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AFFLICTED WITH WESTERNISM: Ukraine continues to drink the Kool-Aid that is destroying the country

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Department of External Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) reported that on April 19, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, by Resolution No. 8284, supported the appeal of the President of Ukraine P. O. Poroshenko to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I regarding the “granting of a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine”.

This means that the government of a nation asked for a religious authority to recognize a State Church.

In the Protestant and somewhat libertine or agnostic West, this may not seem like anything important as news. Since most constitutional governments make use of the notion of separation between Church and State (inaccurately attributing this separation to that of the United States’ Constitution), it seems crazy from our point of view to see a State government petition a Church hierarch for recognition of a “State Church.”

Thankfully, the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian Exarchate recognize this fact even more clearly than the West does.

In accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Church is separate from the state, and therefore the Church decides on issues of Church life independently. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has canonical relations with Ecumenical Orthodoxy, did not appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew I to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine nor did it authorise the President or deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to do so. In connection to the above-mentioned initiatives, the government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries and interfering in Church affairs.

Such actions by the Ukrainian state in the religious sphere could be justified only if the Church in Ukraine had a legally established state status, as it was in the history of many states and still remains in certain states of the world. However, since the Church in Ukraine today does not have government status and is separate from the state, then the state authorities have absolutely no grounds whatsoever to meddle in Church affairs.

The Ukrainian government is playing a gamble with the Ecumenical Patriarch through using what the Western, and non-Orthodox countries in the world, may not know.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the oldest body of Christendom in the world (yes, 1000 years older than the Roman Catholic Church, when viewed in terms of unchanging doctrine – Rome made changes that were not part of the Early Church’s dogma.)

And following the ancient model of the Church, there are presently fourteen or fifteen national jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church in the world, with each one being a national church for the nation in which it resides.

But Ukraine has THREE groups calling themselves Orthodox Churches, and two of them are considered “non-canonical”, that is, they are not recognized by the rest of the Orthodox world. The reasons for these two bodies’ lack of canonicity vary, but it is also noteworthy that the two noncanonical groups are also not even in communion with one another.

The comments above, then, come from the one universally recognized Orthodox Christian Church in Ukraine, and it just so happens that this body is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. This is a nice long name, but what it means is simply that this Church is a branch, or exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and as such it is aligned with and in obedience to, Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

And for a Ukrainian who is inculcated to believe that all things Russia are evil, this is a distasteful situation.

The issue here, then is that the government of Ukraine, under the authority of its president, Petro Poroshenko, made an appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, to certify the Ukrainian  Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (referred to as the “UOC-KP” in documents), as the sole “canonical” Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine. Patriarch Bartholomew is considered the “highest in honor” among the Orthodox Patriarchs, a position that used to be held by Rome before the Roman Catholic Church went its own way in 1054. While Patriarch Bartholomew has no authority over any other bishop, he THINKS he does sometimes, and the Poroshenko government is trying to make use of that to force this certification to happen.

Further, the civil government of Ukraine has no legal authority to petition Patriarch Bartholomew in this way. This is because the constitution of Ukraine does NOT have accomodation for an official State Church. Their constitution in fact specifically separates the Church from matters of State control, so the request is null and void right from the start.

Here, the Moscow Patriarchate is being extremely methodical about the application of both civil and Church laws as they apply in this situation.

The Moscow Church goes on to state the reality of the situation:

The issue of granting of Church autocephaly (falls within the competence of canon law, and not to the competence of state laws. Autocephaly is granted to the Church, and not to the state, and therefore the Church, and not the state, should initiate or ask for this status.

At the same time, it is a matter of concern that the granting of autocephaly (defined as complete self-rule, in communion with all canonical Orthodox Christian jurisdictions but under hierarchical obedience to none of them) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is viewed as an issue not only of religion, but also of geopolitics. We believe that the sphere of religious life should not become the subject of political manipulation. We should not confuse Church and politics, and even more so geopolitical issues. In this regard, we consider it unacceptable that autocephaly should be viewed from a geopolitical point of view. For the Church, autocephaly is not a political issue, but an ecclesiological one, that is, with regards to the life and nature of the Church as the Body of Christ (cf. Eph. 1: 22-23)

In other words, what President Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada have done here is illegal and just utterly invalid. By rights, Patriarch Bartholomew should be bound to disregard this request completely.

Further, the Moscow-based Church notes that this issue is not one of real importance to anything religious, but is really about geopolitics. Western Ukraine has many people in it who want a national Church that is totally independent of Moscow simply because they don’t like Moscow, Putin, or Russia in general. This is not a legitimate reason to petition for autocephaly!

The main concern expressed by the Moscow Patriarchate, that autocephaly is an ecclesiological issue, having to do with the life and nature of the Church as the Body of Christ, is extremely important.

The leader of the UOC-KP is a self-styled “Patriarch” named Filaret. He used to be a high-ranking bishop under the Moscow Patriarchate, but he somehow acceded to the notion of Ukrainian nationalism “no matter what” and now works to try to create this body of believers that essentially is a religious adornment to the civil government. In this effort he is supported broadly by American senators such as John McCain (R-AZ) (sound familiar?) and others who do not know a thing about Orthodox Christianity or the Church, but who DO know that they want Ukraine in the fold of the West so as to harass Russia and continue to fence her off from the rest of the world.

In the rush to embrace the West, Filaret has given tacit approval by virtue of his presence at some very unsavory and unChristian activites, such as “blessing” the Eurovision contest in exchange for evicting the other non-canonical group, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) from some buildings at St Michael’s Monastery. That blessing involved giving tacit approval to Conchita Wurst, a transvestite and perverted individual, as host of the contest and concert event.

A group claiming the title of Church should never bless something that is so absolutely antithetical to Christianity.

This is true no matter what one’s personal opinion of Christianity is. This is not a bigoted statement. It is simply the fact that Christianity has very specific things to say about sexual perversion of various types, and to go against this is to go against the faith. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate sold its soul for a few rooms in a monastery, and threw Christ, it’s supposed Master, completely under the heels of Conchita Wurst’s perversion.

This is not the action of a body of believers that wishes to serve its Lord. It is something else.

And the tragedy is compounded by the fact that the United States has taken this side of the issue, rather than one that supports religious groups who stay true to their God.

A Church should never submit itself to worldly political whims. It ought to be the conscience that guides those who would do damaging things to not do them. And here, there is none of that.

May God help bring these people to their senses. But don’t expect any help from the West, because they want this insanity so as to isolate Russia, which is increasingly becoming visible as the last bastion of Christianity in the world.

It seems that in the West, the way to manage insanity is to press for it as strongly as possible, in hopes that trying really hard to do something that is wrong will somehow make it right. This is extremely true with Ukraine, the mother country of Russia itself.

And, yes, this is a strong statement and it will probably be taken as an offense by many dedicated Western Ukrainians and those who support them.

The only problem is that the plight of Ukraine now exists BECAUSE the people and leadership of this country have been fooled by the American and European dazzle, and they continue to believe it even as their economy crumbles under their feet. And along with the economy, and more importantly, the souls of a great people are being cast into the darkness.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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