Friday, May 17, 2019

Disturbing reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate

There have been rumors for years in the GOA (and the OCA). Unfortunately the attachment of some prominent clergy to certain vices, one in particular, now seems to have become the subject of open discussion and scandal within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Details.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jad Ganem reflects on Constantinople's appointment of the new Greek primate in N. America

This past Saturday, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople elected Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, abbot of the Monastery of Chalki, as archbishop of Constantinople's Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America. This comes after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, who had been elected to the position almost twenty years ago to succeed Archbishop Spiridon, who had been imposed on this archdiocese by Constantinople after the resignation of Archbishop Iakovos, and who resigned after disagreements and a crisis of trust between him and members of this archdiocese.

Metropolitan Elpidophoros' election confirms the information circulated by sources close to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in recent years, which indicated His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew's desire to see this metropolitan at the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople's largest and richest diocese.

What was noteworthy in this election, however, is the Synod of Constantinople's total inattention to the opinion of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, which requested in an official letter following its recent meeting, that Patriarch Bartholomew:...
 
Read the rest here.

RIP Tim Conway


Quote of the day...

The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.
-Freddie deBoer quoted here. This is well worth a read in it's entirety.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Jonathan Turley: Democrats showing contempt by holding William Barr in contempt

The House Judiciary Committee is voting to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and to secure a vote of the entire House of Representatives in order to send the matter to federal court. The problem is that the contempt action against Barr is long on action and short on contempt. Indeed, with a superficial charge, the House could seriously undermine its credibility in the ongoing conflicts with the White House. Congress is right on a number of complaints against the White House, including possible cases of contempt, but this is not one of them.

As someone who has represented the House of Representatives, my concern is that this one violates a legal version of the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm.” This could do great harm, not to Barr, but to the House. It is the weakest possible case to bring against the administration, and likely to be an example of a bad case making bad law for the House.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) laid out the case for contempt. He raised three often repeated complaints against Barr in that he failed to release an unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller, allegedly lied twice to Congress, and refused to appear before the committee. Yet, notably, the only claim the committee seeks to put before a federal court is the redaction of the report. That seems rather curious since, if Barr lied or refused a subpoena as House leaders claim, it normally would be an easy case of contempt. The reason for this move is that House Democrats know both claims would not withstand even a cursory judicial review.

Read the rest here.

When local governments are run by greedy *bleeps*

The city of Dunedin, Florida, wants to foreclose on a private home because the owner, Jim Ficken, owes the city over $29,000 in fines. The crime for which he is threatened with home loss? Having his lawn grass be too tall (over 10 inches) for a period of eight weeks last summer. The city fined him $500 per day of violation, with no warning.

Ficken was out of town at the time, settling his mother's estate. Ficken hired a handyman to deal with his lawn while he tended to his dying mother and then to her estate, but in a cruel twist, the handyman also died during the Fickens' ordeal, leaving the lawn uncut.

Ficken is 69 years old and lives on a fixed income. He was unaware that he was racking up the daily fines, but cut his grass within two days of finally being informed by a city code inspector that there was a problem. In a sane world, Ficken's explanation for neglecting his lawn and the fact that he remedied the problem as soon as he learned of it, would seemingly resolve the issue. No harm, no fine.

But the Dunedin government is apparently not sane. Because Ficken was also cited for overly tall grass in 2015, the city—unbeknownst to Ficken—classified him as a "repeat violator." This classification doubled his daily fine from $250 to $500 and relieved the Code Enforcement Board of providing him notice. Because Ficken cannot afford the fines he didn't know he was accumulating, the city of Dunedin insists that it can now take his home to pay off his debt.

Read the rest here.


All of which reminds me of a stretch of old US Rt 301 that was a short cut for people driving south on I 95 and who wanted to cut over to I 75 heading towards south Florida. There were no less than four small towns that were infamous for their old fashioned speed traps. By which I am not referring to the honest cop parked on the side of the road with a radar gun looking for people going more than ten over the posted speed limit or driving like they were drunk. I am talking about towns with a population of maybe a thousand and a ten man police force solely dedicated to zero tolerance traffic enforcement on a stretch of highway, perhaps a couple of hundred feet, that happen to fall within their jurisdiction. People, especially those with out of state plates, were routinely pulled over for going 1 mph over the speed limit, which changed suddenly and without much warning.  It got so bad that AAA used to post giant billboard signs warning motorists of the danger ahead.

Eventually there was a formal investigation by a committee of the Florida state legislature over whether or not to strip these towns of their municipal charters. All of them were sanctioned and three were forced to disband their police departments.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

What's behind Trump's threat to reignite the Sino-American trade war?

The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.

The document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands, the sources told Reuters.

In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded in a tweet on Sunday vowing to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on Friday – timed to land in the middle of a scheduled visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He to Washington to continue trade talks.

The stripping of binding legal language from the draft struck directly at the highest priority of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - who views changes to Chinese laws as essential to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.

Lighthizer has pushed hard for an enforcement regime more like those used for punitive economic sanctions – such as those imposed on North Korea or Iran – than a typical trade deal.

“This undermines the core architecture of the deal,” said a Washington-based source with knowledge of the talks.

Read the rest here.

Although I have been a sharp critic of this president, his decision to take a hard line on trade with China has been one of the areas where I support him. China has been getting away with economic murder, not for years, but for decades. And successive administrations from both parties have allowed it to go on. Enough. No deal is better than another bad deal.

Drop the hammer Mr. President.

Administrative Hardball at the University of Tulsa

On April 11, the administration of the University of Tulsa shocked faculty, students, and alumni by announcing the elimination of 40 percent of the school’s academic programs. Undergraduate and graduate programs in theater, musical theater, dance, vocal and instrumental music, English, history, philosophy, religion, chemistry, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Latin, anthropology, mathematics, and many others were axed. The administration has eliminated all academic departments and dumped professors, now stripped of disciplinary protections and powers, into big new divisions, including one called “Humanities and Social Justice.”

Administrators at other colleges and universities have recently cut the liberal arts. But TU is the first top-100 research institution, and the first university with a ten-figure endowment—$1.1 billion, to be precise—to have done so. What is more, our administration did all this under a cloak of secrecy and without consulting faculty.

The restructuring appears, among other things, to be a hostile takeover of the university by some of Tulsa’s richest and most powerful corporate interests. The gory details, already well known to many who follow higher education, are available in my essay “Storm Clouds Over Tulsa” at City Journal. But what that essay doesn’t cover is the wholesale rejection of the ironically named “True Commitment” plan by faculty, students, and alumni, and the administration’s highly authoritarian countermeasures to this rejection.

After the restructuring bombshell exploded in a slick, highly orchestrated rollout on the morning of April 11, students and faculty moved to protest quickly and decisively. That evening, I wrote to about 50 faculty and 500 students and alumni inviting them to attend a meeting in the Department of Languages the following day, and I pasted into the email an unedited version of my City Journal article. When I arrived for the meeting, over 400 people were present. We moved into the old theater next door, and I found myself leading a meeting at which we formulated key strategies for resistance to the restructuring.

In the days that followed, students drafted a petition on Change.org (“Saving the Heart and Soul of the University of Tulsa”) that has 5,600 signatures to date, and formed a Facebook group with over 1,700 members that serves as a vital clearinghouse for information. The College of Law voted almost unanimously—but for one vote by the disgraced president of the Faculty Senate, who was forced to apologize when he said publicly that opponents of the restructuring can “go f*** themselves”—not to implement key features of the “True Commitment” plan next year. The College of Arts and Sciences voted 89-4 not to implement any part of it until it could be thoroughly reviewed by our faculty.

Alumni have papered the administration with heartfelt letters of protest, and produced TUplan.org: a clear and concise summary of what is being done to TU, why it matters, and why we must stop it. Sixteen national scholarly societies signed a public statement urging the administration to “reconsider and rescind” the restructuring.

Read the rest here.

I don't know too much of the background to this, but it sounds pretty brutal.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

For History Enthusiasts



A good overview of the USSR's role in the war and modern historical revisionism, up to and including the revival of the cult of Stalin in modern Russia.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Archbishop Demetrios Has Resigned

Details.

There have been rumors for years of financial shenanigans in the GOA. The business with the church building project at the 9-11 memorial site has been  something of a black eye. And now the Archdiocese’s flagship seminary appears to be in danger of losing their accreditation. So while not exactly unexpected, it will be interesting to see if this leads to some transparency.

Monday, April 29, 2019

500 churches in C of E still ban female priests

Apparently there are still some 500 CofE parishes that do not allow female clergy. However there is evidence that tolerance for those unable and/or unwilling to burn incense before the altar of the zeitgeist may be coming to an end.

See here.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Christ is risen!


Father Gagged, Found Guilty Of ‘Family Violence’ For Calling His Trans Daughter A ‘She’

Last week, Justice Francesca Marzari of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, declared a father guilty of “family violence” against his 14-year-old daughter on the sole basis that he had engaged in “expressions of rejection of [her] gender identity.” These “expressions” revolved entirely around his polite refusal to refer to his daughter as a boy in private, and his steady choice to affirm that she is a girl in public.

As previously reported, the BC Supreme Court ordered in February that 14-year-old Maxine* receive testosterone injections without parental consent. Accordingly, Maxine began regular injections at British Columbia (BC) Children’s Hospital over the course of the last two months.

Her father, Clark*, strongly objects to this treatment and immediately sought to reverse the decision in the BC Court of Appeal. Hoping to raise awareness of his case, Clark gave a number of interviews to media outlets, including The Federalist. In these interviews, he repeatedly referred to his daughter as a girl, stating to The Federalist that “she is a girl.  Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do.”

While many might take this to be an honest statement of biological fact, Marzari quoted it as a prime example of Clark’s “family violence of a public denial of [Maxine’s] gender identity.” Marzari convicted Clark of this violence, and issued a “protection order” preventing him from speaking to journalists or the public about his case.

While the main thrust of Marzari’s ruling focused on Clark’s public statements, Marzari also ordered that Clark be enjoined from “exposing” Maxine to any materials that might “question whether [her] gender identity is real or the treatments [she] seeks are in [her] best interests.” This order arose from the fact that, in mid-March, Clark invited his daughter to watch a video of a small-time Canadian conservative commentator with him.

The video contained a section discussing Maxine’s case, which she quickly recognized. She told her father she “did not want to watch the video, and went to [her] room.” This incident, according to Marzari, was a clear case of an “attempt to persuade [Maxine] to abandon treatment,” and, hence, of family violence.

Read the rest here.
See also this from Rod Dreher.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Our God is a Consuming Fire. Homily for Holy Thursday, on Repentance Before Communion


O my beloved and greatly-desired brethren who have gathered in the Holy Church of God, in order to serve the Living God in holiness and righteousness, and, with fear, to partake of the holy, most-pure, and immortal, awesome Mysteries of Christ: Hearken unto me who am lowly and unworthy. For it is not I who am speaking to you and instructing you; rather the grace of the Most-holy and Life-giving Spirit; for I speak not from myself, but as I have been instructed by the divine canons, and the God-bearing Fathers, as the Church received instruction from the divine Apostles who received their wisdom from God, so do I myself speak, who am lowly and least of all. I know not your works; I consider not that which you have begun; and so, as one who fears God, I give counsel to everyone among you, whether man or woman, whether great or small, to anyone of you that may be guilty of sin, convicted by your own counsels, that first you must repent and confess your sins, that you may dare, considering yourself unworthy, to approach and touch the Divine Fire Itself. For our God is a consuming Fire, and they, therefore, who with faith and fear draw near to the God and King and Judge of us all, shall burn and scorch their sins; and It shall enlighten and sanctify their souls. But It shall burn and scorch with shame, the souls and bodies of them that draw near with unbelief. Therefore, many among you are ill and sleep in sickness, that is, many are dying unconfessed and unrepentant. And furthermore, my brethren, I beseech you, and I say: no one that swears oaths, nor a perjurer, nor a liar, nor one that finds fault with others, nor a fornicator, nor an adulterer, nor a homosexual, nor a thief, nor a drunkard, nor a blasphemer, nor one that envies his brother, nor a murderer, nor a sorcerer, nor a magician, nor a charmer, nor an enchanter, nor a robber, nor a Manichean, shall, unconfessed and unprepared, approach, touch, or draw near the dread Mysteries of Christ, for it is terrible to fall into the hands of the Living God. For the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the joints and marrow and bones, and thoughts and hearts. See, therefore, my brethren, that no one approach, unrepentant or unprepared or unworthily, to partake of His dread and most-pure Mysteries. For He Himself saith: I am He, and there is no god besides me; I kill, and I make alive; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand; for I, Myself, am King forever: to Whom is due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen.

- St. John Chrysostom
Source

Monday, April 22, 2019

The left should resist the siren song of ‘modern monetary theory’

Over the past year, a new economic concept has moved to the center of the political debate, as economists, pundits and policymakers hold it up as the answer to our economic problems. Modern monetary theory, or MMT, supposedly explains how “We Can Pay for a Green New Deal,” as one of its leading advocates recently argued in HuffPost. “Here’s the good news,” wrote Stephanie Kelton, a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, along with two co-authors. “Anything that is technically feasible is financially affordable.”

While Democrats and Republicans ask the “same tired questions” about the affordability of projects, Kelton and her co-authors argue that we can just open the spigot of the money supply by “printing” new currency (done with computer keystrokes these days, not a mechanical press), and so we can abandon the “obsession with trying to ‘pay for’ everything with new revenue or spending cuts.” This is the kind of answer advocates and policymakers across Washington are eager to hear: If it’s too hard to persuade politicians to increase taxes, that’s okay. There’s a technical fix.

This is a huge departure from the assumptions that govern our budget. The United States, MMT advocates say, should decouple spending decisions from taxing decisions. And while there is merit to certain MMT proposals, it’s a distraction from tackling our biggest economic challenge: inequality.

It would not be an overstatement to say that MMT hasn’t been well-received among many economists — and not just conservatives. Former treasury secretary Larry Summers called it “voodoo economics” in The Washington Post, suggesting that it offered the false promise of a “free lunch.” In a recent poll of about 50 elite economists by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, not a single one agreed with a central MMT claim: “Countries that borrow in their own currency can finance as much real government spending as they want by creating money.” MMT proponents have responded that their views are misunderstood by mainstream economists.

Read the rest here.

We currently live in a country without a fiscally sane political party. Republicans and Democrats are in a bipartisan rush to bankrupt the United States.


The most dangerous person in the world is the well intentioned fool, with power.

The Pope's View on Women

Rome April 21- The Pope, addressing the Union of Italian Catholic Women today showed strong opposition to some of their ambitions.

"Those who wish to make the woman the equal of man in all things," said his holiness, "and give her the same rights are assuredly in error. Women mixed up in the agitations of public life would be the ruin of the family and society. Woman should be the companion of man, and at the same time accepting his authority, an authority mitigated by love and nothing more."

Source.

The Devil's Easter Press Conference



Lutheran Satire is at it again. (New England Patriots fans may want to skip this one.)

A Young Appreciation of the Old Right

Calvin Coolidge has become cool again. 

Two large factions now define conservative politics across American universities. There are the right-libertarian or “classical liberal” students, and there are the traditionalist conservative students. Joined in opposition to the leftist academia, these factions cooperate with some hesitation.

Many libertarian students favor social and cultural policies that are more commonly found in the mainstream of the American Left, such as same-sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization. In contrast, traditionalist students oppose drug legalization, open borders, the sexual revolution, and crony capitalism. These fault lines appear everywhere, from College Republican meetings to fraternity houses.

Divisions on the Right, especially among the young and passionate, are not news. Much more curious is the endurance of an at least nominal coalition between these two opposed groups. This improbable alliance is predicated on a shared intellectual tradition, often attributed to the Enlightenment and Edmund Burke.

Recently, however, a seemingly forgotten group of American statesmen and intellectuals have become new symbols of this supposed heritage. In my interactions with peers at conservative conferences, meetings, and social functions, I keep hearing familiar references to the “Old Right.” Both libertarians and traditionalist conservatives reminisce about it as a way to imbue their hopeful entente with some intellectual vigor.

Read the rest here.

FTR I have been a Coolidge fan since my high school days (a very long time ago).