Wednesday, August 4, 2021

As go South Africa and Zimbabwe, so goes the world???

 

Robert Duigan reflects on recent events in South Africa, and how they may be a harbinger for the future of Europe and North America too.  He calls it "Civilizational Brinkmanship", and he's not optimistic.

I want to disagree with Mr. Duigan, but in all honesty he argues his position very well indeed.  He sees many parallels between what's happening in South Africa today, and what happened in Zimbabwe recently, and what's happening in the West - Europe and North America - today.  I have to admit, he makes a cogent case.  I hope he's wrong . . . but I don't know that he is.  There are enough warning signs flashing all around us to make me fear he isn't wrong.

Here are a few points from his very long discussion, which I highly recommend you read in full.  It requires serious reading, with attention, but I guarantee it'll make you think.


We [in South Africa] live on the brink of barbarism, and the West is following us every step of the way.

A nation may have a lot of ruin in it, but a poor nation has less ruin in it than a wealthy one. When a state collapses or undergoes revolution in the distant reaches of Africa or Asia, there is a certain social distance which prevents Westerners directly apprehending the significance of the social dynamics, the closeness of the dangers, the universality of the lessons, the pain and the tragedy of the loss.

But South Africa is different. South Africa is at once Western and alien to Westerners. Our constitution is Western. Our revolutionaries and our reactionaries and our racial cosmology is Western. Our highest aspiration is that of the West at large – a universal state which recognises no difference of class, race, or creed. And that is why when we observe South Africa, we stare into the abyss of Western civilisation and its global future. Each Westerner sees himself reflected in that void, from the national-socialist, to the anarcho-communist, to the black-nationalist and the bleeding-heart liberal.

And they are right to.

. . .

Why is it so hard to get real criticism of South Africa’s political system? Why don’t we ever hear about any of this? Our state is a crumbling torture chamber, but what we keep hearing instead is that everything is just fine, we just need to fix the inequality. This stuck record strikes a chord with international audiences, who like the good feel-good story our rainbow nation promised, and adore the knowledge that, no matter who you are, you are better than those horrid white South Africans. But at home, the climate of mandatory optimism is beginning to invoke an allergic reaction. And yet so many struggle to locate the cause of the itch.

South Africa is a Socialist country. Perhaps not in its current economic arrangement, which is a complex mixture of socialism, welfare-liberalism, idiocracy-style technocracy, neo-patrimonialism, feudalism and organised crime. But in the culture of the elites, and in the spirit of the constitution, we are indeed socialist. The preamble of our 1996 constitution itself dedicates the purpose of the document to the achievement of social justice, that strange and pernicious incantation that transforms the universal yearning for the transcendent value of justice into a scythe to sweep the tall poppies from the field.

. . .

But now the power plays are not for economic sectors, and they are not for local admin blocks. They are for the heart of the state. And that means shutting down everything, starting with the Johannesburg-Durban economic corridor, which forms the core of our economy, and the central artery to the mining industry at its heart. The state provided no defence, and the Minister of Defence has spent the past week contradicting the president in public. The army, corroded by decades of mismanagement and poorly implemented integration with the revolutionary guerrilla forces, are not capable of much, and are considered a joke by the whole nation.

The police had to be rescued by the impromptu civilian defence forces. In the current storm, everyone is finally feeling it – there is no shelter from the winds of change.

. . .

Just as the ANC funds the influx of black voters into urban minority areas to build shacks on squatted land, the West welcomes mass migration from the third world, total open-borders, to transform the electoral system against the interests of the native population who might have their own desires, against the grain of global empire. Every corporation and state in the Western world discriminated against whites in hiring. The CIA peddles Critical Race Theory and actively recruits sexual minorities. Colour revolutions can be spotted whenever the rainbow flag or black fist makes an appearance.

Today, the Democratic Party in the US openly looks to South Africa for inspiration in dealing with what Yarvin called the “outer party” – all conservatives are being purged from every institution, in a vast cadre deployment program to ensure the core of the establishment becomes forever untouchable. On the streets they have even begun to use the same tactics for control – deploying huge mobs to destabilise cities when election season is approaching.

Minimum wage rises funnel employment into companies in public-private partnerships with the state, like Amazon, who is part of the Enduring Security Framework partnership of the CIA (which includes Facebook and Google). The analogies between their experimental management strategies and collectivised central-planning are no accident – any company that aims for a total retail monopoly through state-subsidised negative-profit growth is merely another route to total control.

And as the nation and the state are decoupled, the liberal-democratic institutions are being geared toward the concentration of power and wealth, and a strategy of divide-and-rule, to create a cannibal economy.

. . .

Reliance on the state for services means they can’t be sacrificed – in the UK, the [National Health Service] has become essentially a religious cult, feeding the civil service, medical contractors, immigrants and the poor alike, in a financially unsustainable way, for decreasing returns. As Philip Bagus observed, the democratic pressures to maintain institutional support via this sort of patronage forces modern western states to take on ever more debt and expand taxation to the limits. This then must be offset by QE, which must be guaranteed by the central state at a rate that benefits the most fragile provinces of any empire so that the whole system does not collapse.

Finance and corporations benefit through the Cantillion effect, and corporate profits become easier through asset acquisition and mergers-and-acquisitions than productive development. Consequently, capital formation declines. A tiny ruling class who shares no real values with the ordinary people forms, forced to leverage sectional grievances to wield and consolidate power. This creates an entirely new class system. A client class of dependent poor, a state-employed class, a managerial class, and the vampire elites. And as the vertical loyalties erode and disappear, the need to concentrate power ever more in the hands of the elite accelerates, and the economy is plundered, liquidated to keep a grip on the bailey as the motte catches fire.

. . .

The same economic dynamics are present in the world at large – the share of GDP spent on welfare keep increasing, as does the debt-GDP ratio. Capital formation has been falling for decades, and chronic inflation is treated as a static phenomenon, which nobody dares reign in, because the entire system is dependent on low interest rates to keep the constant corrosive consolidation of the global market going full steam ahead. This arrangement results in the inflation of property prices as along term hedge against inflation which, when the plebs followed suit resulted in the 2008 bubble, when they tried to play the elites’ asset accumulation game with borrowed money.

Aside from asset accumulation, another way to seek profit and a hedge against inflation is through mergers and acquisitions and liquidations – an easy option since many tax codes incentivise this by encouraging investment. Most sought investment in emerging markets. But in these countries, the same factors are present, only more advanced. They experienced their own crises of sovereign debt, and the same printing sprees and capital flight to into hard assets followed. The ceiling on global growth in 2008, a result of the final stage of globalisation, has finally forced the elites to pursue investment in the lowest rung of Mazlow’s hierarchy – primary resources.

For years now, China and the Atlantic elite have been pouring money into commodities markets and land. This is no new trend. It was spotted by the infamous Michael Burry back in 2010 – the future is no longer in the construction of anything new, but in the hoarding of static resources. The elites are assembling their life rafts from the hull of a sinking ship.

. . .

But what many forsee in dreams of revolution and revolt, the breakups of massive crumbling empires, is not going to happen as they hope.

Instead, the state will protect the stability of the ruling class and its control over the levers of power at the core, bleeding everyone dry and terrorising them into submission ... The West is losing control of its ability to provide the kind of total state security required for this however, and has been reaching for a far more sinister method of control – the financial system.

And this is where all analogies break down, because what is about to happen here is unprecedented. The international Bank of Settlements has recently announced that they intend to use Central Bank Digital Currency to control the spending of all global citizens, and have the tech and the power to control each and every expenditure, and to shut anybody out of the ability to feed themselves if they so choose. But this movement to kick away the ladder and consolidate total control follows the same logic as Zimbabwe’s – the poor can only be fed for so long, but the ruling elite must be fed forever, or else the whole house comes down.


There's much more at the link.

I suggest it'll be well worth your time to read Mr. Duigan's essay in full.  It's thought-provoking, to say the least.

Peter


Inflation and the "stealth" default on US government debt

 

Peter Schiff is anathema to many mainstream economic pundits, because he persists in telling it like it is.  He isn't fooled by the tidal wave of unreasonably optimistic official pronouncements about the economy.  I don't necessarily agree with his proposed solutions, but he certainly analyzes our problems in a very down-to-earth, realistic way.

Here's what he has to say about our latest gross domestic product figures, and their relationship to inflation and our national debt.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.


GDP growth for the second quarter of the year came in lower than expected. Even so, the economy still appears to be experiencing solid growth. But a deeper dig into the numbers reveals a lot of smoke and mirrors.

The media’s focus was on the 6.5% number, so-called “real” growth. That number is adjusted for inflation. Minus inflation, the nominal GDP gain was about 13%. Peter said the divergence between these two numbers really puts the inflation level into perspective.

The deflator used in the GDP calculation was about 6.4%. That means almost half of the nominal GDP growth was due to inflation and not actual economic growth.

Comparing the GDP deflator with CPI reveals that “real” growth may even be overstated. If you add up Q2 CPI and annualized it the same way they calculate GDP, you get 9.35%. So, if you use the CPI as a deflator, you get annualized GDP at a mere three-and-a-half percent.

And as Peter pointed out, CPI doesn’t capture the real price level. Peter said if we could deflate the GDP using a legitimate measure of rising prices, we likely had an economic contraction in Q2.

"So, despite all this fanfare about all this economic growth, all of this economic growth is, in fact, an illusion that is created by inflation.  Inflation creates the illusion of economic growth even as the economy is not growing."

Breaking down the GDP components further pierces the illusion of real economic growth. Virtually all of the Q2 GDP growth came from an 11.8% leap in consumer spending. This accounted for 70.6% of total GDP, the most ever. It was the first time consumer spending has ever made up more than 70% of GDP.

Meanwhile, private investment – the GDP component that signals the potential for real growth in the future – was down 3.5%.

"So, we had no legitimate economic growth at all. All we had was people spending money. And one of the reasons that they spent more money is because all the things that they were buying cost more. So, it’s rising prices, not a growing economy, that is behind the gain in the GDP."

And where did a lot of Americans get the money that they spent?

From the Fed.

"The Federal Reserve printed the money and then the US government distributed all that printed money to Americans in the form of stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits. So, we printed a bunch of money and spent it buying higher-priced stuff, and that is the reason that we had this big increase in GDP. But this is not a sign of a strong economy. It simply evidences a weak economy that is being camouflaged by inflation."

Peter also explained how this inflation also has implications on the $28.5 trillion national debt.

Using the 6.5% GDP deflator effectively wipes out $1.5 trillion of debt. It’s not officially defaulted on, but for all practical purposes, it’s been repudiated by the government.

"When the government creates inflation, and the value of money goes down, that means the value of their debt goes down. That means when the US government repays its creditors the money that it borrowed, creditors are getting back money that has less purchasing power. That is in effect a stealth default. Creditors are getting back less in real terms than they loaned, which is one of the main reasons the government is deliberately causing inflation because it has no other way to get out of this debt."

The federal government doesn’t have the money to pay off the debt. It doesn’t have the integrity to legitimately default. So it does a stealth default through inflation.

Of course, the debt is growing so fast now, the stealth default can’t keep up. The debt to GDP ratio continues to rise despite the fact that the government is repudiating part of the debt through inflation. Even while effectively decreasing the debt by 6.5% a year via inflation, the government is expanding the debt by some 15% per year.

"So, we’re still going deeper into debt despite the fact that so much of it is being repudiated by inflation — that is how big this problem is. So, in other words, if the US government really wants to use inflation to shrink the absolute amount of debt in relation to the economy, given how big the deficits are right now, we’re going to need a whole lot more inflation. And you know what? That’s exactly what we’re going to get. We’re going to get much more inflation than what we’ve already experienced. In fact, we’re already getting more inflation than the government is admitting to. But even that number is going to get much bigger."


There's more at the link.

I hate comparisons that say the USA is headed down the same road as Weimar Germany when it comes to hyperinflation.  In the past, I've said that's simply not valid, that the economic conditions and restrictions that forced Weimar Germany into bad economic choices don't exist for us today.  That was, and probably is, still true today.

However, I failed to take into account that bad choices by our financial and political overlords may send us down that same path regardless of modern economic conditions.  It's possible to choose Weimar, even though we're not forced to follow Weimar.

I'm beginning to get a very uncomfortable feeling that we may be seeing precisely that.  If so . . . our "powers that be" are going to be in for a hell of a reckoning when the American people realize what's been done to our future by their feckless, reckless, self-interested manipulation of the very foundations of our economy.

Peter


Making money out of stupid COVID-19 regulations

 

I had to laugh at a range of face masks, proudly brand-named FAKE MASKS, sold by an online vendor.  I think they're just what we need to freak out every Karen in the vicinity - and they're no more or less effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19 than the real thing.



Miss D. already has something similar:  a face mask made out of large-hole purple mesh, through which her face is clearly visible.  She wears it on the few occasions when we can't avoid shopping at an establishment that insists on customers wearing masks.  It irritates their staff, but they can't argue - she is masked, after all!

I'm afraid we're in for much, much more of mask hysteria from those who won't think for themselves, and read the solid medical evidence that proves they won't stop transmission of COVID-19 or infection by it.  Some people will just follow along like sheep . . . and that's what the powers that be are counting on.  Condition people to behave like sheep, and they're that much more likely to obey when their overreach goes into overdrive and they try to rule by decree and by diktat, rather than by democratic means.

I somehow doubt that most of my readers are among those who'll be persuaded by such shenanigans.

Peter


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Some cops are honest. Others . . . not so much

 

If your blood doesn't boil with anger (at least metaphorically) when you read this report, I suggest there's something severely out of kilter with your moral sense.


On May 31 last year, 25-year-old Safarain Herring was shot in the head and dropped off at St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago by a man named Michael Williams. He died two days later.

Chicago police eventually arrested the 64-year-old Williams and charged him with murder (Williams maintains that Herring was hit in a drive-by shooting). A key piece of evidence in the case is video surveillance footage showing Williams’ car stopped on the 6300 block of South Stony Island Avenue at 11:46 p.m.—the time and location where police say they know Herring was shot.

How did they know that’s where the shooting happened? Police said ShotSpotter, a surveillance system that uses hidden microphone sensors to detect the sound and location of gunshots, generated an alert for that time and place.

Except that’s not entirely true, according to recent court filings.

That night, 19 ShotSpotter sensors detected a percussive sound at 11:46 p.m. and determined the location to be 5700 South Lake Shore Drive—a mile away from the site where prosecutors say Williams committed the murder, according to a motion filed by Williams’ public defender. The company’s algorithms initially classified the sound as a firework. That weekend had seen widespread protests in Chicago in response to George Floyd’s murder, and some of those protesting lit fireworks.

But after the 11:46 p.m. alert came in, a ShotSpotter analyst manually overrode the algorithms and “reclassified” the sound as a gunshot. Then, months later and after “post-processing,” another ShotSpotter analyst changed the alert’s coordinates to a location on South Stony Island Drive near where Williams’ car was seen on camera.

“Through this human-involved method, the ShotSpotter output in this case was dramatically transformed from data that did not support criminal charges of any kind to data that now forms the centerpiece of the prosecution’s murder case against Mr. Williams,” the public defender wrote in the motion.

The document is what’s known as a Frye motion—a request for a judge to examine and rule on whether a particular forensic method is scientifically valid enough to be entered as evidence. Rather than defend ShotSpotter’s technology and its employees' actions in a Frye hearing, the prosecutors withdrew all ShotSpotter evidence against Williams.

The case isn’t an anomaly, and the pattern it represents could have huge ramifications for ShotSpotter in Chicago, where the technology generates an average of 21,000 alerts each year. The technology is also currently in use in more than 100 cities.

Motherboard’s review of court documents from the Williams case and other trials in Chicago and New York State, including testimony from ShotSpotter’s favored expert witness, suggests that the company’s analysts frequently modify alerts at the request of police departments—some of which appear to be grasping for evidence that supports their narrative of events.


There's more at the link.

Chicago police and prosecutors clearly haven't learned much since the Homan Square scandal blew up in their faces.  Trouble is, this doesn't involve just the Chicago police.  It's happening in other cities as well, and in other individual cases, as the report makes clear.

I know (and trust) a number of policemen.  I confidently expect them to do the upright, honest, ethical thing when they investigate a crime, and I can't conceive of them "cutting corners" and ignoring the law in order to "solve" a crime and get it off their books.  Unfortunately, there are clearly a great many others who aren't of similar mind.  They'll do whatever it takes to get a conviction, even framing an innocent man, in order to "look good" to their superiors and get a case off their books as "solved", when in fact it's nothing of the sort.

I want to know what happens to the police and prosecutors who asked ShotSpotter to falsify evidence in this case.  I want to see them criminally charged and convicted of subornation of perjury,  malfeasance in office, misprision of felony (by those who covered up for the guilty parties), felony under color of law, and a host of other offenses.  If that doesn't happen, it'll be a double disgrace.

Sadly, I suspect that's not likely to happen, because too many cops protect their own even when they know they're guilty as sin.  That's the negative side of "behind the badge".

Peter


"Vaccine hesitancy" - that gets it said!

 

From a long series of tweets by Konstantin Kisin, this concluding summary:


The same people who told you Brexit would never happen, Trump would never win, that when he did win it was because of Russian collusion, then because of racism, that you must follow lockdowns while they don’t, that masks don’t work and then that they do work, that protests…

…during lockdowns are a “health intervention”, that ransacking black communities in the name of fighting racism are “mostly peaceful”, that Jussie Smollett was a victim of a hate crime, that men are toxic, that there is an infinite number of genders, that COVID didn’t come…

…from a lab and then that it probably did, that closing borders is racist and then that it’s the most important thing to do, that the Hunter Biden story is Russian disinformation and then that it’s not, that they would not take Trump’s vaccine and then that you must take the…

…vaccine, that Governor Cuomo is a great COVID leader and then that he is a granny killer, that the number of COVID deaths is one thing and then another, that hospitals are filled with COVID patients and then that many of them caught COVID in hospital…

These same people are now telling you the vaccine is safe, you must take it and if you don’t you will be a second class citizen. Understand vaccine hesitancy now?


I couldn't have put it better myself.  When those trying to force mass vaccination upon the people have proved themselves so often to be manifestly unworthy of our trust and completely unfit for public office, why the hell should we believe them?

Or, as a meme on MeWe put it:






Peter


A really useful accessory for rifle telescopic sights

 

I'm sure many readers interested in the shooting sports are familiar with the "throw lever" sometimes integrated into the power ring (i.e. the adjustment ring to vary the magnification) of telescopic sights.  They look something like this example, sticking up from the power ring of a Swampfox Optics Arrowhead tactical scope.  (Click any image for a larger view.)



Regular hunting- and target-style scopes don't usually have throw levers, but they've become very popular on tactical scopes.  They allow one to adjust the power very quickly with one hand, rather than fiddle with a power ring that doesn't offer easy purchase or a visual or tactile reference when the scope is being held to one's eye.  There are third-party, aftermarket throw levers available, but they can be expensive, and they only fit a limited range of sizes.

I recently came across a fishing accessory, originally designed to attach reels to rods.  It's called a "Coaster", and is available in single and twin packs.  They're made by Breakaway Tackle in England, and look like this.



The loop is placed around the fishing rod, over the mounting lugs of the reel:  then the arms are pulled tight through the vice block before the ring is screwed down on the block, its threads engaging the notches on the arms to tighten them further.  It's a bit like a double-ended cable tie.

Some bright spark figured out that the same tool could be used as a throw lever on rifle telescopic sights that lacked such a feature.  Intrigued, I tried it, and found it works like a charm.  Here's how the vendor illustrates it.



I modified that slightly, in that I cut off the arms a notch or so above the ring using cutting pliers, as low as I could manage, as illustrated above.  I then unscrewed the ring and took it off, cut the arms a notch or two shorter while holding the loop and vice block in place, and then reattached the ring and screwed it down moderately tightly (don't over-tighten it, as that will strip the threads).  That put the ends of the arms just beneath the surface of the ring, rather than above it, so they no longer scratched my fingers as I felt for the ring.  I found that a lot more comfortable, and it looked better, too.

Customer reviews warn that the plastic may stretch over time, but that's easily dealt with by tightening the ring when necessary.  I've considered using glue on the arms inside the ring, to stop anything coming loose, but so far I haven't needed it.  I'll hold off on the glue unless it proves necessary further down the road.

When attaching the Coaster, turn your scope's power ring to its minimum setting, then move it to its maximum setting, taking careful note of how far it turns from one extremity to the other.  Looking from the rear of the scope, it's usually from about 270 degrees, or west, moving clockwise through a half-circle to about 90 degrees, or east (with 0 degrees being straight up, or north).  Return it to the minimum setting, then fasten the Coaster to the power ring so that it sticks out on the left (west) of the scope at about the 270 degree setting.  When tightened down, it should make it much easier to grasp and move the power ring one-handed between finger and thumb while peering through the scope, moving the ring all the way over to the 90 degree point (east) on the right.  (If your scope's power ring moves the other way, or has a shorter range of motion, simply adjust the initial position of the Coaster to suit.)

If you ever want to take off the Coaster, simply unscrew the ring;  or, if you've glued the ring in place, just cut the plastic loop and the Coaster will fall off.

I'm delighted with how easy the Coaster makes it to move the power ring; and with the arms trimmed to below the surface of the locking ring, it looks good, too.  I've bought enough of them to put one on all my variable-power scopes (buying the twin-pack means they cost less than $6.50 each).  I highly recommend it.

There are competing products out there, but they all appear to be more expensive than the Coaster, so I haven't tried them.  YMMV, of course.

Peter


Monday, August 2, 2021

The rot is deeply entrenched, and has not been cut out

 

Following recent revelations that the General Secretary of the US Catholic bishops' conference had been caught living an active homosexual lifestyle, commenters are emphasizing - as I did at the time - that this is a problem from the top down.  The wrong people were allowed to ascend the hierarchy;  and now, from their officially protected positions, they're allowing the rot to continue.  The situation has been made even worse by criminal charges being brought against former Cardinal (now defrocked) Theodore McCarrick.  George Neumayr notes:


This trial is sure to serve as yet another reminder of the Catholic hierarchy’s complicity in McCarrick’s misdeeds. After all, those who knew of his misconduct remain in positions of power. “[W]e all knew,” Bishop Steven Lopez has acknowledged.

Some close associates of McCarrick have even received promotions since the scandal. Cardinal Kevin Farrell, his former roommate, holds a high position at the Vatican. Two of McCarrick’s cronies, Cardinal Blase Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin in Newark, sit on a powerful Vatican congregation that selects bishops for the United States. (According to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to the United States, McCarrick “orchestrated” the elevations of Tobin and Cupich in the Church.)

Cardinal Donald Wuerl was made aware of an allegation of misconduct against McCarrick at least 13 years before the scandal broke. The formal complaint reportedly concerned McCarrick’s behavior at his New Jersey beach house, where McCarrick has admitted he shared beds with seminarians. Wuerl is now enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Meanwhile, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a top official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), resigned due to a report by The Pillar establishing Burrill’s extensive use of Grindr, a gay hookup app.

. . .

These stories illuminate the homosexual ecclesiastical culture which had protected McCarrick for decades. But, of course, the Catholic establishment refuses to make that admission. It is outraged not by that culture, but by its exposure.

Jesuit Father James Martin, who openly contradicts the Church’s teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts, blasted The Pillar for daring to obtain Grindr data. All the usual defenders of the gay culture in the Church chimed in with similar condemnations, including the Washington Post. Suddenly the Post, which published the Pentagon Papers and countless other works of audacious investigative journalism, is fretting over “surveillance-ethics.”

Voices within the Church defending Burrill and tut-tutting The Pillar’s exposes used similar rationalizations to avert their gazes from McCarrick’s misconduct. That is, the post-McCarrick Church looks pretty much the same as the pre-McCarrick Church. The laxity and lack of vigilance that McCarrick exploited is exactly what permitted Burrill to rise to the top of the USCCB. Instead of apologizing to the faithful for yet another demoralizing scandal, the bishops use proxies at heterodox publications such as the National Catholic Reporter to whine about violations of “privacy” and so forth.

. . .

Had The Pillar not exposed Monsignor Burrill, he would undoubtedly have risen higher in the Church. The USCCB has yet to condemn his conduct. He hasn’t even been suspended as a priest by his local bishop, Bishop William Callahan. Just as the bishops played dumb about McCarrick’s misconduct — some bishops insisted his sleeping with seminarians wasn’t sexual, as even the Vatican report on the scandal noted — so Callahan is pretending that Burrill’s extensive Grindr usage doesn’t establish impropriety.

The Church establishment maintains the big lie that a gay priestly culture played no significant role in the abuse scandal, even though most of its victims have been teenage boys. The protégés of McCarrick, such as Cupich and Tobin, refuse to address that issue. Instead, they give their blessing to Fr. James Martin to push LGBTQ causes in the Church.

The bishops act as if the McCarrick scandal is behind them. But it isn’t. Its fundamental causes remain largely unaddressed, as the Burrill scandal proves. The bishops deflect attention from their own derelictions of duty by complaining about intrusive media. But that is simply a function of their own passivity.

Because the bishops won’t reform the Church, members of the laity have taken up that task. To the extent that the Church is changing, that is due more to pressure from outside sources — lawyers, prosecutors, journalists — than any internal accountability.

Churchmen have washed their hands of McCarrick. But his stain is not so easily erased. As his upcoming criminal trial unfolds, the faithful will have every right to ask: If the Church is past McCarrick, why are his “nephews” still running it?


There's more at the link.

Rod Dreher received a message from a friend who is a priest, concerning the resignation of Mgr. Burrill.  It reads in part:


Rod, this is HUGE. In articles he is described as being “responsible for sex abuse cases“ and being a sort of administrator. But he was the equivalent of the CEO of the United States’ bishops’ official organization. In some respects he had more power than many bishops.

Furthermore, priest employees of the USCCB are supposedly subject to very intense vetting. I know of this both first and secondhand. Mostly what the Conference is looking for is what has been termed “French-cuffed moderates.” These are priests who have learned to be smooth, work the system, never say anything that will create controversy, etc. But they also supposedly look into a priest’s background to make sure that he is “suitable” and won’t turn into a source of scandal. Obviously that sort of vetting failed in this instance.

Or perhaps “failure“ is not the correct term. Given that this priest had been engaged in this sort of behavior for so long and so comprehensively (even whilst traveling on USCCB business, for God’s sake!) there’s no way that some of his confreres and even some bishops didn’t know about this. This guy was groomed and prepared and protected to get to his position. Make no mistake. If the church is fortunate, he or someone who know will spill the beans, and other shoes will drop. God send that that will happen!


Bold, underlined text above is my emphasis.  Dreher responds:


This is staggering news. It really is. Almost twenty years after the scandal broke nationwide out of Boston, and after years of Catholic bishops assuring the faithful that the scandal was behind them, a gay pick-up artist was in place as the top non-episcopal USCCB official, and even coordinating efforts to respond to the scandal.

What are Catholics supposed to think? Back in 2002, I got into an argument with a bishop about my writing on the scandal, which he wanted me to stop doing. I finally told him that as a Catholic, one of the reasons I did this writing and reporting was because I did not trust the bishops to clean up the mess. He said to me, “If you don’t trust the bishops, why are you still a Catholic?” Fortunately, I knew that my Catholicism did not require me to believe that particular bishops are moral or competent; I only had to believe that they were validly ordained. But that bishop’s response was truer than I realized at the time. Once I came to believe that the entire clerical institution was honeycombed with sexually active gay men who had no intention of obeying their vows, and by bishops and church officials (straight or gay) who had no intention of stopping them, I began to question the entire Catholic model.

One day I realized that if one of my sons, small children at the time, told me that he felt a calling to the Catholic priesthood, I would throw myself in front of him to prevent him from entering into that pit of vipers. That was a shock. I knew then that my faith was in trouble. And so it proved to be.

. . .

How blind do you have to be to think that the fix isn’t in? Do you remember who was put in charge of the USCCB’s initial 2002 response to the Catholic sex abuse scandal? Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

. . .

And so, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, nineteen years after Boston, and three years after the Church moved against Theodore McCarrick, it fell to faithful Catholic journalists to reveal that the top administrative official at the USCCB, the man in charge of leading the US bishops’ response to sex abuse, is in fact a sexually compulsive closet case.

Shocking, but at this point, not surprising. How are people supposed to trust this organization? I don’t know.

. . .

Popes, patriarchs, bishops, priests, pastors — Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, whatever — shouldn’t make it harder for the faithful to hold on, is all I’m saying. And the Catholic Church should once and for all look hard at the problem of sexually active gay men in the priesthood. The media won’t do it (except for tough, faithfully Catholic journalists like J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon at The Pillar) — but until and unless it is done, nothing will change.


Again, more at the link.

I think that yet again, the media have proved to be emissaries of the Holy Spirit in revealing the corruption that infests the Church.  At the time of the earlier crisis over clergy child sexual abuse, I wrote:


As for the media, I believed (and still do) that there was more than enough justification for a 'witch-hunt' on their part. Because the scandal had been covered up for so long, and because it had been made worse by the bad decisions of many bishops, it was inevitable that its exposure would cause a sensation. Furthermore, the bishops had signally failed in their duty to protect the faithful, instead choosing to protect their own position and authority, and the institution they served. I was taught at seminary that the Church exists to serve Christ by, in and through serving the People of God. If it fails in the latter endeavor, it automatically fails in the former as well. The media attention being paid to the scandal was simply driving home that truth with renewed force, as far as I was concerned.

I also had to ask whether God wasn't deliberately using the news media to accomplish something He'd been trying to get His bishops to do for years – decades! - without success. Since they'd so signally failed in their responsibilities, it seemed to me that the Lord appeared to be using the news media instead – conspicuously less than holy though it might be in many ways – to clean up His Church. Needless to say, my hypothesis wasn't greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by ecclesiastical authorities.


I don't suppose any Bishop paid any attention to what I said then, and I doubt they're paying any attention to it now.  I was one of those "rebels" who would not kowtow to their authority and let them get away with it.  I no longer have anything to say that would interest them, unless I were to surrender completely, and recant my views and my position, and acknowledge that they and the Catholic Church were right all along.

It saddens me more than I have words to say that, almost two decades after my own crisis of conscience and its result, very little has changed.  The Catholic faithful are still being misled by an entrenched "lavender Mafia" that has no intention of giving up its positions of power, or of being faithful to the moral teachings of Christ, or of being shepherds of the flock instead of wolves preying upon it.

Unless and until the bishops of the Catholic Church, jointly and severally, act to root out this corruption in their midst, and among their clergy, the Church will continue to be hamstrung in her mission.  It cannot be otherwise.

As for those bishops who are guilty of active involvement in, or passive tolerance of, such moral depravity . . . they are, indeed, demonstrating that they are successors to the Apostles - but not to all of them.  They're successors to one Apostle in particular.

His name was Judas.

Peter


The Uniparty and the oligarchy: their arrogance and our future

 

As we've said many times in these pages, there is no voting our way out of the mess we're in following the electoral fraud last November that brought the Biden administration to power.  The Uniparty - those on both sides of our political spectrum who work together to impose the control of the oligarchy on our constitutional republic - are pulling together to ensure that we are forced into submission.

One of the clearest displays of Uniparty arrogance and in-your-face disdain for ordinary Americans came in the Senate last week.  Sundance points out:


[Last Friday] the UniParty Senate (Democrats and Republicans) voted to approve cloture on HR-3684, the Senate version of the House infrastructure bill.  The cloture vote now means the bill will be debated and opens the Senate floor for amendments to the bill.  However, this cloture vote is odd….

…. BECAUSE THE D**NED SENATE BILL ISN’T EVEN WRITTEN YET!

That’s right.  The U.S. Senate just voted to invoke cloture and begin debate on a bill that has not even been written.  This is how dysfunctional the legislative branch has become.  Not a single senator has seen the text of the bill they just voted to start debating.

The UniParty exists in both chambers of the legislative branch, but the UniParty in the Senate is absurd in the extreme.  How can a senator approve moving forward to debate the merits of a bill that has not even been written?

. . .

According to Joe Biden, who tipped his hand earlier today, the UniParty will likely insert “immigration reform”, aka amnesty for illegal aliens (DACA and DAPA), into the infrastructure spending bill.

The Senate Republicans, the right-wing of the UniParty bird, are trying to hide their support for amnesty by using this method to get it passed: (A) while the American public are distracted by COVID; and (B) without the American public knowing they are passing amnesty legislation.

The UniParty, a majority group inside the legislative branch, is the worst possible group of scheming and conniving creatures in DC.

. . .

Hopefully, America can see what is going on here.  The United States Senate doesn’t want US to see the bill they have agreed to vote on.

They are not hiding the amnesty bill from themselves, they are hiding it from US because they don’t want the immediate backlash from U.S. voters.


There's more at the link.

Why would the Senate try to sneak amnesty for illegal aliens into the infrastructure bill?  Because it suits the Uniparty to overwhelm the votes of ordinary Americans in a tidal wave of new, reliably left-wing voters.  The game plan was revealed under the guise of a New York Times opinion column last week (the link is to an archived version of the article).


Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life, don’t have a say in matters of politics and policy because we — resident foreign nationals, or “aliens” as we are sometimes called — cannot vote.

Considering the Supreme Court’s recent decision undermining voting rights, and Republicans’ efforts to suppress, redistrict and manipulate their way to electoral security, it’s time for Democrats to radically expand the electorate. Proposing federal legislation to give millions of young people and essential workers a clear road to citizenship is a good start. But there’s another measure that lawmakers both in Washington and state capitals should put in place: lifting voting restrictions on legal residents who aren’t citizens — people with green cards, people here on work visas, and those who arrived in the country as children and are still waiting for permanent papers.

Expanding the franchise in this way would give American democracy new life, restore immigrants’ trust in government and send a powerful message of inclusion to the rest of the world.


Again, more at the link.

As the American Spectator notes, "If Democrats ultimately place their radical election overhaul on Joe Biden’s desk, it could turn millions of foreign lawbreakers into voters as soon as the 2022 midterms."  If that happens, we can write off future elections as meaningless.

Many of our Senators clearly don't care that public opinion is strongly against legalizing illegal aliens.  It's good for their corporate sponsors and their political interests;  therefore, they're going to impose it on us, whether we like it or not.  Sundance asks (rightly):  "How can a senator approve moving forward to debate the merits of a bill that has not even been written?"  The answer, clearly, is "When those behind the bill have, directly or indirectly, paid that senator enough that he or she doesn't care."

The political weaponization of the COVID-19 pandemic is so well known by now that I don't need to go into it any further.  Last week I called it "blatant propaganda and rampant dishonesty".  That's exactly what it is.  I fully expect it to be mobilized yet again to support the infrastructure bill, legalization of at least some illegal aliens, and other measures that the Uniparty can't ram through any other way.  Tom Luongo warns:


We have reached the moment where Davos’ plans to vandalize the American and European people are coming to fruition.

From this week’s events forward we will be in a state of ’emergency’ described brilliantly in V for Vendetta where the media is used to ratchet up the fear beyond any reasonable level and the people increasingly say, “Oh, bollocks.”

Or, as we say here in the States, “**** this noise!”

The ride from here will only get worse and our only recourse is to look to shoring up our local communities rather than hope for any saviors at the ballot box. The rules have changed.

Democracy has been outlawed and the courts neutralized. The push for total control over your movement, your thoughts and your basic right to make your way in the world is no longer protected by law.

In fact, the law is openly hostile to your very existence. Just ask Australians and Canadians.

We’ve always known that public health was the cheat code to tyranny. Now we’re seeing it weaponized in a way that isn’t just creepy, it’s chilling in its inhumanity.

. . .

There is an urgency to this now that wasn’t there before. In the days after neutralizing Trump they backed off thinking there was more time, that there was more than a full year to stepwise up the pressure on us.

But it turned out that COVID-19 simply wasn’t deadly enough and therapeutics for it strong enough to unmask the agenda behind the operation.

. . .

The storm created by Davos has made landfall. The next two months will tell us just who is and who is not still on their payroll or is compromised by them ... Either way, we’ve run out of time to prepare.


More at the link.

I confidently expect that the powers that be will ratchet up their campaign for universal vaccination to previously unheard-of levels, trying to scare the population into compliance.  This will be the "smokescreen" behind which they try to pass unacceptable legislation like that discussed above, in the hope that we won't notice amidst all the sound and fury over COVID-19.  I somehow don't think it's going to work.  Throughout Europe over the past week, massive protests have blown up over attempts to steamroller society into draconian measures.  Hundreds of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to reject such demands - but the mainstream media in the USA has had almost nothing to say about them.  Why?  Because they - and their Uniparty and oligarch masters - don't want Americans to know how huge the opposition to their agenda is becoming in the rest of the world.  Fortunately, they don't control all the news media and social media yet.  Look for the details for yourself, including TV footage.  They speak for themselves.

The question, of course, is whether enough Americans have seen through the COVID-19 smokescreen to understand - and resist - what's going on.  Roger Kimball notes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):


Last year at Encounter Books, we published an admonitory book by Joel Kotkin called The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning To The Global Middle Class. Some people thought Kotkin was overstating things with his talk of an increasingly stratified society in which a tiny elite lorded it over an increasingly pauperized and disenfranchised mass. It turns out, though, that if anything Kotkin understated the trends. The weaponization of public health diktats, their enforcement by a vast and increasingly overbearing cadre of nanny-state bureaucrats, is simply the latest manifestation of the profoundly anti-democratic spirit that has taken hold in Western societies.

It’s all about social control, as Jim Treacher says. At some point, there will be a revolt. The longer the arbitrary insanity persists, the more violent the reaction will be. The question is whether we are at or are approaching the point of crisis. Will the voters stand for another lockdown as we approach the 2022 election? Lockdowns markedly increased the opportunities for voter fraud; 2020 showed that. That is precisely why the swamp is prepping us for another go. Let’s see if we stand by grumbling impotently or if, finally, we actually do something. I am not holding my breath.


More at the link.

As we've discussed in these pages on several occasions, President Trump championed "Main Street" over "Wall Street" as far as the economy was concerned.  The oligarchs of Wall Street struck back in 2020 by rigging the election to prevent his return to office for a second term, and install a reliably pro-big-business administration.  That administration has moved with breakneck speed to claw back all the gains that the "Main Street" economy made under President Trump, and redistribute the spoils to its "Wall Street" masters and backers.

If we allow the Uniparty, the oligarchs and the statists to continue, it will become effectively impossible to undo the harm they have done.  They're counting on that.  They fully intend to see to it that a populist political movement can never again attain power in the United States (or, for that matter, in Europe or elsewhere).  They're becoming increasingly blatant in their efforts to do that.  Their program is totalitarianism under a thin, increasingly fragile veneer of respectability.  There's little difference between what they want, and straightforward revolutionary Communism.

(Of course, under Communist rule, the Party and its apparatchiks became the oligarchs and masters of their respective nations.  Power corrupts.  You'll note that our oligarchs and Uniparty players are quite happy to support openly, avowedly Marxist- and Communist-inspired movements like Black Lives Matter and Antifa.  They know full well that they can - and probably already have - bought the leaders of those movements, just as they've bought the leaders of our existing political parties.  Money talks.  Oligarchs and Communists have a lot more in common than you might realize at first glance.)

I'll let Aesop have the last word - and powerful words they are.  I hope and pray he's wrong . . . but I fear greatly (and increasingly) that he may be right.


Let's cut the horse****, kids.

There are not "Democrats" and "Republicans".

There are not "Conservatives" and "Never Trumpers".

Can we get serious?

There are Totalitarian Communists. And then, everybody else.

That group of "everybody else"? Those are Americans.

Period.

There is nothing American about Totalitarian Communism.

Never has been. Never will be.

You aren't going to carve out enclaves of "Free America" ... You aren't going to pick the peas, carrots, and scrambled egg out of the fried rice, and divvy up neat little enclaves.

It's not possible.

It's not practical.

And no one could ever do it, in a million years.

. . .

The only thing that will work EVER, is going to be bog-simple:

One side is going to be alive within US territory afterwards. One side is not.

That's IT.

That's what "existential" means.

One side is going to exist. 

The other side is going to cease to exist.

If anybody is still hazy on the concept, I invite you to discuss what this looks like with the Carthaginians. Shout loud: Tunisia is a long ways off, and it's hard to hear with six feet of dirt over your bones.

So make your decision whether you're going to be the Romans, or the Carthaginians, in the next such struggle. It's coming at you like a freight train, and there's no third option if you plan to live in the U.S.

Totalitarian Communism delenda est.

You're not going to carve out your happy homeland from amidst the rubble of FUSA. Not anywhere. Mothereffing Texas, FFS, is as purple as can be. So is Florida. North Carolina. New Hampshire. Even Alaska and Montana aren't pure anything, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves. So forget "Redoubt" nonsense. It's a porn mag fantasy.

You may have an easier time of it in some places than in others (which just tells you where the first bases are going to be), but in the end, you're going to have to either win, or lose, everywhere, because commies, like rust, never quit, and they never sleep.

So wrap your head around what's going to have to happen, sooner or later, instead of being all shocked and butthurt when Reality smacks you across the face like 8 pounds of frozen mackerel. And get busy getting ready for that day, instead of daydreaming about how it'll be when your little patch is free and happy forever, like it's been at no point in human history.


More at the link.

I'd pray for God to have mercy on us . . . but we've honored God and kept His ways far more in the breach than the observance, for far too long, for me to hope that such a prayer will be granted.  "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind".  I daresay we're in for our fair share of God's justice before we can hope for more of His mercy - and yes, that's a fearful and terrible thing to say, but in all honesty, isn't that what we, as a nation, have earned by our conduct?

Peter


Memes that made me laugh 69

 

Gathered from here and there over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.



















(Verily, the mind doth boggle . . . because you know the only reason that warning label is there must be because somebody did that!)





































































More next week.

Peter


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Sunday morning music

 

A few weeks ago we looked at the music of McCully Workshop, a South African progressive rock group that never made the big time internationally (but, in my opinion, deserved to have done so).

Tully McCully has worked with many other South African musicians, perhaps none more successfully than a singer who's relatively little known outside that country.  Lesley Rae Dowling burst onto the local music scene in 1980 with an eponymous album, from which her first hit single "The Spaniard" was drawn.  She became very popular there, but refused to spend much time outside the country, and remained very attached to her farm home and her husband, regarding the music industry with suspicion (something that's not hard to understand, given the way it chews up and spits out "prospects" with monotonous regularity).  She always remained true to her vision of herself, her farm and her family, giving the latter precedence over her music.

I enjoyed her music, although I lost touch with it after I left South Africa.  In putting together this morning's selections, I discovered that she'd produced a number of albums after that with which I wasn't familiar, so I'm enjoying re-discovering her music.

Let's start with her first hit single, and then put up a few more in no particular order.  I think you'll find her iconic, very different from most "pop" singers, and deserving of your listening time.














You'll find plenty more of her music on YouTube, and some of her albums and singles on Amazon.com.

Peter