Monday, December 31, 2018

The Rodney Dangerfield of Presidents

President William H. Taft

Western Union Telegram from the Secretary of War to President Taft April 7, 1911...

"Heard you went riding yesterday. stop. How is the horse? stop - Jacob Dickinson"

By odd coincidence, President Taft replaced his War Secretary a few weeks later.

The Psalms and Our Salvation with Father Patrick Reardon


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ukraine plans to seize 8 monasteries from the UOC and transfer them to Constantinople

President Petro Poroshenko has yet to publish the agreement on cooperation that he signed with Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople on November 3, despite the fact that he was required to do so by Ukrainian law more than a month ago already.

Parliamentary Deputies and media representatives have repeatedly called on Poroshenko to publish the agreement.

However, the Ukrainian site Vesti has learned that an addendum to the cooperation includes a list of Ukrainian churches and monasteries that Poroshenko pledged to transfer to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The list includes 12 properties altogether, 8 of which are monasteries of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the primacy of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, which has repeatedly protested Constantinople’s reckless and prideful interference in its own internal affairs.

The official site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has also ran the story.

According to Vesti’s source, the issue of the transfer is under the control of the presidential adviser Rostislav Pavlenko, who “edits the list taking into account the interests and desires of Bartholomew and his Exarchs. To clarify the situation and find out who is hesitating---Andrei Yurash, the head of the Department of Religions and Nationalities of the the Ministry of Culture, was sent to the western provinces.”

The 12 properties to be transferred (in addition to St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Kiev, which was already transferred by resolution of the Verkovna Rada) are:

Read the rest here.

Another tradition down the tubes

The Navy is abolishing the age old punishment of confinement on bread and water. I knew a few guys who got tossed in the brig on B&W for three days. None of them had any complaints. They had in fact screwed up, and the normal alternative would have been getting busted down a grade, fined a half months pay x 2 months (that's at their new pay grade) and restricted to the ship with extra duty for anywhere up to two months.

Details.

Reports: Pope Francis to abolish office overseeing Latin Mass

Rorate Caeli has the story.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Facebook Allowed Netflix, Other Buisneses to See Your Private Messages



For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.

The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

The exchange was intended to benefit everyone. Pushing for explosive growth, Facebook got more users, lifting its advertising revenue. Partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive. Facebook users connected with friends across different devices and websites. But Facebook also assumed extraordinary power over the personal information of its 2.2 billion users — control it has wielded with little transparency or outside oversight.

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

This is outrageous

Rod Dreher has the story. Not only should she be entitled to her job back, she should get back pay, compensation for her legal expenses and punitive damages from the state.

HT: Dr. Tighe

Monday, December 17, 2018

Lincoln is bringing back "suicide" doors

2019 Lincoln Continental

I can't remember the last time I saw a car with rear hinged doors. Now I'm just waiting for the return of running boards and hood ornaments.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Two pieces worth a read

The Special Bishop of Caesar:

While criticism of the close relationship between the Russian Church and state is (with good justification!) common, less attention is paid to the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople exists and claims primacy solely due to its relationship with now-extinct civil authorities. But it is only this history that can explain much of Constantinople’s modern-day behavior. There is, to put it bluntly, an emperor-shaped (or, more accurately, a sultan-shaped) hole in Constantinople’s heart that forces Ecumenical Patriarchs to court the support of the most unexpected worldly powers, from Harry Truman in Athenagoras’ day to Petro Poroshenko today. Writing in 1911, the English Roman Catholic scholar Adrian Fortescue sketched the pathos of Constantinople’s role as ‘the special bishop of Caesar’ with equal erudition and acerbity:

Read the rest here.

Roger Scruton: The Fury of the Modernists

It's not what you think it's about. But it's good, as is almost everything I have read by Sir Roger.

Read it here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position

One of the Vatican’s top legal minds has opened the way for a revision of the Catholic position on Anglican orders by stressing they should not be written off as “invalid.”  
In a recently published book, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, calls into question Pope Leo XIII’s 1896 papal bull that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void.”

“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” the cardinal says in volume of papers and discussions that took place in Rome as part of the “Malines Conversations,” an ecumenical forum. 

“This about the life of a person and what he has given …these things are so very relevant!” 

For decades Leo XIII’s remarks have proved to be one of the major stumbling blocks in Catholic-Anglican unity efforts, as it seemed to offer very little room for interpretation or revision. 

But the cardinal, whose department is charged with interpreting and revising Church laws, argued the Church today has a  “a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity” which could be revised on the Anglican ordination question. 

“The question of validity [regarding the non-recognition of Anglican orders, while the Pope would give pectoral crosses, rings or chalices to Anglican clergy], however, is not a matter of law but of doctrine,” he explains in a question and answer format. “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”

Read the rest here

Ummm... sorry. They are invalid and we (Orthodox) need to cease accepting their baptisms. The CofE and their North American constituencies are simply pagan. That Rome does not seem to grasp this is alarming further evidence of the crisis in their own communion.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

California Moves to Tax Text Messages

California: WTF!
Texas: Sux 2 b u

Details

I am so glad to be out of that left wing lunatic asylum masquerading as a state.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

[Retracted] Former Exarchate of Western Europe for Parishes of the Russian Tradition, Recently Abolished by Constantinople, to Request Reception by Moscow

[Note: The below linked story has been retracted by the publisher. The letter on which the story was based has been exposed as a deliberate fraud, likely created by an agent provocateur intending to sow discord in an already severely strained situation. See the links in the comment thread for more details. -A/O]

The Archdiocese of the Russian Churches in Western Europe, officially the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe, reportedly intends to ask to be accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church. 

The Archdiocese had been a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople for decades, though it was suddenly abolished without warning by the Holy Synod of the Constantinople on November 27. The Patriarchate then officially announced that it had revoked the 1999 tomos that gave the care of the Archdiocese to its own Archbishop-Exarch and that the Russian parishes were to be integrated into the dioceses of the Patriarchate of Constantinople already present in their countries. The Archdiocese then announced that it would hold a clergy meeting on December 15 that would set a date for a General Assembly that would formulate a response to Constantinople. 

And today, a Russian translation of a letter sent from the Archdiocesan hierarch Archbishop John (Renneteau) of Chariopoulis to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, received by the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, has been published on Credo Press, revealing that the Archdiocese intends to petition for canonical recognition by the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Read the rest here.

Instant Karma

So I'm driving along Rt 41 this morning, a two lane highway in each direction. I'm in the right lane northbound doing maybe five over the posted speed limit and another car is pacing me in the left lane. Not a big issue until some guy comes flying up from behind and seeing the left lane blocked, he gets behind me in the right lane.

And when I say behind, I mean the distance separating the pupils on a cross eyed flea.

This is annoying but when he starts flashing his lights and laying on the horn, my temperature starts rising. This goes on for a minute or two and I am just about to tap the breaks to make my irritation with his behavior clear when the guy on my left (coincidentally the passing lane) turns off. At which point the jerk behind me does a fly by while giving me a very rude hand signal.

This is a Christian blog so we will just pretend that there is a loud continuous bleeping sound for the next thirty seconds representing what I was shouting at this obnoxious clown.

Anyways the obnoxious clown is out of sight in less than a minute. He had to be doing upwards of 80 mph.

And then, maybe three or four minutes later, there came the clear evidence of a justly outraged deity. Ahead in the distance I saw the unmistakable flashing blue lights of the Florida State Police. Even before I could get close enough to see who was pulled over, I just knew it was him.

I smiled and waved as I slowly passed by.

Absolutely nothing is going to ruin the remainder of my day.

More Anglican Apostasy

The CofE is planning a sacrilegious parody of baptism for the benefit of the alphabet crowd. Rod Dreher has some good commentary on the subject. The money lines being...

Serious, non-trolling question to traditionalist Anglican readers: how do you stand it? Is there anything that would make you leave? If not, then seriously, what specific practices (if any) do you embrace to allow you to endure this kind of breakdown in the institution? What is the argument for remaining (or remaining in communion with Canterbury as it descends into madness)?

Read the rest here.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Report: Constantinople plans to keep Ukrainian Church under its jurisdiction

Kiev, December 5, Interfax - The statute regarding Ukraine's "unified local church" drawn up by the Constantinople Patriarchate does not actually provide for this church's autocephaly, contrary to Kiev's expectations, the online Ukrainian publication Vesti reported on Tuesday.

According to Vesti, some key provisions of this statute show that there is no reason to expect the autocephaly (independence) of the new church; it will be fully subordinate to Constantinople as a metropolitanate.

One of the key provisions of the statute stipulates that the Ukrainian church will be inseparably linked to the Constantinople Patriarchate and, through it, to all other Churches. This is essentially the current status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is linked to the Orthodox world via the Russian Orthodox Church.

The draft statute says that the Orthodox church in Ukraine will be led by a metropolitan, not a patriarch, Vesti reported.

The Ukrainian church's assembly of bishops would be required to consult the Constantinople Patriarchate on all important matters; the latter would share whatever it saw as essential with the assembly and would not be required explain its decisions, according to Vesti.

What is more, the Ukrainian church would receive chrism used during sacraments only from Constantinople, which is regarded as one of the main indicators of the absence of real autocephaly, it said.

The "unified local church" would also be unable to canonize saints on its own, but would have to submit their names to Constantinople for endorsement.

The draft statute also stipulates that the Constantinople Patriarchate would act as the top appellate institution.

It was reported earlier that the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate had approved a draft statute for a nascent church independent of Moscow at the Synod's meeting on November 27-29.

Source

If this is true (and that is a big "if")... the EP appears to be planning to annex the Ukrainian Church and turn it into a Greek religious colony. Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Memory Eternal

G H W Bush was an imperfect man who made his share of mistakes. But he was all class and one of the last of the old school (and old money) aristocrats with a strong sense of noblesse oblige. Whatever one may think of his presidency, on balance I think it was pretty good, it's hard to fault the man's character.

In the end I think his last great act of public service was dying when he did. In an era where our politics have become toxic, our president profoundly narcissistic, venal and morally corrupt, Mr. Bush reminds us that selfless public service, honor and common decency are not incompatible. He leaves us with a glimpse of what once was, and can be again.

Far from the despondency expressed by many pundits who saw this as a funeral for all that was good in the Republic, I was left cautiously hopeful. I refuse to believe that Mr. Bush represents the last gasp of a dead world. Rather I see something that we can aspire to. The trick is to look not for demagogues who will tell us whatever they think we want to hear, but rather men of honor and character who will tell us what we need to hear. Men who seek the greater good, standing for something more than self and without trying to enrich themselves and their relations in the process.

To be clear, I am not trying to canonize President Bush. But in a world temporarily disordered by the ascendancy of lesser men, one cannot help but note the contrast and hope that in due course this too will pass.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Episcopal cathedral in San Francisco to host “Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite”

“Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite” will have its San Francisco premiere on Nov. 16 & 17 at Grace Cathedral. The piece is an evening-length choral work by singer-composer Holcombe Waller, created to honor those who have suffered persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender expression. “Requiem Mass” is presented by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in collaboration with Grace Cathedral’s Ghiberti Foundation.

“‘Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite’ is a radical appropriation of a European, patriarchal tradition, the formal Latin Mass, which we reinterpret through the lens of the marginalized LGBTQ experience,” Holcombe Waller told the Bay Area Reporter. “In many ways, the result is like an alternate universe in which the millennia of queer leadership in communities of faith have been out all along, shining their example of loving equity across all people. This is what the piece seeks to dream into being.”

Waller said that it was the Mormon and Catholic Churches’ support for Proposition 8, the California ballot measure of a decade ago that sought to define marriage as between one man and one woman, that inspired him to create the work.

Read the rest here.

Yet again, I will ask the question. Why in His name do we still recognize the baptisms of these pagans?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Conservative Order of Catholic Nuns Resign en Masse

Almost all of the members of a conservative order of nuns that serve the elderly in French nursing homes have announced that they have asked to be released from their vows following attempts by the Vatican to force them to alter their way of life and to “modernize” their order.

According to their lay supporters, the sisters have been accused of engaging in “too much prayer” and concerns have been expressed that they wear the guimpe, a traditional form of religious head covering used by nuns that is no longer in vogue among the Church’s liberal elite. The sisters say that they are accused of a “deviant authoritarianism,” of being “too classical” in their thinking, and of being guilty of an “immobilism” in their devotion to their institute’s charism.

A total of 34 of the 39 members of the the Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer say they want to quit the order after a Vatican dicastery removed their superior general and attempted to impose three “commissioners” on them who were hostile towards their more traditional practices.

The three commissioners are led by a religious sister and theology professor with a short haircut who does not wear a habit, one who defends Amoris Laetitia and whom the sisters have said does not understand their religious charism.

The sisters say that their protests against the choice of commissioners and their request that they receive someone else more suited to their charism have fallen on deaf ears, leading them to the conclusion that they could no longer carry out their vocation within their institute.

“After having acquired the moral certainty throughout this year that the reception of the apostolic commissioner within our Institute would cause serious and certain harm, both regarding the understanding of the charisma bequeathed by God to Mother Mary of the Cross, our Foundress, and the way of living it, after many times proposing solutions of appeasement without any answer ever having been given to us, after consulting with authorized and competent persons, after having prayed much and always with the desire to remain daughters of the Church, wanting to remain faithful and obedient to the truth, it seemed to us that we had no choice but to renounce our vows,” the sisters wrote in a public statement issued on November 7 (PDF here).

“We are therefore 34 out of 39 Sisters who are members of the Institute, who have asked to be relieved of our vows by the Dicastery for Religious,” the sisters add. “We do not make this sacrifice lightly: we desire to remain in full communion with the Church, but we cannot indicate more clearly, nor more painfully, our impossibility, in conscience, to obey what is imposed.”

Read the rest here.

Unbelievable. Those orchestrating the evils now convulsing the Roman Church are playing with a fire that does not go out.

Nation's Prosperity Gospel Preachers Celebrate 'Taking Tuesday'

U.S.—The nation's prosperity gospel preachers announced today they are enjoying their favorite holiday of the year: "Taking Tuesday," in which they get to cajole their followers into giving them even more of their money.

Prosperity theologians encouraged their followers to donate exorbitant amounts of cash to their ministries under the hashtag #TakingTuesday, calling the idea of enriching a few already ridiculously prosperous pastors a manifestation of the "true holiday spirit."

"In the midst of this season where it's so easy to get distracted by giving and generosity, it's nice to have a single day in which we charlatans can focus on stealing more money from people than ever before," Creflo Dollar said in a video posted to his ministry's Facebook page. "Now start sending me checks. That latest Gulfstream isn't gonna pay for itself, you know—and I'm certainly not going to work for the money."

Other prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Paula White also sponsored the holiday, posting on their social media accounts that "the Christmas season isn't just for remembering Christ's birth—it's about increasing our net worth."

According to inside sources, the prosperity gospel preachers had originally heard today described as "Giving Tuesday," but they were literally unable to parse the phrase, causing them to launch this new alternative holiday.

Source.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Foreigner Killed Attempting Illegal Entry

A 27-year-old American tourist was killed by members of one of India’s most isolated hunter-and-gatherer tribes, according to police in the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The American man, John Allen Chau, paid five fishermen to take him to North Sentinel Island, said Deepak Yadav, a senior police official in the city of Port Blair.

The island is home to the tiny Sentinelese tribe, whose members reject contact with the wider world and react with hostility and violence to attempts by outsiders to interact with them. The island is off-limits to visitors under Indian law.

Yadav said that Chau and the fishermen arrived at the island around midnight on Nov. 14. The next day, Chau used a kayak to approach the island and attempted to speak with the islanders, who have been known to fire arrows at interlopers. The fishermen told police that they last saw Chau alive on Friday.

The following morning, they saw his body “being dragged and then buried,” Yadav said.

Read the rest here.

Trump Wanted to Order the DOJ to Prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey

He backed off only after being warned by staff he might be impeached.

Details

Trump is not the worst President in history. But he is easily the most corrupt.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

From a blog reader...

...who I think wishes to remain anonymous.

An Orthodox man came to his Priest and asked if he would serve a funeral for his dog who has died.

The Priest replied that the Orthodox Church does not serve funerals for animals and perhaps the man can go down the street to the local Episcopalian church, they may serve the funeral.

The man asked, “Father, do you think that $5,000 will be enough of a stipend for the funeral?”

“Why didn’t you tell me that your dog was Orthodox?”

A Glimpse Back at a Doomed World



Original film footage shot in the Jodenbuurt, the centuries old Jewish neighborhood in Amsterdam in January 1932. It is estimated that more than 90% of its residents were murdered by the Nazis. Today little remains of the culture and people who dwelled there for so long.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson

On the Nov. 11 100th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War I, I’m celebrating the heroism of American warriors in Europe. Perhaps 116,000 of them died in that struggle. Their commander in chief, Woodrow Wilson, did not match the quality of their service. During the conflict, Wilson made serious mistakes as a political leader that should never be forgotten.

Wilson’s missteps in wartime were hardly his only defects. His most disgraceful flaw was his racism. Given his high-flown rhetoric as a professor about elevating humankind, Wilson especially stood out in his white supremacy. He was not a man of his time but a throwback. His two predecessors, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, had looked far kindlier on African Americans and their rights.

In 1916, Wilson, a Democrat, narrowly won reelection, campaigning under false pretenses with the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.” Privately, however, he knew it was quite possible that he would take the nation into the European struggle soon after starting his second term.

As an academic, Wilson had emphasized the need for presidents to explain military setbacks and other complex or mystifying events to Americans. Yet he spent much of 1917, the first year of U.S. engagement in the war, in kingly isolation, rarely using his luminous oratorical gifts to explain to his countrymen why they needed to make severe sacrifices for a conflict that wasn’t an obvious, direct threat to America’s national security.

Wilson, who preened as a civil libertarian, persuaded Congress to pass the Espionage Act, giving him extraordinary power to retaliate against Americans who opposed him and his wartime behavior. That same law today enables presidents to harass their political adversaries. Wilson’s Justice Department also convicted almost a thousand people for using “disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language” against the government, the military or the flag. Wilson is an excellent example of how presidents can exploit wars to increase authoritarian power and restrict freedom, some arguing that criticizing the commander in chief amounts to criticizing soldiers in the field.

In the 1918 midterms, with the Great War heading to its climax, Wilson shamelessly exploited the military struggle for domestic politics, urging voters to support his party “for the sake of the nation itself” because Republicans were trying to take “the conduct of the war out of my hands.” This cheap maneuver backfired. Roosevelt and Taft charged that Wilson was asking for “unlimited control over the settlement of a peace that will affect them for a century.” Partly out of disgust with Wilson’s presumptuousness, voters switched control of both the House and Senate to the Republicans.

Read the rest here.

I regard Wilson as one of the worst presidents in American history.

(Note: I am still traveling and comments remain on moderation. I hope to be back on a more regular basis Wednesday.)

A War Story (reposted)


One of the great cemeteries populated by the First World War

(I wrote this essay ten 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.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Traveling (again)


Once again I am off. With some luck, I should be back in about a week (your time).

P.S. Due to some inappropriate comments in the recent past and the fact that I will not be online much over the next week or so and thus will be unable to keep an eye on things, I have enabled comment moderation. I apologize for the inconvenience. 

Lutheran Minister: Porn is OK if "ethically sourced"

From the "you can't make this up" file.

HT: Blog reader Tim

Friday, November 02, 2018

Constantinople Abolishes Ukrainian Orthodox Church

In case anyone was thinking (as briefly was I) that this business in Ukraine was a nasty tiff and maybe with some help from the other local churches this would get smoothed over...

The self governing Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) has been abolished according to one of the exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Additionally all former hierarchs and clergy of the former UOC (MP) are to now consider themselves under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archbishop Job of Telmessos also asserted that if necessary the Ecumenical Patriarchate could rescind the autocephalous status of the Russian Orthodox Church as it has the authority to do so with any church whose autocephaly was not granted by an Oecuemnical Council.

I don't see much hope for reconciliation after that. Moscow is not going to ever reenter into communion with a "mother church" that thinks it can revoke the independence of the Russian Church at will. How can the EP climb down from these kinds of statements?

"Sorry guys. The Turks slipped some acid into our drinking water."

I will be fascinated to see how the rest of the Orthodox world reacts to this.

Sources...
1 & 2

Gold buying by central banks hits its highest level in almost three years

 
Central banks around the world have upped their spending on gold to the highest level in almost three years, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

More than 148 metric tons of gold were bought by the national banks in the three months to the end of September, a rise of 22 percent on the same period last year.

Using the current spot price of $1,223 per troy ounce, the gold purchases by the banks added up to a $5.82 billion spending splurge on the precious metal.

Russia’s central bank led the buying, purchasing more than 92 tons of gold. This marked the country’s biggest quarterly net purchase on records that stretch back to 1993.

In May this year, the Russian central bank’s First Deputy Governor Dmitry Tulin told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament that gold was “a 100 percent guarantee from legal and political risks.”

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Primacy and Identity A Response to ‘First Without Equals’ and the Tragedy of Deficient Ecclesiology

 The paper that follows was originally drafted in 2015 as an internal reference document for members of various theological commissions, as a response to documents that had then been somewhat recently published and generated debate over the preceding years. The more recent events of 2018, centred in Ukraine but relating to questions of ecclesiological primacy that affect the whole Orthodox world (and which, at the present moment,1 are still very much ongoing), have given cause to disseminate the text more broadly, as a small study of some of the core ecclesiastical and theological principles involved.

We are witnessing, at the present moment, a fuller realisation of the disastrous theological and ecclesiological positions outlined in the text below, which were already nascent three years ago (and indeed further back). Improper theological visions of Church hierarchy and primacy have since led beyond the bold assertion of the unsupportable concept of a Primate who is ‘first without equals’, to the actual implementation of this flawed ecclesiology in one See’s direct violation of canonical order, based precisely on its insupportable belief that it has ultimate authority to act in its own right, in a manner binding upon all others.2 That this position, and the dire actions associated with it, is contrary to canonical order is the subject of many studies already; that it is the ‘logical’ fruit of a flawed vision of primacy and authority, rooted in misapplications of Trinitarian theology and a failure to understand episcopal-sacramental participation in the Body of Christ, is the object of what follows below.

Read the rest here.

Happy Reformation Day (late)

The Church Fathers were mostly heretics. Really.

HT: Bill Tighe

Quote of the day...

Violence is not necessary to destroy a civilization. Each civilization dies from indifference toward the unique values which created it.

- Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Can Orthodoxy Live Without The Ecumenical Patriarchate?

An interesting reflection which can be read here.

I am inclined to agree with their conclusions. As Bill Tighe noted in a recent email discussion...

"Why not (if an outsider may opine)?  If it can exist without the first Rome, why can it not do likewise without the copy?"

Indeed.

34 female religious superiors ask for access to all Church offices, including priesthood

October 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The general superiors of 34 female orders from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are demanding more influence in the Church. As part of an international umbrella organization, they ask that women be admitted to all offices in the Church, including ordained offices. Already in 2016, some superiors general of the umbrella organization asked Pope Francis about a commission on female deacons. The final document of the Youth Synod seems to resonate with some of the requests of the women religious.

As several German-speaking outlets reported on October 25, the German-speaking members of the International Union Superiors General (UISG) had a meeting in Innsbruck, Austria, at which they also requested that women have voting rights at future synods of bishops.

“In the future, more women are to be included at synods of bishops – of course with voting rights. That is the only way they can influence decisions,” they explain.

The general superiors of the German-speaking orders met from October 18 to 22 in Innsbruck, according to a report on the website of the Austrian religious orders. The local bishop, Hermann Glettler, visited the general superiors during their meeting and spent some time with them. Inge Metzmacher, pastoral counselor of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, moderated the discussions.

According to this report, these religious leaders see a need for a new “culture of dialogue, of participation, and of gender equality” in the Church. The Church's teaching should be adjusted to “new scientific findings in the theological and other academic disciplines.” The general superiors are of the opinion that an increase of qualified women in the Church would bring “diversity and an enrichment on all levels.” One could learn from religious communities “how men and women have fruitfully worked – and still work – together for the people.”

Read the rest here.

Of course we too have our w/o heretics. See here (scroll to page 5). Though in the case of Orthodoxy I believe this is still fairly fringe. Sadly in the Roman Church this heresy has become so widely embraced that it may well be a majority view in some quarters.

Abortion down 2/3 in Russia since 2000

 
The number of abortions in Russia has dropped by nearly 2/3 since the beginning of the century, according to statistics presented by Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, reports Interfax-Religion.

In 2000, there were 2,138,000 recorded abortions in Russia, and in 2017—779,999.

“That’s a very serious decline—63.5%,” Golikova noted.

Moreover, the number of Russians who condemn abortion has tripled in 20 years, from 12 to 35%. There is still a long way to go, however.

It was previously announced in January 2017 that the number of abortions had been halved in Russia in the span of four years, with a 13% drop in 2016—96,300 abortions. As Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova, the number of abortions by desire, without medical conditions, dropped by 72,000 that year.

The fight against abortion is the Church’s most important social work, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill stated at the opening of the VII Church-wide Congress for Social Work in Moscow in October of last year.

His Holiness has twice addressed the State Duma, calling for them to find a solution to the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions that continue to plague Russia.

The Church recently opened its 58th shelter for pregnant women and mothers, and it also operates 169 humanitarian aid centers throughout the country.

Source.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Australian (RC) bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church's current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a "transformation of the priesthood" was underway.

Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Bishop of the Parramatta Diocese of Sydney, Australia gave an address in September to the New Zealand National Assembly of Diocesan Clergy about the current crises rocking the Church. Blaming the clerical abuse crisis on a faulty conception of the priesthood, Long mentioned women’s ordination as a possibility – but only after even more sweeping changes.

“... As important as it is to consider the question of women ordained ministry in the Church, it is far worse to persist with structures that fail to convey the message of the Gospel to the deep yearnings of the men and women of today,” he told his audience.

“Adding women into the mix in terms of admitting them to ordination might be likened to pouring new wine into old wine skins. For the Church to flourish, it is more crucial that we come to terms with the flaws of clericalism within the very structure of the Church and move beyond its patriarchal matrix,” Long continued.

The Bishop praised Pope Francis for unleashing a "new energy" and pouring a "new wine" upon the Church.

Read the rest here.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Alphabet Crowd's Very Own Saint and Martyr

Matthew Shepard, who was killed in what most likely was a drug deal that went bad, is to be re-interred with suitable ceremony in Washington's National Cathedral. Of the politically correct version of events surrounding his death, perhaps the best that can be said is never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Ultimately though, none of this really means much when weighed against the incontrovertible facts. A young man was savagely murdered. His family was devastated and his killers will probably die in prison.

Lord have mercy.

Details.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Help Needed

Wikipedia is currently trying to get a handle on what is happening in Ukraine and the new schism. Unfortunately Orthodoxy is a bit of a mystery there and there are far too few knowledgeable editors for the various articles we do have on Orthodoxy. A new article has been created currently titled Schism of 2018. I suspect the name will be changed at some point in the near future. We are in urgent need of volunteers willing to help with this and related articles. You don't have to even sign up to edit (although there are advantages to having an account). You can just show up and start editing from your browser page.

That said, and for those unfamiliar with how Wikipedia operates, there are a few community rules...
  • All claims of fact that are not obviously uncontroversial need to be cited to a reliable source. Secondary sources are preferred but not obligatory. Sources that are obviously biased or otherwise unreliable should not be used. Personal knowledge also called Original Research is inadmissible. 
  • Do not edit to promote your side of the dispute. Stick to verifiable facts and present them as blandly as possible. If (like me) you have an opinion on the matter I suggest trying to play devil's advocate when adding material and asking yourself if this can in any way be criticized as being unfair or unbalanced in the coverage.
  • Don't edit war. If someone challenges an edit or reverts it, go to the article talk page and discuss the matter. If you can't reach agreement then open the discussion to other editors and try to seek consensus. 
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am an experienced editor there and if there are questions I can be reached on my user talk page.

My thoughts on L'Affair Khashoggi

This whole thing looks less like an orchestrated murder than a planned snatch op (kidnapping) gone bad. If they wanted him dead it could have been done anywhere under circumstances that would have given the Kingdom plausible deniability. Any competent intelligence service knows how to make problems go away in a manner that can be passed off as a robbery gone bad, a suicide or even death by natural causes. The Russians are very good at this sort of thing. I'd ask Vlad for some confirmation but I don't want to spend the rest of my life checking my food and drinks with a geiger counter.

Back to Mr. Khashoggi. Assassinating someone in their consulate would have been bone crushingly stupid. No government or intelligence service with more than two brain cells in operation would do that. I think they planned to grab him, probably drug him, and smuggle him back to Saudi Arabia where they could put him on ice for a while until he agreed to play nice and/or they decided what to do with him long term.

Clearly something went wrong. A purely educated guess is he put up a fight and the subsequent interrogation got ugly. Maybe he had a heart attack. Maybe he had a bad reaction to a drug. Maybe he said somethings that ticked off people in the snatch team and somebody overreacted. We will probably never know.

But my gut says this did not start out as a planned hit.

Schism

Various news agencies including RT and Reuters are reporting that the Russian Orthodox Church has broken all remaining ties with the Ecumenical patriarchate. Presumably this means severing Eucharistic communion. I did not see this announcement up on the ROC's English language website yet. But it appears this is just breaking. While incredibly sad this can hardly be a surprise given the EP's assertion that they are "reclaiming" jurisdiction over Ukraine with the intent of granting autocephaly to an as yet to be formed unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church composed of groups hitherto universally condemned as schistmatic.

Lord have mercy.

Update: The Washington Post specifically states that eucharistic communion has been severed. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Large cross on Greek island destroyed because it could be ‘offensive to Muslim migrants’

The ancient mythical Greek island of Lesbos is today better known as anchorage ground for human traffickers and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the boat traffic.

It is now reported that a large cross monument on the Greek Orthodox Christian island has been levelled to the ground. This after a group claiming to promote intercultural coexistence argued that the cross could be perceived as offensive to the predominantly Muslim boat migrants.

The cross monument was built on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the local coexistence group, however, the cross was offensive because many who have drowned, and many migrants on the island are not Christians.

The local newspaper on the island reports that the group has also received support from some aid organisations that expressed similar negative opinions about the cross-shaped memorial monument.

A letter was sent to the Island’s port minister and mayor, in which the coexistence group claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.

The letter stated that the initiators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.

And that was what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site

The attack by the coexistence group on the monument and the demolition of it has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of the Island.

Source

The Ecumenical Patriarch Grants Formal Recognition to Ukrainian Schismatics

Details

The EP has just moved the minute hand on the Orthodox Doomsday clock to 1 minute before midnight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A New Blog on the Ecclesial Crisis In Ukraine

There is a new blog that has been created to provide ongoing updates and discussion regarding the serious crisis in Ukraine and the threat of schism. Additionally there are a large number of documents and background information. I have added the link to the blogroll in the sidebar.

Orthodox Synaxis

HT: Byzantine Texas

Openly saying what a lot of Catholics have been secretly thinking

The Second Vatican Council was an unmitigated disaster and it is becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that the modern Catholic Church is the same in faith, praxis and spirit to that which existed before 1965.

From here.

P.S. Pope Francis has been invited by Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea. I doubt even Francis is that far gone. But the mere fact of the invitation speaks volumes. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Some food for thought

It appears that some snowflake has taken their disappointment over the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to a potentially perilous level, allegedly posting... "So Who's Gonna Take One for the Team and Kill Kavanaugh?" on Twitter.

This woke champion of all that's right may be about to discover that freedom of expression and the right to protest has limits. Threatening a Federal Judge, and inciting or soliciting others to harm one is a Federal crime covered under Title 18 Chapter 115 of the US Code. If convicted of said offense there is a real possibility that she could end up doing time in a Federal prison. The Justice Department and US prosecutors do not generally have a sense of humor when it comes to this sort of thing. But as vile as this alleged offense is, she should take some comfort.

Because even if formally arrested and indicted, she has rights.
  •  The right to legal councel.
  •  The right to be tried in an open court before an impartial jury of her peers.
  • The right to confront witnesses and evidence against her and to cross examine or otherwise impeach said witnesses and evidence.
  • An absolute presumption of innocence, until such time as the jury concludes that the evidence has proven her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is one of those things things that defines us as a country and marks us out as Americans.

Unless your last name is Kavanaugh.

A little off the top and a straight razor shave please

Meet Anthony Mancinelli, a man who enjoys his work so much that retirement does not appear to be in his plans. He is a barber who started cutting hair when Warren Harding was president. In fairness, he was a boy at the time. Mr. Manicinelli, now 107, has all of his own teeth, takes no medication and is still cutting hair full time, a job that requires him to be on his feet pretty much all day. Somewhere along the line he got his name in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest working barber. 

From here.

Many (more) years!

Friday, October 05, 2018

The end of an era in Switzerland

ZURICH (Reuters) - The era of mystery-cloaked numbered Swiss bank accounts has officially come to a close as Switzerland, the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth, began automatically sharing client data with tax authorities in dozens of other countries.

The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) said on Friday it had for the first time exchanged financial account data at the end of September under global standards that aim to crack down on tax cheats. 

Bank secrecy still exists in some areas — Swiss authorities cannot automatically see what citizens have in their domestic bank accounts, for example — but gone are the days when well-paid European professionals could stash wealth across the border and beyond the prying eyes of their tax man.

Read the rest here.

Herbert Hoover in Cincinnati Ohio October 22, 1929



Rare film footage with original sound taken in Cincinnati Ohio during a formal visit by President Herbert Hoover two days before the beginning of the stock market crash.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Hugh Hewitt: The volcano rumbles but the left can’t hear it

An hour’s brisk walk can take you from the Dunker Church, across “the cornfield” and down Bloody Lane all the way to Burnside Bridge — the key locations on the battlefield at Antietam, a little more than an hour’s drive from the U.S. Capitol and scene of the bloodiest single day for the American military in our history.

Some 23,000 in blue or gray were killed or wounded, or went missing during the grueling 12 hours of close combat at Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862.

When pundits talk of a “cold civil war” in the country, they mark themselves as ignorant of the real thing. Far from real war, the civil tension in the country isn’t even close to 1960s levels of violence, much less the sort of actual war that once convulsed the country in the 1860s. Screaming demonstrators at hearings jar. But they aren’t the Weathermen terrorizing the 1960s, not the Oklahoma City bombing, not the Fort Hood massacre.

Yet.

But some seem to welcome a slide in that direction. “Tell me again why we shouldn’t confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep, and where they work until they stop being complicit in the destruction of our democracy,” tweeted Ian Millhiser, justice editor at ThinkProgress.

“Because it is both wrong & supremely dangerous,” replied Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett. “When one side denies the legitimacy of good faith disagreement over policy — as well as over constitutional principle — the other side will eventually reciprocate. Neither a constitutional republic nor a democracy can survive that.”

Princeton’s much-admired political theorist Robert P. George said of the exchange: “Randy Barnett drops a major truth bomb in response to an especially foolish and irresponsible tweet. We’re already in the orange zone of bitterness and hatred of citizens toward fellow citizens. We’re about to enter the red zone. This is how faction destroys democratic republics.”

The daily ratcheting-up of rhetoric is driving people away from ordinary political conversation. It is too freighted with potential for disproportionate responses to talk candidly about such things as one’s views of the Kavanaugh hearings. The intentional release of senators’ home addresses by someone there is reason to believe is a Capitol Hill staffer — “doxing” — is an ominous step in the Millhiser direction. It is a step back toward the tragedy that unfolded only last year when a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter tried to gun down the GOP caucus at baseball practice.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

In view of recent events this may be of passing interest

It is represented to us that the universal suffrage, as now existing through the Union, is abused; that fraud and corruption prevent a fair and proper expression of the public voice; that open violation of the laws are constantly occurring, caused by mobs, parties, factions and undue influence of political sects; that the citizen has not that protection of person and property which he is entitled to by paying his pro rata of the expense of Government--in consequence of which, WE do hereby abolish Congress, and it is therefore abolished; and WE order and desire the representatives of all parties interested to appear at the Musical Hall of this city on the first of February next, and then and there take the most effective steps to remedy the evil complained of.

Given under our hand and seal in the City of San Francisco this Nineteenth day of October in the Year of Our Savior 1859

Norton I
Emperor of these United States
& Protector of Mexico

Saturday, September 29, 2018

NO!

Sometimes a one word answer is what really is called for. This is probably one of those moments.

Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Metropolitan of Kiev celebrate Divine Liturgy



His Holiness Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and all Africa Theodore II and His Beatitude Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphry celebrated Divine Liturgy in Svyato-Uspensky monastery near Odessa, Ukraine. Pat. Theodore has been outspoken in his defense of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Patriarch Theodoros II Declares Support for the Canonical Ukrainian Church

Following his 5-day visit to the Church of Poland, His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa began a fraternal visit to Ukraine, expressing his support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

The Alexandrian primate was greeted at the Odessa airport with bread and flowers today by His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk, His Eminence Mitrophan of Gorlovka, His Grace Bishop Diodore of Yuzhnensk, and His Grace Bishop Viktor of Artsiz, reports the site of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Pat. Theodoros then visited the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, where he was joyfully greeted by thousands of Orthodox faithful, many of whom remember him from the days of his pastoral ministry in Odessa as a representative of the Alexandrian patriarchal throne from 1985 to 1990. There he served a moleben for the unity of the Church of Christ, for the cessation of schisms, and for peace in the long-suffering Ukrainian land, being joined by several hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church and clergy of the Odessa Diocese.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Roman Catholic Archbishop Publishes Attack on Vatican Document

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has published a wide-ranging criticism of the Instrumentum Laboris (a kind of introduction or preamble) for the upcoming Synod on the Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

In an introductory paragraph, Chaput explains that the analysis was “received from a respected North American theologian”. The article, which appears in First Things, warns that the Instrumentum veers dangerously close to heresy – specifically the heresies of naturalism, Lutheranism, and relativism.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Scenes from the land of long ago



Paris during the Belle Époque. Conceding an exception for modern medicine and personal hygiene... I really hate the modern world.

And now for a little trivia...


How is it that the tenth President of the United States (b 1790) has two living grandsons in 2018?

Answer

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Moscow Suspends Commemoration of Pat. Bartholomew- Calls for Urgent Meeting of Heads of Local Churches

...In this critical situation, when Constantinople has practically refused to resolve the matter by means of dialogue, the Moscow Patriarchate is forced to suspend the liturgical prayerful commemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople and with profound regret to suspend the concelebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as to break off the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Episcopal Assemblies and in the theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and any other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In the event that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will continue to carry out its uncanonical activities in the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we will be compelled to completely break off the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. All the responsibility for the tragic consequences of this division will lie personally with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the hierarchs supporting him.
Being aware that the current situation puts in jeopardy the whole world Orthodoxy, we at this hour of hardship ask the Local Autocephalous Churches for support and call upon the Primates of the Churches to fully realize our shared responsibility for the fate of the world Orthodoxy and initiate a fraternal pan-Orthodox discussion on the church situation in Ukraine.

We call upon the plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church to pray ardently for the preservation of the unity of the Holy Orthodoxy.

Source.

This is not a formal severance of communion. But it is a step in that direction.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Silver



It's no secret that precious metals have been in a bear market for around the last seven years. Lately silver has been taking a beating that in another age would have been associated with the parlor rug. Since peaking in 2011 at just a tick under $50.00 oz silver has been in a steady downward decline that has reached the point where the spot price closed today at $14.22 oz. Even more interesting is its relationship to gold. The silver/gold price ratio (the number of ounces of silver needed to equal 1 oz of gold) has fluctuated, at times dramatically, over the last 45 years or so since gold was demonetized. But the average has been in the range of 50:1 give or take.

Currently it is within spitting distance of 85:1.

No, that's not a record. See these historical charts from Kitco. But it is the highest it's been in a quarter century. And on the rare occasions when the ratio has gotten over 80:1 it has been a signal that silver, at least relative to gold, has become over sold and is cheap.

Hmm...

[Full disclaimer: I have recently added some silver to my precious metals holdings on a speculative basis. Nothing posted on this blog should be considered investing advice. The above is purely for informational purposes and readers should do their own due diligence before making any financial investments.]

Monday, September 10, 2018

5/3 Bank


In the unlikely event anyone reading this blog is employed by 5/3 Bank I just wanted to post a short note to let you know why I will shortly be closing my account.

I just spent most of the afternoon trying to rent a safe deposit box. For those unfamiliar with the process, it should be neither complicated nor time consuming. I have done this on multiple occasions in the past at different banks and cannot recall any instance where it took much more than 15 minutes.

When I arrived at the bank somewhere between 1300-1330 I was informed there were a number of walk in customers ahead of me. So I waited patiently and was eventually informed that it would be at least an hour and half before I would be seen. It was suggested I make an appointment to which I agreed. An appointment was made for 1600. When I arrived back at the bank at appx 1545 I was told that the personal services banker was with another customer which did not overly concern me since I was a few minutes early and had an appointment. But within five minutes I was told that my appointment would be pushed back because the walk in customer was taking up more time than expected.

That's when I gave up and left. Clearly this is a bank that is not interested in my business which is just as well. If they can't manage something as simple as renting a safe deposit box in the course of several hours I cannot imagine how long I might have had to wait if I actually had one and needed to access it.

So, within the next few days I will close my account and look for a bank that is capable of handling in a timely manner the simpler bread and butter activities typically associated with that profession.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Spanish flu: the killer that still stalks us, 100 years on

One hundred years ago this month, just as the first world war was drawing to a fitful close, an influenza virus unlike any before or since swept across the British Isles, felling soldiers and civilians alike. One of the first casualties was the British prime minister and war leader, David Lloyd George.

On 11 September 1918, Lloyd George, riding high on news of recent Allied successes, arrived in Manchester to be presented with the keys to the city. Female munitions workers and soldiers home on furlough cheered his passage from Piccadilly train station to Albert Square. But later that evening, he developed a sore throat and fever and collapsed.

He spent the next 10 days confined to a sickbed in Manchester town hall, too ill to move and with a respirator to aid his breathing. Newspapers, including the Manchester Guardian, underplayed the severity of his condition for fear of presenting the Germans with a propaganda coup. But, according to his valet, it had been “touch and go”.

Lloyd George, then aged 55, survived, but others were not so lucky. In an era before antibiotics and vaccines, the “Spanish influenza” – so-called because neutral Spain was one of the few countries in 1918 where correspondents were free to report on the outbreak – claimed the lives of nearly 250,000 Britons. Cruelly for a nation that had seen the flower of British male youth mown down by German guns, the majority were adults aged 20 to 40. The mortality was the inverse of most flu seasons, when deaths fall most heavily on the elderly and the under-fives.

The global death toll was inconceivable: according to the most recent estimates, between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide perished in the three pandemic waves between the spring of 1918 and the winter of 1919. Adjusting for population growth, that is equivalent to between 200 million and 425 million today.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Ukraine: It's Official


Bart is going to do it.
The Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced on 7 September 2018 that within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed as its Exarchs in Kiev His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada, both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Source
HT

Lord have mercy!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Good news!

As some of you will be aware I was wondering what had happened to the Midwest Conservative Journal, one of those blogs that was on my check everyday list. I am very happy to report that I just got an email from Christopher J who has started blogging again. The new address is http://themcj.blogspot.com/. I will be adding it to the sidebar directly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Coming Schism (maybe)


No, this is not about the Roman Catholic Church. It is about the Orthodox. Sadly, evidence is rapidly accumulating that the Ecumenical Patriarch intends to take actions in the ongoing schism within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that are all but guaranteed to provoke a major crisis within the Church. I am still praying that this will not happen but reports are mounting daily, without any denial from the EP or those closely connected to him, that he intends to issue a tomos of autocephaly to the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate.

It is inconceivable that the Russian Church will not respond by breaking communion.

The question is, how far will the schism spread?

I think it quite possible that the Serbians and Bulgarians will side with Moscow. We can assume the ethnically Greek local churches will side with Constantinople. I am including here the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem. The latter is of course composed of 99% Arabs, but the hierarchy is 99% Greek.

As for the rest... The Romanians I honestly have no idea. There is not a lot of love for Russia there but I just don't have any feel for how they will go. The Church of Georgia is close to Moscow. Would that be enough to provoke their taking sides in the schism? Then there is the Church of Antioch. They are already out of communion with Jerusalem over that church's intrusion on Antioch's canonical territory and they are none too thrilled by Constantinople's refusal to come to their aid. And lastly there are what may be called the micro churches... Albania, the Czech Lands, Poland and the OCA.

Thoughts...?

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Catastrophe

Brazil's National Museum housed in the former imperial palace has been virtually destroyed by fire. The exact extent of the loss is not yet known but is likely to be of staggering proportions. The museum housed one of the most important collections in the Western Hemisphere. This is a cultural calamity likely to be felt around the world.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Ukrainian Autocephapy (updated)

Rumors and reports from sources of unknown reliability are circulating to the effect that the Ecumenical Patriarch may be about to do something very dangerous to the unity of the Church.

Update: The latest from the Russian Church's website seems to throw cold water on some of the alarmist rumors circulating this morning.

Poll: Trump takes a hit

 I would take this with a very large grain of salt as it seems an outlier and is inconsistent with other recent polls. That said, a newly published ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Trump taking a fairly big hit. According to the poll his support level has dropped into the mid 30% range and his negatives have jumped to around 60%. Worse, approximately half of those polled support impeachment proceedings. As this is only a single poll I would wait to see if it is backed by others. But if it is, that would be really bad news for Trump. Washington is populated by people who won't answer the call of nature without first taking a poll and Trump's very strong and sustained support among Republican voters has been a major factor in keeping the rank and file GOP Congress Critters (most of whom privately detest Trump) in line. If they think that GOP support for Trump is starting to crack two months out from a general election where the president is the issue, things could get ugly quick.

Details.