Tuesday, August 31, 2021

For History Enthusiasts

In general I eschew promotion or endorsements on the blog but I am going to make an exception here and respectfully call your attention to the TimeGhost history channel on YouTube. Among the various items they are producing is a weekly as it happened history of World War II. Currently we are entering September of 1942. There are several subseries covering various aspects of the war in greater detail. They also have produced a number of short series covering other topics such as the Indonesian War for Independence, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and their ongoing series covering the interwar decades. You can peruse their previous uploaded videos and subscribe to their channels at the links above. I have been consistently impressed by the quality and quantity of the material they put out, to the extent they are one of just a handful of YouTube channels I support via Patreon. 

I now return you to your normally scheduled, whatever it is you do at this time of the day. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

China Severely Restricts Video Game Play by Children

Kids and teens under 18 years old in China will only be allowed up to three hours per week to play online video games, according to new rules published by China’s National Press and Publication Administration Monday.

The move is a fresh blow to the country’s gaming giants from Tencent to NetEase which have dealt with an onslaught of regulation this year in areas from anti-monopoly to data protection. That has spooked investors and wiped billions of dollars of value off of Chinese tech stocks.

According to a translated notice about the new rules, people under 18 in China will be allowed one hour a day between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays and on legal holidays to play video games. The agency billed the rules as a way to safeguard children’s physical and mental health.

The rules will apply to companies providing online game services to minors, limiting their ability to serve those users outside of designated hours. The companies also will not be allowed to provide services to users who haven’t logged in with real-name registration, preventing them from simply remaining ignorant to their users’ backgrounds.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Congressional Budget Office Forecasts Highest Debt:GDP Ratio Since World War II

The most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast is projecting government debt levels in the U.S. not seen since World War II. According to a CBO report released on July 21:

“After all the government’s borrowing needs are accounted for, debt held by the public rises from $21.0 trillion at the end of 2020 to $35.8 trillion at the end of 2031 in CBO’s baseline projections. As a percentage of GDP, debt at the end of 2031 stands at 106 percent, about 6 percentage points higher than it was at the end of 2020 and nearly two and a half times its average over the past 50 years.”

As for the federal budget deficit as a share of GDP, things aren’t looking good there either according to CBO forecasts:

“CBO projects a federal budget deficit of $3.0 trillion in 2021 as the economic disruption caused by the 2020–2021 coronavirus pandemic and the legislation enacted in response continue to boost the deficit (which was large by historical standards even before the pandemic). At 13.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the deficit in 2021 would be the second largest since 1945, exceeded only by the 14.9 percent shortfall recorded last year.”

Growing levels of national debt and deficits are never good news but they are particularly troublesome when the rosy forecasts for GDP growth this year have started to dim as a result of the economic hit coming from the upsurge in the Delta variant of COVID-19.

On August 19, Goldman Sachs reduced their GDP estimate for the third quarter from a robust 9 percent to 5.5 percent. Goldman Sachs cited Delta’s impact on reduced consumer spending on “dining, travel, and some other services” as the reason for their sharp cut of 3.5 points from their earlier GDP forecast.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Gundlach: We're running our economy 'like we're not interested in maintaining global reserve currency status'

Billionaire bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder and CEO of $137 billion DoubleLine Capital, says his number one conviction over several years is that the U.S. dollar will decline as a consequence of current economic policies, resulting in the U.S. losing its sole reserve currency status.

"My number one conviction looking forward a number of years — I'm not talking about the next few months at all, I'm talking about several years — is that the dollar is going to go down," Gundlach told Yahoo Finance Live in an exclusive interview on Monday afternoon.

It's Gundlach's view that the "places to be in the long-term" are emerging markets and "non-U.S entities." While Gundlach has already rotated into European equities, the investor expects to "aggressively rotate into emerging markets," but notes it's "too early for that right now."

"So the dollar is going down is another reason why ultimately — we touched on gold — I think ultimately gold is going to go a lot higher, but it's really in hibernation right now," he added.

The 61-year-old "Bond King" later highlighted that the United States' status of the global reserve currency is in jeopardy.

"[The] U.S. has enjoyed the status of sole reserve currency globally for decades, and it's an incredible benefit," Gundlach said.

Read the rest here.

The Power of Holy Relics

The mentally ill and those suspected of possible possession are blessed with the incorrupt relics of Saint Gerasimus of Kefalonia.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Black Ribbon Day

August 23 is the International Day of Commemoration for the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Palantir bought $50 million in gold bars in August

While some companies such as Tesla are diversifying into bitcoin, data analytics software company Palantir is betting on gold. Palantir bought $50 million in gold bars in August, the company disclosed in its latest earnings statement.

The move reflects a growing company stashing cash in an unconventional asset in response to economic uncertainty spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and governments’ response to it.

Read the rest here.

Court sides with religious health care workers

A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction on behalf of religious health care providers who feared the Biden administration would interpret the Affordable Care Act as requiring them to perform abortions or gender-transition treatment against their conscience.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had argued that it doesn't require religious providers to offer such procedures and has never brought or threatened any enforcement activity against a religious entity in such a case.

But U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor interpreted HHS regulations as forcing the plaintiffs — a Catholic hospital system in the Midwest and a Christian medical association — to choose between their beliefs and their livelihood, resulting in “irreparable injury.”

The decision underscores a continued dispute between conservative religious health care providers and HHS over an issue that has generated a patchwork of rulings that will likely have to be sorted out by appellate courts.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Prayers for Cardinal Burke

Word from NLM that His Eminence has been hospitalized with Covid. It sounds serious. Card. Burke is one of the good guys in the ongoing crisis in the Roman Church and is known to be high on Frank's enemies list. If my memory has not failed I believe he was the first really prominent conservative prelate to be purged by the then new regime. 

It's Over

Afghanistan has fallen. All that remains is to see how bloody the aftermath is going to be. Ben Sasse (R-NE) has blasted both the Trump and Biden administrations for what is starting to look like one of the most spectacular military defeats in US history. Some of that criticism is fair. But what he and others rushing to judgement are failing to note is that the seeds of this calamity were sown as far back as 2001 when we precipitously invaded a country on the other side of the world, with a longstanding nickname as the "graveyard of empires," with no clear long term objectives, no clear resolve to find and destroy our enemies whatever the cost or wherever they hid, and worst of all, no clear exit strategy. This was followed by eight years of government by the other party whose principle objective appears to have been to not have it all come crashing down on their watch. Then comes Mr. Trump whose, for a change, correct instinct was that it was time to get the hell out, but then proceeds to sign a deal with the Taliban that looks and smells like unconditional surrender, setting a May deadline for our exit. So yeah, Biden got stuck holding the bag. But that doesn't let him off the hook for failing to plan for an orderly withdrawal. 

The ugly truth is that this country has not fought a war with the intention of winning since 1945. And IMHO if winning a war is not your objective, and/or you are not ready to do whatever is needed to secure total victory as quickly and decisively as possible, then you really should not be playing that particular game.

Liturgy for the Feast of the Dormition

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Chinese Corporate Bonds Are Sending Warning Signs

Policy moves in Beijing are hitting Chinese corporate bonds and rippling across global markets through the U.S. and European money managers who loaded up on the securities in recent years.

Emerging-markets investors have long been subject to such shocks, but Chinese bonds are now so widely held that swings in their prices are affecting even bond funds that don’t specialize in developing countries, including funds managed by firms such as Pacific Investment Management Co. and BlackRock Inc.

Global bond funds with the most Chinese corporate debt lagged behind their benchmark indexes over the month that ended last Thursday, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Morningstar Inc. The underperformance coincides with declines in stocks and bonds of Chinese private education, technology and property companies, triggered by regulatory and policy changes.

Chinese authorities recently disclosed plans to make private education companies such as New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. nonprofit and to rein in technology companies including delivery firm Meituan and internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The government also has sent signals that it wants to restrict excessive borrowing by real-estate developers. Fears mounted in July that heavily indebted property company China Evergrande Group might default on its bonds.

Of the 10 nonemerging-markets bond funds with the largest Chinese corporate bondholdings by dollar amount, nine underperformed their benchmarks at the height of the recent turbulence in Chinese debt markets, analysis of the Morningstar data shows. Some of the funds’ performance turned positive in recent days as Chinese corporate bond prices rebounded.

Read the rest here.

The Catholic Church in Germany Has Gone Off the Rails


Most of the clergy, including its bishops, are openly promoting heresy. Meanwhile the Vatican appears to be unable or unwilling to act. In the face of the present crisis, with the German church in open revolt against not just Catholic, but basic Christian orthodoxy, and the Holy See paralyzed; (small 'o') orthodox Roman Catholic bishops around the world should take steps to contain the cancer. They should warn Rome in no uncertain terms to do its job or they will take emergency measures on their own authority. Such measures should include declaring a state of impaired communion with the bishops and clergy in Germany until they recant. 

Monday, August 09, 2021

Quote of the day

"Ritual is an instrument of the sacred. Every innovation is a profanation." -Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Sunday, August 08, 2021

RIP Dewey Lambdin

I just discovered that one of my favorite authors of maritime fiction died this last July 26. His passing likely marks the end of the Alan Lewrie series (25 books) that he had authored over several decades. 

Memory eternal.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

COVID in Holy Cross Monastery

At least 19 of the monks are ill, some seriously. Archimandrite Seraphim and two monks have been hospitalized though their prognosis is favorable. Due to this serious situation the monastery has been temporarily closed to visitors. Prayers are urgently requested.

Details here.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Maryland Democrats Call for Elimination of Negro Race from Politics

Baltimore, Aug 1- The Democratic State Convention, which met here to-day, declared that the purpose of the party, if successful in the coming election was to eliminate the negro from politics in Maryland, if it is possible under the state constitution. Upon this, the paramount issue of the campaign, will stand the candidates nominated to-day for state offices and those chosen in the various county and district conventions as candidates for places in the legislature of 1902, which will elect a United States Senator to succeed George L. Wellington. That his successor, in the event of Democratic victory, would be Arthur Pue Gorman, is thought to be probable, although no formal announcement of his candidacy has yet been made...

...Under the guidance of Mr. Gorman, the following declaration on the chief issue in the campaign was prepared and adopted.

"The Democratic party represents more than forty thousand majority of the white people of Maryland. They, in common with their brethren of other states into which large masses of colored voters have been injected into the body politic, recognize that the peace, good order, personal safety and proper development of our material interests depend upon our control of the commonwealth by its intelligent white residents. Without the aid of the sixty thousand colored voters the Republican party in Maryland would be a hopeless minority. 

We therefore without hesitation proclaim that the success of the Democratic party will mean that, while we shall deal with perfect fairness in securing all the benefits of good government and full and free opportunities to education for all classes, such action must be taken as to prevent the control of the State government from passing into the hands of those who have neither the ability nor the interest to manage public affairs wisely and well."

Read the rest here.

Some people collect stamps or old coins; others...

A German pensioner who kept a Second World War Nazi tank in his basement for over 30 years was given a 14-month suspended jail sentence and fined €50,000 (£43,000) on Tuesday.

The 84-year-old, named only as Klaus-Dieter F under German privacy laws, admitted breaking the country’s War Weapons Control Act in a plea bargain to avoid being sent to prison. 

He also agreed to pay a further €200,000 (£170,000) to charity under the terms of the deal.

As well as a 1943 Panther tank, he also kept an 88mm anti-aircraft gun, a torpedo, a mortar, 70 assault rifles and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition in the basement of his private villa in Heikendorf, a wealthy suburb of Kiel in northern Germany. 

Prosecutors stumbled on the remarkable trove of weapons when they searched his home looking for stolen Nazi artworks after a tip-off in 2015.

Read the rest here.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Pour yourself a drink

The New York Times has an article listing the 25 most significant works of post war architecture. 

"Taste is relative, is the excuse adopted by those eras that have bad taste." -Nicolás Gómez Dávila