Month: July 2014

Salondotcom linkfest

A week ago, just before the account was returned to us, I went on the Rick Amato show to talk about the suppression of @salondotcom. Quite happy to be introduced as “definitely not a jagoff”:

I forgot to mention that it was probably Salon that reported us, but what can you do. Here’s a round-up of news coverage, after the jump:


Secession lagniappe

A good read on how the new Spanish king could impact Catalonia’s aspirations for independence.

Lega Nord remains committed to an independent Padania.

BBC on the other Europeans with their eyes on Edinburgh. Related: Scotland gets its own internet domain, with the catchy name dot-scot.

Peter Singer on Scotland and Catalonia:

The EU is also unlikely to accept Scotland or Catalonia as a member if the UK or Spain rejects their claims to independence. Indeed, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has said that the EU may reject Scotland and Catalonia’s applications, or at least delay them considerably, even if the UK and Spain do accept their independence. And, without EU membership, it is hard to imagine that a majority of people in Scotland or Catalonia would take the plunge into economic uncertainty that independence would bring.

The role of a referendum in a region seeking to secede can therefore only be a form of persuasion aimed at the government of the existing state. A large turnout showing a clear majority for independence would be a way to say: See how strongly we feel about this issue. We are so dissatisfied with the status quo that most of us now favour secession. If you want us to stay, you need to address the grievances that have caused a majority of us to want to leave.

Discovery Channel News has a spot on Iraq, Scotland, and Ukraine: “What do people of a region need in order to secede?

BBC covers the Muslim Seleka rebels in the northern Central African Republic, who are calling for a new state:

The New America Foundation, which is running stuff at Vox of course, on why Singapore should probably be crushed:

For these and other reasons, we are sanguine about Singapore’s transition to a liberal democracy with a far more redistributive state. Our optimism stands in stark contrast to the government’s fears about how increased democratic pressures here will make Singapore less governable, impede quick and enlightened decision making by elites who know better, and increase the likelihood of policies being made for short-term or populist reasons.

We think such fears are mostly misplaced. The contest in Singapore is less about basic political rights and freedoms. But neither is it just over “bread and butter” issues. Rather, it is a post-modern debate over people’s ability to determine what constitutes achievement and well-being.

Three Irish republicans reportedly linked to the Real IRA denied entry into Canada.

Tasmanians are getting sick of being kicked around.


The Stasi vs. SWAT

East Germany was the epitome of a police state. While relatively wealthy, at least compared to other communist states, they closely monitored speech for any signs of dissent. Critiquing the government could easily land you in jail.  With this in mind I recently watched “The Lives of Others,” a movie set in East Germany.

Watching this movie I noticed something very peculiar.  The Stasi were far more civilized than most SWAT teams are today. Rather than serving warrants at night with body armor and guns drawn, they knock on the door and wait for it to be opened from the inside. They then have a chat with the owner of the apartment, instead of yelling at him to get on the ground. Their search methods are far less destructive than the search methods of SWAT today, leaving the apartment looking the same as they found it. While the apartment doesn’t have a dog, given how the Stasi acts it is impossible to imagine them shooting one.

Of course, it is far more odious to arrest people for speech violations than drug violations, though I support the legalization of both speech and drugs. That being said, the Stasi seem much more… civilized. There is no violence, nor do they draw their guns. Both of which routinely occur in SWAT raids. It is disconcerting much of our country serves search warrants in a more aggressive, violent, and confrontational manner than the Stasi.

Neoconservative Christians and the crisis in Iraq

Artur Rosman asks hawkish Catholics to take stock of the devastation in Iraq:

There were actually major centers of Christianity in both North Africa and the Middle East–regions presently exclusively associated with Islam. These regions were eventually decimated by the rise of Islam and its clashes with the West and Byzantium. What we are seeing today is not the beginning of the end for this region’s Christianity. It’s more like the end of the end. …

What’s become apparent is how much the presumption for force ultimately failed to take a very complex situation into consideration.

As I remember it, sometime in 2003 or 2004 both Paul Griffiths and Stanley Hauerwas (author of War and the American Difference: Reflections on Violence and National Identity) ultimately gave up their associations with First Things, because their presumption against war, in line with John Paul II, was marginalized by the journal.

The Christians of the Middle East are now paying the price.

But they’re not the only ones paying the price, because Neo-Conservatism also has a monopoly upon the anti-abortion position, which continues to lose its luster as it is associated exclusively with that political group.

He’s broached a difficult subject for some people, and while I can’t speak to First Things (though I am a reader and enjoyer of it), as another concerned critic of the empire, given recent events, I feel compelled to add similar thoughts.

Recently, I had written a longer piece on the sordid behavior of the Episcopal Church, now the clerical wing of the Democratic Party, with the head of the National Episcopal Health Ministries promising to help implement Obamacare and getting a fellowship at the Center for American Progress, controversial gay bishop Gene Robinson getting a Daily Beast column and the requisite CAP fellowship as well, and our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, an Episcopalian, takes up pet progressive legal crusades while property across the country is confiscated by judicial fiat and turned over to ailing, left-wing rump congregations.

For mostly personal reasons, I decided to pull it — my family attends one of the breakaway Anglican parishes whose appeal was denied by the Supreme Court in March. Rather more sensitively, the piece also raised the fact that a number of the key participants in the Anglican realignment, (which I support entirely for reasons above) were involved in the neoconservative project or publicly supported the second Iraq invasion. Mort Kondracke, Ken Starr, and Fred Barnes, for example, who were in a Bible study with the rector of the Falls Church and the former chaplain of the Redskins. The latter, Jerry Leachman (whom Brit Hume has named a mentor), is married to Holly Leachman, named by Hillary Clinton in one of her books as a sort of liaison to the Fellowship, the civil religion pseudo-ministry that puts on the National Prayer Breakfast.

One could go on. The American Anglican Council, which filed the complaint against the presiding bishop just after the Supreme Court’s decision, has close ties to the neoconservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, which grew out of the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party, in part to be a counterweight to the thoroughly leftist World Council of Churches. One of its founders was a Schachtmanite. The AAC’s president sits on the IRD’s board, along with Barnes, a longtime member of the Falls Church who left in 2009 for one of its plants, and wrote a Wall Street Journal column about it. The IRD’s former president Diane Knippers was a parishioner at Truro, another breakaway Virginia church, until her death from cancer in 2005. In the mid-2000s, the IRD was telling Christians to shut up about the war in Iraq.


The poetic question

Whoever wants to become a Christian must first become a poet. That’s what it is! You must suffer. You must love and suffer–suffer for the one you love.

Holy Elder Porphyrios

What a subject to write upon; it is difficult to even know where to begin. There is no doubt that most people believe – rightly or wrongly – that poetry is pretty much dead. Now, I don’t think I can definitively agree or disagree with this opinion, and not because I have no opinion on the matter, but rather, far too many for a simple assent or denial.

The problem is simple: no great poet has arisen in our generation, or at least, none that we know of. We cannot tell the difference between the Great One laboring in obscurity and the Great One having been aborted as a fetus when his erstwhile mother was a co-ed at Berkeley. Our lack of knowledge is an impenetrable wall, but not for lack of information. Certainly there are thousands writing poetry, if not millions… and how many would love to vie for the title reserved for Dante or Virgil? It may just be that there is a lull, since every generation is not equally blessed in any department.

But furthermore, most people feel alienated from poetry itself; not that we cannot find a poem we like or a poet we like — but rather, what seems to be thought worthy of being poetry – say, not that rhyming stuff – is to most of us academic, almost purely intellectual, ‘revolutionarily conservative‘, or even obscene or objectionable in content, and us with no real good argument that ‘this isn’t what poetry should be’, other than our own lying philistine eyes.