Friday, July 03, 2015

Tolerance is Dead

...What does this show us? Three things, I think.

It shows us that tolerance is over. I’m not breaking new ground here–but this must be said. Tolerance is dead. Oppenheimer’s piece ran all of two days after the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. He wants to crush those who dare to stand against the fullest possible acceptance of what Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield has called “samesexuality.” Sexuality liberated from any constraints is now a full-blown worldview. This is paganism, 21st-century version. The body is all; sex is all.

The hippies now wear steel-toed boots. The earlier “free love” movement was all about doing what you want–live and let live. Today’s version of this pagan impulse is militaristic–live and you better approve. There’s a menace, a fury, in this cultural momentum. There will be no tolerance. There will be no dissent. Churches and organizations that stand bravely against the rushing tide of the late stages of the sexual revolution will be crushed.


Read the rest here.

State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”


Read the rest here.
HT: The Deacon's Bench

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Quote of the day...

"The general political direction of the [Western political] elite bears, without doubt, an anti-Christian and anti-religious character. We have been through an epoch of atheism, and we know what it is to live without God. We want to shout to the whole world, ‘Stop!'"

-Patriarch Kyril of Moscow and all Russia

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Memory Eternal: Sir Nicholas Winton



On the eve of the Second World War, Sir Nicholas, a private citizen, undertook a plan that saved more than 600 children, mostly Jewish, by getting them out of Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. He kept this part of his life secret for decades until his wife found the records in the attic.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Perry Robinson

For the first time in my life I slightly regret not being on Facebook. I am sure that the sensation will pass. In the meantime Perry Robinson, who once upon a time ran one of the better blogs in the Orthosphere, has apparently posted something of interest...

And it is on Facebook.  :-(

ROCOR Responds to Supreme Court Ruling

Word via Fr. Patrick (Reardon) that priests in the Russian Church Abroad are no longer blessed to sign any civil marriage documents in the United States.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Speaking of Greece

Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable'

Greek Government Weighs Emergency Actions -May close banks and the stock market

Bank runs and a possible stock market crash... who didn't see this coming? Apparently a lot of people.

I've been saying it for probably at least five years. Greece is broke. They were broke yesterday and they will still be broke tomorrow. The money just aint there. There are a lot of reasons for this clusterbleep - the Euro was a horrible idea, the predatory way the emergency loans were structured etc. But the bottom line is that this is a Greek tragedy mostly of their own making. You can’t run a country that promises everyone a minimum standard of living and government pensions for all while no one pays taxes.

“The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money to spend. “ -Margaret (Baroness) Thatcher

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country

No, the sky is not falling — not yet, anyway — but with the Supreme Court ruling constitutionalizing same-sex marriage, the ground under our feet has shifted tectonically.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision — and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.

Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety, precisely because its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.

The alarm that the four dissenting justices sounded in their minority opinions is chilling. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were particularly scathing in pointing out the philosophical and historical groundlessness of the majority’s opinion. Justice Scalia even called the decision “a threat to democracy,” and denounced it, shockingly, in the language of revolution.

It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.


Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Former Greek Archdiocesan Cathedral Musical Director Leaves for Episcopal Church

Church has always been an important part of my life, and it will continue to be the central expression of my faith in God, and the core of my spiritual life. Attending Liturgy was always the pinnacle of my week, and I have virtually every word of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom committed to memory as a result of years as a church musician. My experience of church is beginning to take a different shape, however, after several years of difficult and painful discernment. I am now leaving the Greek Orthodox Church, and continuing to live out my Christianity as an Anglican, in the Episcopal Church in the United States. 

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Obama looking to avoid Waldorf hotel in New York after Chinese purchase

Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has stayed in the presidential suite on the 35th floor of the Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. The accommodations run $4,000-$6,000 per night, hotel officials say, and feature souvenirs collected from past commanders in chief and security measures like bulletproof glass windows. Current and former White House officials have long considered the hotel and its staff as the best in the world at hosting the most powerful man in the world.

That may all be about to change. President Barack Obama is on track to skip the Waldorf this fall when he heads to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, several officials told Yahoo News.

While the officials would not say so explicitly, they strongly indicated that the decision to reevaluate the historic relationship with the Waldorf was tied to the hotel’s sale to China’s Anbang Insurance Group, approved by U.S. regulators earlier this year. While Hilton will continue to operate the property for 100 years, one U.S. official linked the American decision to relocate the president to worries about Chinese espionage and to the announcement of an upcoming “major renovation” at the hotel that could provide an opportunity to install surveillance gear. The recent theft of millions of federal workers’ personal information, pinned on China, has fed the sense of alarm in Washington. China denies responsibility for the breach.


Read the rest here.

A sad, but probably necessary decision.

Russian Lawmaker Calls for the Return of the Romanovs

A lawmaker in the Leningrad region outside the city of St. Petersburg has appealed to the descendants of the Romanov royal family to return to Russia, saying their presence would help unify the country and restore its might, media reports said.

In letters to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova in Spain and Prince Dmitry Romanovich Romanov in Denmark, both of whom claim to be the head of the house of Romanov, regional lawmaker Vladimir Petrov argued that the “return of the descendants of the last Russian autocrat to their historical homeland would help smooth out the political contradictions inside the country, which have been left over from the moment of the [Bolshevik] October revolution, and would become a symbol of restoring the spiritual might of Russia's people,” Izvestia reported Tuesday.

“At the present time, a difficult process is under way in restoring Russia's might and of returning its international influence,” Petrov said in the letter, Izvestia reported. “I am certain that during such an important historical moment, members of the Romanov imperial house cannot remain aside from the processes that are going on in Russia.”

РЕКЛАМА
The lawmaker also proposed designating a tsarist-era palace outside St. Petersburg or in Crimea as the Romanovs' official residence, adding that his local legislature plans to draft a bill granting a “special status” to the royal family's descendants, the report said.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Revisionist History: Five myths about why the South seceded

One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, we’re still fighting it — or at least fighting over its history. I’ve polled thousands of high school history teachers and spoken about the war to audiences across the country, and there is little agreement even about why the South seceded. Was it over slavery? States’ rights? Tariffs and taxes?

As the nation begins to commemorate the anniversaries of the war’s various battles — from Fort Sumter to Appomattox — let’s first dispense with some of the more prevalent myths about why it all began.


1. The South seceded over states’ rights.

Confederate states did claim the right to secede, but no state claimed to be seceding for that right. In fact, Confederates opposed states’ rights — that is, the right of Northern states not to support slavery.

On Dec. 24, 1860, delegates at South Carolina’s secession convention adopted a “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” It noted “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” and protested that Northern states had failed to “fulfill their constitutional obligations” by interfering with the return of fugitive slaves to bondage. Slavery, not states’ rights, birthed the Civil War.

South Carolina was further upset that New York no longer allowed “slavery transit.” In the past, if Charleston gentry wanted to spend August in the Hamptons, they could bring their cook along. No longer — and South Carolina’s delegates were outraged. In addition, they objected that New England states let black men vote and tolerated abolitionist societies. According to South Carolina, states should not have the right to let their citizens assemble and speak freely when what they said threatened slavery.

Other seceding states echoed South Carolina. “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world,” proclaimed Mississippi in its own secession declaration, passed Jan. 9, 1861. “Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of the commerce of the earth. . . . A blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

The South’s opposition to states’ rights is not surprising. Until the Civil War, Southern presidents and lawmakers had dominated the federal government. The people in power in Washington always oppose states’ rights. Doing so preserves their own.


Read the rest here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Christopher Lee Movie Marathon

For those interested, Turner Classic Movies is running a bunch of the late Sir Christopher  Lee's films today. On the list are several of the old Hammer Horror Films and the excellent 1970's version of the Three Musketeers (and its sequel). The latter two where Lee co-stars opposite Michael York and the late Charlton Heston are IMO the best film adaptations of the classic story.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pope Francis suggests nations that obstruct illegal immigration should seek forgiveness

Details.

My take: Your Holiness, thank you for your obviously sincere concern for the welfare of these unfortunate people. We have over 15 million in the United States, about 3/4 of whom are from Latin America and overwhelmingly your co-religionists. When can we begin sending them to the Vatican?

Pope Francis Appoints Heretical Catholic Bishop to Fall Synod

ROME — A Belgian bishop who has called on the Church to welcome same-sex couples will get to bring his case straight to Pope Francis.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp will serve as a delegate to October’s Synod on the Family. His appointment adds intellectual heft and star power to the liberal flank of bishops pushing for the Church to change how it approaches Catholics living in “irregular situations.”

Bonny’s views, however, may be vigorously resisted by other synod members announced by the Vatican Tuesday, including prelates from Africa and Poland.


Source.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Orthodoxy in Ukraine: It's getting messier

The two main schismatic churches seem likely to unite in September. Meanwhile the canonical church under Moscow's omophorion is hemorrhaging both lay membership and clergy who are defecting to the schismatic churches due to the civil war and extreme anti-Russian sentiment.

Read the story here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Damian Thompson: 2067 the end of British Christianity

It’s often said that Britain’s church congregations are shrinking, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the scale of the disaster now facing Christianity in this country. Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067.

That is the year in which the Christians who have inherited the faith of their British ancestors will become statistically invisible. Parish churches everywhere will have been adapted for secular use, demolished or abandoned.

Our cathedral buildings will survive, but they won’t be true cathedrals because they will have no bishops. The Church of England is declining faster than other denominations; if it carries on shrinking at the rate suggested by the latest British Social Attitudes survey, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033. One day the last native-born Christian will die and that will be that.

Read the rest here.

RIP: Sir Christopher Lee

Most of the younger crowd know him as Saruman from The Lord of the Rings. I remember him as as the vampire from all of the Hammer Horror films. Contrary to popular myth he did not have an occult library and in fact repeatedly warned people to steer well clear of that sort of thing. A truly iconic figure, he reposed at the very respectable age of 93.

Memory eternal.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Global Bond Crash as Deflation Bets Go Very Wrong

The global deflation trade is unwinding with a vengeance. Yields on 10-year Bunds blew through 1pc today, spearheading a violent repricing of credit across the world.

The scale is starting to match the 'taper tantrum' of mid-2013 when the US Federal Reserve issued its first gentle warning that quantitative easing would not last forever, and that the long-feared inflexion point was nearing in the international monetary cycle.

Paper losses over the last three months have reached $1.2 trillion. Yields have jumped by 175 basis points in Indonesia, 160 in South Africa, 150 in Turkey, 130 in Mexico, and 80 in Australia.

The epicentre is in the eurozone as the "QE" bet goes horribly wrong. Bund yields hit 1.05pc this morning before falling back in wild trading, up 100 basis points since March. French, Italian, and Spanish yields have moved in lockstep.


Read the rest here.

A huge win in the fight against abortion

NEW ORLEANS, LA, June 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas will likely see half its remaining abortion facilities close after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a key provision of a pro-life law passed in 2013. 

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based court turned back the abortion industry's challenges to a provision of H.B. 2 that required abortion facilities to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers. All three judges were appointed by President George W. Bush.

Read the rest here.

327 Years Ago

The future King James III/VIII was born.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Russian Church severs all contact with Scottish and French Protestants

Moscow, June 3, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate criticizes the decisions of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland to consecrate homosexuals and of the United Protestant Church of France to bless homosexual marriages.

"These decisions of the Church of Scotland and the Church of France have deeply disappointed the Russian Orthodox Church as they seem incompatible with norms of Christian morals," the Department for External Church Relations says in its statement posted Wednesday on its official website.

Guided by definitions of the Bishops' Councils, which say that future relations with many Protestant communities depend on their faithfulness to norms of Gospel morality, DECR "does not see any prospects in further official contacts with the Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church of France."

"In sorrow we state that today we have new divisions in Christian world, not only in theological, but in moral issues," the statement says.

In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church suspended contacts with Episcopal Church in the USA as it consecrated bishop an open homosexual. The similar reasons led to breaking relations with the Church of Sweden in 2005, when it decided to bless homosexual marriages.


Source.

See also the full statement of the Moscow Patriarchate.

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me

I'm a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world-class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching ahead of research, and I take a healthy emotional stake in the well-being and growth of my students.

Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.


Read the rest here.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Blog Break

The real world keeps intruding... sigh. Hopefully I will have some time later in the week or over the weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ross Douthat: Decline and Schism in Religion

I don’t think I’ve linked to it in this space yet, but regular readers have probably already seen my long piece in the May issue of the Atlantic on Pope Francis’s biography and agenda and what his pontificate might mean for the future of Catholicism. The essay was written a little while before its actual appearance, as long-form magazine pieces tend to be, and there have been all sorts of recent developments around the church and the pontiff that deserve to be discussed afresh. I’m hoping to wade more fully into those issues next month, but first, before it slips too far into the past, I want to talk about the “s” word, schism — which features in my Atlantic essay, though perhaps not quite so prominently as the title suggests — in the context of the Pew religious data that made waves two weeks ago.

Read the rest here.

See also this related article.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The world is drowning in debt, warns Goldman Sachs

The world is sinking under too much debt and an ageing global population means countries' debt piles are in danger of growing out of control, the European chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management has warned.

Andrew Wilson, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said growing debt piles around the world posed one of the biggest threats to the global economy.

"There is too much debt and this represents a risk to economies. Consequently, there is a clear need to generate growth to work that debt off but, as demographics change, new ways of thinking at a policy level are required to do this," he said. 


Read the rest here.

Illinois facing "fiscal tsunami"

CHICAGO — Illinois is facing one of the worst fiscal crises of any state in recent decades, largely because it has mismanaged its pension system.

The shortfalls could potentially mean sharply higher taxes and cuts in spending. And even though the state’s highest court just this month threw out a landmark plan to cut worker and retiree benefits, some lawmakers say they may have to find another way to make those reductions as well.

Illinois’s problems resonate well beyond its borders. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Kentucky are among the states confronting similar problems, and to them, Illinois is a model of what can go wrong — with political intransigence, mounting costs and a complicated legal terrain.


Read the rest here.

Fred Reed: Note to a Generic Pentagon General (This post is rated PG-13)

I have just read in Army Times that, to my delight, the Army is making soldiers wear the prettiest red high-heels in the pursuit of gender-equality. Yes. They look like little girls playing with Mommy's shoes. It has something to do with understanding the psychological problems of women, a matter of importance in combat. It necessarily was done with the approval of the Army's generals in the Pentagon, particularly Chief of Staff Odierno, since they are in charge of the whole Army shebang. I write them in astonished admiration, thusly:

Dear General,

I see that on your watch the Army is turning into a transvestite marching corps in high heels, a Ziegfeld cross-gendered or bisected gay-bath sexual zoo vacuuming up every sort of erotic loony, not to mention becoming a home for unwed mothers and prostitution rings. I commend you. I have always wanted to be defended by a freak show.

I do not question your qualifications for command. You doubtless have a firm handshake, a steely gaze, an imposing presence, and a perfect grasp of PowerPoint. But a general who is so afraid of feminists that he forces his troops to play dress-up, well, I mean, what if there is a real war?

Warning: Language and grossly non-PC content.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis. The Dutch have never forgotten.

They haven’t forgotten. For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II.

On Sunday, they came again, bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never knew, but whose 8,300 headstones the people of the Netherlands have adopted as their own. 

For the American relatives of the fallen, it was an outpouring of gratitude almost as stunning as the rows of white marble crosses and Jewish Stars of David at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Each grave has been adopted by a Dutch or, in some cases, Belgian or German family, as well as local schools, companies and military organizations. More than 100 people are on a waiting list to become caretakers. 

Read the rest here.

A War Story


One of the great cemeteries populated by the First World War

(I wrote this essay several years ago but think it worth reposting.)

From my grandmother and my cousin Sarah Jane (memory eternal) I gleaned the story of my great-uncle Francis Guy (known as Guy in the family). He was one of the older children (14 in all) of my great-grandparents who lived in Endicott New York at the turn of the last century. My great-grandfather was by all accounts a good man, hard working and God fearing as they used to say in those days. But he also had a reputation for being stubborn with a "my way or the highway" mentality.

By contrast my uncle Guy was a shy youth in his middle teens who had been born with some minor disfigurement on his face to which no one really paid any notice other than him. But he was very self conscious about it. In 1914 my great grandfather wanted him to get a job at the local shoe manufacturing plant run by the Endicott Johnson company, then the biggest by far employer in my home town. Guy was perfectly OK with this. But he asked if he could set aside a small amount of his earnings to save for an operation which he felt would remove the offending birth mark. My great-grandfather said no. He was a man who believed that if you were born that way, it’s what God intended and that’s the end of it.

Well he was also not very diplomatic about it and there was an argument, a real barn burner by all accounts. When it was over an ultimatum was given to the boy; do as you’re told or get out and make your own way in the world. In the heat of anger and hurt Guy left home.

Now at this time what would become known as the Great War had just broken out in Europe. Guy like a lot of kids of his generation had rather romantic notions about war. The United States had not fought a really serious one in almost sixty years and memory dulls with time. With the United States still neutral and in need of a job Guy struck out for Canada where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army (Canada was part of the British Empire then). I am not sure if he lied about his age. He landed in the Princess Patricia Regiment which would gain great fame in the war. After preliminary training the regiment was shipped to England and then over to the continent where it joined up with the British Expeditionary Force holding the left wing of the Allied line with the Belgian Army in one of the few parts of Belgium not occupied by the Germans.

In February of 1915 during one of the innumerable back and forth battles near Ypres his unit assaulted the German trench works. The attack was repelled with the customary horrific casualties but Guy made it back to his own trench unharmed. When he looked back over the battlefield known as no man’s land between the opposing trench lines he saw amongst the human wreckage of war one of his close friends lying wounded. The odds of surviving in no man’s land were not good since neither side respected stretcher bearers or medics. The wounded were usually left to die. Guy leapt out of the relative safety of his trench and rushed forward to save his buddy. He reached him and under heavy fire dragged him back to the trench. After lowering the wounded soldier down Guy turned to drop down himself when he was shot in the stomach. He died several days later at a military hospital and was buried in one of the vast cemeteries near Ypres created by the carnage of the War to End All Wars.

My great-grandparents received the telegram while watching a silent movie at the local cinema house. The lights were turned on and half the town showed up to express their sympathy. The Canadian Army later (and retroactively) conferred the Military Medal on him posthumously which my great-grandmother was buried with. I am told that in Ottawa there is a book on display with the names of all of the dead of the Princess Patricia Regiment inscribed in it. A page is ceremoniously turned each day. On one of those pages is the name of an Irish-Catholic kid with a birth mark from a small town in upstate New York, Francis Guy Dwyer. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

The next worse thing to a battle lost, is a battle won.
-The Duke of Wellington

Old men declare war.  But it is the young who must fight and die.
-Herbert Hoover



In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Royal Canadian Army


IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Church of England to consider transgender naming ceremony

The Church of England is to debate plans to introduce a ceremony akin to a baptism to mark the new identities of Christians who undergo gender transition.

The Rev Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory, has proposed a motion to the General Synod to debate the issue, after he was approached by a young transgender person seeking to be “re-baptised” in his new identity.

The motion, which was passed by Blackburn Diocese last month, calls on the House of Bishops to consider whether it should introduce a new service to mark the milestone in the life of a trans person. A spokesperson for the Archbishops’ Council confirmed that the motion had been received, but said it would not be debated imminently. 

Newlands urged the church to take the lead on welcoming a group that suffered high levels of discrimination. 

Read the rest here.

Banks as Felons, or Criminality Lite

As of this week, Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are felons, having pleaded guilty on Wednesday to criminal charges of conspiring to rig the value of the world’s currencies. According to the Justice Department, the lengthy and lucrative conspiracy enabled the banks to pad their profits without regard to fairness, the law or the public good.

Besides the criminal label, however, nothing much has changed for the banks. And that means nothing much has changed for the public. There is no meaningful accountability in the plea deals and, by extension, no meaningful deterrence from future wrongdoing. In a memo to employees this week, the chief executive of Citi, Michael Corbat, called the criminal behavior “an embarrassment” — not the word most people would use to describe a felony but an apt one in light of the fact that the plea deals are essentially a spanking, nothing more.

As a rule, a felony plea carries more painful consequences. For example, a publicly traded company that is guilty of a crime is supposed to lose privileges granted by the Securities and Exchange Commission to quickly raise and trade money in the capital markets. But in this instance, the plea deals were not completed until the S.E.C. gave official assurance that the banks could keep operating the same as always, despite their criminal misconduct. (One S.E.C. commissioner, Kara Stein, issued a scathing dissent from the agency’s decision to excuse the banks.)


Read the rest here.

Banks are the enemy!

Ireland Goes Protestant

After enduring centuries of Protestant persecution, Ireland effectively just voted to become Anglican. And they did it with a tacit nod from the Roman Catholic hierarchy who did next to nothing to oppose this with many clergy openly supporting gay marriage.