Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trump would be least-popular major-party nominee in modern times

If Donald Trump secures the Republican presidential nomination, he would start the general election campaign as the least-popular candidate to represent either party in modern times.

Three-quarters of women view him unfavorably. So do nearly two-thirds of independents, 80 percent of young adults, 85 percent of Hispanics and nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Those findings, tallied from Washington Post-ABC News polling, fuel Trump’s overall 67 percent unfavorable rating — making Trump more disliked than any major-party nominee in the 32 years the survey has been tracking candidates.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Error" Keeps Sanders off D.C. Ballot

Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot for Washington, D.C.'s Democratic primary on June 14, thanks to a clerical error.
Both Sanders, a senator from Vermont, and front-runner Hillary Clinton submitted their paperwork and the $2,500 fee in advance of the March 16 deadline.

But due to a clerical error, the D.C. Democrats did not notify the Board of Elections until March 17, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

A challenge, filed by a D.C. voter, will keep Sanders off the ballot until the issue is resolved. The challenge is expected to be heard by the Board of Elections in early April.

Read the rest here.

Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs

In 1994, John Ehrlichman, the Watergate co-conspirator, unlocked for me one of the great mysteries of modern American history: How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results? Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “war on drugs” and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues. I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Read the rest here.
HT: MG

Memory Eternal: Dad 1 year ago today

Deeply missed. May your memory be eternal.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Report: Catholic Priest Crucified by ISIL on Good Friday

Details are sketchy and the reports appear to be mainly coming from the Austrian press/media who got the news from Cardinal Schönborn. While no formal confirmation has yet come from the Holy See, it has been rumored for a while that ISIL was planning on doing this.

Source

Update: The Indian Government is throwing cold water on the report. Let us pray they are right. Source

Friday, March 25, 2016

Former Pope Benedict XVI said to be "slowly fading"

Rome (AFP) - Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is "slowly, serenely fading" but remains "very lucid", his personal secretary said in an interview published Thursday.

Joseph Ratzinger is "an old man, of course, but very lucid. Unfortunately, it's become difficult for him to walk and he needs to use a walking frame," Georg Gaenswein said in an interview with the Italian magazine BenEssere.

In 2013, Benedict became the first head of the Catholic Church to resign in seven centuries, amid speculation he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, unable to cope at the top of an institution beset by scandals.

He said he no longer had the strength of mind or body to carry on, but his health appeared to improve after he stepped down and moved into a former convent in the grounds of the Vatican.

"In April, Benedict XVI will be 89 years old. He's like a candle which is slowly, serenely fading. He is serene, at peace with God, himself and the world," said Gaenswein.

Read the rest here.

Some Rare Good News for Investors (and bad news for Wall Street)

Any day now, the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to finalize new rules that would change the way financial advisors are allowed to give advice to their clients.

The controversial changes are meant to reduce the conflict of interest among broker-dealers and financial advisors who advise consumers on how to invest their savings. And the rules would apply to both major firms like Fidelity and Vanguard as well as smaller independent ones. As it stands, broker-dealers receive commissions based on the products they sell their clients, which critics say creates an inherent conflict of interest. Under the new rules, broker-dealers would be required to act in their clients’ best interest rather than encouraging money moves that directly benefit the broker’s bottom line. The fancy word for this is “fiduciary duty.”

Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The British View the War of 1812

...By contrast, the British historiography of the War of 1812 has generally consisted of short chapters squeezed between the grand sweeping narratives of the Napoleonic Wars. The justification for this begins with the numbers: Roughly 20,000 on all sides died fighting the War of 1812 compared with over 3.5 million in the Napoleonic. But the brevity with which the war has been treated has allowed a persistent myth to grow about British ignorance. In the 19th century, the Canadian historian William Kingsford was only half-joking when he commented, “The events of the War of 1812 have not been forgotten in England for they have never been known there.” In the 20th, another Canadian historian remarked that the War of 1812 is “an episode in history that makes everybody happy, because everybody interprets it differently...the English are happiest of all, because they don’t even know it happened.”

The truth is, the British were never happy. In fact, their feelings ranged from disbelief and betrayal at the beginning of the war to outright fury and resentment at the end. They regarded the U.S. protests against Royal Navy impressment of American seamen as exaggerated whining at best, and a transparent pretext for an attempt on Canada at worst. It was widely known that Thomas Jefferson coveted all of North America for the United States. When the war started, he wrote to a friend: “The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.” Moreover, British critics interpreted Washington’s willingness to go to war as proof that America only paid lip service to the ideals of freedom, civil rights and constitutional government. In short, the British dismissed the United States as a haven for blackguards and hypocrites.

The long years of fighting Napoleon’s ambitions for a world empire had hardened the British into an “us-against-them” mentality. All British accounts of the war—no matter how brief—concentrate on the perceived inequality of purpose between the conflict across the Atlantic and the one in Europe: with the former being about wounded feelings and inconvenience, and the latter about survival or annihilation.

Read the rest here.

HT: MG

The Price of a Life in Europe

21 years after being charged, eleven years as a fugitive then a five year trial followed by eighteen months for the judges to deliberate on the verdict, today the International Criminal Court in the Hague convicted Radovon Karadžić of Genocide and directly ordering the murder of 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica.

The court promptly sentenced him to 1.8 days in jail... for each victim.

He now has 30 days to file an appeal which lawyers expect to take between three and five years to hear and between another year and two years for the judges to adjudicate.

I personally think the definition of Genocide has has been so watered down that it is almost meaningless these days. But there is no question that the premeditated murder of 8,000 people ranks as a great war crime and atrocity.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I am no fan of capital punishment. But I have always recognized certain rare exceptions. This is one of them. In any civilized society, following such a conviction, Mr. Karadžić would have been given enough time to dictate his will and confess to a priest before being marched to the gallows.

This is a perversion of justice.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A 95 Year Old Mystery of the Sea Solved

Click to enlarge

The USS Conestoga left the Navy yard at Mare Island, Calif., on Good Friday, 1921, bound for Pearl Harbor, with a complement of 56 sailors.

It cleared the Golden Gate at 3:25 p.m. and steamed into the Gulf of the Farallones in heavy seas. Conestoga was a rugged oceangoing tug that had once hauled coal barges for a Pennsylvania railroad.

But 17 years after its launch in Baltimore, it had undergone hard use and had a reputation as a “wet boat,” one that shipped water easily.

At 4 p.m. that day, as the San Francisco light ship recorded big waves and gale-force winds, Conestoga passed Point Bonita and was not heard from again.

Wednesday, 95 years later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Navy announced that the wreck has been found a few miles from Southeast Farallon Island, just off the California coast.

The announcement came at a morning ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, attended by relatives of the lost sailors.

Read the rest here.

Patriarch Kirill Condemns Heresy of Modernism and Secularism (English subtitles)


Friday, March 18, 2016

How U.S. Foreign Policy Made 2015 the “Worst Year in Modern History for Christian Persecution”

2015 was the “worst year in modern history for Christian persecution,” according to Open Doors, a human rights organization that has been documenting the persecution of Christians since 1955.

According to its latest data, more than 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2015 — almost twice as many as in 2014. In addition, more than 2,400 churches were attacked, damaged or destroyed — again, more than double the number of the previous year.

In the words of Open Doors’ CEO, David Curry:
The 2016 World Watch List [which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted] documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history. … This research has concluded that after the brutal persecution of Christians in 2014, 2015 proved to be even worse with the persecution continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe. … The level of exclusion, discrimination and violence against Christians is unprecedented, spreading and intensifying.

Who or what is behind these unprecedented levels of persecution? Some of it is related to the tendency of non-Western nations to associate Christianity with the “hated West.” Four are Communist nations — Vietnam (ranked #20), Laos (#29), China (#33), and North Korea (#1), where “Christianity is not only seen as ‘opium for the people,’ as is normal for all communist states, it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable,” notes the report. Three are reclaiming their religious heritage in contradistinction to what is portrayed as a depraved West — Hindu India (#17), Buddhist Bhutan (#38) and Myanmar (#23). And two — Mexico (#40) and Columbia (#46) — are fueled by organized crime and drug cartels.
“Islamic extremism” is cited as the source of persecution for the remaining 41 nations that make the list of 50 worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea aside, the rest of the eight nations where Christians experience the worst form of persecution (“extreme persecution”) are all Islamic. In 35 nations, Islamic extremism “has risen to a level akin to ethnic cleansing” of Christians.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On the Eve of the Great Fast

Please forgive me for any offense I may have caused, especially through anything written on this blog.

Barring something very urgent there will be no blogging until after Clean Wednesday. I wish everyone a blessed fast.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ted Cruz'a Weird Father



I didn't know he was a Dominionist. Seriously bizarre theological heresy that. Nor did I realize that he left the Catholic Church after his divorce and remarriage.

HT: Rod Dreher who has a piece up on this via an email tip from Dr. Tighe.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Patriarchate of Bulgaria: On the Pan-Orthodox Synod and the Appearance of Heresy as a Gift from God so that Orthodoxy can be proclaimed.

 The Church of Christ is not of this world but is founded by the Holy Trinity so that she might serve in the world; that she may be penetrated with the truth of Christ, that she may sanctify and lead one back again to God. In this sense, the Church coexists with all phenomena in different epochs of human history, including also that of the pluralism of opinion, one of the characteristic scars of the time in which we live. This pluralism, however, is not inherent in the Orthodox faith and in its dogmatics, just as diversity of opinion is not intrinsic to God, in Whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning (John 1:17).

Certainly, the Holy Orthodox Church does not deny freedom of human thought, but attempts to direct this freedom in a salvific direction. This way, in connection with confirmed and true Church teaching, many personal theological opinions arise—for example, the teaching of St. Gregory of Nyssa on the "garments of skin," the interpretation of St. Filaret (Drozdov) on the petition "For the peace of the whole world, the well-being of the Holy Churches of God and the union of all," the position of Fr. Sergey Bulgakov on the "feminine principle" ("Sofia") in God. Over time, mass heretical communities are also appearing and are frequently privileged through political protection. But this cannot, in some way, weaken or violate the holiness of the Church and her uniqueness, neither can it deny her creed, her sacred tradition, and her holy scripture.

Today the entire Orthodox world is excited about the upcoming Holy and Great Council, which is planned for June 2016 on the island of Crete. Various expectations and positions, apprehensions and hopes, are being expressed.

Right now the community of the Church is exchanging and discussing a host of letters, petitions, documents, and epistles. Everyone is expressing his view in accord with his internal feelings. But in as much as no person is infallible, and in as much as none of us is more great or wiser than the teachings of the Church that have been confirmed in the Ecumenical Councils throughout the centuries, personal bias should give priority to the true, eternal, ubiquitous, and unanimous confession of the Orthodox faith.

This is essential for all of us in as much as it is not theoretical theology, theological "diplomacy," or the cultural and social activity in the Church that are the means for the eternal salvation of our souls, but our trueness before God, humility, faithful love, and life in His Spirit and His truth, in Him Himself, Who is absolute Truth. It is not possible for any of our particular, variable, and self-servingly adjustable "truths" to save our lives.

It has always been a gift of grace for the Church when heresies appear and intensify, in as much as she has thereupon formulated and reconfirmed the pure teachings of holy Orthodoxy. Such is the case today—different heresies and sects, including the heresy of ecumenism, allow the Church to express its unchanged and principled position through its archpastors, pastors, theologians, and laity, which is just as beneficial for us, Orthodox, as it is for the non-Orthodox.

Read the rest here.

Chinese Military Buildup in S. China Sea Raises Alarm

HONG KONG — When the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis and four other American warships sailed into the South China Sea last week for what were described as routine exercises, the message was clear: The United States is the dominant military power in the region and plans to keep it that way.
But numerous Chinese naval ships were operating nearby, the United States Navy said, noticeably more than in past years. A Chinese officer told the state-run news media that the ships were there to “monitor, identify, follow and expel” foreign vessels and aircraft, depending on how close they came “to our islands.”
The encounter, which passed without incident, was the latest episode in a wary standoff between the United States and China over two contested island chains known as the Paracels and the Spratlys.

Since taking office three years ago, President Xi Jinping has used the isles to expand China’s military footprint in the region, taking one step after another to build and equip outposts far from the Chinese mainland over protests from its neighbors and from Washington.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Swedish group wants 'legal abortions' for men

Men should have the same right as women to decide not be parents, according to a controversial new proposal from the Liberal Party’s youth wing in western Sweden (LUF Väst).

Men who don’t want to become fathers should be permitted to have a “legal abortion” up to the 18th week of a woman’s pregnancy, say the young liberals.

The cut-off date coincides with the last week in which a woman can terminate a pregnancy in Sweden.

“This means a man would renounce the duties and rights of parenthood,” LUF Väst chairman Marcus Nilsen told The Local.

By signing up for a “legal abortion” then, a man would not have to pay maintenance for his child, but neither would he have any right to meet the child.

Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Dallas has a Saint!

The incorrupt body of Archbishop Dimitri (OCA) exhumed almost five years after his burial. He was not embalmed per-Orthodox burial custom.

See the story from Rod Dreher.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Political correctness devours yet another college

On Saturday, two members of Bowdoin College’s student government will face impeachment proceedings. What heinous transgression did they commit? Theft, plagiarism, sexual assault?

Nope. They attended a party where some guests wore tiny sombreros. 
 
Two weeks ago, some students threw a birthday party for a friend. The email invitation read: “the theme is tequila, so do with that what you may. We’re not saying it’s a fiesta, but we’re also not not saying that :).” The invitation — sent by a student of Colombian descent, which may or may not be relevant here — advertised games, music, cups and “other things that are conducive to a fun night.”

Those “other things” included the miniature sombreros, several inches in diameter. And when photos of attendees wearing those mini-sombreros showed up on social media, students and administrators went ballistic.

College administrators sent multiple schoolwide emails notifying the students about an “investigation” into a possible “act of ethnic stereotyping.” 

Partygoers ultimately were reprimanded or placed on “social probation,” and the hosts have been kicked out of their dorm, according to friends. (None of the disciplined students whom I contacted wanted to speak on the record; Bowdoin President Clayton Rose declined an interview and would not answer a general question about what kinds of disciplinary options are considered when students commit an “act of bias.”) 

Read the rest here.

Left-wing Fascism continues its sweep of American university campuses.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Episcopalian Priest Aborted Her Baby So She Could Finish Divinity School

Abortion advocates across the nation are trying to send the U.S. Supreme Court a message: Women need abortions to be successful.

This insulting notion has been the underlying theme of dozens of stories pro-abortion women have submitted to the high court ahead of its hearing on a Texas pro-life law, which has been credited with saving more than 10,000 babies’ lives. The law is responsible for closing abortion clinics that could not guarantee they could protect the health of Texas women.

The latest pro-abortion story to be highlighted in the mainstream media is that of the Rev. Anne Fowler, an Episcopal priest from New England, who said her abortion allowed her to finish divinity school and become a priest.

Here is her story, according to an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court:

Read the rest here.

The English language contains no words or expressions that can adequately describe this kind of undiluted evil.

In Defense of Western Rite Orthodoxy

In recent years, some Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States and Great Britain have accepted whole parishes that converted from Anglicanism or Catholicism to Orthodoxy. These few parishes have the unique distinction of providing Orthodox services in the "Western Rite"—high Church services somewhat rewritten to adapt to the Orthodox cycle of services. A deacon of the Orthodox Church, Eastern Rite speaks in defense of this practice:
 
For over a century, the question of the Western Rite within the canonical Orthodox Church has been one of tremendous debate. Many Orthodox Christians of Western ancestry find within it a home, an answer to their deepest longings for a “rebaptism” of Western Christianity, and an opportunity to draw Western Christians back into the fold of the True Church. Others see the Western Rite as something foreign, misleading, and dangerous. These see the Western Rite as an innovation, and even (possibly) heretical.
 
What, though, are we Orthodox, to think of the Western Rite? Is it dangerous and wrong, or is it holy and good? What is the substance of the objections which well-intentioned Orthodox people have, clergy and laity alike? In what follows, I will look at several frequent arguments which are utilized in the opposition to the use of the Western Rite. I will examine them, and will answer them, not only from a Western Orthodox perspective, but also with honest evaluation from Eastern positions.

I will apologize here at the outset for the blunt, and possibly even polemical nature of much of what is said here. However, as our culture quickly descends into a politically correct world, where no one says what he or she actually means, bluntness is sometimes needed to make a firm point. Forgive me, a sinner, for the sake of Christ.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Vatican newspaper publishes arguments for allowing women to preach at Mass

The Vatican newspaper has published essays suggesting that women should be allowed to preach at Mass.

Under existing canon law, only priests and deacons are authorized to preach at Mass. But in a special section of L'Osservatore Romano dedicated to women's role in the Church, three writers call for a re-examination of that policy.

"This topic is a delicate one," acknowledges Enzo Bianchi, the founder and head of the Bose ecumenical community; "but I believe it is urgent that we address it." He says that allowing women to preach would be "a fundamental change in their participation in Church life."

Sister Catherine Aubin, a Dominican theologian, adds an observation that women have been effective evangelists throughout the history of the Church, and today are regularly invited to lead spiritual retreats. Sister Madeleine Fredell remarks that she is allowed to preach in Lutheran churches, and says, "I believe that listening to the voice of women at the time of the homily would enrich our Catholic worship."

Source.

The Long Shadow of 1912

The last time the Republican Party was this divided we wound up with the worst President in the history of the United States being elected and we have never really recovered from that disaster.