sábado, 30 de junio de 2012

The British government welcomes French tax cheats but condemns its own.


Recently, the Times of London carried a large, bold headline that practically vibrated with moral indignation: 

THE TAX AVOIDERS. It headed a story about wealthy people who use a loophole to avoid almost all of their income tax, paying only 1.25 percent instead of nearly 50 percent. The government revenue supposedly lost annually was about $7 billion.

The scheme, for the moment legal, allows the rich to pay their income into a trust established in Jersey, an offshore island completely independent of the British government (though a possession of the British crown). 

The trust then returns the money in the form of a loan which, strictly speaking, could be called in—but since the trustees are the accountants whom the rich pay $64,000 per year to administer the scheme, it’s unlikely that they ever would be.


There is surely something inconsistent about a government that welcomes foreigners fleeing their own country to avoid tax, but excoriates its own citizens who do everything legally possible to do the same. The inconsistency can, perhaps, be explained by the fact that 50 percent of the population is now dependent, directly or indirectly, on the government for its income.

It is therefore difficult to identify the significance of the visit

Putin pulls strings in Middle East
George Friedman

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Israel on June 25 for his first state visit since retaking the presidency. 
The visit was arranged in mid-May, and so at least part of the agenda was set, given events in Syria and Egypt. 
The interesting thing about Israel and Russia is that while they seem to be operating in the same areas of interest and their agendas seem disconnected, their interests are not always opposed. 
It is easy to identify places they both care about but more difficult to identify ways in which they connect. 
It is therefore difficult to identify the significance of the visit beyond that it happened.
An example is Azerbaijan. Russia is still a major weapons provider for Azerbaijan, but the Israelis are now selling it large amounts of weapons and appear to be using it as a base from which to observe and, according to rumors, possibly attack Iran. 

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Do you assume religious freedom is guaranteed in America?

Religious freedom: use it or lose it

Dwight G. Duncan

Do you assume America is a free country? Do you assume religious freedom is guaranteed in America? 

Most of us learned that in school and have taken it for granted ever since. In other countries people might have to worry about whether and how they can practice their religion. Not here. This is America, after all.   Why do we think this way? It partly has to do with our law.


Not by accident did the First Amendment begin with religious freedom, protecting it from infringement in two ways: 
  • by prohibiting an official, governmentally-sponsored religion (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion’) and
  • by protecting the people in their free exercise of religion (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”).

What does this mean? It doesn’t mean that in this country you have just the right to believe whatever you want to believe. Even in North Korea they have that right, because as a practical matter no one can force you to believe or not believe something. 
The free exercise of religion means the ability to act on those beliefs. 
  • To practice your religion in private or in public. 
  • To proclaim your religion to others, if you wish. 
  • To spend your money in furtherance of your own religion, and not in furtherance of anyone else’s. To promote what you think is moral, and to not promote anything you think is immoral. 

These are all necessary consequences of the idea of religious freedom.

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The Father of his Country’s vision for the American Founding


For we who believe that great men, not impersonal forces, make history, George Washington is Exhibit A. As the Revolution’s commander in chief, president of the Constitutional Convention, and first president of the United States, he was luminously the Founding’s indispensable man, in biographer James Flexner’s pitch-perfect phrase. 
A pragmatic visionary—that familiar American combination—he conceived from his hard-won experience in the French and Indian War the central Founding ideas of an American union under a strong executive three decades before the Constitutional Convention, and his hardships in the Revolution led him to forge that vision into a plan. 
An ambitious entrepreneur, he shared the “spirit of commerce” he knew was America’s ruling passion, and he eagerly foresaw a nation where industry and trade, not just farming, would provide opportunity for all and would generate the wealth he thought key to national power and security, a vision he fulfilled in his two terms as president. 

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Obamacare: HHS Mandate Redefines Religion, Say Christian Legal Experts

While much of the objection to the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold Obamacare on Thursday included talk about the loss of individual liberty, Christian and conservative legal groups point out that religious freedom is still in jeopardy as well.


By adopting, in the HHS mandate, an extremely narrow definition of "religious employer," the Obama administration has unilaterally and unacceptably redefined religion, the Christian Legal Society argued Thursday.
"In the administration's view, religious institutions are only protected if they are entirely inwardly focused. Religious institutions that provide assistance to all persons, regardless of religion or creed, are penalized," the legal group continued. "Churches and charities that ease government's burden by providing food, shelter, education, and health care for society's most vulnerable lose their conscience rights because they are too inclusive."

Syrie: des guerres imbriquées les unes dans les autres…

Syrie : La triple guerre

« Des armes antichars pour les rebelles, des armes antirebelles pour l’armée d’Assad, des armes américaines pour les rebelles, des armes russes pour Assad, payées par l’Arabie Saoudite et le Qatar aux Américains, payées par l’Iran aux Russes. Pour la première fois cette semaine, le Président syrien a reconnu que son pays était en état de guerre totale. Pour la première fois, le gouvernement français, par la voix de Laurent Fabius, a reconnu que des armes passent. C’est la montée aux extrêmes décrite il y a deux siècles par le grand théoricien de la guerre Clausewitz. Une guerre ou plutôt des guerres imbriquées les unes dans les autres… »

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La civilización depresiva - P.Bojorge

La nuestra es una sociedad que se caracteriza por ser depresiva, deprimida y de alguna manera deprimente.

En el siguiente link al portal se encuentra el texto desgrabado de esta conferencia

Perspectives on the 'First Freedom'

Saturday Book Pick: 'Religious Freedom: Why Now?'

Religious liberty is under assault around the world. Citing a 2009 Pew Research Center study, this new book, Religious Freedom: Why Now?, reports that most of humanity lives in countries “in which religious restrictions — whether imposed by government or social groups — reach high levels of severity.”
  • In many countries, religious repression enables dictatorships to exercise control over their citizens, who can have no other loyalty but to the incumbent regime. 
  • In some countries, a prevailing religion forges an alliance of altar and throne to protect its privileges at the expense of others. 
  • In the West, secularist hostility to religion in the public square leads to downplaying the right to public expressions of faith — although morals are supposedly a matter of “choice.”

This tightly written academic report on religious freedom emerged from a three-year task force of the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton University. It makes the case for why religious freedom is necessary. That case is advanced from five perspectives: anthropology, politics, morality, law and strategic interests. It then argues why vigorously advancing religious freedom also lies in America’s national interests.
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USA - New standards highlight massive government retirement shortfalls

The pension bubble

As if the housing market collapse and European debt crisis weren’t bad enough, another fiscal disaster looms on the horizon. New rules adopted last week by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) clarify the depth of mismanagement of state and local government pension programs.
  • When the bills come due, it’s going to be very, very expensive.

The Pew Center reports a $1.38 trillion gap between the assets states have set aside to fund retirement and health care programs compared to the amount of their obligations to retirees. The revised accounting standards will show the true gap is even wider - something that could trigger a round of downgrades by rating agencies.

viernes, 29 de junio de 2012

Frankl comprendió con mayor hondura un principio fundamental de la naturaleza humana: el ser humano tiene la libertad interior de elegir

Carácter, libertad, compromiso
En las más degradantes circunstancias imaginables, Frankl comprendió con mayor hondura un principio fundamental de la naturaleza humana: entre el estímulo y la respuesta, el ser humano tiene la libertad interior de elegir

  • Libertad interior
  • Comprometerse
  • Una opción decisiva en la vida
  • Actitud ante la dificultad
  • El riesgo del autoengaño
  • Decidirse a forjar el propio carácter
  • Moral laica
  • Cuestión de hábitos
  • Decisiones latentes

Victor Frankl había nacido en Viena pero era de origen judío, y eso precisamente le había conducido hasta aquellos campos de concentración nazis de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.... (sigue)

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France: La ministre chargée de la Famille va célébrer le "mariage gay"!

Le mariage gay sera légal en 2013

Dans un entretien au Parisien, la ministre chargée de la Famille, Dominique Bertinotti, a indiqué que le mariage gay - et donc la possibilité d'adopter pour les couples homosexuels - entrera en vigueur en juin 2013. 

Europe: Le fédéralisme budgétaire est en marche.

Sommet européen: pourquoi Angela Merkel a gagné

Large differences in religious beliefs between America and Western Europe

Why are Americans More Religious than Western Europeans? Becker

This is a difficult question since even within Europe there are big differences in religiosity; for example, Catholic Ireland is considerably more religious than either Catholic France or Catholic Spain, and Spain is more religious than its neighbor France. Still, I do believe we can partly explain why Americans are much more religious than Europeans.

jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

Argentina: Desempleo y jóvenes sin educación

Las dos tragedias argentinas

por Daniel Nallar

Por muchas razones, el desempleo en Argentina es una tragedia, por ser un tema encubierto, ignorado e incierto. Nadie sabe cuántos ni quiénes son desempleados en nuestro país. Hace unos días un periodista preguntó a un ministro: “¿Sabía que la tasa de desempleo en Argentina es del 22%?”. La respuesta fue inmediata y terminante: “Cómo puede decir esa barbaridad. Estaríamos ante un estallido social. La tasa no supera el 9%”. Aunque parezca absurdo, ambos mentían y decían la verdad al mismo tiempo. Veamos. 
Por su parte, las empresas día a día aumentan exigencias y piden secundario terminado hasta para las tareas más básicas. Pronto pedirán estudios terciarios y luego título universitario a todos sus operarios. Mientras tanto, las escuelas donde estudia el 80% de nuestros niños cada vez capacitan menos y tienen mayor índice de deserción escolar. Y esta es la segunda tragedia Argentina: estamos formando a los desempleados del futuro.

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El Paraguay no se merece el abuso inaceptable de los países más poderosos amparados en su asimetría para ejercer una tutela ética inaceptable.

Hipocresía populista

  • El Parlamento paraguayo, de acuerdo a lo dispuesto por el art. 225 de la Constitución de su país sometió a juicio político al Presidente de la República y lo separó de su cargo acusado de mal desempeño de sus funciones y de la comisión de algunos delitos. 
  • La causa principal no está contemplada en todas las Constituciones, aunque sí en la paraguaya y está inspirada en el derecho anglosajón en la propuesta de Hamilton en 1787. 
  • Por otro lado el procedimiento establecido en el referido art. 225 requiere la acusación de la Cámara de Representantes por mayoría de dos tercios y la decisión de la Cámara de Senadores por dos tercios al solo efecto de separarlo del cargo. 
  • En ese sentido no puede haber observaciones al procedimiento porque así se procedió, aunque muchos reclamos se refieren a la ausencia del debido proceso de garantía mínima que cualquier acusado tiene para ejercer su defensa.

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La sociedad egipcia está tranquila, pero ahora después de la palabras quiere ver los hechos

Egipto: miedo entre los cristianos por la victoria de Mursi

La elección de Mursi, de los Hermanos Musulmanes, provoca temor entre los cristianos. Los coptos no se fían de las palabras y quieren hechos. El padre Rafic Greiche, portavoz de la Iglesia católica en Egipto, señala que la "historia de los Hermanos Musulmanes en su relación con los cristianos no es muy brillante. Siempre han apoyado la islamización en la vida social, en el modo de vestir y en el trabajo".

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How will Iranians respond to an Israeli strike against their nuclear infrastructure?

After an Israeli Strike on Iran

by Daniel Pipes

How will Iranians respond to an Israeli strike against their nuclear infrastructure? The answers to this prediction matters greatly, affecting not just Jerusalem's decision but also how much other states work to impede an Israeli strike.
Analysts generally offer up best-case predictions for policies of deterrence and containment (some commentators even go so far as to welcome an Iranian nuclear capability) while forecasting worst-case results from a strike. They foresee Tehran doing everything possible to retaliate, such as kidnapping, terrorism, missile attacks, naval combat, and closing the Strait of Hormuz. These predictions ignore two facts: neither of Israel's prior strikes against enemy states building nuclear weapons, Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, prompted retaliation; and a review the Islamic Republic of Iran's history since 1979 points to "a more measured and less apocalyptic—if still sobering—assessment of the likely aftermath of a preventive strike."

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President Obama’s attempt to use of his health-care law to divide American Catholics has backfired.

Obama is paying for betraying progressive Catholics

 In 2009, the University of Notre Dame bestowed an honorary degree on Barack Obama, praising the new president for “inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

In 2012, Notre Dame served the Obama administration with a very different piece of parchment — a lawsuit charging that the president is engaged in a “repression of religious freedom [that] violates Notre Dame’s clearly established constitutional and statutory rights.” 

What a difference three years makes.

Unless the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare in its entirety this week, that lawsuit and the fight for religious liberty will almost certainly go forward. But regardless of how the court rules, President Obama’s attempt to use of his health-care law to divide American Catholics has backfired.

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L´expérience pose -à nouveau- la question de l’efficacité des démarches constructivistes

L’euro : preuve de défaillance du constructivisme européen

  • Dans ce climat tourmenté, il est temps de rappeler les conditions qui étaient soumises aux pays candidats à l’entrée dans la zone euro au moment de la construction de l’union monétaire en 1992.
  • Des critères de sélection furent adoptés lors du traité de Maastricht. Ils ont été jugés nécessaires pour inciter un comportement rigoureux des pays membres permettant d’opérer une distinction entre pays vertueux et pays non-vertueux, l’adhésion à la zone euro étant refusée aux pays non-vertueux. 
  • En quelque sorte, ces critères étaient la condition de l’efficacité et de la pérennité d’une zone monétaire intégrée permettant la convergence économique de ses membres.
  • Le moins que l’on puisse dire aujourd’hui, c’est que le pari est quelque peu compromis alors que le fossé se creuse entre pays vertueux et pays non-vertueux. 
  • En effet, si le respect des critères de convergence était, par le passé, la condition à l’entrée dans la zone euro, le non-respect de ces mêmes critères, 20 ans plus tard, par la plus grande partie des pays-membres marque l’échec du processus d’intégration européenne.

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Polytechnique: "nécessaire rétablissement de la pantoufle"...

Polytechnique: la Cour des comptes exige plus de transparence et de rigueur

La Cour des comptes a rendu publics sept référés de Didier Migaud, le Premier président. Chaque référé est suivi de la réponse de ses destinataires. L'un de ces référés concernel'Ecole polytechnique , épinglée en janvier 2010 dans un rapport. La Cour souligne d'abord que les observations de ce précédent rapport "auraient pu, et dû, être mises en application depuis longtemps si les observations précédentes de la Cour avaient été suivies d'effet".

Cliquer ici pour accéder à ce document (.pdf) et à la réponse du ministre de la Défense d'alors, Gérard Longuet:

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« Je crains les Grecs, même quand ils font des présents.»

La Grèce et ses fonctionnaires

Les Grecs n’ont sans doute pas lu Homère ou alors ils préfèrent Ulysse, réputé pour sa ruse, au fils de Pélée, d’abord connu pour sa vaillance. Car, en affirmant respecter les règles d’austérité que leur impose l’Union européenne mais en recrutant 70 000 nouveaux fonctionnaires en catimini, tous les Grecs ont menti.

Le Cri du Con tribuable

La complexité sociale et économique, la subjectivité et la liberté humaine sont-elles réductibles à des lois rationnelles ?

Hayek vs Comte. 

Subjectivisme en sciences sociales versus positivisme

Le subjectivisme en sciences sociales est un réalisme épistémologique. 

Peut-on réduire l'univers à une mécanique simple, facilement décodable ? Et peut-on appliquer cette méthode à la société de façon à prédire les faits sociaux et à les organiser scientifiquement ? Tel est le défi lancé par la science moderne à partir du XVIIe siècle, défi relevé par Auguste Comte et Saint Simon dans le domaine des sciences sociales au XIXe siècle. Pourtant des penseurs, dont Hayek, ont contesté cette vision simplificatrice d’une science universelle, capable de s’appliquer à tout objet, y compris à l’homme.

La dette publique américaine à l’indépendance

La dette publique aux premières heures de la construction américaine

Les commentateurs à courte vue voient dans la crise de la dette publique l’échec fatal du projet européen d’une union dont les Etats-Unis seraient la référence idéale. C’est méconnaitre l’histoire tumultueuse de cette nation. Violemment chahutée par la question raciale, l’unification douloureuse des Etats-Unis s’est aussi confronté à la question de la défaillance des comptes publics.
Une courte histoire de la dette publique aux premières heures de la République américaine vous laissera juge des similitudes et des différences avec la situation européenne, ainsi que des enseignements que nous pourrions ou non en tirer.

United States then, Europe now by Thomas J. Sargent 

Some lessons from U.S. history are these:
1. The ability to borrow today depends on expectations about future revenues. 
3. Good reputations can be costly to acquire.
4. It can help to sustain distinct reputations with different parties. 

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For the United States the Brotherhood’s ascension poses a considerable challenge

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian sweep

By Ilan Berman

For all their ideological fervor, revolutions in practice tend to be fairly predictable affairs. More often than not, when the initial groundswell of popular discontent recedes, the best-organized and most ideologically cohesive political factions assume power and proceed to run the show according to their own preferences.
  • This is what happened in Russia at the turn of the last century, when the Bolsheviks parlayed widespread hostility to czarist rule into a “workers’ revolution” that spawned the Soviet Union
  • It’s what took place in Iran in the late 1970s, when antipathy to the shah was harnessed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers and channeled into a radical “Islamic revolution.” 
  • The latest such transformation has just happened in Egypt, where over the weekend the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement succeeded in wresting control of the country from pro-democracy forces and the Egyptian military.

Appartement parisien réouvert pour la première fois... après 70 ans

... Il y a deux ans du côté de Pigalle, un appartement parisien a été réouvert pour la première fois... après 70 ans. Capsule temporelle vers le passé, cet écrin hermétique appartenait à Madame de Florian qui l'avait quitté précipitemment pour aller se réfugier dans le sud alors que les troupes d'Adolf Hitler avançaient sur Paris. Et jamais elle ne revint.

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The corporate part of the Corporate Cult deals with adversity by redoubling the sales pitch.

The Cult of Obama

The Corporate Cult evolved in the United States as a hybrid of the sales force of the corporation and the religious devotion of the cult. This type of entity might be a cult like Scientology, which used the aggressive and organized sales tactics and marketing campaigns of a corporation, or it could be a corporation like Apple, whose employees earn little, but feel a sense of satisfaction at being part of a meaningful entity.
The Obama Campaign is a fantastic marketing machine. It is constantly discovering new ways to sell things to people. But the problem is that it has no actual product. 

USA - Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?

Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy.
They are life, marriage and freedom. 
This November, Catholics must stand up and protect their sacred rights and duties.

Hitler economic policies are embraced by governments all around the world.

Hitler's Economics

The Glenview State Bank of Chicago, for example, recently praised Hitler's economics in its monthly newsletter. In doing so, the bank discovered the hazards of praising Keynesian policies in the wrong context.
It was the major ambition of Hitler's economic program to expand the borders of Germany to make autarky viable, which meant building huge protectionist barriers to imports. The goal was to make Germany a self-sufficient producer so that it did not have to risk foreign influence and would not have the fate of its economy bound up with the goings-on in other countries. It was a classic case of economically counterproductive xenophobia.

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miércoles, 27 de junio de 2012

Catholics will have ‘something great to offer’ by living their faith in public

Carl Anderson 

Threats to Religious Liberty Bring Opportunity

for Authentic Catholic Witness

 The Knights of Columbus strongly supports the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period during which the U.S. bishops have called for prayer, fasting, education and public action. What do you hope the outcome will be?

For the Knights of Columbus, it has certainly energized us. It’s a call to action and to rededicate ourselves to the great tradition we have as Americans and as Catholics for the free exercise of religion and also demonstrate that to our fellow citizens and to continue to reach out in works of charity and other ways to make lives better in our parishes and communities. For us, it is something which we talk about as a fortnight and we hope will lead to a platform in which action will develop way beyond the fortnight.

The Knights has had a long history of defending religious liberty.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by the sons of Irish citizens, and, really, the organization developed from a whole era of anti-Catholic prejudice and bigotry of the Know Nothings. So religious liberty was always very important to the Knights.
Then we move into the 20th century, and the Knights are standing up against the Ku Klux Klan, which as a part of a national strategy wanted to close down all the Catholic schools in America. We fought them on that. We then were very much involved in trying to help our brother and sister Catholics in Mexico when the Church was being persecuted there in the 1920s and ’30s. Then in the ’50s, (with) the question of communism and the Iron Curtain and the churches there, we were trying to work for them and their freedom. And that pretty much brings us up to today, the HHS mandate and other issues. 

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How most wisely to approach the question of contraception in the midst of the fight for religious freedom

The HHS Mandate

A Question of Religious Freedom or the Life Issues?

The Approach of the Bishops: Praise and A Question 
Stating What the Fight Is and Is Not About
It is wonderful to see the unity, work and leadership of the Bishops in the fight for Religious freedom. 
We should both thank God for and join with them in their focused attention on the wrongheaded general principles they list as built into the Mandate: 
(1) an unwarranted government definition of religion; 
(2) a mandate to act against our teachings; and 
(3) a violation of personal civil rights. 

We act, not as sectarians, but as free citizens

Social Justice Priorities

Life and Religious Liberty

At this critical moment in history, there are two social justice priorities for the Catholic Church in the United States: the defense of life at all stages and in all conditions, and the defense of religious freedom for all. During this Fortnight for Freedom, in which the U.S. bishops are calling all Catholics to pray and work for religious freedom, it’s important to reflect on the linkage between these two great causes.

People don’t want to join societies like they used to...

The Queens English No More

  • On the last day of June a sad event in the long and noble history of the English language is scheduled to take place: the Queen’s English Society will formally be wound up. 
  • Forty years of trying to raise the awareness of fellow Englishmen about the misuse of apostrophes and semicolons, the overuse of the exclamation mark and the insidious effect of American spell checks — to say nothing of texting and twittering — have seen the ranks of active supporters thin to vanishing point. 
  • Only 22 members came to the recent annual meeting, and ten of those were committee members.

Buddhist thought sees as illusory all distinction between beings

The Dalai Lama, The Pope, and Creation

  • The Dalai Lama has been awarded this year’s Templeton Prize, an annual honor given by the Templeton Foundation to a figure who, according to the foundation’s website, “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” 
  • In practice, the Prize has gone frequently to thinkers who have investigated the interaction between science and religion. The Dalai Lama, as spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has also concerned himself with this topic, and has released just this year his newest book, The Universe in a Single Atom, which investigates, in light of each other, Buddhist thought and modern science. 
  • While Catholics can certainly laud the Dalai Lama for his affirmation that the materialistic view of things falls short, they should also look at his Buddhist philosophy with some serious reservations. If the Dalai Lama is right in affirming a dimension to reality beyond that known by science, just what that dimension is remains a serious question.

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