Monday, February 28, 2022


Dear brothers and sisters! The faithful of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church!

As the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I appeal to you and to all citizens of Ukraine. A disaster has occurred. Unfortunately, Russia has launched military actions against Ukraine, and at this fateful time I urge you not to panic, to be courageous, and to show love for your homeland and for each other. I call you, above all, to intensified penitential prayer for Ukraine, for our army, and our people, and I entreat you to lay aside mutual strife and misunderstandings and unite in love for God and our motherland.

At this tragic time, we express our fervent love and support to our soldiers standing guard and protecting and defending our land and our people. May God bless and keep them!

Defending the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, we appeal to the President of Russia and ask him to immediately stop the fratricidal war. The Ukrainian and Russian peoples came out of the Dnieper Baptismal font, and the war between these peoples is a repetition of the sin of Cain, who killed his own brother out of envy. Such a war has no justification either from God or from people.

I call everyone to common sense, which teaches us to solve our earthly problems in mutual dialogue and mutual understanding, and I sincerely hope that God will forgive us our sins and that God’s peace will reign on our land and throughout the world!

The Russian Economy Has Been Nuked

Over the weekend Vladimir Putin rattled Russia's nuclear sabre. Meanwhile, the west pushed the button. The sanctions are the most rigorous I can remember against any country in my lifetime. Iran, South Africa during apartheid, even North Korea; they all look relatively ok compared to what is going on in Russia. Putin is now radioactive and that is extending to the entire country. This is likely to last a long time. Most of the industrialized world has moved to cut Russia off. The Ruble is one step from being used for toilet paper. The stock market has been closed by the Russian Central Bank to prevent a meltdown. There are reports of near panic buying of necessary comodities in order to unload their money while it still has any value at all. The massive amounts of foreign currency reserves stockpiled for years as a hedge against possible western sanctions are now mostly frozen. Putin does have some gold, which he has also been buying for the last decade or longer. But it's not clear where that is. And even Switzerland has joined the economic blockade. But even if the gold is in Russia, it won't be enough to keep the lights on for long. I feel badly for the Russian people. They can be added to the long list of Putin's victims.

Sunday, February 27, 2022


In a rare break with Moscow, the leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have denounced the Russian invasion and urged their countrymen to support the Kiev government.

“Defending the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, we also appeal to the President of Russia to stop the fratricidal war immediately,” said Metropolitan Onufry, head of the UOC-MP. Father Mykola Danilevich, a spokesman for the UOC-MP, was more outspoken, saying: ““Putin treacherously attacked our country! We bless everyone for the defense of Ukraine!”

From here

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Thousands of young Russian men flee to US

Thousands of Russians are trying to reach the United States to claim political asylum and avoid being drafted to the army, the Telegraph can reveal.

Immigration lawyers in America have been inundated with inquiries from Russian men and their families asking if the US will grant them political protection amid fears of conscription, following Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

In recent months, record numbers of Russian citizens have been apprehended on the US border with Mexico, as an easy path to the US offers opponents of Vladimir Putin’s government an escape.

The Telegraph has spoken to bank managers, engineers and fashion designers who have all left their homes in search of a new life in the US after being targeted by police in Russia.

But now, immigration lawyers say the numbers will “skyrocket” amid fears that military-age men will be called up to fight in the war with Ukraine - which has already called up conscripts and reservists aged between 18 and 60.

In 2020, just 467 Russians were detained at America's southern border. Last year, that number soared to 9,376 - a result of the Russian crackdown on dissent following widespread protests spearheaded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, experts say.

But the numbers are still increasing. Last month, 1,028 Russians and 248 Ukrainians made their way across the border, mostly crossing from Tijuana to San Diego.

“We have never been so busy,” said Ekaterina Mouratova, a Russian-American immigration lawyer based in Miami. “But the number is going to skyrocket. I have got tons of emails in the last few days - hundreds. They are mostly men between 20 and 55 who are asking if they can get protection from the US if Russia does a mandatory military draft. These people do not want to go to war.

Read the rest here. (paywalled)

What's the difference between the UN and the League of Nation?

The League never actually gave Hitler or Stalin a veto. Otherwise, I see no real difference.

Russian Bonds Downgraded

Standard & Poor's has downgraded Russian sovereign bonds to 'junk' status. That's going to hurt.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Russia Invades Ukraine

Russia launched a large-scale military operation tonight with the stated object of "demilitarizing and de-nazifying Ukraine." The irony being that Putin has been employing Hitler's playbook from 1938-39, almost verbatim. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Russia Moves Against Ukraine

  • Russian President V.V. Putin has announced formal recognition of two separatist regimes in Eastern Ukraine. Both have been widely described as puppet regimes of the Kremlin.
  • Mr. Putin has ordered Russian troops to enter those self-proclaimed states for the purpose of "peace keeping."
  • Russia's formal declaration recognizes all of the claimed territory of the two secessionist groups, including large swaths of territory held by the Ukrainian government.
  • In a speech to the Russian nation Mr. Putin questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine's existence as an independent state.
  • Mr. Putin has requested and received permission from the Russian Duma to deploy troops outside of Russia. The request was made in response to Russian claims of mass genocide being perpetrated by the government in Kyiv against ethnic Russians. Those claims have been emphatically denied by Ukraine and received with ridicule by the international community.
  • Mr. Putin has issued a series of demands to Ukraine that include formal Ukrainian recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea which Russia seized in 2014, that Ukraine adopt a policy of what Moscow termed "strict neutrality" including a permanent pledge never to join NATO, and a formal demand that Ukraine effectively disarm itself and surrender all heavy weapons including any arms supplied by the United States or other powers. Presumably they would have to be surrendered to Russia. 

Friday, February 11, 2022


War may be imminent, or it may not. But if it comes one thing is certain; thousands will be killed and wounded. And most will be Orthodox Chrisitians. 

Lord have mercy.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Britain: National Power Grid to tap electric cars when in need of extra juice

Electric car owners will be called on to help Britain avoid an energy crunch as suppliers prepare tariffs allowing them to draw power from parked vehicles at times of low supply or high demand.

Cars which are charging on driveways are to be plugged into a system responsible for balancing the National Grid for the first time, in an experiment aimed at easing the burden on the country's creaking energy infrastructure.

It will lay the groundwork for a national rollout of the technology if successful, paving the way for millions of electric cars to act as a giant battery so that power supply is stable at times of low wind speeds after the transition to green energy.

In the trial, which will begin at some point from April to June, car owners will agree to allow the grid to draw power from their vehicles and release it as and when required. They will be paid for energy which the grid drains off.

Read the rest here.

According to the comments, the planned rebate will be 15/p per kwh. The problem is that the car owners are charged 19/p per kwh by the power grid. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Catholics Debate: Regional Managers or Successors to the Apostles?

Last week, Bishop Joseph Strickland quoted a few lines from my latest article for Crisis Magazine called “The Great Convergence.” I wrote the piece, in part, to push back against what Bishop Athanasius Schneider calls the culture of papal-centrism we find everywhere in the modern Church. Here’s the paragraph Bishop Strickland tweeted:

"The West needs to remember that our bishops do not derive their authority from the pope. They are not the Vatican’s regional managers. They are Successors to the Apostles in their own right. They have their own teaching authority. They are the shepherds of their sheep."

For that, His Excellency was called a schismatic, a heretic, even an apostate. It goes to show how much confusion there is about the papacy even among faithful, well-informed Catholics. Apparently, quite a few of us think bishops are indeed the Vatican’s regional managers. They seem to think that the pope is the only real bishop, and that he simply rents out a little bit of his bishop-ness to the seven thousand ordinaries around the world.  

Clearly, that’s not the case. All bishops (including the pope) derive their authority from the same source: God. Our Lord consecrated the Twelve Apostles as bishops. The Apostles then passed on the authority of their office to a new generation through the laying on of hands. We call this line Apostolic Succession.  

As the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church puts it:

"For from the tradition, which is expressed especially in liturgical rites and in the practice of both the Church of the East and of the West, it is clear that, by means of the imposition of hands and the words of consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is so conferred, and the sacred character so impressed, that bishops in an eminent and visible way sustain the roles of Christ Himself as Teacher, Shepherd and High Priest, and that they act in His person. Therefore it pertains to the bishops to admit newly elected members into the Episcopal body by means of the sacrament of Orders."

Lumen Gentium goes on to explain: “This power, which they personally exercise in Christ’s name, is proper, ordinary and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the supreme authority of the Church, and can be circumscribed by certain limits, for the advantage of the Church or of the faithful.” So, yes: bishops are bishops in their own right.  

It’s true that bishops are subject to higher authorities, including the pope. Yet it’s possible for them to exercise their episcopal office in defiance of the papacy. The Orthodox have been doing it for a thousand years. 

Read the rest here.
HT: Blog reader John L.

Psychic Con Artists

What does it take for someone to impersonate a dead teenager to the grieving mother of the deceased? For M Lamar Keene, a prominent Tampa-based medium in the 1960s and 70s, it was a cinch – all it required was a cocktail of cunning, charisma and sheer audacity. In front of the congregation of his spiritualist church, Keene would enter a trance state and appear to speak as the deceased 17-year-old, Jack, and ask Jack’s mother, Lona, to donate thousands of dollars to the church. One day, Lona asked Jack about the secret name he used for her, to prove it was really him, and Keene was stumped – until he attended a gathering at her house and feigned a headache. While pretending to rest in her bedroom, he searched her belongings and found the name scribbled in a family Bible: “Appleonia”. He pulled it off.

Keene confessed to being a conman in his 1976 book, The Psychic Mafia. Jack and Lona’s was just one of many audacious cases he revealed in the exposé, which shook the world of spiritualism so much that it led to an attempt on his life. Someone took a shot at him on his lawn but missed, leaving a bullet in the side of his house. In the book, Keene described how mediums shared client information so that they could conduct “hot readings” based on solid facts. He recounted how they would steal jewellery from clients for a few months, only to pretend a dead family member’s spirit had made it reappear (which usually resulted in generous tips). Ultimately, he confirmed that mediums formed a vast network to fraudulently monetise people’s grief. So why did Keene – the so-called Prince of the Spiritualists – choose to blow the whistle on everyone?

Read the rest here.