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The America I Once Knew

Butterflies and fenceless backyards…

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The vast majority of baby boomers believe that they grew up in a free country. Was it free? Is it free? It has been said: “America is a free country… until you read the fine print!”

To be fair, freedom in every country is conditional, with the conditions stipulated in footnotes that can take up most of the page. The 1960s generation in the USSR, had little doubt that the USSR was a free country, outside of obvious restrictions like those imposed on travel abroad, restrictions that were easily explained by way of Uncle Sam’s imperialism and related connivances.

In America, the limits to one’s freedom are defined by conditions such as whether one is rocking the economic boat of a competitor or whether one has chosen to
enter the public eye as a politician, an athlete, or as an actor. It is also understood that, “Your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” Obama-Clinton’s liberty to support “rainbow fascism” and terrorism, abroad, ended at the noses of millions of voters, as Clinton harshly discovered on election day.

Since asterisks didn’t weigh down the definition of freedom for children in the 50s, baby boomers cherish memories of an era when bicycles were left on front lawns unlocked – overnight, or longer – and back porch doors were always welcomingly ajar. A sense of community, civility, and mutual respect was palpable. Sunday was a day of rest and most stores closed. A significantly greater number of families attended church services than those that didn’t.

Some 65 years later, America is a different planet.

A casual drive through suburban side streets will be quiet enough to hear birds chirping. Not many children, if any, will be playing kickball or chasing butterflies through fenceless backyards. Boy’s won’t be seen throwing dirt bomb grenades in the retaking of the empty lot named Guam and cowboys won’t be roping Indians to an oak, which also nests a treehouse. Dogs won’t be on the loose and no girl on a Schwinn with a dual-toned seat will be seen cruising over to a neighbor’s house to
dress up as mom or to play with Tiny Tears. Girls and boys won’t be seen in a beehive of activity building a clubhouse for reenactments of the latest Mickey Mouse Club episode or in anticipation of grown-up life.

The planet will be drained of life.

It was during a stopover at the grandparents that I roused the kids on a lip-locking freeze of a January morning: “Get up! Perfect sledding conditions!” Indeed, ice had solidly, candy-coated a few inches of snow. Before anyone could ruin perfection with a footprint, I was determined to show a new generation where we used to blaze through frost and tears on Flexible Flyers. The vintage sleds, minus a little shine, were as ready to carve up the slopes as I was.

Approaching a venerable golf course on foot, a closed gate glared, menacingly. It was double, chain-locked. I eventually learned that a lawsuit had been filed against
the club by parents of a child who had recklessly tattooed his face riding into a shrub. All good will on the part of club owners subsequently evaporated. Forever. Not to be daunted, we trekked to another golf course. Considering the time lost and that it was almost noon, I was taken aback by the absence of revelers on the wide
expanses. A few phone calls proved to be transfiguring. The white canvas of the hills became a mural with splashes of color and blurred hues conveying action.

Accompanying laughter echoed throughout and squeals of fright broadcast from speakers doubling as hills. Curiously, we remained the sole pleasure seekers, until several hours later when a limousine neared a side fence, at some distance. Bird-like cautious, a woman could be spotted, exiting the vehicle, apparently, trying to make sense of the ruckus. A boy and a sled appeared near her, both waiting for her verdict. Mother hen apparently nodded the go-ahead, but playtime timed out at 20 minutes. The boy and his sled never reached the real slopes where we had pinned our flag. Just as unobtrusively as the mother-son apparition had materialized, it was gone.

My mind played to comprehend the curt visit and the maternal oversight. “What was it that instigated such protective cluckery? Was it us? Were we violating some written or unwritten law? Were we trespassing? Sure, it’s private property but it’s not fenced in. By merely circling behind the Lutheran church on the West side you’re at the best hill. A cinch. Besides, sledding has always been a tradition, here.”

As we parted the fun into the amber sunset, it sunk in that if I hadn’t taken the initiative, despite ideal conditions, Mt. Suburbia would have remained as virginal
as the peaks of Tibet. Adding two plus two, I began to suspect that in the decades of my absence a new reality had settled over these parts. And, that I had imposed the free-spirited reality of my youth on them. Might it be that in the structured play of today’s youth, playing outside of the box isn’t apropos? It’s no longer in – not cool?

I recalled how family had asked me to pick up a nephew, a high school senior, after basketball practice. “But it’s a seven-minute walk to the house,” I demurred. Upon giving in and making what amounted to a four-minute drive to the school, I noted that my nephew wasn’t the only one. In fact, most of the team was waiting to get picked up, as well. I was flabbergasted. What happened to the coolness of being independent – of being grown-up and not hanging on to mother’s apron?

Anything was better, in my day, even a school bus ride home. A mama’s boy was a sissy who wouldn’t get even an eyebrow of interest from the girls. “What’s going on?”

Indeed, organized events have taken over the present age. That is, children rarely take the initiative to make playtime on their own. It’s precooked. The clock ticks
away at the timelines of youth without a child ever knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask: “Can Ted or Sally come out to play?”

The question molded more than one generation. When I used to peddle off, after breakfast, on my Ross bicycle I would only return to the sound of the dinner bell. Packed between two meals were a solid four or five hundred minutes of stickball, soccer, softball, touch football, kickball and, even, golf. Whoever, showed up in the school yard, boy or girl, participated. It made no difference. A right fielder was always in demand. There was no time for getting fat or even chubby despite plates being licked clean, when no one was looking, of course! There were no cell phones yet everyone knew, when and where, the action was, even if it meant a little extra peddling around the neighborhood. Quite the relic of a memory!

Children still participate in team sports but they’re mostly soccer-mom-structured. Today’s uniforms, which we would have loved to have had, lack home-spun
creativity. Isn’t necessity the mother of invention? What life lessons are there when children take everything for granted and when they’re shuttled like livestock, back and forth, between venues.

A metastasis of political correctness is the presentation of trophies to all participants so as to not discourage the 98 percent who are less than the best. In other words, a reward for outstanding merit and achievement has been merged into the collective, tolerant whole rendering it meaningless. I knew one fat kid in the neighborhood. He wasn’t fat by today’s standards, just a little on the chubby side, yet we called him “fatso” and he was none-the-worse for the honesty. In fact, truth proved to be a motivator because by the time that he entered 7 th Grade, he was as slim as the rest of us.

Mothers did what they had to do – they cooked complete meals, they oversaw homework and chores, they rarely complained about housework, and, if for any reason one breadwinner wasn’t earning enough, they took jobs. They sacrificed for the good of family. Do children need anything more than the demonstration of such dedication and love? Are children better off with so-called liberated mothers, indoctrinated with the propaganda line that their interests come first? How many of society’s ills are spawned by the absence of love from parents?

Without any doubt, baby boomers were leaps and bounds healthier than children, today. No one made sonogram wall posters of fetuses in shopping malls. We
weren’t injected with dozens of vaccines. The sugar cube containing the polio vaccine was about it. Food allergies were extremely rare until mothers were told that formula was healthier. Autism had yet to enter the dictionary. If a child had more than one cold per season, it was likely that the father was a physician.

How many grandparents, looking at the present-day child glued to a gadget, think: “What is to become of this generation?” Is it not a bold experiment? It might be a risky prognosis but the seeds of collectivization are being sown in America with a capital “C.” Followers are being reared, not leaders with initiative, creativity, and courage. Creature comforts make for soft minds to be sculpted by left-leaning professors.

Actually, creativity still has a place but it’s on a screen, which is not necessarily applicable to problem solving in the real world. The life lessons of fishing or camping under inspirational, starlit nights isn’t part of the touch screen algorithm for success. Today’s generation will learn the genetic sequence of a fish gene with the aid of the right app but will children be able to distinguish between a bluefish and a catfish without Google? Or know how to catch a fish, should doomsday hunger ever reshuffle priorities, overnight?

At one point, a little before Clinton & Clinton absconded with the White House furniture, I wanted my children to witness a real Christmas Eve with carols and with all of the stops pulled out. I decided on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, recalling warm impressions from youth. But I wasn’t prepared for what was served-up.

Instead of celebrating Christmas Eve, we found ourselves in something resembling a pagan Roman, Earth Day circus with overtones of a gay rights parade. When a blessing of the plants and caged animals began – including the blessing of the Devil in the spirit of tolerance, symbolized by a ten-foot-long python shouldered in by several, semi-clad lads in crepe and nylons – I stretched and tugged with haste for the exit. But we were blocked by an elephant, yes, an elephant that had just made its entrance into the cathedral. My mouth dropped as the beast swaggered up the aisle to the alter, a poop bag, at the ready! Thank God, the elephant wasn’t being wed to a giraffe or we might have never squeezed our way out of the cathedral-turned-zoo.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to the children. I’m not making this up. Again, the sham of a Christmas Eve occurred in the late 90s. One dares not contemplate what takes place, today, in the Temple of God in the name of poor St. John the Divine. It begins to sink in why the heavens will sing “Hallelujah!” upon the destruction of the great city Babylon.

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his
servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. Rev. 19:1-3. Despite the non-denominational character of my elementary school, we learned the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matt. 7-12. The rest of our introduction to Christian teachings was reserved for Sunday School. No fanaticism – it was bread and butter straighforward.

In First and Second Grades we read Ted and Sally, Dick and Jane, as well as Tuffy and Boots – solid, family-oriented constructions that foster a genuine sense of security in young children. What is upbringing without structure and discipline? I had my mouth washed out by my first-grade teacher for saying, “Shut-up,” after hearing someone else say it. It was the last time that I repeated words that I didn’t understand. Besides, it didn’t look good in the eyes of my crush to be yanked out of class in such disgrace.

First Graders played the role of angels in the nativity scene of the Christmas pageant. And towns weren’t sued over Nativity scene displays. Up to two hours of black and white TV were allowed, weekly, with programming consisting of The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, Heidi, Lassie, and the Mickey Mouse Club. Time limits on cartoons were waived for a sick day, making it quite the holiday. TV-free household were not oddities. Divorces were for Hollywood and when they did take place they, somehow, touched children less than they do, today.

Returning to NYC, for a moment, I witnessed a three-year-old-something toddler on 5 th Avenue bus strike a female passenger. His mother responded with reasoning. “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”

Before she finished asking, he struck another passenger. And it went, on and on. The more that she reasoned, the more he hit people. No one batted an eyelash of admonishment. I watched Carnegie upbringing, in awe. Tempted as I was to intervene, I convinced myself that this is not only not my battle but also one that can’t be won.

When I witnessed a few boys, roughly seven years of age, trampling sand castles diligently constructed by several, younger girls, I ignored it until the same boys returned throwing sand. Laughing through the motions, they stomped, again, on repaired sand castles. With enough of a degree of intent for it to be understood that I meant business, I took each one by the arm and herded them off to their parents, higher up on the beach. I made it clear with an even firmer grip what I would do if they harassed small girls or threw sand, again.

“Don’t test me. I’ll make mincemeat out of you hooligans,” I exclaimed, loud enough for parents to hear. Needless to say, peace and quiet was restored to the lives of a few girls that summer day. The parents didn’t thank me. In fact, their looks and open-mouthed astonishment were defensive, even threatening, as if I was in the wrong. I’m quite certain that never, before, and never, since, have their boys been publicly reprimanded. Herein, lies the problem.

If you’re a Clinton Snowflake, I know that you’re thinking, “Stone Age Dinosaur! How dare he physically handle children that aren’t even his.” “Physical handing doesn’t have to draw blood,” I laugh, when Snowflakes get ruffled. It’s enough for children to respect hierarchy and to understand who lays down the rules and that violating them could be problematic.

If a car is rolling off a cliff, do you run after the car, open the door, and reach for the hand brake or do you tolerate the outcome because it’s not your car, hoping for the best?

On a fishing expedition, I happened to be surfcasting on an interesting beach. To my right was a lifeguard flag delineating a bustling beach with no small number of young people. Equidistant to my left was a clothing optional beach with the greater part of beachgoers being my age. Without understanding what was happening, a hubbub developed to my left. Amidst the shouts and the commotion, an armada of swimmers, floats and rafts forged though waves and currents, stretching some 100 yards into the cold ocean straight out from the point where I had been surfcasting.

A passerby informed me that someone had drowned.

Within 20 minutes, a limp, young man was pulled out of the surf, greyer than death. An ambulance had crossed the dunes and CPR was being administrated. Suddenly, a torrent of water poured out of the victim’s mouth. He was alive.

Reflecting on what I had just witnessed, the contrast between the reactions of the two groupings of beachgoers carved deep into the senses. Not one, athletic, young man from the textile beach, not even a lifeguard, had budged after word had spread that a person was drowning. I had been focused on surfcasting and, somehow, missed the opportune moment to take action. Considering how many first responders dove in on my left, both men and women, made it quite evident that enough persons from millennial grouping also had heard that someone was drowning but they didn’t react. Could it be that they, simply, couldn’t be bothered?

With the advent of the millennium, tolerance became the buzzword in the US.

Author Ted Flynn notes:

“It’s in the press, our grade schools, our universities, our community centers, our corporate environment, and nearly anywhere else that two or more are gathered. It surrounds us, and woe to the person who is insensitive to another’s ethnic, cultural, or religious orientation. This is all well and good but it has gone too far. We have many terms for it such as politically correct, exclusivism, inclusivism, modernism, ethical theism, postmodernism, universalism, and the favorite over the last five years, multiculturalism. Everybody wants their rights and usually it is at the expense of another. Politically correct has become a synonym for lack of truth, candor, and integrity… English author, G.K. Chesterton once remarked, “Tolerance is the virtue of man without convictions.” Flynn adds, “There is neither
right nor wrong – only tolerance.” The danger of a society that isolates itself from competing truth, says Chuck Colson, “is the inevitable descent into oppression and tyranny.”

Isn’t it interesting that no one is more intolerant than those who advocate tolerance? Biden, for one, came out of some closet, recently, saying Bible- believing Christians violate LGBTq rights simply by existing. Even more recently, again before a LGBTq audience, he called Trump supporters, “The dregs of society!”

It’s getting ugly. Bimbos of the Biden type are dividing rather than uniting. And with financing from Clinton and Soros, leftist hate and intolerance are driving Antifa, which despite the name, are fascists – the radical left’s variant of Hitler’s brown shirts. LGBT is also dividing. The majority of Americans believe that sexual orientation should not be an in-your-face, political movement. “Do what you want behind closed doors. Don’t impose your choice on others.” Be queer or straight, understanding that you’ll be answering for your choice before God.

Americans are learning to distinguish between Christian tolerance and politically correct tolerance. The former is common sense natural, an extension of Christian love; the latter artificial and dangerous because it restricts freedom by impinging on free speech, a prerequisite for tyranny. George Soros, a sociopath and, in so many of his own words a Nazi collaborator, is seeking revenge for his losses tied to picking the wrong presidential candidate, which is one reason why he is behind Antifa.

Today, Antifa is committing terrorist acts against monuments and private property. Tomorrow, it’s not excluded that radical left agenda handlers will demand blood. If you happen to be a plain vanilla Deplorable or if you’re an independent or a libertarian, guided in life by a love of liberty, common sense, and service to country, family, and God, you probably know and appreciate from firsthand experience what life was like in a free America.

Restraints on freedom have been encroaching on Americans from the day that the Federal Reserve was established in 1913 and after a federal income tax was
introduced. When Clinton & Clinton took over the White House, they accelerated the loss of individual liberties faster than any predecessor. The transformation of America into a collectivist state was supposed to be completed with Queen Hillary’s coronation as president.

If founding fathers, Hamilton and Jefferson, didn’t trust the intellect of the people in electing a leader, with the former calling the people, “a great beast,” and the latter referring to fellow Americans with disdain as “rubbish,” (in his Notes on the State of Virginia), little has changed. Columnist Louis René Beres writes: “Upon even the most cursory examination, our foundational political history will reveal an utterly stark contempt for popular rule.”

Obama-Clinton & Clinton with their radical left agenda are the legacy of the hypocritical disdain of “ordinary” people by America’s ruling elite. Clinton’s Deplorables tag and Obama’s supremacist exceptionalism sum up the same. The Democratic Party purports to be the Party of minorities and of the underprivileged whose rights are often violated or ignored. Socialism is, supposedly, humanistic. But it’s a naïve, billboard view of the Democratic identity, starting with the fact that almost all major wars in the past 100 years were started by War Party presidents. Truman, a Democrat, is the only world leader who detonated nuclear weapons on civilian populations.

Are higher taxes humanistic for those who work? The day after liberals are elected, their telephone numbers change, à la NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who is on record for making the fastest telephone number switch. How he loves to escape addressing the needs of ordinary citizens! Good luck to the downtrodden in getting through to such defenders of democracy. The sober reality of the Democratic Party’s cynicism was exposed in a comment made by Bill Clinton:

“We can’t be fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans,” (USA Today, 03/11/93). Bill Clinton said it less than two months after he was sworn in as president. Oh, how countenances change after power paints over personalities and money struts into bank accounts. Unfortunately, imperium upstart types are the rule in democracies, not the exception. What is to become of America if the agenda of the radical left becomes America’s
agenda? It won’t happen. That is, not unless the US becomes a dictatorship and a radical left junta takes over.

We have witnessed the Trump miracle and, with it, the logical end of US democracy. Trump is not responsible for its end. Instead, it’s democracy that has failed because of the intolerance of Obama and Clinton for any views but their own. The notion that majority rules doesn’t work when the majority exerts its will on the minority’s religious tenets or on traditional family values. As already underscored, compromise, the cornerstone of US democracy, becomes unworkable when the Godless impose their views on the sacred, making US institutions, largely, irrelevant.

Trump won the presidency by a hair of a few states. But demographics don’t bode well for conservative and traditional values because of migrants, who vote for the welfare state of the Democrats, and because of the radical left agenda that has monopolized the minds of university-educated youth, a success consistent with Hillary’s efforts to radicalize educational and cultural entities. Much talk exists about the polarization of America, increasingly hostile relations, and the risk of civil war. Despite heightened passions, youth are not willing to die for a cause called Clinton. At least, not yet.

A dictatorship can be a more effective form of government for business considering that the dictator is free to enact legislation without the restraints of Congress. If the economy is good, foreign wars aren’t needed. Finally, the dictator is above money, considering that, he or she, is in power for life, so it’s not necessary to steal from coffers or to stash away bribes for a rainy day.

The US is about to become either a benign dictatorship of the right or a radical dictatorship of the left. It’s up to Trump and his supporters to recognize the fact and to seize the opportunity while it’s still possible.

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Nicholas SampsidisRegulaWalter DublanicaVera GottliebTom Welsh Recent comment authors
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Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

Here is an interesting look at the health of America’s democracy compared to that of other nations:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-health-of-democracy-in-america.html

While both sides of the political spectrum in the United States have expressed their concerns over the fairness of the upcoming mid-term elections (Democrats over vote suppression and Republicans over voter fraud) and Washington as a whole clearly stating its belief that Russia, China and Iran are meddling in the 2018 electoral circus, the fact that democracy itself is under threat in America is cleverly never mentioned by either side.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

I was surprised by the article’s statement that Jefferson called his fellow Americans “rubbish”. It doesn’t sound at all consistent with what I know of Jefferson’s beliefs and way of expressing himself. So I looked up the text of “Notes on the State of Virginia”, and found that the word “rubbish” occurs only once in the fairly long document. Here it is, in context: “Of the boys thus sent in any one year, trial is to be made at the grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole selected, and continued six years, and the… Read more »

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

The following extract gives a better impression of Jefferson’s attitude to “the common people”, and why he was so anxious to make sure the most talented should get the best education. He was in favour of a thoroughgoing meritocracy, and always upheld the virtues and rights of the ordinary people against those of the rich and powerful. “It becomes expedient for promoting the public happiness that those persons, whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow… Read more »

Regula
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Regula

While that all intends to further talent, the reverse side of it is elitism – which is precisely what we now have. Add money and only the rich get a good elementary education from which “to be educated for governance of the people”.

Jefferdon’s System only works if all education including university is free. Nor does it take the effect of slums and ghettoes on child development into account.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

R.I.P.

Walter Dublanica
Member

America ain’t as nice as it used to be 70/80 years ago. Presidents Roosevelt and Mc Arthur were loved. Truman & Kennedy were liked. Kennedy’s assassination saddened America. The Congress was respected, now it is abhorred .

Regula
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Regula

This author is very religious, but democratic law is based on human rights and by necessity supercedes and displaces religion.

Nicholas Sampsidis
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Nicholas Sampsidis

Greetings, this is Nicholas, the author responding. You’ve touched upon the golden question, namely, what is higher, the Constitution or the law of God (natural law)? It seems that the Supreme Court debates the same issue and the opinion depends on who sits on the bench. For believers, it’s self-evident that the law of God is higher than the Constitution. Let it be remembered that the 180 Articles of the Weimar Constitution, were also based on rights, with 109-118 setting forth individual rights (not radically different from those in the US Constitution). History reveals that, in the end, the folly… Read more »

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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