Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Israel: Politics: Kadima win shaky, tied to coalition + Kirschen cartoon à propos

The Israeli election yesterday sets pro-Israel folks around the world somewhat at ease, while still on edge, in that Ehud Olmert at the helm of the new party Kadima (The Future, in Hebrew) won the vote and will be Prime Minister pending his recruitment (negogtiation) to create a new Cabinet with sufficient support in Knesset (parliament) to govern with a coalition majority. Many Israeli voters voters did not go to the polls; there will be long analyses as to why not in the next months.
Olmert did not gather the support directly that Ariel Sharon may have. Sharon remains in a coma, descended upon him shortly after he created Kadima with Olmert, and called the elections.

Rookmaker Club geostrategic analysis:

UPDATE: Iran gets scolding, but ElBaradei (head of UN's anti-nuke prolif agency IAEA)is now "sole solution" according to Russia–putatively in the group of disciplinarian countries trying to reign-in Iran's nuclear-plunge bombward. Final count of seat distribution for Israeli parties, with BBC list of possible coalition partners for Ohlmert's Kadima. - P
Party standings - Israel vote

Students of the Jewish Scriptures will find this fate resonant with what happened to King David when the Lord, displeased with David's sending a general to his death at the head of the army and then taking the man's wife, denied David the privilege of building the Temple – a task that then devolved onto David's favoured son Solomon whose own misdeeds, tho he built the Temple, denied him the line of descent thru which the Messiah would come. But even more than these, one thinks of Moses who brawt Israel the Ten Commandments from the Lord's hand, but whose sins prevented him from living long enuff actually to cross the Jordan River as Israel entered the Promised Land. And conquered. Sharon's fate is all too biblical, as the story goes.
But Sharon's successor Olmert did win the election as the party with the most votes, far fewer than a direct majority. Olmert's Kadima party does have a very difficult priority program to consolidate the West Bank settlements into just a few of large populations (what other parties will strictly join in advancing such a priority?) and thus hopefully further reduce tensions with terrorist-led Palestine, and otherwise determine the future boundaries of the Israeli state - whether Hamas-led Palestine negotiates the determination of that border or no (so far, they say only the pre-1967 border is acceptable for now, before they day when the push the Israelis into the sea (of blood, which meanwhile they will prepare for even a shrunk-down pre-1967-bordered Israel).
Cartoons & cartoonists + comix panels
"Israeli Elections (1977)"©YaakovKirschner(May 17,1977).
Republished here with the author's permisssion.
Olmert wants peace and safety for Israel, both. We know that Hamas wants the destruction of Israel and has been backed up in that aspiration by Iran, which probably already has the nuclear weaponry to fulfill the Hamas dream and the Israeli nitemare. That means, besides securing the borders, Olmert, the Israeli Security agency Mossad, and the Israel Defense Forces must be ready in concert to cripple Iran's capacity to exterminate all of Israel (an Iranian move that would kill, not just Jews, but many Israeli Arab Muslims and Christians, as well as Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian civilians too). Hey, but that's no skin off mullahcratic Iran's nose. Hamas claims to be ready for any exigency in seeking Iran's terrible swift sword. Iran stands then to establish the new Caliphate of Muslim world political and legal domination with the dhimmitude of Jews and Christians and secularist Humanists, too.
We can see from the way the wind is blowing in the UN Security Council, the windy effort to water down the sanctions adamantly proposed against Iran, taken with in mind now the shaky Elmert government in Israel, that exactly no help will come from the UN enforcer agency. That means, Olmert, Kadima, and Israel stand in need of backup against the Hamas-Palestine and Mullahcratic Iranian extermination scenario. Islamofascism is now rampant from these two quarters against Israel. One hopes that the US does not reward the unjust watering down of sanctions by the UN Security Council, and prepares itself and such allies as are willing to take out the nuclearizing Iranian Islamofascists. Perhaps, but I doubt it, Canada will be able to muster membership in the the prayed-for coalition to stop exterminationist Iran.
US-Israel defense against Hamas-Palestine / Mullah-Iran. But Canada too has its own shaky minority government of Conservs opposed by three parties, the largest of which is itself in such disarray that it mite let the shaky Tory (Conservs) government team stay on, prop it up even should it join in with a coalition of the willing to defend Israel. After all, most Jews in Canada voted Liberal, and they mite persuade the leaderless Libs not to bring down the Tories should sufficient among the Libs in the House of Commons too feel that duty calls them to help in preventing Israel's extermination.
Of the three named potential allies in countering the UN water-down and in taking on responsiblity to stop Hamas-friend Iran dead in its tracks toward nuclearization, only the Bush Administration is led by a majority-secure Presidency that will last another three years (no matter what the opinion polls or the outcome of the November 2006 elections). The dirty bloody job that needs doing now can be accomplished soon, over the heads of the mindless appeasers of injustice who populate the UN, its organs and agencies (once again). We hope the latter will not prevail, and that Bush and allies will forcibly disarm exterminationist Iran before it's too late. Such are the political-military nuclear realities that must be faced. The Americans don't need nukes to accomplish it; its mega-"conventional" weapons could do the job–albeit with great lamentations, gnashing of teeth, sack-cloth and ashes. - Politicarp

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Satire: Irony: Kirschner designs howler, offers Shmendrik Awards 4 AntiSemitism (equal opportunity > some fellow Jews included)

The distinctive Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschner, usually gentle and even whimisical in pointng to the absurdities and horrors of these times from the perspective of an American-born Jew living in Israel in his elderly years, has produced a belly-shaker of strait-faced irony in picturing photographically the awardwinners in his recent Shmendrik accolades – a set of awards that, for me, rival the Oscars this year. I don't want to give away the pleasures of surprise in enjoying the semiotic technique of satire and irony employed on a very serious theme.

Kirschner is himself an outstanding cartoonist who swept the recent Israeli and Jewish Annual Blog Awards in several categories. I've learned to take his work as a reference-point for determining what cartoon and satire techniques are legit, and what stray into the zone of gross impropriety. It's a fine line sometimes, at others its not difficult at all to discern the spirits in the cartoon-works of a given artist who becomes nothing but savage propagandist.

Politicarp (refWrite's main political writer) and I (as his editor) have been very stringent, but correctly so (I believe), on the Jyllands-Posten spirit of cartooning and of prophet-mocking aimed explicitly against our Muslim neighbours in an incendiary world situation. Politicarp and I have tried to point out how an absolute doctrine of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is inherently contradictory. I've pointed out how in the case of the Danish cartoons the freedom for public cartoon-mockery (some of the J-P cartoons seemed to me to be quite innocuous, others were not, indeed were quite vile); in that case the J-P was was consistent with the (il)logic of the demand for absolute freedom in Danish secularist free-market ideology for the child pornography for which Denmark is world famous, along with Danes in the same spirit who are active in the worldwide child-sex tourism industry. But this absolutist "freedom of expression/speech" contrasts sharply with the statutory prohibition of anti-religon (Danish state Lutheran Christianity) and particularly antiJewish, antiJudaic, and Holocaust-denial in expressive acts and public discourse. I support the Danish law in these prohibitory and penalizing regards, and likewise insist that it is antiChristian not to catch the positive spirit of that prohibition and extend it sympathetically to prohibit attacks on the core figure in the Muslim neighbour's attitude toward honouring prophecy (which requires respect for Abraham, Moses and all the Judaic Prophets, respect for Jesus, and respect for Mohammed - tho the violation of this spirit may be conducted by some Muslims too). But mostly the violations in Denmark, in all of Europe, and in North America are the work of secularist "Humanists" who hate all religions without ever noting the corporate sins of secularist atheist Nazi and Communist mass-murder systems which surpass the horrors of all other religions ever in Europe). Kirschner, to the extent I know his corpus of work, manages to draw the line well!

Moreover, refWrite now has organized a Satire section on the sidebar, experimenting and reflecting upon satire, irony, mockery, et., by linking to both the great Kirschner, HumorFeed, and some independent blogging satirists. They appear uncensored and unmonitored on this blog for the meanwhile, to test how well and how far a Christian blog, largely political in content, can accomodate the most severe visual and writerly critical works of some satirists, ironists, and mockers. We will try to keep up somewhat with what we make available, but invite our readers / viewers to use the Comments of this particular blog-entry to make criticisms of matter carried in the Satire section offered in refWrite's Sidebar. You are welcome to criticize, or alternatively to praise any particular well-wrought urn of such humour. If the HumorFeed proves unbearable over a bit of time, it will be dropped. More largely, it must be said that there is still a keen place in a shared morality of living with neighbourliness in a society of diverse religions and their adherents of good will, a shared place also for cartoonists, mindful of the thawt that launches the Book of Psalms. Please note Psalm 1 (verse 1):

"Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers."

I don't think this verse rules out the full development of personal vocations to gifted people as cartoonists, satirists, and ironists; but reflection on it should give Judaists, Christians and Muslims pause as they put their pen to the piece of paper before them each day and awaiting that first line to be drawn. As in so many vocations of cultural service, there's an existential moment for the person of conscience – secularists and atheists too! - Owlb

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pisteutics: Conversion: Death a 'clash of civilizations' proof, right to convert & proselytize a human basic

Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christ turned over to Sharia judges who themselves have little leeway (given their juridic sources), and perhaps have even less courage to break with the Muslim rule requiring the death penalty for turning one's back on Mohammed's "revelation," cannot deter the USA, Canada, and our other NATO allies from pursuing the total defeat of the Taliban and Al-Quaeda in that country. At the same time, however, the irony of fiting to preserve the beginning of Afghan democracy when the country's extensive Sharia-bondage leads a family to turn one of its own members over to authorities to face the death penalty for converting away from the family's Islamic faith, cannot be lost on any of us. Remember, there are Christians among the Canucks and Yanks and other coalition forces. There are atheists too among our combined forces there, we may presume. No one escapes from the irony, especially Mr Rahman, a fellow believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Afghanistan has a way out, as I understand the matter. Its legislature can pass a civil law which stays/stops all Sharia trials for apostacy from the state religion and conversion to another–while asserting the inviolable right to convert, to proselytize under certain conditions without penalty, and to be free of coercion, either to remain adherent to or to become nonadherent to one's original religion–precisely in order to adopt another, including even a secularist one (anti-religion ideologies which thereby become religions of their own).

There's no way thru the present situation without inflaming a significant part of the Afghan and worldwide Islamic population. And already people of many religions, certainly Christians in North America are inflamed and are tempted to swing into Islamophobia of a worse kind than already prevails.

Our first duty, I think, is to pray for Brother Abdul, that the Lord may show himself in a very close way to this witness for the faith, and strengthen him for the ordeal (including the inevitable publicity now), and the possiblity of a trial in which Sharia itself will be on trial. And our second duty in North America is to write, email, fax and visit our legislators and to participate in mass demonstrations if they're called on this continent, demos on Mr Rahman's behalf (all those of us able to participate). Most important: we must let Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister MacKay in Canada, and President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice know that only a forthright affirmation of the right to convert and, under certain conditions, to prozelytize is acceptable. Otherwise, there is no end to the clash of civilizations between the West and Islam; in such an instance we should prepare for a Hundred-Years War.

Maverick rightwing Christian blogger LaShawn Barber has fumed furiously on this subject matter, and has drawn an inpour of sometimes furious but always supportive responses. Hat Tip to her and to Christopher Taylor for his comment on LaShawn's blog, regarding the legal situation in Afghanistan:

This case is actually a test, to see if the legislature is willing to pass a law protecting people who believe in faiths other than Islam. The constitution of Afghanistan recognizes Islam as the official state religion (dated I know, but at least it’s a step forward from what was before). It states explicitly, from what I understand (I don’t read their languages) that Islamic Law is followed unless there are state laws that say differently.

So Afghanistan has a choice: pass a law protecting people’s freedom of religion, or slide slowly and brutally back into the 14th century. The choice is theirs, thanks to the coalition led by President Bush. Let us pray and hope that they choose wisely. [Comment #42]

Sad to say, I think a lot of Christians are going to get this matter terribly wrong–more railing aganst Islam and Sharia, and Afghanistan and its government, and President Bush and Prime Minister Harper (the latter Western leaders for urging us to support our troops there rather than bringing them home with a snap of the fingers. Prayer, patience, diplomacy, and pursuit of the War against Terrorism on all fronts against all obstacles is our best counsel at this very critical moment, meanwhile showing also our respect for everything good in Muslim life and culture. - Politicarp

Monday, March 20, 2006

Turkey: EU Membershp: Accession to EU blocked by Turk intransigence on culture, education, particularly Christian education

The closure in 1971 and refusal to allow to reopen the only institution of Christian h+er learning in Turkey, has become a metaphor for Turk intransigence toward historically-Christian Europe and for freedom of religion in Turkey today. Tho Europe is now a post-Christian society, and tho it has strong secularist and atheist power-hegemonic structures and cultural forces (typified these days by Mohammed-mocking-cartoons publisher, the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper), Europe in an often-inconsistent way still seeks to maintain religious freedom - from which many religions - including numerous Christian groups, observing-believing Judaic faith-formations, and Muslim denominations - benefit far beyond the status quo in "secular" Turkey.
The institution in question is the historic theological seminary of Turkey's main Christian denominaton which is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which on the negative side unfortunately does not offer Eucharists in Turkish but which has undergone numerous episodes of severe oppression since Turkey became a "secular" state, and whose Christian people exist in a precarious state of dhimmitude (classical subservience to Islam, masked in Turkey as a second-classs citizenship to the "secular" state). These Christian Turkish citizens are not at all equal to the status of the mainstream Turkish Muslims who constitute the approved "seculars" - or laîques, to use the evasive French term, with its model of state secularism whereby Muslim girls are forbidden to wear a headscarf in school (to understand the history of the French school policy, see Thomas McIntire - again even while Turkey styles itself a "secular state" and imposes its Muslim-tinted "secularism" with its mainstream-Muslim tint, a mainstream that suppresses even some peacful Muslim sects [for a soporific presentation of the government stance, see the site honouring Moustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938)], founder of what seems like French-style totalitarian religion of secularism, instead of pluralism. A secularity that interconnects with pluralism, instead of suppressing every form of traditional religion except that elevated by the state, could accomodate by the several Islamic denominations that firmly disavow violence and Turkey's religious minorities, including the Christian Orthodoxy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In Turkish Daily News, Fatma Dimirelli reports, "Political criteria: Finished or unfinished job? (Mar19,2k6):
The EU norms require the unanimous vote of all [EU] member states in opening and closing of all chapters [of the statutory regulations for accession to EU membership], giving each state the power to effectively block the negotiations citing a concern on the level of Turkey's compliance with the political criteria.
A reference to political criteria in connection with the chapter on education and culture, for example, may be expected to raise such sensitive issues as the opening of a Greek Orthodox seminary near Istanbul, closed since 1971, or education in Kurdish.
EU officials, on the other hand, admit that such a reference could be used as an instrument by those who oppose Turkey's membership in the EU, but even those who do not want to see the reference to political criteria in the letter say the process is as political as it is a technical one.
"In principle, there should be no problem here because there is nothing new to the whole process. The accession process to the EU is by far not only a technical process," Ambassador Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the Delegation of the EU Commission to Turkey, told Turkish Daily News. "There is a lot of technical work to be done, and the bulk of the work in fact is technical. That's certainly correct. But this is a political process apart from that."
He added, "Government knows very well that we are still quite a long distance away from the complete fulfillment of the political criteria."
Interestingly, in a disturbing way, the Greek news source online,, essentially rewrites Fatma Dimirelli's article but strategically omits her reference to the Greek Orthodox Christian theological seminary on the island of Halki (Heybeliada). Cut from the English-languge, nevertheless the Greek-language η θεολγικη σχολη τησ χαλκησ carries a most significant snippet in English:
Although in October 2005 [Turkey's] Minister for Education noted that he was opposed to the continued closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki (Heybeliada) seminary, which has been closed since 1971, no steps have yet been taken to facilitate its reopening». “
One can't help but speculate that the Education Minister's stance suggests that the Turkish Prime Minister and Cabinet are using the very possiblity of allowing the Christians to reopen their Halki Seminary, without which the Orthodox Christians have no means of training future priests (since priests must be of Turkish nationality and study in Turkey, according to government rules), is itself a bargaining chip to force Greece and the EU to pressure effectively its member Greek-speaking Cyprus to agree to the re-integration of Turk Cyprus into one unitary secular state. In other words, the problem for reopening Halki Seminary may be the intransigence of Greek-speaking Cyprus.
refWrite supports the fair and minority-protective unification of Cyprus, the reopening of Halki Seminary, the turning over of Holy Wisdom ('αγια σοφια ) Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Istanbul to the Patriarch (whose community is the true owner), and the protection thereof by the Turk "secular" state. The catherdral goes all the way back to the Byzantine Christan Empire and was forcibly alienated from the administration of the Patriarchate upon the Muslim conquest. The moves again advocated by refWrite could help the Turkish tourist industry by the subsequent influx of Christian pilgrims and tourisists annually. It would lead to the urban redevelopment and revitalization of that section of Istanbul where the Cathedral is now used as a storage wharehouse. Such a return of the Cathedral after all these centuries, besides being a magnificent Turkish statement, would then be able to pay for any expenses of turning over and protecting the Cathedral, the Patriarchate, and Halki seminary. The Christian sites and institutions of Turkey do need special protection, as the 2004 blast that damaged Saint Gregorios church (a modest Istanbul substitute for the ancient Hagia Sophia Cathedral mentioned> so clearly demonstrates.
Istanbul, Turkey (Associated Press). - An explosion shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians in Istanbul on Thursday [reported Oct8,2k4 in The National Herald] officials said. No one was injured.
The explosive device was placed on the roof of the church of St. Georgios where a similar device had been placed in 1997, a fact that has caused concern both to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the authorities.
The Cathedral’s windows and the main building of the Patriarchate complex were shattered.
A terrorism police squad was investigating the cause of the blast, which came weeks after police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing fanatic Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate and burned an effigy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, whom far-right groups accuse of working against Turkish interests.
The Patriarchate has been the target of a number of small attacks in the past, which has worked against Turkish interests as they strive towards E.U. membership.
The explosion came one day after the E.U. agreed to open membership talks with predominantly Muslim Turkey, but called for humanitarian greater reforms, including expanding religious freedom and improving its treatment of non-Muslim minorities.
Many right-wing Turks are suspicious of the Patriarchate because of its close ties with Greece, and also strongly oppose Bartholomaios’ efforts to reopen an Orthodox seminary that Turkish authorities closed in 1971. Greek Orthodox say the school is crucial for the education of future leaders.
Members of Turkey’s government have expressed support for reopening the school as they push forward with the country’s bid to join the E.U.
Although few Greek Orthodox Christians remain in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey, forced out years ago, the Patriarchate is still based in Constantinople (Istanbul). It dates from the Orthodox Greek Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453. Istanbul, then called and still referred to as Constantinople by Orthdox Christians, was the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Bartholomaios has spiritual authority over the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians.
Were Turkey able to deliver promptly on Halki Seminary and Hagia Sophia Cathedral, the Turk state's bid for EU membership would be h+ly likely to accelerate. It would also go a long way toward undoing Greek Cyprus' injustice to Turk Cyprus.
In closing, I must mention that one authority, Prof David Koyzis in his blog Notes from a Byzantine Calvinist has disagreed with refWrite on the importance of returning Hagia Sophia to the Ecumenical Patriachate in Istanbul. - Politicarp

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Diplomacy: Iran & USA: Iran wants talks with America, a Kirschen cartoon

Iran wants to talk with Amrica (Mar17,2k6)
"Iran wants to talk with America"©YaakovKirschen (March 17, 2006)
The cartoon is republished here with the artist's permission.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Denmark: Historian's augury: R Plat blogs historical sleuthing of Danish govt's failures toward Muslim community and aftermath

Earlier, I blogged under the headline Ex-Muslims ally with anti-Christian Humanism to end pluralism," and the ex-Muslim secularist manifesto to seal the doom of the West still troubles. But I prefaced the matter responding to the aforesaid, with a strait-up link-filled note on the emergence on the Net of historians beginning to systematize and narrate the unfolding of events around the notorious slap at Muslim religious sensiblities under the cover of "freedom of speech." Altho I was still somewhat leery of R Plat's first 6 installments of his history (then 4 parts + 2 digressions), I was impressed with the good work of each installment which make for fascinating reading, but still didn't satisfy me because they didn't attend to the tripartite clash of ultimate values in the situation. Those major configurations (ultimate values, value systems, and clusters of worldviews), in historical order, are: Christian, Englightenment, and Islamic.

They represent religious groundmotives (Herman Dooyeweerd, Dutch philosopher) that set the tone of value-contestations in Danish culture and all that society's differentiated spheres of life (from state to church to mass media to family to art, for instance). How the state handles this multi-sphere diversity by which contesting configurations of ultimate values criss-cross each sphere in the overall societal reality it serves is of utmost importance. But historian R Plat seems to have another view (I don't fawlt him for that) which is never made explicit historiographically against its conceivable alternative (and on that, I'm after him to come to grips with at least some salient features of this Danish difference regarding the starting point of history-writing).

In my all-too-brief earlier post, I even deployed without nuance a perhaps-contentious metaphor, "Sometime soon I hope to dissect this 'Whig Interpretation of History.' I was thinking, of course, of Herbert Butterfield, the British historian's famous book of that title, which his intellectual biographer Thomas McIntire has suggested never entirely frees itself of its own 'whiggism' - in the Brit's case, his own formative Christian Methodism.

We can't truly become sterile "neutralists' in our history-writing because we need our own ultimate values to function as our depth-motivation in our various callings, including our sense of historicity and our historical discourse. So with R Plat, his excellent blog Random Platitudes, and his first major blogged histriography project, I am still hoping to get a few scraps thrown to the floor for the beggars like myseelf, so that we can understand just how much the self-consciously Christian community in Denmark (with its own variant tendencies) has acceded regressively to the ethnocentrist Conservatives in the government (think LePen, Fortuyn, etc), or to the free-market Conservatives leading the government (thinks the Austrian School of Economics, Ayn Rand, etc). But, once one can get some grip on that assumedly widespread historographical failure, are there any cultured Christian voices standing against the religious failure of the Danish government to truly and warmly welcome the neighbour, in this case especially the Muslim immigrants (of course, among whom as among Christians and Enlightenment-secularists there are shady characters and hate-mongers). Have any Christians had the courage to challenge the Englightenment ideology of an absolute "free speech," which from its origins then over the centuries hooked itself up to a further idea born in rankly apostate absolute individualism, now mythologized as the core value of a later society of media-consumers manipulated by ideologues and advertizers driving massive institutional vehicles like Jyllands-Posten.Is there no robust lay Christianity, politically informed and aware of the unhindered deployment of power by self-anointed gate-keepers and promulgators of public discourse?

There's no hint of this depth-historical problematic (yet) in the online work of Plat. However, all is not lost, by any means, as the 8 posts to the Plat history (now grown to 6 parts + 2 digressions) fully indicate (see below). For what he has published online, according to his own ulitmate values and consequent historographical presuppositions, I do indeed congratulate and thank Dr Plat. Sir, please keep these blog-entries coming!

Yet, there's the yawning gap I've been feeling. I thnk Ulf Hedetoft got it correct in Denmark cartoon blowback in the online Open Democracy (Feb1,2k6). Hedetoft speaks of the motivation of the assault of the cartoons publisher on Denmark's Muslims, reversing the Danish stand against Hitler's antiSemitism and antiJudaism:

There was no other substantive context, no thematic or analytic justification, no other narrative, slant, or interpretative framework that might have made them palatable or just somehow reasonable. The message was simple, unadorned, and childishly, defiantly provocative: we publish these because we have a right to do so; the liberty of free speech allows us to offend whoever we like, and the religious sensibility of Danish Muslims has to come to terms with this basic fact of Danish life and values if they want to be accepted and to integrate.

This defence of free speech – testing the limits of Muslim tolerance rather than observing the limits of civility – was portrayed as necessary because this democratic value is allegedly under threat from Islamic communities wanting to curtail democracy, to impose a different culture on Denmark, and eventually to introduce sharia law. Provocation was called for and offence justified in order to teach the "immigrant other" a serious lesson, and at the same time wage a battle for what "we all" believe in, before it is too late.

Thus, the paper itself depicted this act of deliberate provocation and insult – the perversity of deliberately offending because one is allowed to – as almost an example of civic disobedience: as if Jyllands-Posten and not the Danish Muslims were a minority voice in a public landscape dominated by non-Danish values, and as if the aliens were winning the domestic "clash of civilisations".

This picture of a hysterical Englightenment dominant culture rings true but exposes so unfocused a situation in the country that it constitutes a denial of Danish reality to such an extent the ideologically-dominant picture is its own verbal cartoon. In his article Hedetoft mentions the fact of Denmark as somehow today still "a Lutheran society" in some sense. Clicking up Hedetoft's live-link of the word "Lutheran" we arrive at a government site, all neatly organized under a state ministry.
The Constitution and Religion
Ecclesiastical and religious matters in Denmark are subject to the Constitution, the main principles being established by the stipulation that the Evangelical Lutheran Church – as the established Church of Denmark – shall be supported by the State, and also by provisions on freedom of religion, speech and assembly.

State support is partly moral and political (Sunday observance legislation and legislation on church matters), partly financial and administrative (contributions to clergy salaries and pensions, the collection of church taxes, the maintenance of the national church governance by means of a Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs and diocesan administration, supervision, advisory services, etc.).

. And ...
Of religious communities, the established church is by far the largest (84.1% of the population in 2002). Alongside the established church various other Christian churches are represented in Denmark and have been accorded the status of officially recognised religious communities. ... During the last decades of the 20th century, the largest of the non-Christian communities has been dominated by Muslim immigrants; on the basis of the number of immigrants from Muslim countries now resident in Denmark, the number is estimated to be c. 150,000 (2002), made up of a number of mutually independent Islamic communities."
So this brings us full circle thru the Lutheran clergy as minions of the Danish state to their widely-scattered flock dispersend into their Humanist secularist political parties subject to the dominant ideology of each in turn, and not having accessiblity to a stable Christian policy on immigration and re-education of newcomers with all due hospitality. Yet, I suspect the Danish clergy - half-secularist themselves (the updated politics of the Lutheran two-realms doctrine) - have been at least consulting with their Muslim neighbours, while still unable to critique the secularism of the establishment and its Islamophobia in the name of the Enlightenment and its version of freedom of speech. Hedetoft helps us, especially if we fathom his source on a bureaucratic Lutheranism in all its slumber.

Another voice joins in ruffly the same critique as Hedetoft, this one from Belgium, Paul Belien, editor of Brussels Journal in the context of an ex-Muslim Englightenment-secularist manifesto that he subjects to critique. Says Bielen:

There is no doubt that Islamism is a threat to freedom and human dignity. However, as we have warned before, some [non-Muslim] people – undoubtedly brave, but nevertheless mistaken – are prepared to destroy certain basic freedoms, such as freedom of education, in their fight against Islam and religion in general. The question has already been put here: Is Islam dangerous because it is a religion? Do Muslim values differ from European values because the latter are rooted in Christianity or because [European values] are secular[ist]? These questions are at the heart of the debate in Europe today.

In our opinion, man is a religious being. Secularism destroyed the Christian roots of Europe and, in doing so, created the religious vacuum that is now being filled by Islam. The manifesto warns against “battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. […] We must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.”

History in the past century, however, has clearly indicated that those fighting for an “egalitarian” world were the most “liberticidal” of all. Freedom is the right to live “unegalitarianly.” This is why Brussels Journal defends the right of individuals – though not of the state – to “discriminate” (which, by the way, contrary to what the manifesto implies, is not the same as “oppress”). Indeed, it is no coincidence that the manifesto avoids referring to “Socialism” (and even “Communism”) among the scourges of the past century and prefers to speak of “Nazism” and Stalinism” instead. Half the manifesto’s signatories are probably Socialists, which explains why the manifesto obfuscates the secular[ist], Socialist roots of these scourges.

In this fine-pointed critique of secularist ideology the sad reality is that here Bielen and his Dutch colleague, Dr Jos Verhulst, altho they also bring out the historical problematic I find lacking in Plat's Enlightenment 'whig' interpretation of the present Danish experience, at the same time godify individualism, like secularist Humanists of the Enlightenment - because the Enlightenment always was conflicted on which human reality to absolutize, either the collectivity (race, state, etc.) or the individual (one's rights against everyone else and every sphere-grouping, the free market, etc.). Some Christians add a vanilla-chocolate cover to socialist ideology, others add the covering to libertarian ideology; but both are merely modes of a baptism of the Englightenment with a sugar-coating.

Here Prof Plat has a most important moment of truth, while not dealing with the priority problematic I have concern for, he at the same time does not inflate the niceties of the details into specious ideologizing - such as do the ex-Muzzies, their two "French philosophers," and the opponents of the latter two - Belien and Verhulst with their slightly-Christian individualism. Christian philosophy can do better; it is no more dependent on individualism than it is on socialism. But there's no room here to enter into that theme. In the interim, I recommend that all readers have a go at Ulf Hedetoft's piece, and a good read of the uptodated list of historian Plat's blog-entries on "The Cartoon Row dissected." Please, don't miss Part Six! - Politicarp

The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 1 (Feb16,2k6)
A Digression [#1]: Origins of xenophobia in Denmark (Feb17,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 2 (Feb18,2k6)
Another Digression [#2]: Freedom of speech, and discrimination laws in Denmark (Feb20,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 3 (Feb23,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 4 (Feb27,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 5 (Mar9,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 6 (Mar14,2k6)


Here's refWrite's own earlier tracing of the Danish cartoons story Before joining the Buy Danish campaign (mentioned at the end of that previous post), I want to have knowledge that some Danish Christians are grouped politically to speak out normatively against the Anders Fogh Rasmussen Free-Marketeers and their ethnocentric collaborators in the government on the matter of the cartoons. I'm not calling for censorship of the press, but for the responsibles pro-active censure of Jyllands-Posten and the ex-Muslims fanatical dismissal of value-pluralism for unitary secualrism; all that would be a good move. I want to see some Christian element in Denmark that I can identify with because of its own-faith based neighborliness to Danes and newcomers of the Muslim religion. Then I can freeely join in the Buy Danish campaign, but not until then. I have another certifying reason for joining in, if and when the time comes. And that's the excellent socially-responsible Danish business enterprise, Leggo, that testifies to what an ethical capitalism can accomplish. I want to get to the place where I can sincerely "Buy Danish" and recommend that others do so as well. - P

Ethnoreligious roots: St Pat: Irish all over the world and their friends celebrate Ireland's first Bishop

Well, I goggled for something to help me celebrate St Paddy's Day on this blog. I was greeted by a special logo for the day. So here it is. Then, thinking of "the Luck of the Irish," I entered "St Patrick Day Ireland civilization" (I vaguely had a special book in mind, but didn't use the Amazon search option). When Google confronted me with a general search or "I'm feeling lucking," for the best single result - given my search terms, I chose the latter.

Google St Pat's Day

Presto! I got St Anthony's Messenger with a full feature on St Patrick by Anita McSorley, "The Saint Patrick You Never Knew." I wanted to launch the day with some historical accuracy as well as Christian appreciation of the man. What I didn't know was that as a teenager Patrick, of a Christian family but "not very religious," was seized by a band Irish kidnappers and taken from Roman Britain in the 400s AD, as a slave, to Ireland. He was a rugged lad who survived the slavery, maybe he was ransomed (we don't know, but that happened), anyway he got back to Britain and his family and his education - where he crystallized his sense of calling to become a missionary to the unevangelized "barbarians" to the west of the British Isles under Rome.

The rugged man was on his way to becoming a ruff-and-ready Bishop, and eventually to be recognized as a Saint. McSorley segments her text into six parts, so you can do a Quick Scan to decide where you actually may want to read deeper, or not.

StPat icon[MichaelO'NeillMcGrath]
Illustration by Michael O'Neill McGrath, OBFS

• Patrick in Myth and History
• Stranger in a Strange Land
• Patron Saint of the Excluded
• Patrick the Mystic
• Patrick's Lasting Legacy
• Patrick at the Judgment
• Patrick's Lasting Legacy

Oh, i notice, here's the book I'm looking for: Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization - Western civilization, that is, during "the Time of the Barbarians" (Daniel-Rops) or, more commonly, "The Dark Ages" of much of Europe. These northern seag-going outsiders poured down from northern lands and in the wildest outcome a branch called the Visigoths crossed into North Africa and destroyed the Latinate Roman civilization there, to the grief of Saint Augustine in Carthage, now laid waste. In time, the Muslims came from the opposite direction and displaced the slowly Christianized Visigoths and indigenous North Africans. But how the Irish priests, monks, nuns, and laity countered this trend from their island starting place - truly the great legacy of Patrick - is a story you may want to read. Cahill's book (How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hinges of History) (Paperback) ) has been a bestseller and continues to find new readers. - Anaximaximum

Intelligence: Juridics: Libby launches contretemps against mainstream media's belated collusion with errant prosecutor

The water gets hotter, thanks to Scooter Libby's supoenas of journalists and newspapers, as the lobsters make final efforts to crawl out of the suddenly boiling pot they had stoked for the VP's man in their previous re-incarnations. Lobsters named Miller (who spent time in the clink first) and the New York Times (which likes to call itself The Times, but it ain't, as that's in London UK and nowhere else, despite all the imitators).
President's Men - Scooter [2]
Quite objectively reporting (I would imagine) on his own boss, his newspaper as employer and article-assigner, Adam Libtak reports (Mar16,2k6) in NYT:
Lawyers for I. Lewis Libby Jr., a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who faces charges of obstruction of justice, served subpoenas on Tuesday on The New York Times Company and a former reporter for The Times, Judith Miller.
The subpoenas seek documents concerning the disclosure of the identity of an undercover CIA operative, Valerie Wilson. Mr. Libby has been charged with lying to a grand jury about how he learned about Ms. Wilson's identity.
Ms. Miller testified before the grand jury last fall, after having served 85 days in jail to protect a confidential source later revealed to be Mr. Libby. She also provided the grand jury with edited notes of her interviews with Mr. Libby. Ms. Miller retired from The Times in November.
The new subpoenas seek her notes and other materials, including any other documents concerning Ms. Wilson prepared by Ms. Miller and Nicholas D. Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The Times; drafts of a personal account by Ms. Miller published in The Times in October concerning her grand jury testimony; documents concerning her interactions with an editor of The Times; and documents concerning a recent Vanity Fair article on the investigation.
A lawyer for Mr. Libby, William H. Jeffress Jr., would not say whether other reporters and news organizations had been subpoenaed. Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Tim Russert of NBC News have received subpoenas, their representatives said.
A spokeswoman for The Times said its lawyers were reviewing the subpoena served on it. A lawyer for Ms. Miller, Robert S. Bennett, said she would probably fight her subpoena.
"It's entirely too broad," Mr. Bennett said. "It's highly likely we'll be filing something with the court."
Of this latest turn of events, hot response is starting already to trickle from the faucette above the pot, desperately attempting to reduce the temperature. A Jeff Gannon (hey!, is that the same guy who ran porn sites or escort services while infiltrating the White House Press corps as a partisan for the Prez? allegedly, of course - nah, couldn't be). Anyway, this JG says:
In a delicious bit of irony, lawyers for Scooter Libby have delivered the first of many, many, many subpoenas to journalists and news organizations. Libby's defense team is turning the tables on the Old Media, who orchestrated the Valerie Plame affair into a major event when it is in fact, nothing.
What will be interesting to see, besides the information that is revealed, is the length to which the Old Media will go to stonewall Libby's lawyers. I am repeating my prediction of another bad year for what some are describing as the "dinosaur media".
It looks like JG is tempted to surf the Liddy counterattack, but there is a link between a certain aspect of their nonpolitical lives. Seems Liddy has done some novel-writing and is a published author of The Apprentice, his 1996 thriller that takes place in 1903 Japan."
The novel earned Libby favorable reviews. The Boston Globe called The Apprentice an "alluring novel of intrigue" while the New York Times Book Review said Libby's "storytelling skill neatly mixes conspiratorial murmurs with a boy's emotional turmoil."
Well, now you know. Since the indictment, Libby's book, The Apprentice (St. Martin's Press), has jumped from #16,249 in sales on to #379, as of Friday evening.[Vicinity of Oct29,2k5]
Hysterically, New Yorker magazine is less comforting in its effort to gannonize Libby under the article title, "Libby's Sex Shocker". I doubt the magazine would review the Libby work with the same outraged puritanism were it unaware of the author's name and political role in the current Administration. It's not much of a connection, but Irve Lewis Libby, Jr, touches a nerve in those of us news-hounds who were astounded at the blatant braggsdacio and pugnacious pulchritude of Jexxx the White House correspondent. - Owlb

P.S. Jacqueline - Valerie Plame got her husband Joe Wilson sent to Niger, not Nigeria. A small slip, given a great Pelicanpost post otherwise (Mar16,2k6). Thanks! - Owlb
Previously in this series:
President's Men - Scooter [1] (Mar14,2k6)
President's Men - Tom [1] (Mar14,2k6)
President's Men - Karl [4] (Aug9,2k5)
President's Men - Karl [3] (Aug1,2k5)
President's Men - Karl [2] (Jul31,2k5)
President's Men - Karl [1] (July13,2k5)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Politics: UN Security Council: China & Russia stop veto-holders unity toward UNSC discipline of rogue-state Iran

The United Nations Security Council which meets tomorrow apparently has been stopped in its tracks by China and Russia, which refuse to unite with fellow veto-holders France and Britain (with US concurrence) in addressing the necessity of severe discipline against the unabashed threat to world peace by Iran, including its announced intention of exterminating Israel. Specifically, Iran is a threat due to its drive to position itself to manufacture nuclear warheads for its enlarging missile system. Previously, France and Britain had sought in numerous consultations with the other two, to have a united front of the veto-holders prepared when the Security Council meets tomorrow, all 15-members strong. The other members (non-permanent, non-veto-holding, 2-yr terms) are: Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan, Tanzania, Congo Republic, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia.

The specific point for which pre-arranged unity of the five was sawt, is the endorsement tomorrow by the Security Council of a requirement that the International Atomic Energy Agency (with 35 member states) bring in a report within 14 days on Iran's compliance or refusal to comply with prohibition of the latter's pursuit of nuclear weapons. This is what the diplomacy of China and Russia are obstructing.

Should they vote with the other three permanent members, or at least abstain, the IAEA would not have room to back away from its responsiblity. The next step, should Iran not comply and allow effective inspections of its nuclear facilities and the placement of seals on the program's relevant locations, would be UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.

Rookmaker Club geostrategic analysis:

Of course, the almost-certain failure of China and Russia to allow the UN to function in disciplining Iran brings us back to the parallel situation in regard to Iraq under Saddam Hussein (which just a day or so ago was shown to have had Al-Quaeda operatives functioning on its territory a year before 9/11 to advance the international terrorist program, coddled by the Saddam Hussein regime).

If the UN balks again, as it seems likely tonite (but tomorrow will probably tell all), this would put the US in the difficult position of having to invoke again its right and power of pre-emptive strike, this time against the Iranian nuclear facilities and its regime. (Or, perhaps Israel could function as surrogate in that regard, since it's been threatened with extermination, at the very moment when Iran is conducting a conference to Deny the Holocaust).

Another parallel exists as well: China is playing the same game in the Middle East with Iran that it has been playing in the Far East with the North Korean project of nuclear weaponry. In both cases, China has advanced the cause of the two rogue anti-states by using its diplomacy to delay and ever delay the consolidation of international prevention of nuclear proliferation endangering all humankind.

Russia is more opportunistic. It wants to leverage its status on the international diplomatic scene, and has tried brokering solutions in a number of cases where it hoped to serve as middleman. None of them has succeeded. Russia's role is opportunistic; but China's is not. China's behaviour has been principled in its own interests - not least of all the securing of a steady flow of oil. That steadly flow also could include Iranian oil for which it has a plan to construct a series ports and fortresses from the Persian Gulf to its own southern coastal terminals thru the pirate-infested Stait of Malacca to its own coastal terminals, or to terminals in Burma or Vietnam, both of which would allow massive pipeliness to connect a China-fortified oilport in one of their designated harbours on their own soil with China itself (the client would get a pumping fee plus some oil splash). So, China has extremely strong reasons to satisfy Iran diplomatically.

The difficulty mentioned, that the US again had to face its responsiblity of pre-empton when circumstances warrant cannot be lost on its allies, nor on China and Russia, nor on Iraq, nor on Iran. Just today, a major return to airborne tactics, if not bombing, saw the deployment of American Airborned Combat Teams in the terrorist-infested Samarra region of Iraq. The occasion was coupled with a hi-ly significanct announcement (CNN;Mar16,2k6).

Also Thursday, the White House reaffirmed the principle of pre-emptive war in its updated National Security Strategy, despite the fact that no weapons of mass destruction, which were a key justification for the pre-emptive 2003 invasion of Iraq, were found.
That is to say, is it not?, that what held true for Saddam Hussein's regime clearly hold true now also for Iran's regime.

Associated Press via CNN for tomorrow carries a full report on the reaffirmation of the pre-emption strategy:

President Bush reaffirmed his strike-first policy against terrorists and enemy nations on Thursday and said Iran may pose the biggest challenge for America.

In a 49-page national security report [titled National Security Strategy], the president said diplomacy is the U.S. preference in halting the spread of nuclear and other heinous weapons.

"The president believes that we must remember the clearest lesson of September 11 -- that the United States of America must confront threats before they fully materialize," national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.

"The president's strategy affirms that the doctrine of pre-emption remains sound and must remain an integral part of our national security strategy," Hadley said. "If necessary, the strategy states, under longstanding principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack."

The AP report continues, after the apparent failure by France and Britain to bring China and Russia around to a Security Council mandate to the IAEA:
The report had harsh words for Iran. It accused the regime of supporting terrorists, threatening Israel and disrupting democratic reform in Iraq. Bush said diplomacy to halt Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons work must prevail to avert a conflict.

"This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," Bush said.

Bush went on to say: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran. For almost 20 years, the Iranian regime hid many of its key nuclear efforts from the international community. Yet the regime continues to claim that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons."

He did not say what would happen if international negotiations with Iran failed. The Bush administration currently is working to persuade Russia and China to support a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iran end its uranium enrichment program.

Since Iran is already at war with the fledgling Iraqi democracy, supplying ever-more complex road bombs (for instance) to disrupt the Iraqi military, Iran is also actively at war with the USA, Britain and the other allies in Iraq. Iran is siding with the terrorists. Therefore, the use of an armada of planes that could carry aerial bombs instead for dropping paratroopers in the Samarra region, can also serve as a warm-up for the planes that most likely will have to be used to halt nuclear-weapon manufacture in Iran, but also to make the border between the two countries extremely difficult to negotiate for the Iranian infiltrators.

I'm so doubtful that Iran will pull back, because the evidence is overwhelming in regard to the mullahs' desire for another Shiite agony in which Iranians will be whipped again to shed blood all the way from Teheran to Baghdad in the messianic quest of the mullah's for imperial power. Moqtada Sadr is creature of the Iranians in Iraq; his forces within the Shiite political umbrella in the new Parliament of Iraq do Iran's dirty work there, obstructing as much as possible the functioning of Iranian democracy. There is one war against terrorism in in Mesopotamia and Persia. The excision of Iran's nuclear facilities is an integral part of winning that war and protecting Iraqi democracy and pluralism. - Politicarp

Dr Keith Pavlischek on a Christian approach to pre-emptive war, Mar10,2k3.

Report of a debate on pre-emptive war, Mar23,2k3.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The law's delay: the insolence of office: Milosevic leaves everything unresolved for Serbia's victims and for many Serbs too

Steve Janke refers to National Post on the death of Milosevic in the Hague, the Netherlands, where his trial for war crimes, particularly genocide, was creaking along. So many will feel robbed of justice that the matter was never concluded, and no verdict resounded: Guilty! Janke then turns to these thawts, and I can't help feeling they are almost perfect a meditation on the enormity of what happened in the former Yugoslavia at the Serbian dictator's behest:
Maybe we need to remain in the realm of political expediency and ideological purity instead of shifting into the world of judicial minutiae in a situation in which we have captured a dictator like Milosevic or Sadaam.

* Were war crimes committed? Yes.
* Were they widespread, over a large area, over a long period of time, and involving an overwhelmingly large organized group of government employees, military and civilian? Yes.
* Did the dictator give speeches, both those aimed at a domestic audience and those presented to the world community, in which he encouraged those crimes against a particular and identifiable group? Yes.
* Did the retinue of cabinet ministers and hand-picked security people surrounding the dictator exclude those in the targeted groups? Yes.
* Is there reason to doubt that free and fair elections were held in this country? Yes.

Answer yes to these questions, provide and evaluate the evidence, and the dictator is found guilty. Over in less than a month.
Thanks to you, Mr Janke, for these wise words that go to the heart of a human disaster and a failure of justice. - Politicarp

Politics: MidEast: The Jericho Prison Break, a Kirschen cartoon

The Prison Break

"The Jericho Prison Break"©Yaakov Kirschen (March 15, 2006)
The cartoon is republished here with the artist's permission.

Economics: Institutional change:Crucial stage of history of structuration of American businesses

I've always lamented how little historical understanding seems to obtain among the public, especially the Christian public, and especially regarding the formation of the typifying economic institutions of our societies - say, of North American society. For that motive, I try to keep an eye on certain bloggers; and today I'm pleased to find and convey to you a historical tidbit reported by a Professor of Corporate Law at UCLA who blogs as Professor Bainbridge - that's Stephen Bainbridge. He mostly quotes from a colleague, Prof Larry Mitchell.
Mitchell on the History of US Corporations

Larry Mitchell is posting to [the website of Social Science Research Network,] chapters of a book in progress entitled Squeezing Truth from Power: The Rise of American Corporate Capitalism. From the prologue:

Squeezing Truth From Power: The Rise of American Corporate Capitalism (book in progress), will examine the history of American corporate capitalism from 1890 to 1960, with an epilogue that brings the study to the present. I argue that the giant modern American corporation was created for financial reasons during the merger wave of 1897 to 1903, primarily for the sake of promoters’ profits. The consequences of this age of consolidation were profound for the course of American capitalism. As Thorstein Veblen predicted, it resulted in a capitalism that privileged finance over business and, indeed, finance at the expense of business. Since the primary product of the corporation created during this period was capital stock, not industrial goods, the merger wave created the modern securities market just as a prosperous middle class with the means to invest was emerging at the beginning of the Progressive Era. That class internalized stock trading as a substitute for the land and small proprietorships underlying the earlier, and now gone, American Jeffersonian ideal. Stock became the new property. As such it gradually was pushed to the forefront of American business life.
Although Mitchell and my politics differ rather substantially (see my Community and Statism, which reviewed Mitchell's book Progressive Corporate Law), he's a careful and thoughtful guy. What I've read so far of the work in progress has been very interesting. I commend it to anyone interested in the history of US corporate governance.
Now, since we rarely get a glimpse of how a historical narrative on an important matter that leads to a societal result important to us today, and since rarely do we get a link between the story with its metaphors, and the startingpoints of the systematic ideas held in scholarly debates like the Mitchell-Bainbridge discussion, I am urging on readers the abstract of Professor Bainbridge's own stance in Community and Statism, which he subtitles A Conservative Contractarian Critique of Progressive Corporate Law Scholarship - where Bainbridge reviews Mitchell's mentioned book (unfortunately now out of print). On the page foregoingly linked, you can read a much lengthier review by Bainbridge than that of the abstract which follows:
Abstract:This essay is nominally a review of Progressive Corporate Law (Lawrence E. Mitchell ed. 1995). However, it uses the book principally as a jumping off point for a critique of the strain of left communitarianism that has recently emerged in corporate law scholarship. The essay begins with a review of left communitarian critique of the nexus of contracts model of the firm and of rational choice. Because the arguments on both sides are well-developed in the literature, the essay focuses on the specific spin given the debate by Progressive Corporate Law's authors. The remainder of the essay is devoted to exploring the emerging communitarian theory of the firm. In the course of doing so, however, I also begin developing an explicitly conservative version of the law & economics account of corporate law. The essay looks to the intellectual tradition that runs from Edmund Burke to Russell Kirk to articulate an alternative to both the left communitarianism of progressive corporate law scholars and the classical liberalism embraced by many practitioners of law and economics.
This brief account fascinates me, not least because it distinguishes three positions, none of them Marxist but one decidedly left. What we don't get here (but see the Amazon review as well) is an address to the key term "communitarian." That lack and the filling of the gap remaining is important to me, as I hold to the Christian philosophy of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven where the idea of the work community of the enterprise (whether privately owned, state owned, workforce or co-op owned) is key. But the more general term "community" being so nuanced from societal sphere to sphere, I shrink from trying to elaborate it here beyond this mention. In the end, however, while I wouldn't want to subscribe to Mitchell's view because of the already-signalled difficulties in its problematics, I can't subscribe either to Bainbridge's, however redoubtable the connection to Burke and Kirk may be. These forebears have much to offer, as I presume, Bainbridge does too - but to center a theory of the firm on contract is not the place to begin. The Dutch have a term - beginsel - you've got to get your beginning-point clear or you'll skewer the entirety of your systematic conceptualization. While the concept of contract is important, especially from the standpoint of the legal aspect of the firm, the business enterprise in all its forms has a core (internal structural principle) that can't be reduced to a chief legal feature like contract. - Owlb

[This blog entry will be cross-posted to History News. See the entry for Mar15,2k6. - Owlb]

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Politics: Texas: Tom Delay wins primary, challenges flood of over 30 subpoenas

Last week, wouldn't you know?, indicted former Republican Majority leader of the US House of Representatives, Tom Delay, won the Republican primary in his Congresssional district in Texas. In the Democrat primary in the district, the unopposed old-enemy of Delay, Nick Lampson, entered the fray of a campaign wherein the two will blast away at each other until the November vote.

Against three challengers,

DeLay, 58, held on to his ballot position by avoiding public discussions of his considerable political problems — a felony money-laundering indictment, close ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the loss of his leadership position.

Instead, DeLay campaigned at carefully orchestrated events, avoided direct interviews with reporters and largely focused on his hometown of Sugar Land. It paid off with a 2-to-1 victory margin over lawyer Tom Campbell, who had ties to the first President Bush's administration, and two other candidates.

President's Men - Tom [1]
"That was an effective strategy to get through the primary," said political scientist Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "But in the general election, he'll have to face Lampson and Steve Stockman, as well as the press, both local and national."
Tom Delay has been in Congress for 22 years, and thus has conducted 11 campaigns. He is royally hated by Democrats, not just because he kept House Republicans in tite formation and on-the-ball, but also for his clever win in the redistricting battle over Texas' seats in the federal House of Representatives. Where he seems to have been cawt up short was in his supply of funds to his fellow Republican Congressional candidates. So, the Democrat animus toward Delay is understandable; he won, and won, and won in his combat against them.

But observing all that in no way mitigates the issues of the alleged felony for which he was indicted, and his close relationship to Jack Abramoff who has turned "state's evidence" in order to mitigate the penalities against his own often dubious but lucrative lobbying.

I just don't trust Tom Delay. If he's innocent, I hope it becomes clear and that he's exonerated. But otherwise, he preently strikes me as a disgrace to the best values of the Republican Party.

Besides the above - which is based on a report by Wendy Benjaminson, Associated Press via San Fransisco Gate (Mar8,2k6), another of the reports I shifted thru came the following day, an article by Laylan Copeland, "Delay challenges subpoenas," Cox News Service via Oxford [Ohio] Press (Mar9,2k6).

Over the past three months, prosecutors have issued more than thirty subpoenas, mostly trying to tie DeLay closer to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. They came after the trial court temporarily suspended its jurisdiction while it waits for a ruling on a pre-trial appeal.

Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin on Tuesday asked the Third Court of Appeals in Austin to rescind all subpoenas, but particularly one for DeLay's wife, Christine. Prosecutors are seeking records for a 2000 golfing trip to Scotland in which Abramoff paid for the DeLays' $14,001 airline tickets.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to several federal charges relating to his attempts to illegally influence members of Congress and defraud his clients.

DeGuerin is arguing that local prosecutors can't have it both ways: They successfully argued in December that Judge Pat Priest could not hold pre-trial hearings that Delay had wanted while they are appealing a dismissed indictment. But, at the same time, they are issuing the subpoenas for a case on hold.
If this sounds legalistically technical enuff, the further details generate a maze of prosecutorial madness, that in itself suggests a strong bias and extra-juridical intention on the part of the Democrat prosecutor and his machine. The end result is that it sure looks like Congressman Delay is being railroaded, whether or not he is guilty. There is no face-value evidence revealed so far, yet it's clear his enemies want to bury him, guilty or no.

Texas politics is a violent sport. - Politicarp

Previously in this series:

President's Men - Karl [1] (Jul31,2k5)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Economics: Consumers: Oil prices monitored daily; top oil corps testify before Senate Committee about mergers' effects on price

UPDATE: Oil executives (Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, BP Plc's US units, Royal Dutch Shell Plc) testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to the effect that the tendency toward an oligopoly in the US oil industry that resulted, for instance, in Exxon Mobil's record profit of US$36.1 billion last year were not the result of unbridled mergers and acquisitions that increasingly prevented newer and smaller oil companies from competing. So reports William L. Watts of MarketWatch (a Dow-Jones business news organization online.

We all know, even if we do not understand even the basics, that oil at the well-head, in the refinery where its transformd from crude to derivatives like automobile gas, in the barrel for shipment, and at the neighbourhood gas-station's pump is important to the entire national economy in many countries.

Principium Consumers' Hub:
here's a source for oil news

Crude oil is the world's most actively traded commodity. Because of its excellent liquidity and price transparency, the crude oil contract is used as a principal international pricing benchmark. provides linked news pages on the following seven categories of uptodate information: Commodities & Markets, Commodities Future Trading, Online Commodities Trading, Crude Oil Futures, Crude Oil Market, Futures Markets, and Day Trading Futures.

OPEC logo

If you're not an analyst or investor, you'd probably be most intersted in the link for Crude Oil Market. It seems to be the most bellweather of the linked webpages, given crude oil's special role as a signal of coming general economic trends in this era of globalization.

For general education regarding the world's economic structure from the financial and investment angle, the additional webpages for Futures Trading Systems and Commodity Trading Systems may well be worth your trouble, but of course learning curves will vary along with oil prices!

If you're interested in core economic theory as such, using price as your exemplary problem, and Christian philosophy's key economic concept of optimization (a refinement of Dooyeweerd's and Vollenhoven's "saving") then you mite want to tackle the "Price Optimization" page. A couple of entries offer articles and even software for understanding how businesses determine the optimal pricing of their products.

But thru it all, don't forget that the pollutant-fuelled vehicle - whether it's your car, your boat, a taxi, a bus, a truck, a ship, an airplane - is now fully antinormative in North America. These products should not be built, sold, or allowed to continue using streets and roads, especially in urban areas. Instead, governments should bring industry, labor, and consumers together to produce a transformation to non-oil, non-gas, non-polluting fuels with engines that can contribute to the recovery of clean breathable air. Optimal pricing is for persons with such a consumer horizon of responsiblity, in a Christian spirit of stewardship of creation and health of the human community, a big problem. When will it be affordable, if ever, to shift over to non-pollutant-fuelled vehicles? When will an optimal price charged by the retailer be optimal for consumers of various levels of income and disposable personal assets? It's the congruence of the optimatics, or the simultaneity of norm-realization (Zylstra) that's at stake here. - Owlb

Afghanistan: Canada military: Canadian troops in Afghanistan surprise visit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Never do I recall a visit by a Canadian Prime Minister to the country's troops in the Balkans or Haiti, where the Canadian Forces have been active as "peacekeepers" for some time. Nor do I recall a visit to our country's troops in Afghanistan - until yesterday when when the new Conservative PM flew to Kabul, then got out and about to rub shoulders with Canada's fiters for freedom, democracy, and a future peace in that far-distant land.
Cnda's mission Afghanistan
Harper actually went to Kandahar, the former bastion of the Taliban, and still a very dangerous place. As Globe & Mail's Allison Dunfield reports today [Hat Tip to Norman's Spectator - Afternoon Update, Harper addressed a thousand of our military there:
The Prime Minister is in a zone where Canadian soldiers are clearly being targeted. Earlier this year, senior diplomat Glyn Berry was killed in a bombing that severely wounded three other soldiers. Most recently, two soldiers were killed in a vehicle collision, while yet another soldier was critically injured in an axe attack. Still others have been subjects of suicide attacks.
He said high morale and the determination of the troops is what will keep Canadian troops most engaged in the mission.
"I can assure the Canadians and others that our commitment will remain just as strong."
Mr. Harper also noted that the mission is important to protect Canada from terrorist threats and to help rebuild Afghanistan so that democratic rights, women's rights, the right to education are protected.
I find it most salutary that Harper took the trouble to single out the three specific gains he envisioned Canada as contributing to in the one overall process of rebuilding that mostly-Muslim country.
Canadians have already spilled their own blood for that process and those goals. I salute the troops of the Canadian Forces in that difficult fite for the Afghani people and its fledgling democratic government. And I salute our pro-active pro-Forces new Prime Minister. As he said recently, ending a speech, to the dumbfoundedness of politicians and pundits, "May God bless Canada." - Politicarp

UPDATE from the Maisonneuve email newsletter re the Canadian miitary mission taking place currently in Afghanistan:


Everyone in the Big Seven [Canadian news-sources], except for CTV News and La Presse (not available online) who go inside, leads with the beginning of a major operation involving Canadian troops in Afghanistan codenamed “Operation Peacemaker,” taking place north of Kandahar. What The National describes as “a serious show of force” is the biggest mission yet for the Canadian contingent and involves several hundred soldiers. The Globe describes it as “a confidence-building operation” that will provide the troops greater mobility in the dangerous area, flush out Taliban fighters, build trust between the troops and local villagers. The move was spurred by intelligence reports that Taliban fighters were congregating in the mountainous region in increasing numbers, reports the Citizen; it started a few days ago and is expected to last until the end of the month.

The Citizen, the Globe, and the Star (the last two running strikingly similar pieces based on a report by the Canadian Press) note that the mission comes on the heels of several violent attacks on Canadian troops, including ambushes involving "rockets, roadside bombs and an axe attack that left a Canadian in critical condition,” writes the Citizen. Canada’s top soldier, General Rick Hillier, made a secret visit to the area to rally the troops, telling them that “you've had a tough week or so, I know. You have a tough mission, I know that, too." Hillier nonetheless reassured them that “last week [the Canadian population] really did wake up to this mission and what you are doing here.”

Ethnoreligious roots: St Pat: Irish all over the world and their friends celebrate Ireland's first Bishop

Well, I googled for something to help me celebrate St Paddy's Day on this blog. I was greeted by a special logo for the day. So here it is. Then, thinking of "the Luck of the Irish," I entered "St Patrick Day Ireland civilization" (I vaguely had a special book in mind, but didn't use the Amazon search option). When Google confronted me with a general search or "I'm feeling lucking," for the best single result - given my search terms, I chose the latter.

Google St Pat's Day

Presto! I got St Anthony's Messenger with a full feature on St Patrick by Anita McSorley, "The Saint Patrick You Never Knew." I wanted to launch the day with some historical accuracy as well as Christian appreciation of the man. What I didn't know was that as a teenager Patrick, of a Christian family but "not very religious," was seized by a band Irish kidnappers and taken from Roman Britain in the 400s AD, as a slave, to Ireland. He was a rugged lad who survived the slavery, maybe he was ransomed (we don't know, but that happened), anyway he got back to Britain and his family and his education - where he chrystallized his sense of calling to become a missionary to the unevangelized "babarbarians" to the west of the British Isles under Rome.

The rugged man was on his way to becoming a ruff-and-ready Bishop, and eventually to be recognized as a Saint. McSorley segments her text into six parts, so you can do a Quick Scan to decide where you actually may want to read deeper, or not.

StPat icon[MichaelO'NeillMcGrath]
Illustration by Michael O'Neill McGrath, OBFS

• Patrick in Myth and History
• Stranger in a Strange Land
• Patron Saint of the Excluded
• Patrick the Mystic
• Patrick's Lasting Legacy
• Patrick at the Judgment
• Patrick's Lasting Legacy

Oh, i notice, here's the book I'm looking for: Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization - Western civilization, that is, during "the Time of the Barbarians" (Daniel-Rops) or, more commonly, "The Dark Ages" of much of Europe. These northern seag-going outsiders poured down from northern lands and in the wildest outcome a branch called the Visigoths crossed into North Africa and destroyed the Latinate Roman civilization there, to the grief of Saint Augustine in Carthage, now laid waste. In time, the Muslims came from the opposite direction and displaced the slowly Christianized Visigoths and indigenous North Africans. But how the Irish priests, monks, nuns, and laity countered this trend from their island startingplace - truly the great legacy of Patrick - is a story you may want to read. Cahill's book has been a bestseller and continues to find new readers. - Anaximaximum

Intelligence: Juridics: Cheney's right-arm Scooter Libby upsets Bush Administration by digging into White House CIA records

Irve Lewis Libby, Jr, former top aid to Vice President Dick Cheney, seems to have been set up as the fall-guy in the supposedly-illegal outing of a Kerry-spy in the CIA, Valerie Plame. Libby was set up either by the Adminstration he worked for, or by the prosecutor chasing a will-o'the-wisp hallucinated in his over-reaching desire to bag and scalp a nabob Republican. But Scooter Libby is in fite-back mode these days.

President's Men - Scooter [1]

Libby is charged with lying to the FBI and a grand jury during an investigation into who disclosed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to news reporters in 2003 after her husband accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Now, I for one don't find much culpablity in outing the spy, as she and her husband Joe Wilson, together constituted something like a two-person cell at work in the CIA against the Administration. Valerie got Joe the contract job that sent him to Niger to try to trace down the yellow-cake uranium which the Admin thawt mite be on the market there for purchase by al-Queda. Val and Joe put the Kerry agenda before the policy of the government, while they functioned as paid-employees therefof. They were Clintonite leftovers trying to obstruct the successor government from within. This is she whom Libby, nicknamed "Scooter," allegedly outed.

What it comes down to, is simply that Scooter Libby was framed by the prosecutor (who was really after Cheney), and then Libby either did or did not try to cover up any possible involvement on his part in the outing, by lieing to the Grand Jury, or not.

Now, the former aid to the VP is fiting like hell to prevent being further shanghaied. His latest move has been to attempt to defend himself by subpoena-ing a raft of official CIA briefing documents addressed to the Prez and to which he, his VP, and their closest staff had to have access on a day by day basis.

Libby sought access to nearly a year's worth of intelligence briefs to prove he was preoccupied with national-security matters at the time and thus could not accurately remember his conversations with reporters and government officials.

Only those officials who prepare the reports have enough security clearance to handle the task ... and the task could take months because information would have to be reassembled from many different sources.

Even a more narrowly targeted request proposed by the judge would require three months to assemble... .

In a response filed later on Tuesday, Libby's lawyers said a judge might conclude the agency was engaged in "unjustified foot-dragging."

Nevertheless, they said they were willing to narrow their request to the briefs Libby saw during the weeks he discussed Wilson with reporters and officials, and the days when he was queried by investigators, roughly 46 days in all.

They also scaled back the range of documents they wished to see and proposed limits on where they could view the material.

The lawyers said they need to see the documents to refresh Libby's memory and mount a convincing defense.

Libby's trial is scheduled to begin in January 2007.

The irony here is that the attempt to expose the Valerie Plame cell operating out of the CIA has posed the possiblity of a truckload of classified info entering the court record, perhaps outing even more CIA operatives and analysts.

But apparently that's not so unusual these days, as a FoxNews report three days back, tells us "Report: CIA Agents' Cover Blown on Internet" (Mar12,2k6), saying "many" CIA agents have been exposed to public knowledge and thereby placed in danger from the nation's enemies.

...[I]n the age of the Internet, it has become increasingly difficult to shield undercover CIA agents from having their covers blown. Anyone who qualifies for a subscription to one of the online services that compile public information can learn the names, addresses and even some assignments of clandestine employees of the agency, the paper reported.

CIA Director Porter Goss is reportedly "horrified" about what appears to be a serious matter of security for CIA agents. Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Dyck is quoted in the paper as saying: "Cover is a complex issue that is more complex in the Internet age. ... There are things that worked previously that no longer work."

Valerie Plame, on the other hand, was not on a dangerous assignment; she was behind a desk; and she herself yapped in her circle of friends and political fellow-travellers about her employment by the CIA.

On Mar8,2k6, Associated Press suggested an impasse may have been reached in the Libby case.

"...[T]he CIA indicat[ed] to a federal judge that it probably would fight efforts to release highly classified intelligence briefings.

In court filings yesterday, the CIA and attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby illustrated the difficulties that Judge Reggie B. Walton of U.S. District Court faces in balancing national security against a defendant's right to a fair trial.

Marilyn Dorn, a CIA information-review officer, said that national security would be imperiled if the President's Daily Brief - a summary of intelligence gathered on threats against the United States - is turned over for Libby's defense against perjury and obstruction charges in the CIA leak investigation.

By Mar11.2k6, however, a compromise was decreed.
A federal judge ruled Friday that former vice-presidential Chief of Staff Lewis Libby be given limited access to presidential security briefing transcripts to assist him in his defense against perjury charges in the CIA leak case. Libby claims that he was so busy with security matters around the time of the leak that he simply forget his conversation with reporters about the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame.

US DC District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton addressed security concerns voiced by the CIA about potential release of the secret top-level briefings by saying that the agency only needed to provide redacted versions of the material - "tables of contents" or topic indexes of the documents "sufficient...for the defendant to refresh his recollection to adequately accomplish the objectives of his defense."

The Court has painstakingly endeavored to ensure that the defendant is provided with the information he truly needs to prepare his defense based upon what he has represented through counsel will be his theory of why he should not be held culpable for the offenses charged in the indictment. It is based upon this assessment that the Court has concluded that the topic areas of the documents used to brief the defendant during his morning intelligence briefings and the subjects areas of documents that contain the inquiries the defendant made during these briefings are material to the preparation of the defense and thus discoverable under Rule 16. Accordingly, and consistent with this opinion, the Court will require the government to produce either (1) redacted versions of those documents with the defendant being provided what in effect is a table of contents for each set of documents or separate topic overviews of the subject matter contained in those documents and (2) the topic areas of any documents reflecting the inquiries made by the defendant for additional information during his morning intelligence briefings.
[More info on this episode from AP via Yahoo News]
So, as of Mar11,2k6, Libby had achieved a partial victory, for the time being.

It remains to say a word regarding the Mother of All Mischief, in this case. Here's what Doug Payton, Blogger News Network had to say about Our Gal Val (Mar13,2k6):

John Credson, a Chicago Tribune reporter, has a very revealing article on the "revealing" of Valerie Plame. Turns out, as has been noted in the past, that her cover, such as it was, was paper thin even by CIA standards. While the Brewster-Jennings cover was rather light in hindsight, her use of a US embassy as an official address was a dead giveaway in foresight, according to CIA vets. The kicker is that her obvious tie to the government preceded the attempt to pass her off as a disinterested private-sector consultant, not to mention that later on she had a parking spot at Langley. [Before citing the next matter, allow me to interject an explanatory note derived from William Safire: the term "NOC" = "non-official cover" — that is, an informant or agent operating without the diplomatic protection, or cover, of employment by the US government"(William Safire). Without further ado - Politicarp]:
Genuine NOCs, a CIA veteran said, "never use an official address.

"If she had [a diplomatic] address, her whole cover's completely phony. I used to run NOCs. I was in an embassy. I'd go out and meet them, clandestine meetings. I'd pay them cash to run assets or take trips. I'd give them a big bundle of cash. But they could never use an embassy address, ever."

Another CIA veteran with 20 years of service agreed that "the key is the [embassy] address. That is completely unacceptable for an NOC. She wasn't an NOC, period."

After Plame was transferred back to CIA headquarters in the mid-1990s, she continued to pass herself off as a private energy consultant. But the first CIA veteran noted: "You never let a true NOC go into an official facility. You don't drive into headquarters with your car, ever."

A senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others quoted in this article spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that Plame "may not be alone in that category, so I don't want to suggest she was the only one. But it would be a fair assumption that a true-blue NOC is not someone who has a headquarters job at any point or an embassy job at any point."

Things are looking better for Scooter Libby.
Somehow I don't think the Judges and the Prosecutors will pause for a judicious reflection on the misbehaviour of the Plame-Wilson combine in their reckless pursuit of their Kerryite megalomania. - Politicarp

Previously in this series:

President's Men - Tom [1] (Mar14,2k6)

President's Men - Karl [1] (Jul31,2k5)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Culture: Books: Book Notes repros bundle of books on Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

Thanks to phronesis a bundle of books on philosophical aesthetics from new anthologies of classics in the field, to reflections on newly-emerging kinds of artworks in the philosophy of the arts for today, has been amazoned at the Book No(te)s & Ye(a)s(t)s webpage of the Reformational Cliosophy site. The new phronesis list first appeared on Gideon Strauss blog, just a few days back. Thanks very much, Gideon! On Book No(te)s & Ye(a)s(t)s the live-link connection to the relevant Amazon page will be maintained, while gradually the titles will be integrated into the page's system of 3-way indeces (Author, Title, and Review - the latter eventually being organized into categories by scholarly discipline and/or literary genre). If you can offer a review of a solid paragraph, or 300 words, and would like to do so for any of the titles listed on the page, let cliostory know: semiotics "at" mac "dot" com.

Culture Wars: Secularism: Ex-Muslims ally with anti-Christian Humanism to end pluralism

Professional academics are now turning their attention to griddle-cakes historiography of the Cartoon Wars, from their earliest origins to their pathological outcomes to date. One of these professional historiographers now whipping up the batter and pouring it into his fry pan is a 40s-something historian and lecturer from Copenhagen, Denmark. To date, his blog Random Platitudes offers 6 installments of his survey.

The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 1 (Feb16,2k6)
A Digression [#1]: Origins of xenophobia in Denmark (Feb17,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 2 (Feb18,2k6)
Another Digression [#2]: Freedom of speech, and discrimination laws in Denmark (Feb20,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 3 (Feb23,2k6)
The Cartoon Row dissected - Part 4 (Feb27,2k6)

Sometime soon I hope to dissect this "Whig Interpretation of History."


Now, let's do a little digressing of our own. Starting with a New Statesman [UK] item (Feb20,2k6) by cartoonist Samir El-Youssef who wants to tell us "Poking fun at the Prophet is useless ... The satire would be better directed at earthly religious powers." His great inspiration is Monty Python's The Life of Brian, which inimitably spoofs the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The story of early Islam has a hilariously comic side that would be a gift for the Python scriptwriters. Yet I’ve never tried to write such a version. Obviously, if I did so I would be risking a fatwa. At the same time, I’m also inhibited by a deep-rooted politeness towards religion,

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