Saturday, March 31, 2018

The West Cannibalizes Itself

What civilization has ever sought to repudiate its own culture and traditions as we do today?

Some 13 European thinkers issued an intellectual protest late last year against the assault on the Western heritage that has been raging on the Continent and in Britain for years. They called their 11-page document “The Paris Statement” and gave it a title: “A Europe We Can Believe In.” The Europe they believe in, write the 13 signatories (well-known in Europe, less so in America), is under threat of destruction from the forces of globalization, multiculturalism, and the EU managerial class, as well as growing anti-Christian prejudice.

“These lands are our home,” says the Statement, “we have no other. Home is a place where things are familiar, and where we are recognized, however far we have wandered. This is the real Europe, our precious and irreplaceable civilization.” 

The Statement has received a smattering of attention in the European media—broadcast television in Poland and the Netherlands; major newspapers in Germany, France, Spain, and Poland; national weekly magazines in Poland and Hungary; and opinion web sites in the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, and Spain. But mostly it is an intellectual statement written for and consumed largely by other intellectuals.

And of course the assault on the Western heritage from within is a potent phenomenon in Europe, fostered by nearly the entire elite structure of the civilization. Thus it isn’t clear what a few highly accomplished intellectuals, however eloquent or anguished, can do to stem the erosion of the civilizational identity. But we are witnessing the emergence of some powerful political currents within the general European population, manifest in increasingly populist voting patterns in France, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere. Hence the Paris Statement could become a significant intellectual underpinning for Europeans who are increasingly concerned about the direction of things in their homeland. 

The threat to Europe, says the Statement, comes from “a false understanding” of what Europe is and represents. This “false Europe” is the product of people who are “orphans by choice,” glorifying their vision “as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.” Believing that history is on their side, these patrons of the false Europe have become “haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing.” The false Europe, says the statement, is “utopian and tyrannical.”

The true Europe, on the other hand, encompasses a number of fundamental elements—a body of law that applies to all yet is limited in its demands; a shared understanding of political and cultural traditions and a fealty to those traditions; an appreciation of the nation state as “the political form that joins peoplehood with sovereignty”; a shared regard for the role of the Classical tradition in shaping the Western mind; and an understanding of Christianity as the religious bulwark of the civilization.

Now, write the signatories, “all this is slipping away. As the patrons of the false Europe construct their faux Christendom of universal human rights, we are losing our home.”

Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pope Francis Denies the Existence of Hell

[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?
[Francis:] "They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls."

HT: Rorate Caeli 

For the record: The Holy See has issued a rather vague statement cautioning that the interview was not official and that the Pope may not have been quoted accurately. My take is that if the Pope had been misquoted on something like this the Vatican would have said so point blank. Your mileage may vary.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

While everyone watches Stormy Daniels, a real crisis looms

At the risk of being a terrible bore, today I return to the topic of the United States’ out-of-control spending and threatening debt. No less than five of the country’s most distinguished economic leaders sounded the alarm in The Post on Tuesday. Michael J. Boskin, John H. Cochrane, John F. Cogan, George P. Shultz and John B. Taylor warned in their Post Opinions essay, “A debt crisis is on the horizon,” that “even if economic growth continues uninterrupted, current tax and spending patterns imply that annual deficits will steadily increase, approaching the $1 trillion mark in two years and steadily rising thereafter as far as the eye can see.” Unfortunately, these distinguished gentlemen don’t use exclamation points or useful words and phrases such as “panic!” or “apocalypse!” or “the economic sky is falling!” or “America is heading off a cliff!” Similarly, Fred Hiatt wrote in The Post last month that the sheer volume of spending from Congress “imperils America.” Well, the fact is that the topic of the national debt traditionally has little connection to porn stars and Playboy Bunnies, and it doesn’t lead directly to President Trump’s immediate demise, so it fails to become an obsession with the media. But the reality of what Boskin, Hiatt and the others say could not be more clear or more serious. Just 10 years ago, our debt was $9.4 trillion. Today, it is $21 trillion. Of that, more than $15 trillion is held by the public. And according to the experts, the public’s debt burden could quickly rise to $20 trillion in just five years. If that happens and interest rates rise to 5 percent —1.5 percentage points higher than that which the Trump administration predicts — the aforementioned economists say “the interest cost alone on the projected $20 trillion of public debt would total $1 trillion per year.” That is more than America’s current $654 billion defense budget.

Our political process is failing us. Even worse, it is failing our kids. We are digging a financial hole that they will have to live in. We cannot borrow our way to prosperity. Debt makes us weaker, not stronger. It is our perceived strength that makes others like China choose to lend us money. But the more debt we accumulate, the weaker we become. The debt that we offer looks less secure and will likely cost more. This problem will spiral out of control. There will be a crash. Still, few are even talking about it.

Read the rest here.

This country is heading towards a brick wall at about 80 mph. I don't know how long before we hit the wall, but when we do, it's going to be ugly.

Poll: Vast Majority of Californians Oppose Sanctuary Cities

Californians are overwhelmingly opposed to sanctuary city immigration policies, according to a poll commissioned by UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS). As a caveat, the director of IGS notes 99.5 percent of participants in the poll were citizens, and the survey was only conducted in English.

Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 26, Survey Sampling International conducted the poll on behalf of UC Berkeley, sampling 1,098 respondents. Of those polled, 74 percent said local authorities should not be allowed to ignore federal detainer requests. The other 26 percent supported the sanctuary city policy of preventing local police and sheriff’s officials from honoring immigration holds.

The poll results indicate Californians across the political spectrum and among all major ethnic groups oppose sanctuary city policies. The policy of ignoring federal detainer requests was opposed by 73 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of independents, according to UC Berkley.

Additionally, 65 percent of Latinos, 75 percent of Asian and African Americans and 80 percent of whites opposed sanctuary city policies.

Read the rest here.

In other news the California AG is threatening to arrest the Orange County Sheriff for aiding ICE. The Sheriff's office recently joined a Federal lawsuit against California over a series of laws aimed at obstructing Federal  immigration enforcement and announced that they are publicly posting the anticipated release dates for all inmates.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Chutzpah

Chutzpah: (Definition) When one of the most liberal justices in the history of the Supreme Court complains about the Court overturning centuries of established law and precedent to create a hitherto unknown constitutional right by judicial fiat.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Congress’s “One Spending Bill to Rule Them All” is a Debt-Fueled Disgrace

The latest federal budget puts the lie once and for all to Republican promises of fiscal restraint.

The “one bill to rule them all,” 2,232-page, gargantuan, swamp-beast omnibus emerged from the smoke-filled bowels of congressional leadership earlier this week and passed both House and Senate mere hours after it was unveiled. The legislation spends $1.3 trillion in taxpayer dollars, busts the budget caps imposed back in 2011, and will lead to trillions of spending each and every year, ad infinitum, with interest payments on the massive federal debt to outpace the cost of the military and the cost of Medicaid in just eight short years. But at least we don’t have to worry about a government shutdown—in 2018, that is.

For nearly two decades now, we’ve watched this charade. Despite Republican promises of fiscal responsibility, they continue to spend like drunken sailors on holiday. That our elected leaders chose to blow this much money without even the pretense of having read the bill is both shocking and disgusting. And yet most of us remain complacent and continue about our daily routines. We barely blink as Congress binges on $1.3 trillion in unpaid-for federal spending. Not that long ago, a bill hammered out in secret caused the House to revolt against then-speaker John Boehner. Yet today’s secretly negotiated package fails to crack even the front page, as we’re treated instead to the minute details of Trump’s alleged affair with a Playboy model. This is our American version of bread and circuses, paid for on credit.

Read the rest here.

Ruins of previously unknown monastery accidentally found in Georgian forest

Story with lots of cool photos. They don't even know it's name.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The second-most dangerous American

Because John Bolton is five things President Trump is not — intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced — and because of Bolton’s West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes. 

The first two charges against the major Nazi war criminals in the 1945-1946 Nuremberg trials concerned waging aggressive war. Emboldened by the success, as he still sees it, of America’s Iraq adventure that began 15 years ago this month, Bolton, for whom a trade war with many friends and foes is insufficiently stimulating, favors real wars against North Korea and Iran. Both have odious regimes, but neither can credibly be said to be threatening an imminent attack against the United States.

Nevertheless, Bolton thinks bombing both might make the world safer. What could go wrong?

Much is made of the fact that Bolton is implacably hostile to strongman Vladimir Putin, whom the U.S. president, a weak person’s idea of a strong person, admires. And of the fact that the president has repeatedly execrated the invasion of Iraq that Bolton advocated. So, today among the uneducable, furrowed brows express puzzlement: How can the president square his convictions with Bolton’s? Let’s say this one more time: Trump. Has. No. Convictions. 

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Facebook


Long time readers of this blog will know that the only form of social media that I use, is this blog. That means I am not, and have never been on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. I have always viewed them as an engraved invitation to invasion of privacy and I consider Facebook in particular to be quite sinister. Recent events have certainly done nothing to alter that view.

For those who might want to leave Facebook, the process is actually not easy. However there are a number of tutorial videos that are available on YouTube.

A word of caution... I understand that some people store a lot of stuff on their Facebook account, some of which may be important or hold sentimental value etc. You should download a copy of all your data from Facebook before deleting your account. Once your account is actually deleted, as opposed to deactivated, everything that was on it will be gone and you won't be able to get it back. Also be aware that Facebook changed the procedures for account deletion in late 2017, so you will want to use a recent tutorial.

Good luck.

Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd...



Yankees vs Red Sox April 14th, 1931 starring Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mayor Jimmy "Beau James" Walker and thousands of people dressed better than most people are today for church. Appx 15 minutes with original sound.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe

So says The Guardian with a certain amount of barely concealed glee. But what they are willfully ignoring is the rise of Islam. Whatever future may be in store for Europe, it is not going to be liberal secularism.

California's population decline continues despite strong economy

The state ranks near the top in cost of living which is driving out lower and middle class families. And with the highest taxes in the country even those who can afford to live there are looking for greener pastures, or at least a state that doesn't treat them as human ATMs for politicians constantly looking for more money.

Details.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Romanian court tells man he is not alive

In a case reminiscent of a Kafka novel, a Romanian court has ruled that a 63-year-old man is dead despite what would appear to be convincing evidence to the contrary: the man himself appearing alive and well in court.

Constantin Reliu asked the court in the town of Barlad to overturn a death certificate obtained by his wife after he had spent more than a decade in Turkey, during which time he was out of contact with his family. The court told him he was too late, and would have to remain officially deceased.

“I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” a bemused Reliu told local media outlets. “I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
Reliu left Romania for Turkey in 1992, apparently to seek employment. He last returned to the country in 1999, and appears to have cut off all contact with his family. After years of silence from her estranged husband, Reliu’s wife obtained a backdated death certificate for him.

The Romanian daily Adevarul said Reliu’s wife had argued in court that having heard nothing from her husband since 1999, she had assumed he had died in an earthquake while in Turkey. The paper said Reliu believes she sought the death certificate in order to annul the marriage and allow her to remarry.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Attempted Murder of Sergei Skripal: How do we stop an out of control Putin?

By now, it really should not come as much of a surprise that yet another Russian has been attacked in Britain. Opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been showing up dead in and around London for more than a decade. In some cases, the trail clearly leads back to Moscow, as with the use of such gruesome chemical agents as polonium (Alexander Litvinenko in 2006) or, in the most recent incident, a nerve agent (Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who both survived the poisoning but remain in serious condition). In other cases, the evidence is subtler (e.g., Boris Berezovsky, found dead under suspicious circumstances in 2013).

While Britain is not the only place where those who have run afoul of Putin have died, a troublingly high number of such deaths have happened there. We can quickly dispense with the blathering of Russian officials about the latest case as just that: blathering. Putin’s public policy plan for this type of thing can be summed up as, “Lie bigger, lie harder. Sooner or later, the West will forget.”

It’s a plan that often works.

Read the rest here.

There was a time when this sort of thing would have been treated as an act of war. Alas, in an age where the perpetrator of what looks like a campaign of targeted assassinations has his finger on the launch button for a lot of nukes that is probably not a realistic course of action. But this really cannot be tolerated. The question is, does the West have the intestinal fortitude to collectively stand up to this murderous thug? I hope I am wrong, but my gut tells me not to hold my breath.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The Feds are suing California over their sanctuary laws

And about time. There has not been a lot that this administration has given me cause to cheer over, but they do seem to be serious about getting a handle on illegal immigration. And of course the open border advocates have all suddenly discovered states rights. Except they really haven't.

Here's the deal. California is part of a union governed by a contract between members. Members have broad discretion in most things, but there are areas where everybody agreed to cede authority to the central government in order to ensure mutual protection and avoid chaos. One of those areas is immigration. If a state (hello California) wants to set a statewide maximum speed limit of 30 mph, tax every gallon of gas and every cup of soda at $5 a pop and outlaw smoking statewide, well that's their business. I think they would be nuts. But again it's their call. But passing laws clearly aimed at obstructing Federal laws, is not.

California is in breach of its obligations to the other 49 states. Worse they are deliberating acting in a way that might endanger not only their own people and property, but the people and property of the other states as well as the economic well being of the union as a whole. And this needs to stop.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Quote of the day...

Tradition is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.

-G.K. Chesterton