.
The information received included account holders’ addresses, secretpasswords, credit card details, passports and driving licence information.
In some cases there were also the issue and expiry dates of bank cards, as well as the three digit security number from the back of the card.
A spokeswoman for the City of London Police said: "All the financialinstitutions identified have been fully informed of the situation."An investigation is now under way. Therefore it would be inappropriate for us to provide further details at this stage." (http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2005280724,,00.html)
ID's--98% or Less?
But will such legislation requiring all voters to have a photo ID disenfranchise some people? The ETI research shows an incredible 30 percent of residents in Milwaukee County lack a valid driver’s license, including 47 percent of African-American males. Statewide, 23 percent of senior citizens, or more than 177,000 people, lack a valid driver’s license or photo ID. That’s an awful lot of people who won’t be allowed to vote, unless they chose to stand in the endless lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles office for their free ID. (http://www.milwaukeemagazine.com/murphyslaw/)
According to DOT, about 98 percent of Wisconsin's adult population have driver's licenses or a picture identification card issued by DOT. (http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=43749&ntpid=2)
Frank Busalacchi, Call Your Office!!
The Insurance Will Pay
Voted for 'one of the worst bills' (Sykes) in Wisconsin legislative history.
A reminder: Scott Jensen also believes that our elected officials need NOT vote on certain tax increases--like the gas tax. Last thing we want to do is make our position clear on tax increases, right?
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Bush Policy on Dual-Use to the ChiComs (Headache)
The foil actually was Kapton, a substance used as a thermal insulator for satellites and rockets. Kapton is a "dual-use" item, one that can be used both for civilian and military purposes, such as in ballistic missiles. Permission to export it is required by the U.S. government.
The exporting company, Valtex International Corp. of Palo Alto, Calif., tried to skirt the law three years ago by mismarking a shipping label after the government denied its exports on two attempts.
The Valtex case is one of a growing number of export-enforcement actions involving Chinese companies and agents intent on acquiring U.S. military technology. (Valtex and its president pleaded guilty in February, and last month they were given probation, ordered to pay $427,000 and banned from making exports for three years).
Such incidents underscore the inherent tension within current U.S. China policy, one that keenly promotes robust trade in hopes that it will lead to democratic reforms while trying to keep China's growing military might - and regional ambitions - in check. The Bush administration recently has raised new concerns about China's military ambitions, with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld early this month questioning China's "continuing large and expanding arms purchases," and has exhorted European nations and Israel not to sell arms to China.
But some China analysts say much more attention should be paid to the U.S. dual-use technology that might go to China for civilian use but find its way into military manufacturing. The list of those items is long and difficult to police, from computer components to manufacturing equipment to the aerospace components like the space-age metal that Valtex tried to supply.
"Almost nothing is denied to the Chinese at this point," said Peter Leitner, a senior analyst at the Pentagon's Defense Technology Security Administration. "The administration overall leans in terms of balance-of-trade concerns, rather than restricting the sale of potential military goods to China."
Commerce Department officials dispute that claim. They said concerns over China's military expansion have heightened enforcement actions and led to increased scrutiny, including a recently launched review of what can be exported without licenses. "What we're doing now is looking at items that don't currently require licenses when they're shipped to China," said Peter Lichtenbaum, the acting undersecretary of commerce. "We don't want any items going to the military."
U.S. manufacturers have long argued that export restrictions often are meaningless because similar goods can be purchased from foreign sources. Still, China is the leading destination for dual-use items, according to government figures. From 2000 to 2002, according to a government audit, U.S. exporters received 2,644 licenses from the Commerce Department to ship dual-use goods to China - more than a third of the licenses granted during that period.
In 2004 and so far this year, U.S. companies have shipped China more than $2 billion in products used in the aerospace industry, another $2 billion in electronics and $81 million in advanced materials, according to figures compiled by the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security.
Concerns over China, a key campaign issue for President Bush in 2000, have been overshadowed by continuing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But recently administration officials and members of Congress have begun to speak openly about China's military expansion and what it may mean for security in Asia, and beyond.
In the House, members of both parties recently formed a China caucus and plan to hear from experts on everything from the theft of intellectual property to the range of the latest Chinese missiles. Dual-use exports from the United States are a primary concern, according to the caucus chairman, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va.
"One of my big concerns is twofold," Forbes said. "What we're selling to China in a dual-use way and what they can turn back on us. And ... the number of companies forming to come to the United States to get intelligence information from our defense industry."
In January 2004, the General Accounting Office (now known as the Government Accountability Office), Congress' investigative arm, reported that the Commerce Department checked just 6 percent of 7,680 dual-use exports to "countries of concern" to ensure that recipients were using the products for civilian, not military, purposes.
China, the GAO noted in particular, "limits the number of checks each year." The Commerce Department's Lichtenbaum said the United States and China have struck a new agreement that allows inspections and that department investigators have worked through the backlog of inspections. But a congressional aide who tracks the process and requested anonymity said it still is "too early to tell if the process is working or not."
Recent cases also suggest that plenty of Chinese and American businesses are willing to ignore the law altogether.
Three Chinese nationals were charged in April in a federal court in New Jersey with fraud, with prosecutors alleging they bilked their U.S. company out of $1 million while arranging the sale of devices used to control radio signals.
In another recent case, Laurel Industrial Inc. of San Jose, Calif., was charged with violating U.S. export policy in its sale of underwater acoustic detection equipment to a Chinese customer. The company had failed to receive a license and agreed to pay a $44,000 fine.
During a recent defense ministers' conference in Singapore, Rumsfeld said the Pentagon's report on the Chinese military would show that it now has the world's third-largest military budget, after the United States and Russia. A Rand Corp. study issued in May found that China was spending as much as $78 billion annually on defense, or about 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product.
The United States spent $430 billion last year on defense, nearly 4 percent of GDP.
But analysts also cited positive developments in the U.S.-Chinese military relationship, such as exchanges among groups of officers that started in the late 1990s to thaw the diplomatic chill that followed the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
One group of Chinese generals and admirals visited National Defense University in recent weeks, said Bud Cole, an NDU professor who recently wrote a book on the Chinese navy. Cole and others who have taken part in the exchanges said they have offered U.S. officers unusual insight into the Chinese military and its capabilities.
"We learn a lot more about them than they learn about us in the military exchange programs," said Cole, who was given entree to Chinese Navy ships and facilities while researching his book. "They're such a closed society, one of our military attaches in China would have to scramble to find out things. But we're such an open society, they probably ship stuff they get from open sources back in footlockers."
Most of us are well aware of X42's "What, ME Worry?" attitude to arming Red China. I had kinda hoped that GWB would have put the clamps down.
Genesis of the Abrogation of the 5th Amendment
The surprise is unjustified.
Any "Court" which can issue Roe and Casey certainly has the authority to create a State's right to bulldoze a few old houses and steal from grandma.
Copy to Charlie
So this morning he becomes a little concerned when he learns that some Communist Chinese front company wants to buy Unocal lock, stock, and barrel(s.)
How can the John Galt eonomics-types argue about this? We all know that:
"1) Under Capitalist 101, the highest bidder gets the prize. Now we have a problem, eh?
"2) Under Capitalist 101, the lowest priced comparable good should be preferred, right? But this is NOT a problem, regardless of what factors enter into the pricing (slave labor, no labor/enviro/safety/tax concerns…just for example…)
Somewhere along the line, Galt’s Capitalism 101 should be recognized for what it is: a false god.
Personally, I like ‘national interest’ interventions. Now if we could only find a Congress which understands THAT term."
Immigration of Computer Whizzes
Some would simply take Forbes' input (a re-puking of ITAA propaganda combined with certain collegiate-professor Interest Group propaganda) as the ultimate word on the situation. After all, if it "hurts American Business" it simply must be reversed or derogated.
Some facts that Forbes failed to mention are found here: http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/MichJLawReform.pdf; you can download either the Index or the whole shootin' match...
Norm Matloff is a professor at a UC campus. He's well aware of the politics and the interest groups. He also presents info which simply debunks Forbes' alarmism.
In a nutshell: The US does not lack for talented IT people. The "reformers" simply want CHEAPER IT people. Indentured servitude of the Green Card variety assures that end; dealing with US citizens is more challenging.
UPDATE: Career experts say the decline of traditional tech jobs for U.S. workers isn't likely to reverse anytime soon.
The U.S. software industry lost 16 percent of its jobs from March 2001 to March 2004, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that information technology industries laid off more than 7,000 American workers in the first quarter of 2005.
"Obviously the past four or five years have been really rough for tech job seekers, and that's not going to change - there are absolutely no signs that there's a huge boom about to happen where techies will get big salary hikes or there will be lots of new positions opening for them," said Allan Hoffman, the tech job expert at career site Monster.com.
Maybe Steve Forbes didn't read this article, eh?
Statism Rules the Supremes
That means that the Statists are the "liberals," (although Kennedy was appointed by a Pubbie Pres.) However, Kennedy's wacked-out opinion in Casey is ample proof that given a choice, he's a Statist.
Bad Moon Rising....
"Because That's Where the Money Is..."
The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy.
The lobbying boom has been caused by three factors, experts say: rapid growth in government, Republican control of both the White House and Congress, and wide acceptance among corporations that they need to hire professional lobbyists to secure their share of federal benefits.
"People in industry are willing to invest money because they see opportunities here," said Patrick J. Griffin, who was President Bill Clinton's top lobbyist and is now in private practice. "They see that they can win things, that there's something to be gained. Washington has become a profit center."
Take the example of Hewlett-Packard Co. The California computer maker nearly doubled its budget for contract lobbyists to $734,000 last year and added the elite lobbying firm of Quinn Gillespie & Associates LLC. Its goal was to pass Republican-backed legislation that would allow the company to bring back to the United States at a dramatically lowered tax rate as much as $14.5 billion in profit from foreign subsidiaries.
The extra lobbying paid off. The legislation was approved and Hewlett-Packard will save millions of dollars in taxes.
The Republicans in charge aren't just pro-business, they are also pro-government. Federal outlays increased nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2004, to $2.29 trillion. And despite the budget deficit, federal spending is set to increase again this year, especially in programs that are prime lobbying targets such as defense, homeland security and medical coverage.
1) Just change a few names, amounts, and locations, and each State fits this picture.
2) Of course, all the results are in "the National Interest," right?
Only ten years ago, those who spoke of "the Party of Government" were dismissed as alarmists. "Prophets" might have been better--or simply "clear-sighted."
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
More Bad News
China has successfully flight-tested a submarine-launched missile that U.S. officials say marks a major advance in Beijing's long-range nuclear program.
"This is a significant milestone in their effort to develop strategic weapons," said a U.S. official familiar with reports of the test.
U.S. intelligence agencies monitored the flight test of a JL-2 missile about 10 days ago, officials said.
The missile was launched from a Chinese submarine near the port of Qingdao and was tracked to a desert impact point in western China several thousand miles away, the officials said.
The Air Force's National Air Intelligence Center reported that the JL-2 "will, for the first time, allow Chinese [missile submarines] to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast."
The JL-2 is estimated to have a range of up to 6,000 miles, enough to hit targets in the United States.
A defense official said the missile test was a major step forward in China's strategic nuclear missile program and shows an improved capability to produce and launch submarine-launched missiles. "It was a successful test," this official said.
Thanks, X42. The guidance systems YOU helped them get accelerated the program nicely.
1) Assembly leadership (that's John Gard) has paved the way for a bill which would steal several hundred million dollars from an insurance company to assist Fort Howard Paper (and G-P, its parent). The insurance company would be forced to pay for the cleanup of the Fox River, which was not part of its insurance policy.
2) Assembly leadership (that's John Gard) is running for Congress from a paper-producing District in Wisconsin.
*"There is NO SUCH THING as co-incidence." --Jack Ryan, speaking for Tom Clancy.
Channel 4 Gets It Right
Mike Gousha's story on the Budget Battle began with the words "The Republican budget increases school spending by $400 million dollars, but the Democrats wish to spend $438 million [more than that]..."
Can't ask for a better take on the story.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Gard's On Guard. SHUT UP!
“Some might wonder why I’m bringing up these things that were said in (secret) caucus. While these things were being said in caucus, when I put my name on the list to respond to them, I was told, 'We didn’t have enough time, we had to talk about the budget now.' I've been here two and a half years, I’ve never gotten up to speak on a bill…I passed bills and I never felt the need to get up and give rhetoric on other bills knowing full well it wasn’t going to change the vote. But on this one, I feel like I was silenced in caucus.
“And not just me, but this has happened in the past. Last year, now-Sen. (Glenn) Grothman was silenced by our leadership in caucus. I stood up to defend him. This year, another member of (Republican leadership) tried to silence (Republican Rep. Scott Suder of Abbotsford). And I stood up to defend him.
“What happened today, I wasn't just silenced. The 50,000 people that I represent were told we didn't have enough time to hear what I had to say. After all the speeches I’ve listened to on this floor…I’ve spent what seems like half my life listening to (Democratic Rep. Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids) telling me how evil I am, I just think that was way out of line....
Gard, and some others in the Assembly, have had NO real jobs outside of politics--and they would have us believe that this makes them "qualified" for higher office.
The Madison Dance
MADISON – The budget bill coming up for a vote in the Assembly Tuesday spends too much, borrows too much, and relies on too many accounting gimmicks. Yet, said Rep. Frank Lasee (R-Bellevue), Republican leadership is trying to sell it as a conservative budget because it is “better than Governor Doyle’s.”
“Our Republican leadership is relying completely on the argument that their budget is better than the Doyle budget,” Lasee said. “It borrows less than his does. My thought is: so what? That doesn’t make it a fiscally responsible budget. It still spends and borrows more than we can afford.”
“It’s like saying that smoking three packs a day is unhealthy, but you’re all right because you only smoke two packs a day,” Lasee said. “Comparatively, it’s better, but it’s still bad. This budget is a bad budget. Leadership is just trying to make it look better by comparison to Doyle’s.”
Lasee noted that under the JFC budget, general fund spending will grow by 10%, and general obligation bonding – bonds paid for with tax money – will grow by 55%.
Other dissenters include Nass of Whitewater, and some Fox River Valley stable-boy who is a professional pain in the nose.
Pope Benedict XVI wants to restore the traditional ceremonial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, with Latin instead of the vernacular and Gregorian chants.
Vatican expert Sandro Magister reported in his weekly newsletter Saturday that the pope is expected to replace Archbishop Pietro Marini, his predecessor Pope John Paul II's master of liturgical ceremonies.
Whoever follows Marini will have orders to restore the traditional style and choreography of papal ceremonies in St. Peter's.
Out will go the international Masses so dear to Pope John Paul II's heart, with such innovations as Latin American and African rhythms and even dancing, multi-lingual readings and children in national costumes bringing gifts to the altar.
Pope Benedict wants to return to the Sistine Chapel choirs singing Gregorian chant and the church music of such composers as Claudio Monteverdi from the 17th century. He also wants to revive the Latin Mass.
Archbishop Marini always planned the ceremonies with television in mind, Magister said, and that emphasis will remain. A decade ago the Vatican set up a system for transmitting papal ceremonies world wide via multiple satellites.
For those who have ears to hear...the straws are in the wind.
Monday, June 20, 2005
The lyrics to the "hymns" were put up on the wall with an overhead projector, and were some of the most banal and repetitive dreck I've ever heard. The simple melodies were as dull as dishwater. Even so, barely one in ten people was really singing whole-heartedly. These are not churches for people who wish to contemplate the Infinite in music. Frankly, their entertainment was a good deal shakier than their doctrine.
Ummmnnnn, nope. NOT the St. Louis Jesuits. Sorry, Zero!
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Oscar Mayer, Where Are You?
There are just too many possiblities, beginning with "Oh, I Will NOT Be an Oscar Mayer Wiener..." and going south from there...
Fisking The Coroner of Pinellas
Schiavo Autopsy an Orwellian Masterpiece
George Orwell once wrote "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." The recent release of the Pinellas County autopsy of Terri Schiavo is a clear and convincing example of Orwell's assertion. The national thought and language has been overtaken by a Big Brother of sorts, the mainstream media who is now "thinking our thoughts" and compelling us into their world of "doublethink."
Written using technical medical terminology, which is lost on most, the 39-page tome announced that the certified manner of death is "undetermined," and the cause of Terri's untimely departure from this earthly life was "Complications of Anoxic Encephalopathy," or, in layman's terms, a brain injury from lack of oxygen. The report continues to explain that because no one really knows what caused the episode fifteen years ago that resulted in Terri's injury, her manner of death remains uncertain.
It is now official. Nobody really knows why Terri died.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember the ebb and flow Terri's riveting end-of-life struggle being reported internationally for weeks. There were highly published efforts by her family to prevent her court-ordered death by dehydration that involved the United States Congress, the President, the Florida Legislature, the Florida Governor, and an unprecedented number of courts. Even her final moments on this mortal coil were callously reported live as if it was the last two minutes of the Super Bowl. Billions of people all over the globe were morbidly transfixed to their television sets watching and waiting for Terri to slowly die after being deprived of nourishment and hydration.
Now the Chief Medical Examiner of Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Dr. Jon R. Thogmartin, claims we really can't know how she died.
While Terri lay disabled and unable to speak, her caregivers were verbally spinning the account of her tortured, lingering death in to a compassionate healthcare fairy-tale. Terri's estranged husband, Michael, repeatedly told us that his wife "had died fifteen years earlier." How many times did we hear the medical "experts" tell us that her cerebral cortex had "liquefied" or that Terri was in a PVS, Persistent Vegetative State?
Now the autopsy was meant to confirm everything the death-peddling pundits have told us, and with such great authenticity and certainty that no one would dare question their findings. But it hasn't worked out that way.
The questions raised by the absurd declaration that the manner of death cannot be determined makes me wonder if Dr. Thogmartin is a student of the famous science fiction author George Orwell.
In Orwell's masterpiece work 1984, he describes a society manipulated through the use of a deceptive propaganda tool known as New Speak. This tool, where the language was perverted to mean whatever the authorities wanted it to mean, produced "doublethink" in a malleable society. Doublethink is "the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."
It is evident that a form of New Speak has been employed the case of Terri Schiavo. We have been told that we must accept the "fact" that Terri actually died during her 1991 "accident" and that she was being "artificially kept alive" in spite of the fact that her body was "shutting down." But, in a momentary lapse in Schiavo New Speak, Dr. Thogmartin states that Terri was "a relatively health woman who could have easily survived another 10 or 15 years." Are both true? It seems as though Dr. Thogmartin and his cohort medical examiners are creating a third class of human – the living dead. There are those of us who are alive, those who are dead, and now thanks to the Orwellian Thought Police, we have those, like Terri, who were somewhere in between life and death, hovering in a zombie-like existence.
We have been force-fed the concept that it was benevolent to deprive Terri of basic sustenance, yet our minds tell us it was sadistic. We are being trained to think, in classic Orwellian fashion, that bad is good in a diabolical attempt to justify the killing of the infirmed, disabled, or otherwise imperfect people among us. Today, because of the pro-death spin doctors corrupting our concepts of truth and morality, our society consented to the murder of Terri Schiavo.
Tomorrow? Well, that is a future that even Orwell would not want to consider.