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Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in Russia and around the world

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Today, January 7th, many Orthodox Christians around the world witness the celebration of Christmas.  For Russians and most Slavic people, this day IS Christmas, and the western celebration on Dec 25th is a workday.

This is not an innovation.  It is actually because an innovation was never made to the Julian Calendar, which is followed by most Orthodox Christians in the world, so it lags behind the civil calendar by 13 days at present.  So, for the Church it is today which is December 25th.

In Russia, this brings an interesting shift in present-day life.  The Communist times were not able to destroy all the Christmas traditions, but it did shift many of them.  Father Christmas (a.k.a. Santa Claus) became “Grandfather Frost”, and got a sidekick, the “Snow Maiden”, and the celebration that is accompanied by what is unmistakably a Christmas Tree got centered on New Year’s Day.  To this day, even in post-Communist Russia, it is New Year’s that gets the bulk of attention.  This is an unwitting blessing, for it takes away the commercialized emphasis that Western Christmas has associated with it. Instead, the Nativity retains its character as a religious holiday in a very pure form.

A nativity scene in a chapel made of snow in Dubna.

The celebration of the Nativity of Christ, features very beautiful church services, lasting many hours. The one this author attended last night ran nearly six hours long, from 11pm until 4:45am.  The church was full of people from beginning to the very end.  These people have endurance.  As an American, to see the patience and dedication of the Russian people in church is humbling, especially that of the people who stand for that entire length of time.

The Russian Church has suffered greatly under the hale of Communism, but, starting in the late 1980’s and accelerating till today, the Church has regained much of its traditional role in this country as the “guardian of the conscience of Russia.”  The government and the Church work in a manner foreign to Western understanding, called “symphonia”, and this is a renewal of the ancient Byzantine model of government, where the Caesar (Tsar) was, in essence, a “bishop in charge of State affairs,” and hence a Christian believer, and responsible in his own office to uphold the Christian faith and principles in all secular and governmental matters.

While we do not have a Tsar today, some emulation of this structure exists, surrounding president Vladimir Putin.  He has long been a Christian believer (yes, even while in the KGB), and as he has grown older, he has shown an increasing level of commitment to protect Christians wherever they may be.  (This is actually part of the reason Russia got involved in Syria in 2015, because Syria is also an Orthodox Christian center, with a Patriarch resident in Damascus for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.)

President Putin attends Nativity services this year in his hometown of St Petersburg, at the Church of Saints Simeon and Anna.

The concept of symphonia means that the Patriarch of Moscow has significant say in the direction the country takes.  The Western narrative is that the Church is the “toady” to the State here, with Vladimir Putin, the thug, running the Church.  And there are some Russian people who hold the same view.  But the truth of this is the opposite, and most Russian Orthodox believers know this to be true – that the State is increasingly striving for symphonia with the Church, to gradually realign the country with the values appropriate to a Christian nation.

Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow and all Russia

Every Christmas the Patriarch sends out his own greeting, just as President Putin does at the very end of each year.  This year the Patriarchal encyclical highlighted the remembrance of the beginning of the tragic period of Communism, which began just 100 years ago in 1917.  He highlighted the theme of the love of God even in this terrible time, because the people that would be needed to help the Church survive this fearsome persecution were set in place, both in the ranks of clergy and laity, and they endured through the trial, even though the Church was all but destroyed.

Further, Patriarch Kirill pointed to things today:

Today we are undergoing a special period: afflictions have not yet left this world, every day we “hear of wars and rumours of wars” (Mt 24:6). Yet how much of God’s love is poured out upon people! The world exists in spite of the forces of evil, while human love and family values abide in spite of the unbelievable attempts to destroy, desecrate and distort them. Faith in God is alive in the hearts of the majority of people. And our Church, in spite of decades of persecution in the recent past and the endeavours to undermine her authority in the present, remains and shall always be with Christ. (emphasis mine)

In a world that seems often like it is coming apart at the seams, most particularly in the West, this message speaks to much of the heart of the matter.  In this author’s experience, the ability to truly be “red-pill” – one who sees and faces reality – is impossible without the basic understanding of the way things are.  Although one tries to avoid a sermon here, it is pretty much impossible to be truly reality based without some sort of understanding that we are not the highest power in the world, and that there is Something or Someone that is.

Russia seems to be one of the very few places in the world where this relationship is understood and put into practice.  This is the real reason the Western media and politicians are so antagonistic, because to be traditional is “uncool”, “outdated”, and “not with the times…” – but the things that crowd to replace traditional values all share a very destructive tendency – to put people out of touch with their own reality, to deny the truth, and to blame everyone around them and insist that the world is full of persecutors and victims, with one’s self always the victim.

Russia stands in a much more honest and reality-based frame of reference than this.  And one major reason for this is in the souls of those thousands, maybe millions of people who stood for hours and hours in churches across the Russian land last night and today.

To all, a very merry Christmas!

 

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Liberal Hollywood caught in sexual feeding frenzy

Asia Argento called out by a man SHE sexually abused, revealing the true nature of Hollywood’s “moral cause”.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The #MeToo phenomenon looked to the first glance a bit like a “moral snapback” in Hollywood, as it appeared that the years of hidden sexual perversity and predatory behavior was being revealed so that it might be stopped.

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However, a slightly more serious look at this began to reveal that it was far less upstanding than Hollywood’s elite wanted the adoring public to believe. Swiftly, the movement became the feminist movement’s latest salvo against men, because it provided women accusers with virtually unlimited power to defame any man – all that was needed was for her to say that man X made an unwanted advance and that man’s life would be mired in the mud of slander.

In some cases, of course the presence of sexual abuse was real, and tragic. However, as with many attacks from the dark side, a little truth mixed with the lie makes the lie much stronger, and this recipe proved a huge success for the #MeToo movement. The viral spread of this hashtag and the social “outrage” associated with it turned the lives of many people completely upside down.

However, now the truth begins to show. And what’s more, it begins to show how utterly rotten and, honestly, evil this group of people can be.

Asia Argento is an actress who was one of the early accusers of the producing mogul Harvey Weinstein, arguably the “Wanted” poster child of #MeToo. This woman is physically very beautiful, which makes her someone easy to believe by the elite and by the foolish who take her appearance as somehow proof that she is good. So, her accusations against Mr. Weinstein held, despite the fact that she continued having sexual relations with him for years afterward. She blamed Weinstein for this situation saying about this, “after the rape, he won.”

But late Sunday night on August 19th, news began to surface that Argento had herself seduced and forcibly had sexual relations with a 17 year old actor, Jimmy Bennett, when she was 37 herself. After Argento had gone public with her accusation against Weinstein, Mr. Bennett’s lawyer notified Argento of his intention to sue her for US $3.5 million for emotional distress, lost wages and assault and battery.

Asia Argento agreed to pay him off to the tune of $380,000. This was reported by The New York Times.

This is not the only damaged person in contact with Ms. Argento. Just two months ago on 7 June, her lover Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room at only 61. Mr. Bourdain reportedly suffered from severe alcoholism and its accompanying depression and suicidal tendencies.

The #MeToo movement went extremely viral in its early months, and commentator Rush Limbaugh characterized it as the latest onslaught against men by feminists:

I’m going to tell you, if you’re in politics and you’ve ever looked at a woman the wrong way, you can expect a woman at some point to go public and say so. In fact, because of the success they had with this, it’s entirely possible that men who haven’t done a single thing in terms of mistreating a woman, abusing her, or harassing her, are still, nevertheless, going to be accused of it. It has become a political tactic. We have now had — this is a point that I made yesterday — we have now had something that is a genuinely serious thing in its own right and its own contained universe. Sexual harassment, the use of sexual harassment, the treatment of women, or others, in the workplace, that’s a legitimate thing. But it’s now just been corrupted and weaponized and made to look like a political opposition research weapon, and that’s exactly what’s happened. 

And so, anybody can see, and you can see that when one of these allegations is made, the women are believed, and the men who are accused are not. Which means the men have to prove a negative and the accusers don’t have to prove anything. That is a powerful weapon the Democrats have decided to use. And believe me, as we speak, they are behind closed doors creating further strategems using this, and they are picking their targets. And you’re going to see more of it, I predict.

This present issue though with Mr. Bennett’s situation shows that this is actually much worse than just the latest outbreak of feminism.

The elite in the United States comprises the actors and musicians that have made their names everyday references in popular culture for almost the entire country. These “beautiful people” are tracked by paparazzi and now, apparently, newspapers of national and international significance. Further, the revelation of impropriety among Hollywood elite was mistakenly presented (perhaps deliberately so) as an attempt to make Hollywood look as though it were beyond reproach. The reasons for this are not clear, but speculation exists that it was a setup for an ego te absolvo moment for the Left so they could attack Trump from a “moral high ground.”

But the very prominent expression of “moral outrage” among such “leaders” in this group falls apart when one sees that this group is not at all guided by anything that is truly good. Jimmy Bennett’s case speaks most powerfully about this, because he was raped, essentially, by a woman who he had come to associate in his mind as a “mother figure.” He got a payout, but there is no outrage to speak of against Asia Argento. She made the news because of this revelation but all it appears to show is that the Hollywood elite are eating each other. This woman has some very dark liaisons, too, and the aura of death and decay surrounds her. Yet, she is still a “star.”

Perhaps a good aspect of this report is that we see it a bit more clearly for what it is.

But, that is what many of us said when Harvey Weinstein’s escapades were revealed.

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Doug Casey on Social Media: “Facebook enshrines stupidity”

“Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook.”

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Authored by Joel Bowman via InternationalMan.com:


Joel Bowman: G’day, Doug. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Doug Casey: No problem, Joel. It’s a pleasure to hear your Australian accent come across the ether from Mexico.

Joel: Let’s dive right in. A week or two ago, Facebook registered the largest single day loss for any one company in stock market history – roughly $122 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost around $15 billion himself, as much as the annual GDP of several resource-rich, West African nations.

Looking back to 2000, during the go-go days of the dot.com boom, Intel and Microsoft both registered staggering single-day losses, too… $90 billion and $80 billion, respectively. And we know what happened next in that case…

So, investors want to know… is past prologue? What’s next for Silicon Valley’s tech darlings?

Doug: Talking about losing multiple billions in a single day, it’s really a sign of the times. I remember when the only billionaires in the world were Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty and John Beresford Tipton– the mythical billionaire on a 1950’s-era show called “The Millionaire.”

These days, however, it seems everyone’s a billionaire. In fact, there are several thousand billionaires roaming the planet today, with new ones being minted almost every day.

Of course, much of this so-called wealth is just paper. It’s not real. In fact, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in a stock market bubble. Which is being driven by the bond market hyper-bubble. And that, in turn, is fueling a real estate bubble, which I believe is just now beginning to deflate in major cities around the world.

None of this augurs well for the stock market. You’ve got bubbles all over the place. Except in the resource market. That’s the one place that hasn’t inflated. In fact, it’s been going down since it’s last peak in 2011.

Getting back to Facebook, I hope it goes bankrupt. I hate it as an institution. I hate what it does. I don’t like its policies. I don’t like its management. I don’t like the fact that it’s causing people to destroy whatever privacy they have left. While turning their brains to mush sending out selfies all day.

Joel: You’ve put a lot on the table there, Doug. Let’s unpack a bit of that, starting with the general tendency toward cerebral rot…

Many younger readers may not remember this, but there actually existed a time before everybody knew everything, when people had to read books and discuss them, engage in healthy debate and rigorous dialectic in order to learn and develop intellectually.

Now that everyone apparently has plenty of time to Instagram their kale salads and “like” one and other’s cat pictures, are we to assume mankind has finally reached the End of Learning…some new Age of Enlightenment?

Or might Facebook and its (anti)social media cousins represent – in addition to the potential fallout for investors – another, hidden cost to society?

Doug: Perhaps humanity is bifurcating into the Morlocks and the Eloi at this point. It’s true that people used to go to libraries. But even the Library of Congress has only a tiny fraction the world’s data available; libraries are quaint and delightful, but they’re dinosaurs.

All the knowledge in the world is now at our fingertips on the Internet. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, on a par with moveable type and the Gutenburg printing press. A few people are using it to educate and better themselves—but relatively few.

Most people just use it for trivial amusement, as you mentioned. Facebook adds very little value to the equation. In fact, I can’t see that it does much that’s productive. It’s basically a vehicle for gossip and watching cat videos.

Joel: And it’s less than that. Aside from the general degradation of public discourse, social media also represents a kind of unalterable historical record of bad jokes and regrettable moments, accessible to anyone who may wish to besmirch one’s character or skittle one’s reputation.

We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. To err is to be human, after all. What do you make of a world in which everyone’s worst moments are readily available to everyone else – including potential enemies – at the click of a mouse?

Doug: Facebook enshrines stupidity. A heavy Facebook user is, in effect, saying: “Look at me! I’m a thoughtless person who doesn’t have anything better to do with his time”. That’s on top of the fact that users are exposing their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts to the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and any of a hundred other nefarious agencies. In fact, there are credible allegations that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, are willing tools of these intelligence agencies. No good can come of being a Facebookista.

But that’s about whether you should use Facebook. Whether you should own Facebook stock is a different question. Even after the recent selloff, Facebook still has a market cap of about $500 billion, which impresses me as a lot for a chat site cum advertising vehicle. Especially one where most of its growth is behind it. A lot of users are getting hip to the fact they’re not customers, they’re the product.

Facebook was a clever innovation ten years ago. But you know, there’s an old saying in the stock market: High Tech, Big Wreck!

Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook. My understanding is that kids now see Facebook as something used by old people– people over 21 years of age. So if it’s going nowhere with the younger generation, where’s it’s future? Maybe it picks up a billion new users in the Third World. Ultimately, what’s that worth?

Facebook may not be a terminal short sale, but I certainly won’t be putting any of my own money into the stock.

Joel: Assuming you’re correct and Facebook 2.0 does displace the current market leader, are you hopeful that such a platform may serve to promote a heightened level of discourse? Perhaps people might find their way into “phyles,” that is, subgroups based on commonly shared values that actually have real world meaning?

Doug: I hope that, in a year or two, International Man itself grows into a community of likeminded people with above average I.Q.s, libertarian values, and real world experience. IM might, itself, even branch off to become its own kind of Facebook. A private version.

I know there’s a lot of talk about regulating FB, or breaking it up. That’s a bad idea; the government should have zero to do with business in general—and areas related to free speech in particular. I’m disgusted by the fact FB has kicked Alex Jones and others off their platform. But they have a right to do so, as a private company. Although, on the other hand, they’re almost a creature of the State.

But that’s not an excuse for the government to “step in”. What will happen is that a newer, better Facebook lookalike—or a dozen of them—will replace them. FB will self-destruct. It’s a non-problem.

To be frank, you and I don’t really have that much in common with most of the 7.3 billion people on this planet. In fact, while I like many individual humans, I despise humanity in general. The more people you put together in a group, the more they act like chimpanzees. Big groups force down the lowest common denominator.

There’s some cause for optimism, but only on a person-to-person basis. I prefer the company of people who value free minds and free markets—and I suspect most people who are reading this now feel the same way.

Joel: That’s probably a very good note to end this conversation on, Doug. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.

Doug: Meanwhile, we’ll look for something with the potential of Facebook in 2008… and stay away from Facebook today.

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Can America Ever Come Together Again?

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


If ex-CIA Director John Brennan did to Andrew Jackson what he did to Donald Trump, he would have lost a lot more than his security clearance.

He would have been challenged to a duel and shot.

“Trump’s … performance in Helsinki,” Brennan had said, “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was … treasonous.”

Why should the president not strip from a CIA director who calls him a traitor the honor and privilege of a security clearance? Or is a top-secret clearance an entitlement like Social Security?

CIA directors retain clearances because they are seen as national assets, individuals whose unique experience, knowledge and judgment may be called upon to assist a president in a national crisis.

Not so long ago, this was a bipartisan tradition.

Who trashed this tradition?

Was it not the former heads of the security agencies — CIA, FBI, director of national intelligence — who have been leveling the kind of savage attacks on the chief of state one might expect from antifa?

Are ex-security officials entitled to retain the high privileges of the offices they held, if they descend into cable-TV hatred and hostility?

Former CIA chief Mike Hayden, in attacking Trump for separating families of detained illegal immigrants at the border, tweeted a photo of the train tracks leading into Auschwitz.

“Other governments have separated mothers and children” was Hayden’s caption.

Is that fair criticism from an ex-CIA director?

Thursday, The New York Times decried Trump’s accusation that the media are “the enemy of the people.”

“Insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists ‘the enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period,” said the Times.

Fair enough, but is it not dangerous for a free press to be using First Amendment rights to endlessly bash a president as a racist, fascist, sexist, neo-Nazi, liar, tyrant and traitor?

The message of journalists who use such terms may be to convey their detestation of Trump. But what is the message received in the sick minds of people like that leftist who tried to massacre Republican congressmen practicing for their annual softball game with Democrats?

And does Trump not have a point when he says the Boston Globe-organized national attack on him, joined in by the Times and 300 other newspapers, was journalistic “collusion” against him?

If Trump believes that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are mortal enemies who want to see him ousted or impeached, is he wrong?

We are an irreconcilable us-against-them nation today, and given the rancor across the ideological, social and cultural chasm that divides us, it is hard to see how, even post-Trump, we can ever come together again.

Speaking at a New York LGBT gala in 2016, Hillary Clinton said: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … Some of those folks … are irredeemable, but … they are not America.”

When Clinton’s reflections on Middle America made it into print, she amended her remarks. Just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to amend his comments yesterday when he blurted at a bill-signing ceremony:

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” America was “never that great”?

Cuomo’s press secretary hastened to explain, “When the president speaks about making America great again … he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”

Clinton and Cuomo committed gaffes of the kind Michael Kinsley described as the blurting out of truths the speaker believes but desperately does not want a wider audience to know.

In San Francisco in 2008, Barack Obama committed such a gaffe.

Asked why blue-collar workers in industrial towns decimated by job losses were not responding to his message, Obama trashed these folks as the unhappy losers of our emerging brave new world:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

These clingers to their Bibles, bigotries and guns are the people the mainstream media, 10 years later, deride and dismiss as “Trump’s base.”

What Clinton, Cuomo and Obama spilled out reveals what is really behind the cultural and ideological wars of America today.

Most media elites accept the historic indictment — that before the Progressives came, this country was mired in racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, and that its history had been a long catalog of crimes against indigenous peoples, Africans brought here in bondage, Mexicans whose lands we stole, migrants, and women and gays who were denied equality.

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

For such as these, Trump cannot scourge the media often enough.

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