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September 20, 2018 | 14 Comments

Help With Reality-Based Catholic Climate Declaration

Update If you’re interested in this, please send this post to those you think may be interested.

Update 2 Please see the Classic Posts page for material on global warming, and so forth, with which I am well familiar.

I received a request from a prominent priest to “get a counter [Catholic Climate] declaration going”. About that, more below. He said the following email “was sent to my official pastor email address via the ‘Official Catholic Directory,'” about which he was none too pleased.

September 6, 2018

Dear Catholic leader:

On April 25, I wrote to you seeking your support for the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration, a distinctly Catholic expression of the We Are Still In (WASI) campaign.

I am delighted to report that over 700 Catholic institutions have signed the declaration thus far, including 43 archdioceses and dioceses. I write today to thank those of you who have already signed and to make a second appeal to those who have not joined in this public witness for our common home.

Why this effort?

The WASI campaign is an effort to demonstrate America’s commitment to address climate change after President Trump announced on June 1, 2017 his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. On that day, the U.S. bishops added their voice to the many groups expressing disappointment with this decision. A few days later, American civil society launched the We Are Still In campaign to show the world that America’s leaders stand by the Paris Agreement and are committed to meeting its goals. To date, over 3,400 institutions–including cities, states, tribes, businesses, investors, universities, non-profits, and places of worship–have joined the campaign, representing the largest cross-section of American society ever to support climate action.

The Catholic Climate Declaration is aligned with this effort yet elevates a distinctly Catholic expression by highlighting the moral imperative to protect and promote human life and human dignity, the poorest and most vulnerable peoples, and our common home. It also recognizes, as expressed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that “global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family.”

Catholic Teaching on Climate Change

Beginning with Saint John Paul in 1990, the Catholic Church has accepted the reality of human-forced climate change and expressed concern about the moral consequences of global warming. Our Church has repeatedly advocated for an international climate change agreement in response to this existential threat. The Paris Agreement is an international effort adopted by 195 nations and supported by the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It establishes a framework to encourage nations to work to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 oC above pre-industrial levels.

We hope you will join the Declaration as we seek to celebrate the U.S. Catholic community’s commitments in word and deed. From September 12-14, Dan Misleh, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant, will be attending the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and will announce the number of signers to the Declaration and highlighting some of the actions that our Catholic dioceses, parishes, religious communities, health care providers, universities, parochial schools, and other organizations are taking to address climate change. With your support we can demonstrate to the world the strength of our Catholic community‚Äôs commitment to the well-being of our common home and our common future.

If you wish to enroll your Catholic institution, organization or community, and/or sign on as an individual, please go to http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/catholic-climate-declaration.

We hope you will join us in this powerful witness to our Catholic faith.

Catholic Climate Covenant
415 Michigan Ave. NE, Suite 260, Washington, DC 20017

You can click the link and look at the high falutin panic “declaration.” My task is to write a counter. I’d like your help for suggestions about what such a thing would look like. And how it should be organized — if at all.

I’m tempted to write “There is no such thing as a Catholic teaching on climate change; plus, you have bigger things to worry about” and let it go at that. Both true and brief. But not convincing, I’m guessing.

Brief is good. The panic declaration is six short paragraphs. Anybody can read it. We should aim for five.

I do not think any petition does much good per se. Except, perhaps, to gain some publicity. And that’s all we would do, too.

So is it worth the effort? If so, what should we say? Any key points you think should be included, put in the comments. I’ll use what looks good.

If there is any enthusiasm at all, I’ll make a draft (writing by committee produces unreadable dreck), post it, and we can go from there.

Addendum 1 Cardinal Muller (fired by Francis):

For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil. The best environmentalist and nature lover is the Gospel Herald that there is only survival with God, not just limited and soon, but forever and ever.

Addendum 2 Do NOT have anything to drink in hand while reading Fr Rutler’s explanation of the current plastic “crisis.”

September 19, 2018 | 4 Comments

How To Do Predictive Statistics: Part VIII — Starting Stan

Review! You must at least review the first lessons—all class material is on one page for ease. I’ll have more words about the mysticism of simulation, but I’ve said it all before and better in the previous links.

Last time we finished up with the MCMCpack extensions. I chose this for its ease and speed, and because of it was mostly automated. Like I said, one reason for the lack of adoption of predictive methods is automatic, out-of-the-box software. Most people won’t or can’t code. It isn’t easy.

We’re now adding complexity. We’ll be able to handle more complicated models—with all the extra confusion that entails. Run these lines of code:


install.packages('rstanarm', dependencies=TRUE)
install.packages('betareg', dependencies=TRUE)

These are get-a-cup-of-coffee lines of code. If you’re on Linux (and who isn’t?), it will take a good while (run and go to lunch). You’ll see lots of warnings as the c code compiles. Be patient, even when it seems like it’s stuck. It isn’t.

We last talked last time about the possibility of JAGS, which is external software that R can hook to. It’s fine, but it comes with a heavy price. It takes forever to learn. Mistakes are easy. It can run any kind of model you can envision, which is a great benefit. But it can suck up inordinate time, which is a great detriment.

Instead of jumping into a canicular caldera of code, we’ll softly stroll over to Stan. Like JAGS, it uses MCMC type methods (but not everywhere). Meaning simulations. Meaning mystical thinking.

As I’ve written (many times!), simulations provide approximations to non-analytic integrals (we use integrals because of insisting on approximate models using infinitely valued, i.e., continuous parameters). As long as we keep in mind they are nothing but numerical methods to difficult problems, we’re fine. But as soon as we allow any metaphysical import to the simulation, like talking about “random” numbers, we are lost.

We simply will not progress as a field until we can discover closed-form analytical solutions to the problems we now give to simulations. As Jaynes said (and as I quote in my award-eligible book) “It appears to be a quite general principle that, whenever there is a randomized way of doing something, then there is a nonrandomized way that delivers better performance but requires more thought.”

Amen amen amen and amen.

Even when we can—and it is difficult if you have been brought up in the frequentist or Bayesian faith—manage to think of simulations as nothing but numerical approximations, simulations suffer from another huge flaw. They are slow. Try the package brms, which is Bayesian Regression Models using Stan. Even the simplest regression takes minutes (because it exports the model to external C++ code, which first compiles then runs: ugh).

Very little attention (in statistics, anyway) has been paid to the problem of finding analytic approximations to non-analytic integrals. The applied math guys have done tons here, and it would be worth spending time to see the natural crossovers. I am only one guy with no students, no grants, no facilities (I am a reactionary and no Western university will hire me), no nothing except some spare time. So I can’t do this. It will be up to you, dear reader.

Enough of the necessary and, I pray to God, not futile rant. On with the show!

Stan

Has the code completed yet? First thing we’re going to do is run some comparisons of simple models, regression and logistic regression, using MCMCpack and rstanarm. This is only for the purposes of orientation, and to show how differences in simulation produce differences in answers. Next time we’ll try models not available in MCMCpack. I am so sick of the CGPA data I couldn’t use it again even if Cardinal Dolan promised to resign. So we’ll use some built-in datasets. Be sure to first download the latest versions of mcmc.pred.R, mcmc.pred.examples.R.

Regression

First do ?mtcars to learn all the exciting details about the MPGs of 32 cars. And recall the “.” after the tilde tells R to use all the measures in a dataset (except, of course, for the observable on the left-hand-side).


x = mtcars # only to make life smooth

fit.s = stan_glm(mpg ~ ., data = x, QR = TRUE)
fit.m = MCMCregress(mpg ~ ., data = x)

As ever, you can try summary(fit.s) etc. to look at the parameter summaries. Of which, as predictivists, we have zero interest. Strike that: make it epsilon interest. Because these are simulations, there are all kinds of niceties to attend to so that we know the approximation has “converged.” Things can be learned about this convergence by examining the posteriors of the parameters. However, we must always remind ourselves that the parameters are not real, they are not ontic. They are nothing but mathematical contrivances that make the model work. Where do parameters come from? All those who read Uncertainty know they are the result of taking finite discrete parameterless models to the limit—simply for the ease of approximation. Real finite discrete probability models have no parameters at all. They are natively predictive.

“Okay, Briggs. Suppose you’re right. Then why aren’t you using these super good native finite discrete models here, instead of these continuous-parameter based ones?”

Say, that’s a good question. Because I’ve only worked out one. Again, I have no students, etc. etc. As a mathematician, I make a great philosopher. If you are a student in need of a problem, boy howdy, have I got some good ones.

Anyway, we don’t care about the parameters, but the predictions. First MCMCpack, as we did before (if you can’t remember everything, review! you can lead a student to code, but you can’t make him learn):


# all the old x
q.m = NA
g = 25  # 25 mpg; why 25? why not?

for(i in 1:nrow(x)){
  p.m = MCMCregress.pred(fit.m,x[i,])
  q.m[i]= sum(p.m>=g)/length(p.m)
}

plot(x$disp,q.m,ylab='Pr(MPG>g|old data,M)',main='MCMCpack')


That plots the probability of MPG>25, for all future scenarios that—hey presto!—look just like the old data. These are predictions! Save this plot. Now let’s to rstanarm.



p.s = posterior_predict(fit.s)

q.s = NA
for(i in 1:ncol(p.s)){
  q.s[i]= sum(p.s[,i]>=g)/length(p.s[,i])
}

plot(x$disp,q.s,ylab='Pr(MPG>g|old data,M)',main='Stan')


The object p.s contains the simulated posterior predictions: 4,000 is the default, one column for each row in the newdata which, since it defaults to all the old data, is one column for each of the original 32 observations. A long-winded way to say dim(p.s) is 4,000 x 32. We have to work with those 4,000 posterior predictions for every scenario.

We calculate the probability of future scenarios having MPGs greater than 25 in exactly the same was in rstanarm as with MCMCregress.pred.

No need to be coy about the comparisons. We can put both predictions on one plot (and the plot I used to head the post).

plot(x$disp,q.m,ylab='Pr(MPG>g|old data,M)',main='MCMC vs. Stan')
  points(x$disp,q.s,pch=2,col=1)
  grid()
  legend('topright',c('MCMC','Stan'), pch=1:2, col=1:2, bty='n')

There are differences, but all are such that, I'm guessing, no decision would be changed using one model for the other ---- at least decision point, i.e. at MPG> 25.

You must always remember that it is decision that counts in deciding between good and bad models, whether a measure (an 'x') goes into the model, etc.

The dataset has 9 (or whatever) other measures, like horsepower. You can play with those. rstanarm makes it easy to put in custom scenarios, which is done in pretty much the same way as before. For example:


y = x[1,] # take as scenario the first observation
y$hp = 400 # bump up the horsepower to some gigantic level
p.s = posterior_predict(fit.s, newdata=y)
hist(p.s,100,xlab='MPG')


That's the distribution of possible MPGs for the scenario y. Look at y so you know what it is. Change values to your taste and compare outputs. The histogram took advantage that the new data only had one row. If there is more than one row, you have to index p.s (i.e., p.s[,i]).

You'll see there is already probability leakage with this scenario, but not much; only about 1% (sum(p.s<0)/4000). Your homework is to discover, for reasonably configured cars, you can find scenarios where the leakage is substantial. If it exists. I don't know: I didn't check.

This means as it did before: the normal model is breaking down sometimes. Well, we always knew it was impossible that MPG was "normally distributed". Nothing in the world is "normally distributed". Nothing "has" a normal distribution, or any other kind of distribution. We only use these models to quantify our uncertainty in values of observables.

Before we quit, let's note a neat feature of rstanarm. Mixing code and output:


> p.s = predictive_interval(fit.s)
> p.s
                           5%      95%
Mazda RX4           17.029272 27.77522
Mazda RX4 Wag       16.849237 27.30586
Datsun 710          21.024821 31.37435
Hornet 4 Drive      15.768537 26.32141
Hornet Sportabout   12.460326 22.79026
Valiant             15.107833 25.50869
Duster 360           9.098461 19.97714
Merc 240D           17.095323 27.90923
Merc 230            18.379516 30.58885
Merc 280            13.046051 24.22801
Merc 280C           13.786114 24.79934
...


The predictive_interval() first calls posterior_predict() and then does a sort of quantile() on the columns of the output (of each scenario). The default is a 90% interval, as you can see. You can certainly write your own quantile() function if you want more than just the interval.

That's it! Next we quickly do logistic regression, which I'd skip, except that there is a small twist with rstanarm. Then we move to so-call beta-regression. That's a modle type MCMCpack doesn't have. On the other hand, rstanarm doesn't have my favorite multinomial regression. Proving only that no one package exists to do all you want.

September 18, 2018 | 1 Comment

The Other NATO: An Orthodox Schism? — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

Imagine for a moment that there was a former empire that was in shambles. It had lost its ideological battle against its primary opponent, and as a result had fallen apart. It was no longer of any seeming importance or power. Its former allies were gone, and those former allies in fact had begun to join the victor’s side. Even to the point of joining the victor’s military alliance. This change of allegiance went so far as to encroach right up to the borders of the vanquished empire. And all of this occurred in spite of the ‘magnanimous’ victor’s pledge, at the time of victory, that no such thing was contemplated; indeed, that it would never occur.

A re-hashing of nearly ancient-modern history? A referral to the expansion of NATO up against the very borders of Russia herself, and Russia’s reaction to these moves? Such as the situation we have recently witnessed in Ukraine, resulting in a frozen conflict, a conflict that appears to defy resolution without further actual armed confrontation?

No.

The fallen (yet newly resurgent) Empire I am referring to is not Russia itself. It is the newly-resurgent Russian Orthodox Church.

If NATO was and still is the nemesis of the Russian nation/empire, who then is the bane of Russian Orthodoxy? And where might this confrontation turn into open battle? Here is where the story becomes byzantine. Literally. Because the chief enemy of Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow is none other than Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Who, supposedly, is the first among equals in the Orthodox world. Yet his latest actions threaten to make the Pope more welcome than him. At least, in the eyes of the other three Patriarchs in Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria.

What is the charge these other Patriarchs are leveling against Bartholomew? Nothing less than Papalism! The charge, specifically, is that he is acting unilaterally, without the agreement of his fellow (and equal) Patriarchs. In other words, he is acting just like a Pope would. And in fact, it would seem to be double that, as they are also accusing him of conspiring with Pope Francis to re-unite the Apostolic Church, east and west together. Without any Western contrition, no less. Maybe there will be an eastern and western Pope? This is what they accuse Bartholomew of.

These charges by the other Patriarchs are made in deadly earnest. And their impact has already been felt here, as certain North Americans have been drafted into this looming battle.

We all should know that Constantinople fell to the Mohammedans in 1453 AD, becoming the new Istanbul. Prior to that time, ever since the time of the Crusades, the Byzantine (Roman) Empire had gradually been whittled down to a rump state surrounding the actual city of Constantinople itself in 1453. But since that city occupied one of the most strategic geo-political points on earth, the Bosporus, even this small remainder of the Empire was still significant. International trade has always had that effect on nations and religions.

Prior to the fall of Constantinople, during times of extreme duress under the Mohammedans, several attempts had been made by the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire to gain military support from the West. That is, from the Pope. The first attempt was the 2nd Council of Lyons in 1274. The other was the Council of Florence in 1438. Which is to say, right before the final fall of the Byzantine Empire. The quid quo pro demanded by the Pope in each of these attempts, according to Orthodox historians, was simple: cave in on your Eastern schism against the Papacy or you get no help.

The Western version is similar: Give up your resistance to the idea that Jesus set up His Church just exactly the way His Father set up Israel, a hierarchy with an actual head. A true High Priest, with all the powers thereof, and with only one High Priest.

Once Constantinople fell, there occurred over the following half millennium a number of decimations and diasporas of the Eastern Orthodox. Several of these diasporas landed here in America. The Russian Orthodox came via Alaska and down the west coast to California. Patriarch Tikhon granted autonomy to Russians worldwide following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Those who were in North America were recognized as autocephalous by their Mother Church in Moscow in 1970. Their descendants today are known as the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). In practice, for Church politics, they still look to Moscow for their theological orientation.

There are also Greek Orthodox parishes in America, and they are (or rather, were) loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople. Greece is still nominally under the canonical jurisdiction of Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul. They are known here as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA). They are not autocephalous, let alone autonomous.

Then there are the Antiochians, who are shepherded by the Patriarch of Antioch (which city no longer exists). They are known as the Antiochan Archdiocese in America (AAA). They aren’t autonomous or autocephalic either. Then there is Alexandria, another city that no longer exists. And a Church of about fifty people in America. They have no acronym that I know of.

All of this is a vast over-simplification that represents the main groupings here in America. There are numerous other splinter groups (ROCOR, the Evangelical Orthodox Church, composed of former Jesus Freaks, and others) that will further confuse you if you pursue the matter. The funny thing is that the mantra of all of them is ‘unity’. Especially as they fight each other.

Back to now. The current Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the First Among Equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, has been feeling his oats lately. According to those in America who have allegiance to other patriarchies, this friskiness is driven by two things: a fat head and the CIA.

These non-Constantinople Orthodox guys are dead serious. Just read one entry on Monomakhos, a web site hosted by an Antiochian adherent. Read the comments all the way through, if you can. Then check out this InterFax site and see that this matter runs all the way through Orthodoxy-outside-Constantinople. There is a full-scale rebellion brewing. And why not? Schism is ever a growing market. Ask Henry, the great Western Orthodox leader of Angland.

What are they fighting about, specifically? Bartholomew has evidently decided to grant autonomy to a splinter group in Ukraine. This group would then logically (if logic can come in anywhere in all of this) owe their allegiance to Constantinople instead of Moscow. Why would anyone in Ukraine feel any loyalty to Moscow? The answer is historically simple, Komrade. Kiev is the birthplace of Christianity in Russia. All of Russia. Great Russia, Little Russia, White Russia, it’s all the same from the standpoint of Christianity. I explained all of this before.

For over a thousand years, all Russians have seen Kiev as their spiritual birthplace. The point at which the Slavic race found their true purpose. Where they found their cosmic meaning as the coming saviours of all mankind. Even when the seat of Russian Orthodox hierarchy moved from Kiev to Vladimir (and thence to Moscow), all Russians have kept their loyalty to Orthodoxy. All of which culminated in the bestowal of the honor of Patriarchy upon the Metropolitan of Moscow in 1589. Bestowed by the other four Patriarchs.

Truth be told, it was the Moscow Patriarchy that kept Orthodoxy alive in the other four Patriarchies when they were suffering under the thumb of their Mohammedan oppressors. An oppression that continues to this day. Without the alms given them by the Church in Moscow (for centuries) there would be no Ecumenical Patriarchate. Nor one in Jerusalem, nor in Antioch, nor in Alexandria.

Yet now, Bartholomew feels that it’s his right to grant autonomy (and then autocephaly?) to a Ukrainian Orthodox splinter group. What does this really mean? That the Church in Ukraine would no longer be beholden to Moscow for its Bishops and leadership. In short, it means that Bartholomew is the tip of the spear that is trying to bring Western Values right up to the borders of Russia. And in fact, since the Russians see Ukraine as an integral part of All Russia, this is the equivalent of trying to expand the membership of NATO to include Ukraine.

How is it that Constantinople can be seen as trying to further western values in an Orthodox environment? Isn’t that an oxymoron? What’s the missing link here? It’s the CIA, according to not a few commentators in the rest of the Orthodox world. They are all accusing Bartholomew of bending to Western governmental pressures to do this. All of which is believable if one supposes there is any truth to the notion that the Western intelligence agencies (and indeed, President Obama and Valerie Jarrett) were complicit in the overthrow of the democratically elected Presidency of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. And which led to the Crimean and eastern Ukrainian conflict frozen in place today.

You may think this is crazy. And it may be. But why else would Bartholomew go against the advice and exhortations of all the other patriarchs and Orthodox congregations worldwide? None of whom are under the thumb of either Moscow or Washington. Why would he risk fracturing the precious little unity that exists in Orthodoxy today over something like this? Is it just because he wants to be seen as being relevant? Why risk being accused of Papistry, when his whole reason for independent existence was this exact same charge that his predecessors ever since Photius have hurled at Rome since 860? Why become a parody of yourself? Where is the gain here?

On the other hand, it is true that he is now seen as a pivotal figure, geopolitically speaking. At least, in the West. He is disrupting the ecclesial marketplace. But for what? Does anyone actually gain from this invasion of canonical turf? Well, yes, actually someone does. Those who saw their agenda thwarted when Russia reacted to the Western sponsored coup attempt in 2014. Never mind that the Crimea never belonged to Ukraine before Nikita Khrushchev (a Ukrainian by birth) gave it to his homeland as a birthday present in 1954. Never mind that these same Western leaders promised not to expand NATO. Never mind that the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople would have died of starvation within ten years of the Mohammedan victory were it not for Russian alms that kept it alive from then till now. Yes, till now. You don’t think the Turks have changed, do you?

Speaking of Turks, here is where things will start to get interesting. The Turks have not changed their attitude towards Christianity. But they have changed their attitude towards the secular West. I earlier predicted this would happen.

Erdogan has wisely decided that he cannot resist both the West and the East at the same time. So, after shooting down that Russian fighter jet in 2016, has made his peace with Putin. It was that or see the Kurds and the Armenians gain Russian favor and arms to escalate their still-simmering wars on Turkish hegemony. In return for Putin’s indulgence of Erdogan’s hubris, a few things had to change in Turkey-ville.

First and foremost, Turkey must effectively exit from NATO. This has happened in all but name. You can’t integrate Russian S-400 air-defense missile systems with Western Patriot, Aegis and THAAD systems. In fact, there is only one reason to buy Russian gear. That reason, as any idiot could guess, is to guard against western air strikes that will surely come as things degenerate and the Bosporus becomes closed to western naval transit. The Montreux Convention, you know. We can’t have Western belligerents traipsing about the Black Sea, can we Komrade?

The next thing that had to change in Erdogan’s world is that he must ally himself with the east, economically. Now you may think that Russia is weak, economically, and that is true when it comes to trade with say, Mexico, or Japan. But not with Turkey. Turkish exports to Russia rose over 100% since 2016. Turkey and Russia are joining with Iran (and China) to put together a non-dollar trading bloc that has no need for oceanic transit. Or western banking clearance.

In short, Turkey is moving into Moscow’s orbit in both trade and military affairs. What else is there? Religion. The biggest market of all, my friend. The market that will pay any price, bear any burden, make any sacrifice. And, coincidentally, the market that can be exploited and oppressed without fear. As long as it is Christianity.

What’s the next thing that might change in Turkey? Well, what else is there that might make Vlad smile upon the Turks? That’s easy. Squeeze the Patriarch! Nothing big, just make his life an administrative Hell. And an economic one too. That’s easy to do. Erdogan has already paid the price of making Donald mad over some evangelical pastor. What else has he got to lose?
The western-leaning Ukrainians know this. And they aren’t wasting any time, seizing churches loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate. Numerous reports of this (often featuring the Greek Catholics as the cats-paw of the Ukrainian central government) show that the conflict between Moscow and the West has moved beyond the military battle front. The war is now for the hearts and minds of the people of Ukraine. People will fight to the death for their religious heritage. And the religious heritage of Kiev is oriented towards Moscow. Towards the Slavic Patriarch.

What does this religious warfare have to do with North America? Simple, citizen. Bartholomew has decided to name two North Americans, who are hierarchs in the North American Orthodox communities loyal to Constantinople, to head up the new and improved version of the supposedly autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. That’s like the Archbishop of Canterbury saying he’s going to name the new primate of Poland.

What does Bartholomew get out of all of this? Given the numerous financial scandals reportedly happening throughout the Greek-American Archdiocese (where most of his money comes from), there has to be something connected to money. Isn’t that the usual problem with hierarchs today? You can bet the alms from Moscow aren’t flowing anymore. Where has all the money gone? Just look at the money in America, where the Catholic Bishops have spent over 4 billion hushing up the homosexual pederasty scandals. Guess what the rumours are about in the Greek Orthodox Church in America? Not that CNN is interested. At least, as long as Constantinople is still estranged from Rome.

The war in Ukraine is still on, even though it isn’t in the headlines. But it has moved in a new direction that takes it directly towards the people’s ultimate loyalties. Spiritual loyalties. As I’ve said before, no one is the true ruler of All Russia until they control all four of the ancient Sees of Slavdom. There are four of them that allowed Ivan III to proclaim himself the first Tsar: Novgorod, Kiev, Vladimir and the Duchy (of Moscow). NKVD is my shorthand acronym for this, for those who have a weird sense of humour.

Currently, Vlad Putin has three firmly within his grasp. Only Kiev remains. Vlad has shown he is determined to get it. In my estimation, he will. If that means Bartholomew must go, so be it. After all, what advantage is there to Russia, and to the Orthodox Church of Russia, of having Constantinople continue to exist as a challenge to Russian hegemony, whether political or religious?

In the end, we have to ask ourselves the question Uncle Joe asked when he was confronted by the opposition of the Pope to his anti-Christian holocaust. This time, the question is a parody of the original. This time it’s his political nephew, Vlad Putin that is asking the question. And that question is: How many divisions does the Papist Patriarch Bartholomew have, Komrade?

September 17, 2018 | 13 Comments

On Supporting Trump

God Bless the UNITED States of America!

President Trompe, as essayist David Warren writes, the spelling doubtless the result of a residual trace of the French foisted upon all Canadians by mandate, diversity is our strength, Trompe, he says, is “a puffball populist”.

This is true. But then it is also true that all presidents in a democracy are populists by design. Populism must needs arise from popular elections. (And populism eventually fails, because crowds are insane.) Le Trompe—or is it Le Trompé?—is a loud populist, not given over much to lying, as we expect in our populist leaders. Warren agrees:

He is candid about his intentions, and is passing honest, however sloppy with the details; robust in his flattery, as too in his abuse. His self-seeking is open, not disguised. He is the dead opposite of a Machiavellian schemer. This is brave because, while it charms his stiff-necked supporters, the majority in any democratic electorate demand to be lied to. Should the entire media say one thing, and Trompe says another, I would think Trompe more likely to be telling (some aspect of) the truth.

I am a stiff-necked supporter. Even though I agree with Warren (and his correspondent) when he says Trompe (and Pope Francis) is “1. Ill-educated and badly informed. 2. Given to constant self-expression…7. In the world and completely of it, in the culture that no longer acknowledges the force of truth…” I agree with the traits in the expurgation, too, but want to save space.

I am supporter because I still recall the alternative, President La Hilare.

Now I’m not saying that under La Hilare I and like members of the dissident right would have been rounded up for permanent vacations in FEMA camps by this time (two years in), though in my less sober moments I can be talked into believing it. I am certain, though, that La Hilare would not have been kind to orthodox Christians and other deplorables.

I can well imagine how every Supreme Court opinion would be led by the affirmative action hire Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Hate speech” would have become by now a criminal offense, if not by executive order (laws as such now routinely originate in this way), then by SCOTUS decision. On that front, Congress would become even more of a non-entity, the Senate as it was under Augustus.

It’s bad now, but under La Hilare every establishment conservative organization would weekly issue a stream of “The Conservative Case for Surrendering” articles and “studies”. The left could relax as the Conservatives, to show they are team players, complete the purges of the dissident right for them. At least with Le Trompe, we have shaken awake some of these Conservatives. I won’t say these fellows have seen the light, but I do think a minority now perceive faint shadows.

Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other evil tech Orwell Squad entities would still have been invited to Washington, as they were under Le Trompe, but to be praised for contributing to the ever-increasing “health” of our public conservation.

Would this blog even exist were La Hilare President? Or would its servers still be glowing from the aftermath of the nukes launched in her war against Russia? (Not that some on Les Trompers aren’t also hoping for the same thing.)

Le Trompe has done the signal service of showing us who the media really is. The Enemy of the People. True, not everybody believes this. But some do. People are looking outside the Cathedral for news for the first time in a very long time. Under La Hilare, journalists would make Baghdad Bob look like a paragon of forthrightness.

La Trompe has exposed the Deep State. They, too, are the Enemy of the People. Again, not everybody sees this. But some do. This is why we must support La Trompe. If the Deep State beats him, we are doomed. If they take La Trompe down, using all the force and might of the government, they will become emboldened to an unimaginable degree. They will be unstoppable. If would be as if La Hilare had won after all, and our upcoming One Party State had finally arrived. NRO will write “Why the Joint CIA/FBI Secret Assassination of Trump is a Good Thing.”

La Trompe has driven them mad. And in this sweet madness, all our Enemies have declared themselves. The pretense of politeness has dissolved. Openly hating whites and calling for their doom, calling for one-world government, Diversity and Equality as mandatory everywhere, and on and sickeningly on.

Sides must be taken. This is good. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

It can’t last, though. Trump, as I wrote before the election, is a respite, a brief interlude before we continue our descent. Unless something unforeseen happens, and a hero arises, or the Great Chastisement occurs, we are doomed.