He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Friday, October 28, 2011

Confusion Ain't Good

Moscow, October 24, Interfax - Activists defending the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals were detained in Moscow on Saturday when they were holding an unauthorized protest rally near the Health Ministry building.

They were protesting American doctors' plans to enter gender dysphoria on the international list of diseases to be adopted in 2015, a source in law enforcement services told Interfax.

Gender dysphoria is a condition when a person has gender identity problems, which arouses the feeling of discomfort. This condition was not considered a pathology until recently, but the association of American psychiatrists proposed in 2009 that gender dysphoria be entered on the list of psychiatric disorders, which sparked protests throughout the world. Russian gays, lesbians and transsexuals joined them this year.

Sometimes Fear Is Justified By A Track Record

'Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Patriarchate is watchful about the Russian Church as our Church is very big and active,' head of the Mission in Jerusalem Archimandrite Isidor (Minayev) said in his interview with Bogoslov.ru website.

When Ecumenical Relations Fail, Go To Court

Moscow and Constantinople duke it out in France. One side is looking for some pocket money.

According to French paper Nice-Matin, the question is to oblige the Russian Orthodox association of Nice (ACOR) of the Constantinople Patriarchate that uses the church, to give access to representatives of Russia and hand them over a full set of cathedral keys.

In case they refuse to leave the cathedral voluntarily, Russia asks to take a decision to move the association with a fine of 10,000 Euro for each day of delay.


Thanks to: Heavily-Regulated Finance Guy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nuanced View Of Technology And Church

...the Church is happy to see advances in technology as long as the means and goal are moral and do not impair our communion with God. Even as Christians enjoy the fruits of new technologies, we understand that the real journey of transcendence is not outer, material, or technological but inner, spiritual, grounded in obedience and communion.

Economic Fog From SCOBA

...we acknowledge that our capitalist system is no less [than communism] predicated on purely materialist principles, which also do not engender faith in God. There is no place in the calculus of our economics to account for the “intangibles” of human existence. Reflect on how the simple accounting phrase “the bottom line” has shaped our whole culture. We use it to force the summarization of an analysis devoid of any externals or irrelevancies to the “heart of the matter.” This usually means the monetary outcome.

The Idolatry Of Tyranny

I held my nose long enough to retrieve Old Rome's latest contribution toward a theory of Roman Catholic economic tyranny, TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY.

The Vatican is calling for a "public Authority with universal jurisdiction" to regulate global economic affairs. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He's Learned How To Replicate 2008

Ben Bernanke is Alan Greenspan's apt pupil. Keeping interest rates too low is what caused our current crisis, and he's creating more of it. Nice lesson.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Patriarch Lavishes Praise On Putin

I'm interested in knowing why the Patriarch thinks that a breakup--thereby relegating Putin to foisting himself on a small backwater--would have been undesirable.

The will to a tyrannical Church/State symphony dies hard. Maybe it doesn't die at all, at least not in the fallen world.

Do Randians Enter The Kingdom?

Capitalism is the most powerful engine for prosperity in the history of humankind. Though imperfect, as are all human constructs, the free market is still the most effective antidote to poverty and, what’s more, it’s the most moral method for allocating scarce resources. As we were reminded by the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, titan of industry and unapologetic capitalist, it’s pretty darn cool, too.

The free market is really nothing more than free people - consenting adults - who, unleashed from coercion, are allowed to voluntarily exchange their ideas, efforts and property when it benefits them to do so, assuming it harms no one else in the process. Each person’s rational self-interest ultimately serves not just the individual, but society as a whole because to achieve sustainable success in the free market - in other words, to satisfy your own wants and needs - you must first satisfy someone else’s. This forms the moral basis of capitalism, and Jobs did this amazingly well.

Imaginary Crimes

Raj Rajaratnam, founder of hedge fund, Galleon Group, was sentenced to 11 years in Federal prison in Butner, NC, fined $11 million, and ordered to disgorge $53.8 million for the imaginary crime of insider trading.

Judge Richard Howell stated: "the government is absolutely correct that insider trading is an assault on the free markets that are a fundamental element of our democratic society." I'd be interested in knowing the judge's definition of free markets, but perhaps the prosecutor didn't feed hizzoner those kinds of details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trichet Continues To Ride To The Rescue

The Eurozone would have been a much more dangerous place without Trichet.

Slovakia will eventually support the bailout fund.

China's House Of Cards

China has been artificially propping up its economy for years on the backs of savers who aren't getting fair returns from state-owned banks. Now, China feels compelled to prop up its stock market to conceal economic weakness. Golly, does that mean that all of those government stats touting outsized growth were fiction?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Lipsticking The Pig

'It is a genuine example of kindness and integrity in politics, an example that, I believe, would have been a source of envy for our predecessors and people who lived in the Soviet period and, moreover, should be a source of envy for the people of the majority of countries in the world, including those that try to lecture us,' head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion.

Fr. Vsevolod's remarks refer to the Medvedev-Putin decision not to run against each other.

"Orderly Defaults"

Instead, Bernanke worried more about how the default occurs. If it's messy, then Europe could bring down the U.S. with it. But Bernanke asserted that if orderly default occurs, then the U.S. banks should be fine.

Apparently, Bernanke hasn't learned anything from our own "orderly" defaults. During an asset price correction, nothing is orderly. Rather than gilding the lily, Bernanke should make a supreme effort to banish the phrase "orderly default" from his conceptual toolbox.

"U.S. 'Close To Faltering,' Fed Ready To Act: Bernanke"

Stop the hyperbole, already. If Europe collapses, America would be seriously affected. Left to its own devices, however, America's slow growth doesn't portend recession.

The Fed's Operation Twist Will Be A Partial Success

The Fed is single-handed trying to make up for the lack of depth in the credit markets, but will only be partially successful. Its efforts will reach larger companies, but will do little for the small guys who typically perform the heavy lifting in economic recoveries.

I'm A Proud Bank Of America Customer

And I'll stay that way, despite Congress' efforts to kneecap BAC's margins.

The Washington Post article to which I've linked is typical of the moronic views proliferating about banking fees. Folks thought that none of their banking services cost anything. Merchants were paying for all of our debit cards until Congress placed a ceiling on swipe fees.

Go ahead; get it out of your system. If it were up to me, I'd impose a 100% reserve requirement on all commercial banks, after which we'd see the fee-sensitive whining begin in earnest.

ECB Opens Cash Taps To Avoid New Credit Crunch

Trichet is keeping it all together, including kicking the Germans into line.

"A Job Is Becoming A Dim Memory For Many Unemployed"

...at least until extended unemployment benefits run out. In my locale, I'm witnessing jobs that go unfilled until folks are forced by necessity to look for work.

Steven Paul Jobs, Eternal Memory

May God mercifully remember all of our commercial benefactors!