Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Corbyn at War With the Military

LONDON — The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is an extraordinary choice in many respects — not least for the geopolitical signal it sends out.

You may have read that this hard-left maverick is unlikely to win a general election. You may also have heard that the Conservative Party, buoyed by its surprise victory in May, cannot believe that the principal opposition has chosen a new leader who will lead it even further into the wilderness.

All that is probably true. But it’s not the end of the story. Along the way, Mr. Corbyn has an unrivaled opportunity to change the terms of trade in foreign and security policy, to shatter consensus, to tear apart bipartisanship.

To understand what is happening, let’s go back to the beginning. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were not only planned to maximize carnage and sow fear. They were also intended to provoke the West into a series of ferocious responses, not all of them considered or wise.

Read the rest here.


Well worth the read.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hungary tells EU it 'does not wish to repeat the West's failed attempts at multiculturalism

Hungary has defended its opposition to Brussels' plans for compulsory migrant quotas, saying it did not wish to repeat the West's "failed experiments" in multiculturalism.

In a defiant rejection of diktats from Europe's high command, the country's right-wing government said it was not interested in "lectures" from the European Union about taking in Middle Eastern refugees.

The comments were a direct challenge to remarks last week by one of the EU's most senior figures, who criticised Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, for opposing the quotas plan and for fencing off its borders to migrants trying to reach Europe.

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch vice-president of the European Commission, said that "diversity was the future of the world," and that Eastern European nations would just have to "get used to that."

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Orban's spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, responded by saying that integration in much of Western Europe had been at best a limited success. Hungary, he said, felt neither the wish nor the obligation to follow suit.

"Contrary to Mr Timmerman's vision, we can't see into the future," Mr Kovács said. "But we are aware of the past, and multi-culturalism in Western Europe has not been a success in our view. We want to avoid making the same mistakes ourselves." 

Read the rest here.

Exaltation of the Holy and Life Giving Cross

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

RIP: Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s greatest catchers and characters, who as a player was a mainstay of 10 Yankee championship teams and as a manager led both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series — but who may be more widely known as an ungainly but lovable cultural figure, inspiring a cartoon character and issuing a seemingly limitless supply of unwittingly witty epigrams known as Yogi-isms — died Tuesday. He was 90.

His death was reported by the Yankees and by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center Museum in Little Falls, N.J. Before moving to an assisted living facility in nearby West Caldwell, in 2012, Berra had lived for many years in neighboring Montclair.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tech Alert: AVG is now spyware

Bad news for those of us who use the free version of AVG for computer security. Starting in October they will be selling our  browser history to advertisers. Time to move on...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Limited Posting

I am going to be busy over the next few days. Little or no posting is likely until at least Tuesday. Enjoy the weekend...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Navy, Marines To Open All Jobs to Women

Ray Mabus has made up his mind: there’s no job in the Navy or Marine Corps that’s going to be off-limits to women.

With more than a month to go before the deadline, the Navy Secretary made it clear on Monday: he will not be requesting any exceptions to the Pentagon edict that all U.S. military jobs be opened to women.

“Nobody’s asking for an exemption in the Navy,” Mabus told an audience at the the City Club of Cleveland. “And I’ve been pretty clear about this for a while – I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines.”

That may have come as a surprise to the Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Joe Dunford; Marine Corps Times reported Thursday that Dunford had met with the secretary on the issue but had yet to issue his recommendations. Defense Secretary Ash Carter asked the services to complete their reviews of obstacles to full gender integration and report back by Oct. 1. If no service seeks or is granted an exemption, the military will open to women all 200,000 positions that remain closed to them on or before the first of the year.

Mabus spoke just a few days after publicly criticizing a Marine Corps study that compared the performance of ground combat units with female members to all-male teams — and found the women lacking. “In the all-volunteer study, the men consistently outperformed the women in speed and accuracy, while female Marines were injured at more than double the rate of their male counterparts,” Marine Corps Times reported.

In his Sept. 14 speech, the Navy secretary argued that the study wasn’t relevant to the debate.

Read the rest here.

I am so glad I got out when I did. These clowns are playing politics with lives. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Patriarch Kirill and Russian Orthodoxy Deserve Respect Not Insults: An Open Letter to George Weigel

As longtime friendly colleagues in the pursuit of a faithful Christian public moral witness in America, we are profoundly saddened and shocked at your unfounded, insulting accusations against the moral integrity of the senior leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church since the Ukrainian crisis erupted in February 2014.

The initial broadside appeared in your column in the Denver Catholic Register on March 18, 2014, when you dismissed Patriarch Kirill of Moscow as "duplicitous" and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev), chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, as "mendacious.” We take increased umbrage at the steady escalation of your Szechuan ad hominem prose since then:

  • “These [Ukrainian Greek Catholic] bishops, like other western Christians, have not been duped by the extraordinary campaign of lies that has issued from the Kremlin these past seven months, but . . . all of us who cherish the spiritual patrimony of Russian Orthodoxy. . . are deeply saddened when you and Metropolitan Hilarion, your chief ecumenical officer, amplify the falsehoods of President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.” [June 17, 2014]
  • “Russian Orthodoxy’s leadership today functions as a Kremlin mouthpiece in matters Ukrainian, even as it lies about the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s role in the current crisis and betrays its ecumenical commitments in doing so. . . . [February 17, 2015]
  • “Serious ecumenical theological dialogue is impossible with men who are acting in the world as agents of Russian state power. Pretending otherwise emboldens the Russian Orthodox leadership.” [August 4, 2015]
The condescending, hubristic tone of those comments is surpassed in offensiveness only by your resort to uncharitable epithets—liars, mouthpieces, and dupes—which hardly constitute a reasoned argument. It is well-nigh impossible in this “open letter” to defend Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion from your omniscient pretense to know their hearts and minds. However, we shall attempt here to set the record straight by accurately citing and explaining their public positions on the Ukrainian crisis. 

Read the rest here.

Update: I draw the reader's attention to a response posted here.

Forbidden To Call It Divorce. But It Sure Looks Like It

ROME, September 15, 2015 - As the days go by it becomes ever clearer how revolutionary is the scope of the two motu prorio published by Pope Francis on September 8 - the second for the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches - on the reform of procedures for marital nullity cases:

> Lettera apostolica "Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus"

> Lettera apostolica "Mitis et Misericors Iesus"

It is the pope himself, in the opening of the document, who presents the reason for the reform:

“The enormous number of faithful who, despite wanting to look after their conscience, too often are turned aside by the juridical structures of the Church.”

In the official presentation of the motu proprio the president of the commission that elaborated the reform, Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, turned the reason into an objective:

“To move from the restricted number of a few thousand findings of nullity to the enormous number of unfortunates who could have a declaration of nullity but are left out by the existing system.”

Francis has been absolutely convinced for some time that at least half of the marriages celebrated in church all over the world are invalid. He said so in the press conference on July 28, 2013 on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro. He said it again to Cardinal Walter Kasper, as Kasper in turn said in an interview with “Commonweal” of May 7, 2014.

Read the rest here.

As Mets Rise, a City Starts to Change Its Pinstripes

Noticing more blue-and-orange caps and fewer navy pinstripes around New York these days? Hearing more talk about how the Mets keep finding ways to win?

It could be that the Yankees’ seemingly unshakable hold on the city’s baseball heart is loosening amid the sudden and stunning turnaround for the Mets.

Both teams may be headed for the postseason, so another test of popularity may be coming soon. And measuring the pulse of a fan base in a two-team baseball city is never simple, especially when one of them is the Yankees, with their 27 World Series championship and 20 retired numbers.

But some telling evidence points to trouble for the Yankees and a boon for the Mets, suggesting that New York might be turning into a Mets town for the first time since their championship season of 1986.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Britain's Labour Party Elects Far Left Leader

LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning transformation from perennial leftist rebel to leader of Britain’s Labour Party upended British politics on Saturday and delivered a striking message worldwide: At this anti-establishment moment, parties of the left are just as vulnerable to populist takeovers as parties of the right.

The Corbyn victory represented an extraordinary rebuke to Labour’s more centrist powers-that-be, especially to former prime minister Tony Blair, who had campaigned vigorously against Corbyn and who argued that his selection would mean the party’s “annihilation.”

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

In This Great Service: A Theological and Political Defence of Monarchy

This will be no great tract, for such a lengthy essay it is not in my power at present time to write, and wiser men and women than I have already left the world with so many excellent essays on the virtues of the monarchical system. Instead, let this essay serve as a straightforward and simple enumeration of the benefits of monarchy, its inherent virtues, and natural superiority over the republican form of government presently used by most of the world.

Further, let it serve as a theological reflection on the reality that kingship is the sole political model which is recognized and discussed in the Holy Scriptures, even though several forms of government existed in the world at the time of the Scriptures’ composition. As Christ is often referred to as the eternal King of the ages and the Son of David, let the point stand that the Israelites prior to His coming understood and anticipated His messiahship as a typological fulfillment and full realization of their ancient Davidic kingship. That is, as Israel’s kings were anointed by God and consecrated to their duties of holy service to Him and His people, even carrying out specific priestly roles in the Temple, so too have “pious kings and right-believing queens” of the Orthodox Faith, as defenders of the new Israel, the Church, been understood throughout their existence to be consecrated to their people’s service and anointed by God. Reflecting the highly typological language of the Church, which permeates all of her liturgical services, the role of the Christian king is compared to that of Christ: just as Christ the God-Man unites Himself in loving service to the Church His people, all kings are called to unite themselves in a life of service and martyric dedication to their people.

Read the rest here.

God Save The Queen

On this day Her Majesty The Queen surpasses Queen Victoria to become Britain's longest reigning monarch. May God grant Her many (more) years!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican

VATICAN CITY — On a sunny morning earlier this year, a camera crew entered a well-appointed apartment just outside the 9th-century gates of Vatican City. Pristinely dressed in the black robes and scarlet sash of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, the Wisconsin-born Cardinal Raymond Burke sat in his elaborately upholstered armchair and appeared to issue a warning to Pope Francis.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

Papal power, Burke warned, “is not absolute.” He added, “The pope does not have the power to change teaching [or] doctrine.”

Burke’s words belied a growing sense of alarm among strict conservatives, exposing what is fast emerging as a culture war over Francis’s papacy and the powerful hierarchy that governs the Roman Catholic Church.

Read the rest here.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Pope Francis to issue guidelines easing annulment process

Pope Francis on Tuesday will release new streamlined procedures for annulling marriages after he — and thousands of Catholics before him — complained that the church's current system is cumbersome, costly and often unfair.

Francis will release the new rules after a Vatican-appointed commission of canon lawyers spent the past year studying ways to simplify the process while safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage, the Vatican said.

Catholic doctrine holds that a church marriage is forever. An annulment is a judgment by a church tribunal that the marriage had some inherent defect from the start. Reasons vary, including that the couple never intended their marriage to last or that one of the spouses didn't want children.

Catholics have long complained that it can take years to get an annulment, if they can get one at all. Costs can reach into the hundreds or thousands of dollars for legal and tribunal fees.

Without the annulment, divorced Catholics who remarry outside the church are considered to be adulterers living in sin and are forbidden from receiving Communion — a dilemma at the core of a current debate roiling the church.

Francis has already called for annulments to be free, saying all Catholics have the right to justice from the church. He has also said the church should take into account that ignorance of the faith can be a reason to declare a marriage invalid.

Francis has previously quoted his predecessor as Buenos Aires archbishop as saying half of the marriages that are celebrated are essentially invalid because people enter into them not realizing that matrimony is a life-long commitment.

Some of the proposals for streamlining the process have included removing the mandatory appeal for each annulment granted. A key member of the study commission, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, has said he favors letting individual bishops make the decision rather than a full-fledged, three-member tribunal.

Many dioceses in the developing world don't have annulment tribunals. The United States has so many that it often accounts for half of all the world's annulments each year.


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Muslims threaten Europe’s Christian identity, Hungary’s leader says

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, has made nationalistic and controversial statements in the past. But with his country being the gateway for a growing influx of refugees who are trying to reach richer European countries, his words suddenly carry a much heavier weight.

On Thursday, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper published an op-ed by Orban in which he claimed that he was defending European Christianity against a Muslim influx by stopping thousands of refugees from leaving Hungary. “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe,” he wrote in the op-ed. "We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation."

"We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim... That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots," he wrote.

Read the rest here.

Typically biased lefty news coverage. But the man is still right. On a side note I don’t understand the left wing love affair with Muslim immigration. They want some kind of secular post-Enlightenment fantasy land where religion is either nonexistent (like Scandinavia) or shunted quietly off to some corner. Do they really think Muslims are going to go for that once they have a majority? And at the rate they are immigrating and popping out babies I figure most of Europe has about 50 years until they find out what a Muslim majority means.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015