Friday, June 29, 2018

Mexico — What Went Wrong?

Mexico gets a massive cash influx in remittances, American corporations get cheap labor, Democrats get voters . . .

Mexico in just a few days could elect one of its more anti-American figures in recent memory, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Obrador has often advanced the idea that a strangely aggrieved Mexico has the right to monitor the status of its citizens living illegally in the United States. Lately, he trumped that notion of entitlement by assuring fellow Mexicans that they have a “human right” to enter the United States as they please. For Obrador, this is an innate privilege that he promised “we will defend” — without offering any clarification on the meaning of “defend” other than to render meaningless the historic notion of borders and sovereignty.

Obrador went on to urge his fellow Mexicans to “leave their towns and find a life in the United States.” He has naturally developed such a mindset because he assumes as normal what has become, by any fair standard, a historically abnormal relationship.

Obrador is determined to perpetuate, if not enhance, the asymmetry. In the age of Trump, Obrador also reasons that the furor and hysteria of the American media toward the president represents a majority and a domestic grassroots pushback against the Trump administration — apparently because of Trump’s “restrictionist” view of enforcing existing immigration law. Polls, however, suggest otherwise, despite their notorious embedded anti-Trump bias.

Mexico, the Aggressor

Facts are stubborn and reveal Mexico, not the United States, as a de facto aggressor and belligerent on many fronts. Mexico runs a NAFTA-protected $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S., larger than that of any other single American trade partner (including Japan and Germany) except China. The architects of NAFTA long ago assured Americans that such a trade war would not break out, or that we should not worry over trade imbalances, given the desirability of outsourcing to take advantage of Mexico’s cheaper labor costs.

A supposedly affluent Mexico was supposed to achieve near parity with the U.S., as immigration and trade soon neutralized. Despite Mexico’s economic growth, no such symmetry has followed NAFTA. What did, however, 34 years later, was the establishment of a dysfunctional Mexican state, whose drug cartels all but run the country on the basis of their enormous profits from unfettered dope-running and human-trafficking into the United States. NAFTA certainly did not make Mexico a safer, kinder, and gentler nation.

In addition, Mexican citizens who enter and reside as illegal immigrants in the U.S. are mostly responsible for sending an approximate $30 billion in remittances home to Mexico. That sum has now surpassed oil and tourism as the largest source of Mexican foreign exchange. That huge cash influx is the concrete reality behind Obrador’s otherwise unhinged rhetoric about exercising veto power over U.S. immigration law.

What is also unsaid is that many of the millions of Mexican expatriates in the United States who send remittances home to Mexico are themselves beneficiaries of some sort of U.S. federal, state, or local support that allows them to free up cash to send back to Mexico.

When Obrador urges his fellow citizens to abandon their country and head illegally into the United States, his primary concern is not their general welfare and futures. He seems quite unconcerned that those who send home remittances live in poverty in the United States and seek offsetting subsidies from the U.S. government to find enough disposable income to save the Mexican government from its mostly corrupt self.

Why the U.S. government does not tax remittances and why it does not prohibit foreign nationals on public assistance from sending cash out of the country are some of the stranger phenomena of the entire strange illegal-immigration matrix.

Read the rest here.

On a related note; I talked about this back in 2011. You can read that blog post here.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cardinal Meuller hits one out of the park

In an exclusive CWR interview, the former prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith discusses tensions over the proposed reception of Holy Communion by Protestants, continued conflicts over the Church’s teaching about ordination, and homosexuality and ideology.

“We are experiencing conversion to the world, instead of to God”

HT: Dr. Tighe

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Greek Government to Propose Separation of Church and State

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras intends to initiate the process of separating the Greek Orthodox Church from the Greek state and revising the relevant article of the Greek constitution, reports Russian Athens with reference to the Greek paper Kathimerini

According to the Greek publication, within the next month Tsipras will present his plan for the revision of the constitution, including plans to separate the Church from the state, ahead of the expected submission of the SYRIZA proposal to parliament, planned for October.
Tsipras and his advisers are aware that the initiative is likely to cause strong reactions from the Greek Church, although Tsipras believes he will be able to manage the situation. The initiative will be presented as “progressive,” and therefore the prime minister is hoping to receive the support of the centrist party “Movement for Change.” 

The project on the separation of Church and state from SYRIZA, the Coalition of the Radical Left, was published about a year ago. The project provides:
  1. That Church and state discretion are fully established with full respect for the Orthodox Church and its historical role;
  2. The explicit fixing of the religious neutrality of the state, recognizing Orthodoxy as an historical religion;
  3. The obligation to guarantee a single political oath for president, prime minister, legislators, judges, and other public officials.
The Holy Synod of the Greek Church has opposed the government’s plans to unilaterally separate the Church from the state. The bishops argued that one political part cannot make such a decision, but only with the support of the people. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ex President of Ireland claims baptizing infants is a violation of their human rights


It's getting real folks. There was a time when I dismissed warnings about a coming persecution as hysteria. I don't anymore. In Australia they just passed a law requiring priests to report any confession of child sex abuse. The general hostility on the part of the secular left to Christianity that goes back decades, is reaching the point of visceral hatred. And in some parts of the world they are in firm control of the state.

The latest claims from the Ukrainian schismatics

Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine [sic] Filaret claims that after receiving a Tomos on autocephaly from Constantinople, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that  is now in unity with the Russian Orthodox Church will lose the right to be called "Ukrainian."

"It is the Ukrainian Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the UAOC (Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) who will receive the tomos, which will mean the unification of said churches. The Moscow Patriarchate will have to decide: either to join the canonical Ukrainian Church, recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other churches, or not. We assume that not all parishes, priests and bishops will join the Local Church. No one will force them to do this. However, those who do not join will not have the right to be called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, remaining only the metropolis or exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine," Patriarch Filaret told the parliamentary newspaper, Holos Ukrainy.

He also estimated Ukraine's chances of obtaining the tomos at "99 percent," adding that "the Synod meeting is scheduled to be held in the Constantinople Church in Istanbul in the first half of July."

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced on April 17 that the heads of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church had decided to officially appeal to Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for autocephaly. Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop (used especially in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Independent Catholic churches). Autocephaly opens the way for the creation of a united Orthodox church in Ukraine, which will not be subordinate to Moscow.

Ukrainian experts recently explained, and debunked, Russian propaganda's narratives aimed at hindering Ukraine's efforts to gain autocephaly for its church. It was also reported that Russian intelligence could resort to provocations to sow discord.

From here.

I would take this with a grain of salt. That said, there are  a few unbiased sources predicting that Constantinople will in fact grant the tomos. If that happens the Church could shortly be facing the most serious crisis since the Great Schism.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

For the record

Cardinal McCarrick, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of DC has been effectively suspended as a result of credible allegations of sexual misconduct. It seems likely that the Catholic Church had at least some warning long ago that he might be a scandal bomb waiting to go off.

In any event we Orthodox should not be patting ourselves on the back as we look down our nose at the Roman Church. It is common knowledge that we have our own "lavender mafia" in some of the jurisdictions in North America. On which note; we need to stop making unmarried diocesan priests bishops. Bishops should be drawn from monasteries, and only monastics with a long and solid reputation. For that matter we should really not be ordaining unmarried men to the priesthood unless they are monks.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Marriage as a Lifetime of Suffering

I would like to commend Fr. Stephen Freeman's latest reflection to readers of this blog. I am not going to excerpt it. Just go here and read it all.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Irish PM Says Catholic Hospitals Will Be Forced to Abort Children

Just weeks after a lopsided, groundbreaking vote struck down Ireland’s constitutional ban on legal abortion, the country’s Taoiseach signaled the broader moral and legal implications of this sea change in a once deeply Catholic nation.

“It will not … be possible for publicly funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is,” Leo Varadkar told the Dáil, “to opt out of providing these necessary services which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil [the lower house of the Irish legislature] and Seanad [senate].”

Britain’s Catholic Herald reported today that two large hospitals in Dublin are owned by religious orders: the Sisters of Charity’s St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the Sisters of Mary’s Mater Hospital. Both, along with other Catholic medical institutions, will soon confront the full reality of abortion on demand.

In a June 14 column for National Review entitled, “In Ireland, What’s Legal Is Now Mandatory,” Michael Brendan Doughterty noted that NRO had “predicted in its editorial on the referendum that victory for Repeal would be swiftly followed by attempts to coerce Catholic institutions to provide abortion. Now Varadkar has promised as much.”

At present, the Irish government is preparing legislation to allow abortion on demand for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy — and in special cases, for up to 24 weeks.

Read the rest here.

114 Years Ago Today

More than 1300 German Lutherans, mostly working class immigrants or first generation Americans boarded an excursion steamer in New York for a long planned church outing and picnic on Long Island. Most were women and children. The men had to work. Within an hour of sailing most, more than a thousand, were dead. They were the victims of the worst disaster in New York history until 9/11.

The PS General Slocum
The New York Tribune's coverage of the disaster

Memory eternal.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Much of bitcoin's 2017 boom was market manipulation

Bitcoin's epic rise last year may have been more than investor fervor. A study published Wednesday says at least half of the jump in bitcoin was due to coordinated price manipulation.

University of Texas finance professor John Griffin, who has a 10-year track record of spotting financial fraud, and graduate student Amin Shams examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. In a 66-page paper, the authors found that tether was used to buy bitcoin at key moments when it was declining, which helped "stabilize and manipulate" the cryptocurrency's price.

"Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it's nice to have the blockchain to track things," Griffin told CNBC.

By tracking Bitfinex transactions, which are recorded on a public ledger, Griffin found that another cryptocurrency, tether. was used to buy bitcoin after large price falls. The authors tracked that pattern and found periods of suspicious bitcoin price activity tied to the issuance of tether, which is purportedly pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.

"It was creating price support for bitcoin, and over the period that we examined, had huge price effects," Griffin said. "Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit."

Griffin found that about 87 hours, or about 1 percent, of heavy tether trading could explain 50 percent of the rise of bitcoin, and around 64 percent of the rise of other major cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin rose to almost $20,000 in December after starting last year below $1,000. This year, the world's first and most popular cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value, trading near $6,252 on Wednesday afternoon, according to CoinDesk.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Something a bit out of the ordinary...

The Salve Regina chanted according to the ancient Cistercian Rite by Dom Abbot Thomas and assisted by two subdeacons. From the Western Rite Mission of St. Athanasius in Munster Germany under the omiphorion of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Met. Kallistos Ware strays way off the reservation

The hitherto highly respected theologian has written the Forward for the new edition of "The Wheel," a pseudo-Orthodox publication that appears dedicated to challenging the traditional Christian understanding of gender and sexual morality. At least one Orthodox site claims, inaccurately, that Ware has endorsed unnatural marriage. He did not, as far as I can tell, cross that line.

But he came damn close.

From my perspective he seems to be spouting the same theological revisionism that has devastated what we once called the Mainline Protestant denominations and which, like a deadly cancer, has now infected and is spreading within the Roman Catholic Church.

This needs to be addressed quickly and decisively. The Holy Synod must demand a formal affirmation of his adherence to the Orthodox Christian Faith which I believe would necessitate recanting a great deal of what he wrote. This is not a time or place for "dialogue," one of the favorite words employed by modernists which can be generally understood to mean "let's talk until you realize how wrong Christianity has been for its first two thousand years." This is a time for a firm defense of Holy Orthodoxy in the face of liberal Protestant heresy.

HT: Bill Tighe