Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FP: A Critical Indictment of US Foreign Policy Over the Last 20 Years

...Look where the United States was in 1993. Communism had been vanquished, Saddam Hussein was out of Kuwait and fully contained, and the United States faced no hostile states of any consequence. American prestige was at an all-time high and the Israelis and Palestinians were signing the Oslo Accords. Open markets and democratic institutions were spreading and a new World Trade Organization was preparing to foster further liberalization of the world economy. Some people thought we'd reached the "End of History" and Thomas Friedman was busy congratulating America for inventing "DOScapital 6.0." The future was so bright, we had to wear shades.

Fast forward to 2014. Great-power rivalry is back, even if the level of competition has yet to reach the intensity of the Cold War or other turbulent periods in world history. The peace process in the Middle East is kaput, and most states in that region are either pariahs, politically stagnant, or convulsed by civil war. At this point, it is not outlandish to imagine a substantial redrawing of several Middle East borders and/or the emergence of several new states, along with an intensifying struggle for Palestinian civil rights inside Greater Israel. The EU is still on economic life support, the United Kingdom may lose Scotland, Ukraine is torn between East and West, and Islamic extremists are operating from Nigeria to Pakistan and beyond. Pakistan (!) and North Korea (!!) have joined the nuclear club in the past 20 years, and there are growing disputes over territorial claims and navigation rights in the waters adjacent to a rising China.

As sure as a sunrise, the GOP wants to pin the blame for a lot of these problems on President Obama. Neoconservatives like Robert Kagan -- who cannot seem to find enough quagmires to dive into -- also blame the American people for being less enthusiastic about fighting foolish wars than he is. But in fairness, there are several reasons why things have gone so poorly over the past two decades, and plenty of blame to go around.

Read the rest here.
HT: TENNPAGA

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sandro Magister: A Ceremonial Exile for Cardinal Burke

The Vatican purge of anyone connected to Pope Benedict XVI appears to be continuing apace...

ISIS May Be Targeting Pope Francis

Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by the Islamic extremists of Isil, the Vatican has been warned, ahead of his first visit to a Muslim-majority country this weekend.

As the 77-year-old pontiff prepares to travel to Albania on Sunday for a one-day visit, Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See said there were credible threats against the pontiff's life.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church could also be vulnerable when he travels to Turkey in November, the ambassador said.

Read the rest here.

Italy's debt level heading to dangerous levels

The OECD has drastically cut its growth forecast for Italy. The depression will drag on though most of 2015.

The economy will contract by 0.4pc this year. It will remain stuck in the doldrums next year with growth of just 0.1pc.

If so, Italy’s public debt will spiral to dangerous levels next year, ever further beyond the point of no return for a country without its own sovereign currency and central bank.

“This is catastrophic for the finances of the country. We’re heading for a debt ratio of 145pc next year,” said Antonio Guglielmi, global strategist for Mediobanca.

“Who knows the maximum number that the market will tolerate? The number is already scary, but for the time being Draghi’s poker game is proving successful, and there is now the smell of QE keep the game going for a bit longer.”

Read the rest here.

Fred Reed on illegal immigration

A few thoughts for Americans (justifiably) upset by the influx of illegal Mexicans:

First, they come because you invite them. In effect you say, “Diego, don’t you cross that river. If you do, and we catch you, we’ll just put you back across the border and you can try again, perhaps the same night. When you make it across, which is easy, we’ll give you a good job and, depending on where you are, a driver’s license, schools for your kids, welfare, food stamps, and medical care. Any children you have will be US citizens and, as we all know, sooner or later you will have amnesty Now, don’t cross that river, you hear?.”

That’ll work.

Second, they come because you guys changed the immigration laws. Mexico didn’t change your laws. The illegals didn’t change your laws. You did.

Third, you let them stay. You are not deporting them. You encouraged them to come and, when they did, you let them stay, and now you complain that they came and stayed. How sensible.

Fourth, you grouse that Latinos take American jobs. They do not. It is probable that no Latino has ever taken an American’s job. How would he do it? Point a pistol at the gringo’s head and say, “Give me that shovel or I’ll blow you into gruel”?

Read the rest here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

If World War I was a bar fight

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint.

Austria demands Serbia buy it a whole new suit because of the new beer stains on its trouser leg.

Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view.

Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.

Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers.

Russia and Serbia look at Austria.

Austria asks Serbia who it’s looking at.

Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone.

Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in doing so.

Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that its sufficiently out of order that Britain not intervene.

Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?

Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action anymore.

Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium.

Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper. When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone.

Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium.

France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other.

Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings because Britain made Australia do it.

France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers massive brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change.

Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway. Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting.

America waits till Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a barstool, then pretends it won the fight all by itself.

By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault . While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

Old news

It's old news but I haven't seen it mentioned outside of the Byzantine Forum...

Fr. Constantin Simon, SJ, former vice-rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and author of several articles and books on Russian Christianity, has been received into the Orthodox Church.

HT: Blog reader Ordo Antiquus 

Scottish nationalists 'severely underestimate the economic risks of independence

Scottish nationalists have severely underestimated the economic risks of independence, a leading think tank has concluded as it predicted a major black hole in public finances after a Yes vote.

The triple-whammy of declining oil revenues, fleeing financial services and increasing pension costs would see Scottish Government revenues drop more than £13bn after a Yes vote, according to the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS).

The centre-right think tank predicted the Scottish Government would bring in just £50bn in 2015-16 – some £14bn lower than predicted by the Yes campaign.

Read the rest here.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A brief update

In the event that anyone is still looking in here, I thought I might post a quick update. For now I am still on the the right coast helping out with dad. His recovery continues, although it is going very slowly. I had hoped to be back in California by now and deeply regretted missing Bill's funeral, but it is what it is. All of which aside I am keeping pretty busy. At this point I am no longer making guesses as to a date for my return. Lastly, I intend to remain offline except for occasional checks of email and or news until after the forty days of mourning for my Godfather. That should be somewhere around the fifteenth of September, following which regular blogging and other normal activities will resume.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Memory Eternal

My Godfather William (Bill) reposed last night following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. I spoke with him yesterday afternoon after receiving an email asking if I wanted his icons. I can say with absolute certainty that he was ready and at peace. In time I am sure that will provide some comfort to me. At the moment however the pain is too immediate and great. His last words to me were "I love you."

There will be no blogging until at least September 4th.

100 Years Ago

H.M. Albert I of Belgium

Germany invaded Belgium, one of the most consequential military events in history. Great Britain responded with an ultimatum and then declared war at 11 PM GMT. There are few innocent victims in the catastrophe that was the Great War, but Belgium may be the only truly blameless country. All they wanted was to be left alone. (A cautionary lesson for radical isolationists. That kind of foreign policy only works if everyone else is abiding by the rules.)

King Albert I is my favorite monarch for his heroic stand against the Germans. Given the choice between dishonor and a ruinous war that he knew Belgium could not win, he chose to fight in defense of his little country's Independence and her violated neutrality.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

And now for a great human interest story


As some of you may recall one of my favorite websites linked in the sidebar, is called Shorpy. The site owner posts very large pixel, highly detailed photos of everyday life or scenes from way back in the day. It's a great place for a glimpse of a world gone by.

So the pic I have posted above is one of the more recent additions. As soon as I saw it I felt an immediate sense of who these two people were. Solid mid-Western folks that we might once have called the salt of the earth. Of course we often just don't know a lot about the people who appear in the photos posted and such seemed to be the case here. The photo is one of a set obtained off ebay and as the caption from Shorpy tells us, it's of "Howard & Rena, April 1952." Visiting Claude's farm somewhere in Minnesota." And that should be the end of it....

But it isn't.

Incredibly (do read the comments) one of the regulars managed to track down census records and got a probable ID on the couple and who they were visiting. Then he makes some phone calls and actually tracks down relatives of this couple, who I suspect must be surprised to discover Howard and Rena  now prominently featured on the internet. But the surprises keep coming...

First, and not surprisingly, Howard passed away quite a while ago (memory eternal). But Rena IS STILL ALIVE at 101! Any way...

Read it all here.

P.S. I agree with some of the comments over at Shorpy... I want that hat and tie.

Friday, August 01, 2014

100 Years Ago

H.I.M. Kaiser Willhelm II

The Imperial German Government delivered an ultimatum to Belgium, a country whose neutrality was guaranteed by treaty, demanding free passage for its army in order to attack France.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

CIA Admits it Spied on Congress

CIA employees improperly searched computers used by Senate investigators involved in a multiyear probe of the agency’s use of harsh interrogation measures on terrorism suspects, according to the findings of an internal agency inquiry that prompted CIA Director John Brennan to apologize to lawmakers this week.

Ten agency employees, including two lawyers and three computer specialists, surreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members’ e-mails on computers that were supposed to be exclusively for congressional investigators, according to a summary of the CIA inspector general’s report released Thursday.

The document criticizes members of the computer team for a “lack of candor about their activities” when they were questioned by investigators working for CIA Inspector General David Buckley.
Read the rest here.

A Volley of Criticism for the New York Times

Via T-19 ...
The Times is taking an online shellacking for its grossly biased coverage of a number of social and religious issues, especially relating to gay rights. See...

Here - Terry Mattingly

Here - Andrew Walker & Owen Strachan

Here - Alan Jacobs.

Here - Rod Dreher

and here - T:19

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prayers please

In your charity I beg your prayers for someone close to me who has been diagnosed with a very serious illness.

Europe steps up sanctions on Russia

LONDON — The European Union on Tuesday approved a package of expanded sanctions against Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has been widely accused of supporting separatist rebels.

The new sanctions target Russia’s state-owned banks, and will restrict sales of arms, some kinds of technology and some equipment used by the oil industry. European diplomats also drew up a list of Russian oligarchs who will face individual sanctions.

European governments were moving in lock step with the United States on the new round of sanctions, despite concerns that they would pay an economic price for confronting the Kremlin more aggressively.
Read the rest here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

DC Gun ban is struck down

D.C. police were told Sunday not to arrest people for carrying handguns on the street in the wake of a judge’s ruling that overturned the city’s principal gun-control law.

However, the D.C. attorney general’s office said it would seek a stay of the ruling while the city decides whether to appeal.

In an order approved by Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, police were told that District residents are permitted to carry pistols if the weapons are registered. Those who had not registered their handguns could be charged on that ground, the instruction said.

The number of registered pistols is thought to be low.

Lanier’s instructions to police also said that residents of other jurisdictions without felony records would not be charged under the ban on carrying pistols. 
Read the rest here.

100 Years Ago

The Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.

Friday, July 25, 2014

EUROPE AT POINT OF WAR; RUSSIA BACK OF SERVIA IN RESISTING AUSTRIA

  • Austria presents ultimatum to Servia [sic] requiring acceptance of demands by 6pm today
  • Russia demands that Austria abandon the time limit on her ultimatum under threat of "extreme measures"
  • Entry of Russia into dispute brings Germany into field under terms of Triple Alliance
  • Great Britain and France work to find modus vivendi, but thus far in vain
  • All offers of mediation declined by Austria and threats of intervention unheeded
  • Austria's fighting force estimated at 810,000 men
  • Servia's military strength is estimated at 195,000 men
  • The Russian Army is in round numbers 1,500,000 strong
  • Germany's peace strength is minimum 672,000 men. On a war footing the German Army is the largest in the world i.e. 2,250,000 men
100 Years ago today, and seemingly out of the blue, the end of Western Civilization is announced.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Russia: Conspiracy theories and a doubtful grip on reality

MOSCOW—Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has already shined a spotlight on the Russian public’s somewhat, um, unique views. Russian media are running with conspiracy theories: that MH17 was shot down by NATO to spark a conflict with Russia, that MH17 wasn’t full of innocent civilians but week-old corpses, or that MH17 was shot down because it was mistaken for Vladimir Putin’s personal jet (as if anti-aircraft missiles weren’t aimed with radar but with a really large pair of binoculars). The only theory missing is the right one: that Russian-backed separatists accidentally shot down the plane when they mistook it for a Ukrainian military transport.

This may seem like the entertaining sideshow to a tragedy, but actually it’s just a window into a hugely dangerous problem. I recently moved to Moscow, and it’s hard to miss the extent to which Russian society exists in an alternate universe. Even well-educated, sophisticated people who have traveled widely in Europe and North America will frequently voice opinions that, in an American context, would place them alongside people wearing tinfoil hats. Russia is not living in the reality-based community.
Read the rest here.

The cited example of the common Russian take on Syria is unfortunate, since it is almost certainly more accurate than the naive views held by most Westerners. That said, Russia does have a long history of xenophobia and subscribing to weird versions of history or conspiracy theories to explain or refute inconvenient facts. But then again are they that different from us?

Consider the huge numbers of Americans who subscribe to bizarre conspiracy theories. 9-11 Truthers make up a much larger number than most people want to admit here, overwhelmingly from the ranks of the moonbat left. And of course there are the far right's version in the form of Birthers. Setting aside politics we still see incredible numbers of people who think FDR engineered Pearl Harbor although pretty much all reputable historians ridicule the idea. The number of people who are convinced that Jack Kennedy was murdered as part of some elaborate plot has been slowly declining, but still remains embarrassingly high, despite the mountain of evidence pointing to Oswald coupled with the complete lack of credible evidence of conspiracy, and the exposure of most of the early purveyors of these theories as cranks and con-men. Shall we discuss how many Americans think the moon-shot was faked, or that professional wrestling is real?

So, are the Russians a little overly fond of alternative realities? Yep. But that appears to be a point that we have in common.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Horrific Execution

Arizona executed convicted murderer Joseph R. Wood on Wednesday, a lethal injection that lasted for nearly two hours as Wood snorted and gasped, witnesses said.

The drawn-out process prompted the governor to order a review and drew renewed criticism of lethal injection, the main method of execution in the United States, just months after a high-profile botched execution in Oklahoma.

“I’ve witnessed a number of executions before and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dale Baich, one of Wood’s attorneys, told The Washington Post in a phone call. “Nor has an execution that I observed taken this long.”
Read the rest here.

Related Story: Federal Judge calls for more  primitive, but effective methods of execution...

NY Times: Gov. Cuomo's office repeatedly interfered with anti-corruption panel

...But a three-month examination by The New York Times found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the panel’s work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.

Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel’s shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business.

Before its demise, Mr. Cuomo’s aides repeatedly pressured the commission, many of whose members and staff thought they had been given a once-in-a-career chance at cleaning up Albany. As a result, the panel’s brief existence — and the writing and editing of its sole creation, a report of its preliminary findings — was marred by infighting, arguments and accusations. Things got so bad that investigators believed a Cuomo appointee was monitoring their communications without their knowledge. Resignations further crippled the commission. In the end, the governor got the Legislature to agree to a package of ethics reforms far less ambitious than those the commission had recommended — a result Mr. Cuomo hailed as proof of the panel’s success.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Second Appeals Court Supports Obamacare

Two same day rulings appear to directly contradict one another. Details here

Appeals Court Ruling a Blow to Obamacare

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the government could not subsidize premiums for people in three dozen states that use the federal insurance exchange, a ruling that could upend President Obama’s health care law.

The 2-to-1 ruling could cut off financial assistance for more than 4.5 million people who were found eligible for subsidized insurance in the federal exchange, or marketplace.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the court said, subsidies are available only to people who obtained insurance through exchanges established by states.
Read the rest here.

The Telegraph: Life on the Eve of Calamity

A month before the outbreak of war Henley Regatta opened in “brilliant fashion”, The Daily Telegraph reported, with record crowds and “perfect” weather. It presents an image of Edwardian Britain as we fondly imagine it to have been, before the sudden cloudburst of August 1914.

Of course, the reality was far different for the 99 per cent of people who did not own land, collect rents or vacation at Biarritz and Marienbad. Most Edwardians worked in dark, noisy factories, cut hay in fields, toiled down dirty and dangerous mines; had bones bent by rickets and lungs racked by tuberculosis. Life expectancy then was 49 years for a man and 53 years for a woman, compared with 79 and 82 years today. They lived in back to back tenements or jerry-built terraces, wore cloth caps or bonnets (rather than boaters, bowlers and toppers) and they had never taken a holiday - beyond a day trip to Brighton or Blackpool - in their entire lives.

The country was a seething mass of social tension and violent confrontations. It was a land torn and dislocated by the struggle of increasingly militant suffragettes; strikes in mills, mines and on the railways; the constitutional battle between Lords and Commons; and the threat of civil war in Ireland.

Readers of the Telegraph - as a glance at the archives will reveal - were far better informed about the true state of their nation and the world than our sugary sentimental view allows us. In a dramatic scoop, the paper had published an exclusive interview with Kaiser Wilhelm II in October 1908 in which the Kaiser had expressed alarmingly frank - and hostile - views about his mother’s native land (the Kaiser’s mama, Empress Victoria, was Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter). In this interview the Kaiser accused “you English” of being “mad, mad, mad as March hares” for fearing that the construction of Germany’s High Seas Fleet was aimed at challenging the Royal Navy’s command of the world’s oceans. Implausibly, he claimed that Germany’s real target was the rising sun of Japan.

As the new year of 1914 opened, the Telegraph’s pages were dominated by stories about strikes and worries about whether Britannia could continue to rule the waves (reflected in a feature comparing the Royal Navy with its rival fleets - Germany’s above all). The biggest political story was the looming crisis over the demand for Home Rule in Ireland. It gave more coverage, at least initially, to the sinking of the liner “Empress of Ireland” in Canada’s St Lawrence seaway on June 1 than to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand at the end of the month - a “dastardly crime which has filled the whole civilised world with consternation”. On the second day after the event the Telegraph’s leader suggested that the murder would “exasperate Teutonic feeling against the Slav nationality”, but of course it got nowhere near what actually happened. What is so unnerving reading the Telegraph in those days after the assassination was the way life carried on as normal. People continued to browse dress patterns, plan weekend drives, tear out recipes and queue at cinemas, quite oblivious to what was coming. This is the life they were about to leave behind forever.
Read the rest here.

For those who might be interested in a glimpse of life on this side of the Atlantic, the complete archive of the New York Tribune up to 1922 is available free online here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Statement of the Moscow Patriarchate on the Decision by the Church of England to Allow Female Bishops

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:

The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.

In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.


The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.
Source

Letter from the Council of Bishops of The Society on the Women Bishops Vote


The approval of the Women Bishops legislation brings to an end a decade of debate about what provision should be made for those who are unable, for theological reasons, to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops.

In the earlier stages of that debate we offered the Church of England a vision of how provision could be made with full ecclesiological integrity not just for us but also for the Church of England as a whole. It is now clear that the reality will be shaped differently, and will fall short of our ideal.

None the less, we believe that we can have confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England, maintaining a distinctive witness to the quest for the unity of the Church. The House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to enabling us to flourish within the Church of England’s life and structures. It does so because our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. As Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference stated, ‘those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Rising Generation of Libertarian Democrats

...Although a majority of younger voters today are reliably Democratic, there are key issues on which they differ notably from their elders within the center-left coalition. The July Pew survey identifies two predominantly white core Democratic constituencies: the “solid liberals” of the traditional left, which is 69 percent white, with an average age of 46, who exhibit deep progressive commitments on both economic and social issues; and younger voters, 68 percent white, with an average age of 38, which Pew calls the “next generation left.”

The two groups were asked to choose whether “most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard” or whether “hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.” A decisive majority of the older “solid liberal” group, 67 percent, responded that hard work is no guarantee of success, while an even larger majority, 77 percent, of the younger “next generation left” believes that you can get ahead if you are willing to work hard.

According to Pew, the older group believes, 73-20, that “government should do more to solve problems.” Only 44 percent of the younger group agrees — and of younger respondents, 50 percent believe that “government is trying to do too much.”
Read the rest here.

And now for some comic relief

Stuff like this is all the more hilarious when you know that, incredibly, it is not satire.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bastille Day

Bastille Day or, as the comic singers who take it seriously prefer to call it, the Fete de la Federation, is the embarrassing event that exposes the cultural, moral and constitutional bankruptcy of what was once the greatest civilisation in Europe.

When you are reduced to celebrating the murder by the canaille of Paris in 1789 of the French equivalent of the Chelsea Pensioners, you are inadvertently advertising the sinister origins of the dysfunctional state you are trying to prop up with a mythology as grotesque as it is pathetic. The Umpteenth French Republic is the one entity whose absorption by the European Union is not to be regretted.

Pompous parades will today celebrate the event that triggered the French Revolution, that is to say, the most appalling bloodbath anterior to the Russian Revolution. Seven prisoners were released from the Bastille – four counterfeiters, an accomplice to murder and two lunatics - whose return to the community was hardly beneficial. The attack on the prison, reserved for the well-off, was orchestrated by the Marquis de Sade and Camille Desmoulins on behalf of the Nine Sisters masonic lodge.

There followed the September massacres, the marriages republicains in which people of opposite sexes were stripped naked and lashed together in obscene postures before being drowned, mothers forced to watch their children being guillotined and the massacre of 400,000 Catholic royalists – the majority of them women and children – in La Vendee. Sounds like the perfect excuse for a celebratory knees-up.
Read the rest here.
HT: The Young Fogey

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I am probably the last one to get the memo

But yes, Damian Thompson has parted ways with the Telegraph. I was wondering why his blog had not been updated for weeks. If anyone gets word on where he has moved to or any new blog, please drop me a line.

I guess we now know which one has the real juice

Friday, July 11, 2014

Some food for thought, perhaps for those of us who blog or comment on blogs...

The gift of speech was also given to us that we might understand one another, not through instinct, like the dumb animals, but through intellect. Thus we verbally [or on the internet/blogs?] express our ideas, which are abundantly and clearly opened to us by our God-enlightened mind, the source of thought and word, in order that we might conduct intelligent, mutual, brotherly conversation on the aim of daily life and its regulation, for mutual edification and benefit, in support and consolation of each other, and the like. It was not given to us that we might talk idly; or judge, slander, and condemn our neighbors, pronouncing judgments on them like unmerciful judges and torturers rather than considering ourselves as their brothers, weak and sinful as they, if not still worse. Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, says the Apostle, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? (Rom. 2:1, 3) He that ... judgeth his brother, says another Apostle, ...judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge (James 4:11). And what great evil results from empty and idle conversations and gossip! Sometimes one heedlessly spoken word causes a whole storm of unpleasantness and fills the heart of the one referred to with indignation and hatred. So even a word that was not ill-intentioned, one we counted as nothing, can strike a mortal sin, just as a small spark often turns into a great fire burning whole villages. How great a matter a little fire kindleth, says the Apostle James. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things (cf. James 3:5); it is a fire, a world of iniquity:... it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (James 3:6). The tongue is an untamable evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God and therewith curse we men, which are after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing an d cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be! Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (James 3:8-11) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge ... let him show this out of his works, through good conduct, and not by condemning others. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth (i.e., don't consider yourself wise). This is not the wisdom that descends from above, but is earthly ... devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (cf. James 3:13-16). Behold the harm from all our idle talk and gossip! 
-St. John of Kronstadt

Comments are closed.

Some Doubts on Unrestricted Immigration from Unlikely Sources

Via Anti-Gnostic some people one would not expect are starting to raise some tough questions about unrestricted immigration. The great lefty Howard Kuntsler for one has had enough of the dissembling from the usual suspects on this subject. On the other end of the spectrum, well known anarchist Lew Rockwell seems to be hedging just a bit in his customary carte blanche support for immigration.

Thursday, July 10, 2014