Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Rare Film Documentary of the Opening of Vatican II

I think most readers of this blog will agree that Vatican II, based on its fruits, was a near unmitigated catastrophe for the Roman Church. But this film footage, most of which I have never seen, is quite extraordinary and shows some of the ceremonial of the pre-conciliar papacy. On a side note John XXIII looks exhausted and unwell as he is being carried about on the sedia gestatoria.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Arrest Warrant Issued for Vladimir Putin for War Crimes

THE HAGUE (AP) — The International Criminal Court said Friday it has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes because of his alleged involvement in abductions of children from Ukraine.

The court said in a statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.

The ICC said that its pre-trial chamber found there were “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.”

On Thursday, a U.N.-backed inquiry cited Russian attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, among potential issues that amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Roman Catholic Church is going mad

What the hell is going on?

(HT Dr. Tighe)

Are there really no small 'o' orthodox Catholic bishops left? Is there not a single Catholic bishop who grasps the danger and is prepared to call this out for what it is, heresy and schism? It's obvious to a convention of the blind, that Francis is not going to do his job. Why aren't the bishops organizing an emergency synod to deal with this? Gather a large number of pointy hats and issue a joint declaration stating point blank that the German church is a micro inch from full schism and if they actually follow up on any of their heretical proclamations, that the signers of the declaration will break communion with them and anyone who supports them. 

Russia says it does not recognise Hague court amid reports of arrest warrants

Moscow has said it does not recognise the jurisdiction of the international criminal court in The Hague, after reports that the court is expected to seek its first arrest warrants against Russian individuals over the war in Ukraine.

“We do not recognise this court; we do not recognise its jurisdiction,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday morning.

The New York Times and Reuters news agency reported on Monday that the prosecutor at the international criminal court (ICC) would formally open two war crimes cases and issue arrest warrants for several Russians deemed responsible for the mass abduction of Ukrainian children and the targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

Read the rest here.

Monday, March 13, 2023

And now for some (rare) good news from Washington

There are signs of a thaw in the ice-cold relationship between the leadership of the two parties in the House of Representatives. The relationship, to the extent there was one, between Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi, his predecessor as Speaker of the House, was notoriously chilly and at times downright acrimonious. Since taking the Speaker's gavel, and despite being ideological opposites, McCarthy has been working with Pelosi's successor Hakeem Jeffries to try and repair lines of communication between the leadership of the two parties. This has included reviving old school courtesies like actually giving the minority party a heads up on upcoming legislation and consulting them on important items involving the House as a whole. It's early days but people on both sides of the aisle are noting the signs of a detente with cautious optimism.

Details here.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Pope Francis describes gender politics as "ideological colonization"

Pope Francis has said that gender ideology is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” today.

In an interview with journalist Elisabetta Piqué for the Argentine daily newspaper La Nación, Pope Francis explained the reasoning behind his strong statement.

“Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations,” Francis said in the interview published on the evening of March 10.

“Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women,” he added.

“All humanity is the tension of differences. It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”

Pope Francis has frequently used the term “ideological colonization” throughout the 10 years of his pontificate, particularly to describe instances when aid money for developing countries has been tied to contraceptives, abortion, sterilization, and gender ideologies.

Read the rest here.

Proof that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Monday, March 06, 2023

Fact check: Trump delivers wildly dishonest speech at CPAC

As president, Donald Trump made some of his most thoroughly dishonest speeches at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

As he embarks on another campaign for the presidency, Trump delivered another CPAC doozy Saturday night.

Trump’s lengthy address to the right-wing gathering in Maryland was filled with wildly inaccurate claims about his own presidency, Joe Biden’s presidency, foreign affairs, crime, elections and other subjects.

Here is a fact check of 23 of the false claims Trump made. (And that’s far from the total.)

Read it all here.

Trump reminds me of a famous line about another robber baron from a different era, Jay Gould. "If he is speaking, he is lying. And if he is silent, he is stealing."

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Are Left Wing Campuses Pushing Some Students to the Right?

In the not-so-distant past, the Typical College Republican idolized Ronald Reagan, fretted about the national debt and read Edmund Burke. Political sophistication, to that person, implied belief in the status quo.

For that bygone breed, an education at an elite institution was a moderating finishing school. Even then American universities skewed liberal, but the conservatives of old had real opportunities to make their case — and have their ideas respectfully challenged — in the public square. At my own school, Princeton, I’ve been told, politics were mostly separable from personal relationships.

How things have changed.

Today’s campus conservatives embrace a less moderate, complacent and institutional approach to politics. Instead of belief in the status quo, many tend toward scorched-earth politics. But these changes aren’t solely the consequence of a fractured national politics.

They’re also the result of puritanically progressive campuses that alienate conservative students from their liberal peers and college as a whole. The distrust of authority, the protest and the disobedience that have characterized the left’s activism over the past half-century or so have arrived on the right. The American universities that once served as moderating finishing schools have become breeding grounds for conservative firebrands.

The story of this transformation, according to the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, starts around 2014, when Gen Z arrived on campus. The new progressive students were less tolerant of heterodox ideas and individuals. Demands to rescind invitations to speakers seemed to spike. The terms “microaggression” and “trigger warning” made it into everyday campus parlance. At Yale, for instance, a lecturer’s suggestion that students should determine which Halloween costumes are acceptable for themselves ignited a firestorm.

These changes were felt on my campus, too. “Princeton has become a much more politicized place over the last 10 years,” said Thomas Kelly, a philosophy professor. It’s also become more progressive. Diversity training sessions blatantly endorse progressive ideas: Espousing a colorblind ideal, for example, is deemed a “microinvalidation.” Bureaucrats police conduct and speech. Many programs cater to left-wing causes.

For those on the right, the experience is alienating. The typical American’s views on gender ideology or American history are often irrelevant to his or her day-to-day life. But for the conservative college student, life is punctuated by political checkpoints. Classes may begin with requests for “preferred pronouns” or “land acknowledgments.” A student who jokes about the wrong subject might face social punishment. All students should welcome challenges to their most cherished beliefs, but from what I’ve seen on campus, students are not invited to debate; they are expected to conform.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Imagining a Heretical Cardinal

Imagine if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to publish an article in which he condemned “a theology of eucharistic coherence that multiplies barriers to the grace and gift of the eucharist” and stated that “unworthiness cannot be the prism of accompaniment for disciples of the God of grace and mercy.” Or what if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to state publicly that homosexual acts are not sinful and same-sex unions should be blessed by the Church? 

Until recently, it would be hard to imagine any successor of the apostles making such heterodox statements. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon today to hear Catholic leaders affirm unorthodox views that, not too long ago, would have been espoused only by heretics. “Heretic” and “heresy” are strong words, which contemporary ecclesiastical politeness has softened to gentler expressions such as “our separated brethren” or “the Christian faithful who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.” But the reality is that those who are “separated” and “not in full communion” are separated and not in full communion because they reject essential truths of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Thus, it is deeply troubling to consider the possibility that prelates holding the office of diocesan bishop in the Catholic Church may be separated or not in full communion because of heresy. 

Yet both the cases mentioned above would in fact involve heresy, since heresy is defined as “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law). What, then, constitutes “some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”? 

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

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Latest Crypto-con (UK)

A cryptocurrency investment firm with links to two all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) appears to have disappeared, leaving some investors fearing they have lost tens of thousands of pounds and raising the prospect of further questions being asked about the role of APPGs in parliament.

Phoenix Community Capital established itself last year as a cryptocurrency project and investment scheme, which it said at one point was valued at $800m (£665m). It was a sponsor of one APPG, and its co-founder, Luke Sullivan, spoke at an event for a second APPG , as well as appearing as a panellist for events hosted by peers in parliament.

However, the company appears to have vanished in September last year, with its website going offline and the investment portfolios, known as “nests”, becoming inaccessible to an estimated 8,000 investors after that date.

Some investors, including a former Premier League footballer, claim to have lost tens of thousands of pounds each.

Some of the firm’s assets and its name appear to have been sold to a new company run by an individual called “Dan”, who has told investors it has no obligation towards them, but that it would still try to make them some returns.

Asked what had happened to the company and its investments, Sullivan said he would respond if the Guardian flew to the Philippines to discuss it further. He criticised the Guardian for making “a number of factual errors” and said he was not being allowed an opportunity to “clarify the real facts”, and then said he could not respond to a further request for comment.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Report: Pope Francis preparing further attack on Tridentine Mass

VATICAN CITY, February 18, 2023—The Remnant has learned that a Vatican document is currently under review by Pope Francis that would expand and reinforce his 2021 Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, affirm that the only official liturgy of the Latin Rite is the Novus Ordo, and stringently regulate the ex-Ecclesia Dei communities.

Well-informed Vatican sources have confirmed to the Remnant, which accurately warned of Traditionis Custodes before it was published in 2021, that the draft document, in the form of an apostolic constitution, was presented to Pope Francis at the end of January by superiors of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments headed by Cardinal Arthur Roche.

The document is said to have been written by dicastery officials, under the guidance of its secretary, Archbishop Vittorio Francesco Viola, OFM, in collaboration with at least one consultor of the Vatican’s office for papal liturgical celebrations.

While Traditionis Custodes is aimed chiefly at thwarting the growth of the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments among diocesan clergy, this new document would deal a particularly heavy blow to ex-Ecclesia Dei communities, by banning diaconal and priestly ordinations in the Vetus Ordo, prohibiting the administration of the other sacraments to the faithful, and requiring concelebration of all priests, including members of these institutes.

A prohibition of Sunday Masses in the Vetus Ordo is also said to be on the table.

Read the rest here.

How can any Orthodox Christian even contemplate entering into communion with a church whose leader apparently claims the authority to suppress ancient liturgical rites at will? If he can outlaw his own church's liturgical patrimony, why would he not be able to do that to the churches of the East? 

Between this and the heretical drivel coming out of the crazier corners of the Roman Church (hello Germany) the farther the Orthodox Church remains from Rome, the better. Maybe things will improve after the next conclave. But I am not optimistic. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Prayers please

I am currently experiencing some potentially serious health issues. In your charity, any prayers are deeply appreciated.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Germany’s Synodal Way leaders push women’s ordination during European bishops’ synodal assembly

A leader of the controversial German Synodal Way said in a speech at Europe’s synod meeting Wednesday that the exclusion of women from ordination drives women from the Church.

Irme Stetter-Karp, the president of the lay Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), addressed delegates in the meeting in Prague on Feb. 8.

“The stubborn adherence to the dual anthropology and the confinement of women to the space outside of the ordained ministry tends to drive women, especially young women, out of the Church in the 21st century,” Stetter-Karp said.

Posing a question “to those who do not want to allow change” on the “the women’s question,” she asked: “How do you explain the multiple gifts and vocations of women in the Catholic Church worldwide if the Holy Spirit did not want it? I would like an honest answer to that.”

Stetter-Karp is one of three leaders of Germany’s Synodal Path who are playing an active role in the continental stage of the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality as official national delegates sent by Germany.

Thomas Söding, the German lay central committee’s vice president, also spoke to the assembly on Wednesday about why he believes there is a crisis of vocations in Europe.

Söding said: “We are experiencing a crisis of priestly vocations throughout Europe. What does it tell us?”

“I know there are different answers in the room. My conviction: We think too narrowly of the priestly vocation. We think too narrowly of God’s grace. We tie it to sex. We tie it to ‘state of life.’ If you want an opening, you don’t make the ministerial priesthood small, you make it large,” he added.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, who has served as the president of the Synodal Path since 2020, told Europe’s synod delegates on Feb. 6 that Germany’s Synodal Way has heard that “new forms are being sought to organize the priesthood” and that “the Church should be open to people whose way of life does not conform to the norms of the catechism, including queer people.”

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 04, 2023


The State Where the GOP Would Rather Lose Than Change

If I were a conspiracy theorist; I'd say that a few years ago in the middle of the night, the Democrats secretly freed every inmate in Arizona's mental asylums on the condition that they all registered as Republicans on their way out the door. 

Charlie Munger's op-ed on the crypto-con

Charlie Munger is the 99-year old billionaire who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law and has been the close business partner of legendary investor, Warren Buffett, at Berkshire Hathaway for more than four decades.

For years now, both Munger and Buffett have been outspoken about the dangerous scam called cryptocurrencies. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal gave Munger space for a 393-word OpEd in which he urges the U.S. to ban crypto as China has done (and a lot of other countries). Unfortunately, those 393 words are competing with years of a nonstop barrage of hyped promises from right-wing Republicans in Congress who are happy to take big political donations from the crypto cabal; big public relations and marketing firms padding their bottom lines with what effectively amounts to money from defrauded crypto customers; K-Street lobbyists also on the dole to crypto firms; celebrities whoring on television for crypto; and, worst of all, Big Law firms attempting to legitimize myriad crypto frauds as “innovation” in order to compete for billable hours.

In one paragraph of the OpEd, Munger writes this:

“Such wretched excess has gone on because there is a gap in regulation. A cryptocurrency is not a currency, not a commodity, and not a security. Instead, it’s a gambling contract with a nearly 100% edge for the house, entered into in a country where gambling contracts are traditionally regulated only by states that compete in laxity. Obviously, the U.S. should now enact a new federal law that prevents this from happening.”

Gambling describes just what the customer is doing. That is, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said, cryptocurrencies are “100 percent based on some sort of Greater Fool theory,” where the gambler is betting that a Greater Fool will be willing to take the worthless crypto off his hands for more than he paid for it.

We have seen these kinds of Greater Fool financial frauds throughout history. At the peak of the Tulip Bubble in Holland in 1637, a single tulip bulb sold for many times the annual wage of a skilled laborer. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, as it’s called today, was at the heart of the Tulip Bubble. The South Sea bubble in the 1700s was built around the British South Sea Company which seduced investors with the vision of great wealth from trade with South America. When the company’s share price eventually collapsed, it seriously impacted the British economy. Subsequent investigations revealed bribes and trading manipulations to pump up the price in order to suck the public into buying shares.

While gambling describes what the customer is doing with crypto, it fails to capture this complex and deeply-layered fraud.

For reasons that the world’s smartest scientists cannot even explain, the ongoing frauds against crypto customers begin with crypto “mining.” This is how Senator Elizabeth Warren described this “mining” at a Senate hearing in June of 2021:

“Finally, there are the environmental costs of crypto. Many cryptocurrencies are created through ‘proof-of-work’ mining. It involves using computers to solve useless mathematical puzzles in exchange for newly minted cryptocurrency tokens. Such mining has devastating consequences for the climate. Some crypto mining is set up near coal plants, spewing out filth in return for a chance to harvest a few crypto coins. Total energy consumption is staggering, driving up demand for energy. If, for example, Bitcoin — just one of the cryptocurrencies — were a country, it would already be the 33rd largest energy user in the world — using more energy yearly than all of the Netherlands.

“And all those promised benefits – the currency that would be available at no cost to millions of unbanked families and that would provide a haven from the tricks and traps of big banks – well, those benefits haven’t materialized.”

If you have ever paid a bill using “pay by phone,” you understand why crypto is the horse and buggy compared to existing technology. There is no “mining” or crypto token created out of thin air needed to digitally pay a bill by phone. You simply call the “pay by phone” number, and within minutes, if not seconds, the invoice amount is deducted from your checking account.

Economist Nouriel Roubini also addressed the horse and buggy aspect of cryptocurrencies in an interview with Bloomberg TV in 2019, stating:

“Crypto currencies are not even currencies. They’re a joke…It is not a means of payment, nobody, not even this blockchain conference, accepts Bitcoin for paying for conference fees cause you can do only five transactions per second with Bitcoin. With the Visa system you can do 25,000 transactions per second…Crypto’s nonsense. It’s a failure. Nobody’s using it for any transactions. It’s trading one sh*tcoin for another sh*tcoin. That’s the entire trading or currency in the space where’s there’s price manipulation, spoofing, wash trading, pump and dumping, frontrunning. It’s just a big criminal scam and nothing else.”

What else is going on with these multi-layers of fraud involving crypto? Well, serious securities manipulation appears to be going on, which is undermining the integrity of U.S. markets in the eyes of the world. Just look at the chart below showing how 9 crypto mining stocks have performed over the past two years after going public in U.S. markets and being offered to a gullible public.

And what about the biggest publicly-traded crypto exchange in the U.S.? Coinbase went public on Nasdaq via a direct listing on April 14, 2021. On its first day of trading it closed at a share price of $328.28, giving it a market capitalization of $85.8 billion. At the close of trading yesterday, its market cap was $18.49 billion, a decline of 78 percent. But not all shareholders have shared an equal amount of pain.

In a traditional IPO, early investors and company executives are not allowed to sell their shares for several months due to a so-called lockup period. There’s no such prohibition in the kind of direct listing that Coinbase did. According to an SEC filing, Coinbase’s Chairman and CEO, Brian Armstrong, sold 750,000 shares on April 14, 2021 at an average share price of $389.10, raising approximately $291,825,000 for himself.

And as we have been reporting extensively at Wall Street On Parade, Big Law firms are taking the position that as long as the music is playing, they’re gonna dance to the crypto tune. The collapsed crypto exchange, FTX, and its indicted former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, employed 10 major law firms – none of which appears to have noticed that $8 billion of customers’ funds had been misappropriated by Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Munger is correct that crypto needs to be banned in the U.S. But until we pull back the complex layers of this fraud, and understand the full picture of those who benefitted, we have not delivered justice to the millions of victims.

CF this

Friday, February 03, 2023

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Ukraine: Staggering casualties in a savage war of attrition

WASHINGTON — The number of Russian troops killed and wounded in Ukraine is approaching 200,000, a stark symbol of just how badly President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion has gone, according to American and other Western officials.

While the officials caution that casualties are notoriously difficult to estimate, particularly because Moscow is believed to routinely undercount its war dead and injured, they say the slaughter from fighting in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and the town of Soledar has ballooned what was already a heavy toll.

With Moscow desperate for a major battlefield victory and viewing Bakhmut as the key to seizing the entire eastern Donbas area, the Russian military has sent poorly trained recruits and former convicts to the front lines, straight into the path of Ukrainian shelling and machine guns. The result, American officials say, has been hundreds of troops killed or injured a day.

Russia analysts say that the loss of life is unlikely to be a deterrent to Mr. Putin’s war aims. He has no political opposition at home and has framed the war as the kind of struggle the country faced in World War II, when more than 8 million Soviet troops died. U.S. officials have said that they believe that Mr. Putin can sustain hundreds of thousands of casualties in Ukraine, although higher numbers could cut into his political support.

Ukraine’s casualty figures are also difficult to ascertain, given Kyiv’s reluctance to disclose its own wartime losses. But in Bakhmut, hundreds of Ukrainian troops have been wounded and killed daily at times as well, officials said. Better trained infantry formations are kept in reserve to safeguard them, while lesser prepared troops, such as those in the territorial defense units, are kept on the front line and bear the brunt of shelling.

The last public Biden administration estimate of casualties came last November, when Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that more than 100,000 troops on each side had been killed and wounded since the war began. At the time, officials said privately that the numbers were closer to 120,000.

“I would say it’s significantly well over 100,000 now,” General Milley said at a news conference last month in Germany, adding that the Russian toll included “regular military, and also their mercenaries in the Wagner Group.”

Read the rest here.

Memory eternal!

Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon has reposed. He was one of the great theologians of the modern world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Trad Catholics and the Ruthenians

Are Francis and his modernist allies trying to play the role of John Ireland with Trad Catholics? Some are openly wondering. Of course, the Ruthenians used to be Orthodox and still retained a great deal of Orthodox praxis and spirituality. So, when Rome basically gave them the Bronx salute, they had options. Alas Trad Catholics, not so much. Yes, there's the SSPX which probably is not a good fit for many. But beyond that, where would they go if Rome tells them to put away their Latin missals and break out the bongo drums and tie dye vestments? I don't see a mass migration to Orthodoxy. First off, and unlike the Ruthenians who were basically Orthodox, Trad Catholics are not. And sadly, we don't exactly have a thriving Western Rite. How about one or another of the various Old Catholic communions? Most of those are now as far gone as the German Catholics. And for those who haven't been paying attention, that's pretty bad. 

So unfortunately, I'm not seeing a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for our Trad Catholic friends. I hope I am proven wrong. But it just does not look good right now. Still, God may yet intervene. Maybe Francis will retire, or be retired by the Boss, and next year we will be talking about Pope Clement XV's first two decrees, suppressing the Jesuits and condemning the German Synodal Way as heretical.

Of course, if things don't work out, for those of a mind to look East, we will leave the light on and the welcome mat out. 

The Fight Over Black History

To get an idea about what the problems are with the AP course on Black History being pushed in much of the country, read this.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Tanks for Ukraine: American or German?

There has been a bit of discussion over whether or not to send modern heavy armor (main battle tanks) to Ukraine. Almost everybody is pointing to Germany's Leopard 2 (pictured) as the most likely candidate. But the Germans, for a variety of reasons, have thus far balked and are instead arguing the US should send some of our own heavy tanks, the M1 Abrams, first. While we are sending a lot of light and intermediate armored vehicles, the War Department has said no to the Abrams citing the tanks generally higher maintenance requirements compared to the German Leopards. For those interested, a pretty good comparison of the two tanks can be found here.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Wear the Jersey, Bigot

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted "Pride Night" at the Wells Fargo Center. To celebrate, the team invited a "non-binary" thirteen-year-old to beat its ceremonial drum. Players wore black jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers and used rainbow-taped sticks in warmups. Everyone at the arena was made to participate, save Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, who sat out the warmup period, and joined the team for the puck drop.

Asked about it postgame, Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox faith.

"I respect everybody's choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That's all I'm going to say."

That was all his critics needed to hear. NHL Network's E.J. Hradek proposed Provorov go back to his native Russia and "get involved" in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The exegetes at Deadspin called Provorov's faith a "steaming pile of s***" and accused the defenseman of being "completely oblivious to what Jesus’s message actually was." Canadian broadcaster Sid Seixeiro said the NHL should have fined the Flyers $1 million, and, with a quivering voice, suggested Provorov had a disreputable personal life...

Read the rest here.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Documentgate (v 2.0)

I believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Recently I bought a large bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn. But if you are asking me to believe that the decision to withhold the discovery of these documents from the general public was not connected to the politics of the general election; I am going to be more than a little insulted at your opinion of my intelligence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Pope curses ‘delinquent’ priests who withhold absolution

Priests should grant absolution in the confessional even when the penitent has no intention to repent, the Pope has said in a speech which has shocked seminarians.

The Holy Father put aside a written speech, describing it as “boring”, and delivered an off-the-cuff address to seminarians from Barcelona, Spain, in which he frequently used foul language.

In his address, he ordered students for the priesthood “not to be clerical, to forgive everything”, adding that “if we see that there is no intention to repent, we must forgive all”.

“We can never deny absolution, because we become a vehicle for an evil, unjust, and moralistic judgment,” Francis reportedly told the seminarians, who were accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop Javier Vilanova Pellisa of Barcelona.

Priests who deny penitents absolution are “delinquents”, the Pontiff said, according to the Church Militant website. 

If accurate, the Pope’s remarks appear to put him at odds with the moral theology expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which emphasises that contrition occupies the “first place” of any act of a penitent and that it involves “the resolution not to sin again”.

Canon 987 of The Code of Canon Law also says that for the faithful to receive “the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, they must be so disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and having the purpose of amending their lives, they turn back to God”.

According to reports, Francis also used his speech to rant against “f***ing careerists who f*** up the lives of others”.

The Pope also criticised “those who climb to show their a**”, the Italian media outlet Daily Compass reported. 

Read the rest here
HT: Dr. Tighe

Expert’s warning to US Navy on China: Bigger fleet almost always wins

As China continues to grow what is already the world’s largest navy, a professor at the US Naval War College has a warning for American military planners: In naval warfare, the bigger fleet almost always wins.

Pentagon leaders have identified China as the US military’s “pacing threat.” But fleet size numbers show that the US military can’t keep pace with China’s naval growth.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) surpassed the US Navy in fleet size sometime around 2020 and now has around 340 warships, according to the Pentagon’s 2022 China Military Power Report, released in November. China’s fleet is expected to grow to 400 ships in the next two years, the report says.

Meanwhile, the US fleet sits under 300 ships, and the Pentagon’s goal is to have 350 manned ships, still well behind China, by 2045, according to the US Navy’s Navigation Plan 2022 released last summer.

So to compete, US military leaders are counting on technology.

That same document says, “the world is entering a new age of warfare, one in which the integration of technology, concepts, partners, and systems — more than fleet size alone — will determine victory in conflict.”

Not so fast, says Sam Tangredi, the Leidos Chair of Future Warfare Studies at the US Naval War College.

If history is any lesson, China’s numerical advantage is likely to lead to defeat for the US Navy in any war with China, according to Tangredi’s research, presented in the January issue of the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine.

Tangredi, a former US Navy captain, looked at 28 naval wars, from the Greco-Persian Wars of 500 BC, through recent Cold War proxy conflicts and interventions. He found in only three instances did superior technology defeat bigger numbers.

“All other wars were won by superior numbers or, when between equal forces, superior strategy, or admiralship,” Tangredi wrote. “Often all three qualities act together, because operating a large fleet generally facilitates more extensive training and is often an indicator that leaders are concerned with strategic requirements,” Tangredi wrote.

The three outliers – wars from the 11th, 16th and 19th centuries – aren’t likely familiar to all but the most ardent of scholars, but others that show where numbers beat technology certainly are.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

As Russians Steal Ukraine’s Art, They Attack Its Identity, Too

Russian forces have looted tens of thousands of pieces, including avant-garde oil paintings and Scythian gold. Experts say it is the biggest art heist since the Nazis in World War II, intended to strip Ukraine of its cultural heritage. 

Read the rest here.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

‘Catastrophe’: Cardinal Pell’s secret memo blasts Francis

...But Pell, a staunch conservative, grew increasingly disillusioned with the direction of Francis’ papacy, including its emphasis on inclusion and canvassing of the laity about the future of the church.

He penned a remarkable memorandum outlining his concerns, and recommendations for the next pope in a future conclave, that began circulating last spring and was published under a pseudonym, “Demos,” on Vatican blog Settimo Cielo.

The blogger Sandro Magister on Wednesday revealed that Pell indeed was the author of the memo, which is an extraordinary indictment of the current pontificate by a onetime close collaborator of Francis.

The memo is divided into two parts — “The Vatican Today” and “The Next Conclave” — and lists a series of points covering everything from Francis’ “weakened” preaching of the Gospel to the precariousness of the Holy See’s finances and the “lack of respect for the law” in the city-state, including in the current financial corruption trial underway that Pell himself had championed.

“Commentators of every school, if for different reasons … agree that this pontificate is a disaster in many or most respects; a catastrophe,” Pell wrote.

Also Wednesday, the conservative magazine The Spectator published what it said was a signed article that Pell wrote in the days before he died. In the article, Pell described as a “toxic nightmare” Francis’ two-year canvassing of the Catholic laity about issues such as church teaching on sexuality and the role of women that is expected to come to a head at a meeting of bishops in October.

Referring to the Vatican’s summary of the canvassing effort, Pell complained of a “deepening confusion, the attack on traditional morals and the insertion into the dialogue of neo-Marxist jargon about exclusion, alienation, identity, marginalization, the voiceless, LGBTQ as well as the displacement of Christian notions of forgiveness, sin, sacrifice, healing, redemption.”

Pell’s anonymous memo, however, is even harsher and takes particular aim at Francis himself. While other conservatives have criticized Francis’ crackdown on traditionalists and mercy-over-morals priorities, Pell went further and devoted an entire section to the pope’s involvement in a big financial fraud investigation that has resulted in the prosecution of 10 people, including Pell’s onetime nemesis, Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Two Passings

  •  Archbishop George Cardinal Pell- A man of great personal sanctity who endured such abuse for his faith that if I were still Catholic, I would be tempted to label him a Confessor.
  • His Hellenic Majesty Constantine II (XIII by some reckonings)- The last King of Greece who was supplanted by a military coup and dictatorship. To the best of my knowledge, he was also the last Orthodox Christian monarch. 

The GOP: How it got here and where it's going

The wingnuts have clearly taken over the party. How did it happen and what's next? 

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

What's old is new

From the New York Tribune December 4, 1855 (page 4, column 2)...

Senate, Dec 3- The Senate met at 12 o'clock and after swearing in such members as were present and fixing the hour of meeting at noon, adjourned.

House, Dec 3- The House met at 12 o'clock and the Clerk, John W. Forney, calling to order. Two hundred twenty-five members answered to their names. The first business being the election of a speaker, the House proceeded to vote. After three ballots without an election, the House adjourned. 

One hundred thirty ballots later, on February 2, 1856; Nathanial P. Banks was elected Speaker of the House.