Washington D.C. – ‘splained…

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Today I re-publish a post from the Conservative Treehouse blog. It has become my “blog of choice” for understanding the power structure in Washington D.C. The reason that I am bringing this to your attention is that the post’s author, one Sundance does a great job of laying out the operational aspects of how Washington D.C. works.

Or rather, does not work.

One series of points (DATA POINTS) that Sundance has made below, which set the lightbulb off in my head, is the following:

There is not a single congress person who writes legislation or laws.

(…)

Recap:  Corporations (special interest group) writes the law.  Lobbyists take the law and go find politician(s) to support it.  Politicians get support from their peers using tenure and status etc.  Eventually, if things go according to norm, the legislation gets a vote.

(…)

This helps to understand when Senator Rand Paul, Mike Lee or Ted Cruz are “pitching” a “bill they’ve written”, it’s a gimmick – a ruse – a pure fundraising ploy.  Nothing more.  That’s why the bills they talk about (ie. El Chappo, Clean Repeal etc.) never actually materialize…. they are raising money, not legislation.

And that’s why Trump’s legislative inbox is empty.

Yea, that makes perfect sense!

That ‘splains everything…

*****

Understanding Why President Trump Has Not Received Legislative Action From Congress…

There are many new commentators at CTH, and even more new people taking notice of politics for perhaps the first time in their lives.   There is also some confusion noticed between two distinct groups who appear to be talking above and around each other.  Two groups trying to communicate from two entirely divergent sets of understanding.

Perhaps it is valuable to reset the larger frames of reference and provide clarity.

Many, heck, most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past.

There is not a single congress person who writes legislation or laws.

In 2017 not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct.  This simply doesn’t happen.

Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body.  Here’s how it works.

Outside groups often called “special interest groups” are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs.  These groups are often corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar business connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their like-minded affiliation.

Sometimes the groups are social interest groups; activists like climate groups, environmental interests etc.   The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need.

The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests.   They have fully staffed offices just like any business would – only their business is getting legislation for their unique interests.

These groups are filled with highly-paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs.  In the modern era this is actually the origination of the laws that we eventually see passed by congress.  Within the walls of these buildings within Washington DC is where the ‘sausage’ is actually made.

Again, no elected official is usually part of this law origination process.

Once the corporation or representative organizational entity has written the law they want to see passed they hand it off to the lobbyists.  The lobbyists are people who have deep contacts within the political bodies of the legislative branch, usually former House/Senate staff or former House/Senate politicians themselves.

The lobbyist takes the written brief, the legislative construct, and it’s their job to go to congress and sell it.

“Selling it” means finding politicians who will accept the brief, sponsor their bill and eventually get it to a vote and passage.   The lobbyist does this by visiting the politician in their office, or, most currently familiar, by inviting the politician to an event they are hosting.  The event is called a junket when it involves travel.

Often the lobbying “event” might be a weekend trip to a ski resort, or a “conference” that takes place at a resort.  The actual sales pitch for the bill is usually not too long and the majority of the time is just like a mini vacation etc.

The size of the indulgences within the event, the amount of money the lobbyist is spending, is customarily related to the scale of the bill the sponsoring business entity needs to get support for.   If the sponsoring business or interest group can gain a lot of financial benefit for the legislation they spend a lot on the indulgences.

Recap:  Corporations (special interest group) writes the law.  Lobbyists take the law and go find politician(s) to support it.  Politicians get support from their peers using tenure and status etc.  Eventually, if things go according to norm, the legislation gets a vote.

Within every step of the process there are expense account lunches, dinners, trips, venue tickets and a host of other customary way-points to generate/leverage a successful outcome.

But the important part to remember is that the origination of the entire system is EXTERNAL to congress.

Congress does not write laws or legislation, special interest groups do.  Lobbyists are paid, some very well paid, to get politicians to go along with the need of the legislative group.

When you are voting for a Congressional Rep or a U.S. Senator you are not voting for a person who will write laws.  Your rep only votes on legislation to approve or disapprove of constructs that are written by outside groups and sold to them through lobbyists who work for those outside groups.

While all of this is happening the same outside groups who write the laws are providing money for the campaigns of the politicians they need to pass them.  This construct sets up the quid-pro-quo of influence, although much of it is fraught with plausible deniability.

This is the way legislation is created.

If your frame of reference is not established in this basic understanding you can often fall into the trap of viewing a politician, or political vote, through a false prism.  The modern origin of all legislative constructs is not within congress.

“we’ll have to pass the bill to, well, find out what is in the bill” etc.  ~ Nancy Pelosi 2009

“We rely upon the stupidity of the American voter” ~ Johnathan Gruber 2011, 2012

Now, think about this reality against the backdrop of the 2016 Presidential Election.  The entire system within DC was not structurally set-up to receive a Donald Trump presidency.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, her Oval Office desk would be filled with legislation passed by congress which she would be signing.  Heck, she’d have writer’s cramp from all of the special interest legislation that would be flowing to her desk.

Why?  Simply because the authors of the legislation, the special interest and lobbying groups, were spending millions to fund her campaign.  President Hillary Clinton would be signing K-Street constructed special interest legislation to repay all of those donors/investors.  Congress would be fast-tracking the passage because the same interest groups also fund the members of congress.

President Donald Trump winning the election threw a monkey wrench into the entire DC system…. The modern legislative machine is frozen in place.

The “America First” policies represented by candidate Donald Trump are not within the legislative constructs coming from the authors of the legislation.   Congress has no bills to advance because all of the myriad of bills and briefs written are not in line with President Trump policy.

That’s why congress has not passed any legislation for President Trump to sign.

There’s no entity within DC writing legislation that is in-line with President Trump’s economic and foreign policy agenda.  Exactly the opposite is true.  All of the DC legislative briefs and constructs are antithetical to Trump policy.

There are hundreds of file boxes filled with thousands of legislative constructs that became worthless when Donald Trump won the election.

Those legislative constructs (briefs) representing tens of millions of dollars worth of time and influence and are now just sitting there piled up in boxes under desks and in closets amid K-Street and the congressional offices.

Any current legislation must be in-line with an entire new political perspective, and there’s no-one, no special interest or lobbying group, currently occupying DC office space with any interest in synergy with Trump policy.

Think about the larger ramifications within that truism.

That is also why there’s so much opposition.

No legislation by outside interests means no work for lobbyists who sell it.   No work means no money.  No money means no expense accounts.  No expenses means politicians paying for their own indulgences etc.

However, no K-Street expenditures -because of the futility of it- also means more money available for opposition and activist activity.

Lastly, when you understand this reality you begin to see the difference between legislation with a traditional purpose and faux-legislation with a political agenda.

Remember, politicians don’t write laws – outside groups do.

If you asked a DC Senator or House Member to actually write a law they’d look back at you like a cow just licked them on the forehead.  The politician would have no clue what you are asking them to do, and would immediately look to their staff as their closest reference point (the go-betweens) for outside lobbyist assistance.

This helps to understand when Senator Rand Paul, Mike Lee or Ted Cruz are “pitching” a “bill they’ve written”, it’s a gimmick – a ruse – a pure fundraising ploy.  Nothing more.  That’s why the bills they talk about (ie. El Chappo, Clean Repeal etc.) never actually materialize…. they are raising money, not legislation.

And that’s why Trump’s legislative inbox is empty.

Staffers with nothing to do…

“FrancisSovereign” Order Of Malta – The Dry Run…

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For those who have been following my blog, you will have noticed recurring themes. Among these recurring themes are: NUChurch – in Liquidation and the FrancisChurch NGO. The manner in which these two theme converge is: due to the EPIC FAIL of the post-conciliar NUChurch, the dwindling number of pew sitters that are the source of funding of the contributions made pursuant to Canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law and the IDEOLOGICAL RIGIDITY of the bishop of Rome, Francis has decided to transform the Bride of Christ into a functionally secular NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION. Today we have more evidence (DATA POINTS) supporting correctness of the above supposition.

What’s more, we introduce a new element: Historiological and Cultural FrancisCleansing. 

The Cultural FrancisCleansing can be observed from such occurrences as the completely irrational FrancisWar on Tradition. This FrancisWar appears to be an emotional exercise on Francis’ part since it is being waged regardless of either economic or operational consequences. (see here and more recently here)

With respect to the Historiological FrancisCleansing, what is meant by this is term is purging of any previous historical structures that have been put in place within the Institutional Church by Francis’ predecessors. All 265 of them, including the 36 or 42 false ones! We got an preview of just this FrancisStrategy in the interview given byArchbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez to the Corriere della Sera on the 10th of May 2015. (see here)

Today, we add to our knowledge.

Our jump-off point is our post titled The Bishops Really Need To Start Speaking Out About This…

In that post, we laid out in some detail how Francis is attempting to transform the very nature of the Catholic Church. What is in fact happening is that Francis is trying to get rid of the supernatural nature of the Catholic Faith and TRANSFORM post-conciliar NUChurch into FrancisChurch, a completely worldly institution. And if we are to believer Archbishop Victor Fernandez, Francis wants to make these changes permanent.

This FrancisStrategy is in turn due to the catastrophic state of Vatican finances, as we have pointed out many times (latest see here). The post-conciliar church, by driving the Faithful away has created a huge funding gap. Since they have not replaced the old funding model with a new one, post-conciliar church is at the mercy of special interests for a big part of their funding.  Cough, cough… KIRCHENSTEUER. These special interests in turn have their own agendas, agendas which are contradictory to the Church’s stated mission, i.e. the salvation of souls.

This is where we pick up the story today.

I found two post today relating to the upcoming election of the Grand Master of the “FrancisSovereign” Order of Malta. (see here and here)  In these posts, the careful observer can identify the above themes playing themselves out in real-time.

Carefully watching what is transpiring “behind” the scenes, we first notice that Francis has taken an extraordinarily unusual interest in the upcoming election. An election of the government of a previously SOVEREIGN state.

The interest in the election and the new order in the Maltese Order, on a operational level, can be viewed as transformational in its own right.  To explain, Giuseppe Nardi on the Eponymous Flower blog writes the following:

The latter regulation [limiting the eligible candidates] to assures the Order its elitist character, but on the whole, the limitation of the candidates for the Grand Master office to the first class ensures, above all, its spiritual character. 

So what are the limitations on the eligibility to become the next Grand Master?

The Grand Master must be a professed knight, for only these, among all knights, undertake the solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These are currently among the world’s 13,000 knights less than 60. (…) The Maltese are similar and yet different. The Second and the Third Estate, together with the First Estate, elect the Grand Master, but must choose him from the small circle of the “Monks’ Knights”. This is reduced to currently 12 candidates because, according to old custom, all four grandparents of the Grand Master must be of noble descent.

And the reason behind these statutory restrictions is:

This has been and still is to prevent the ancient order from becoming a mere humanitarian NGO among others. 

So it appears that Francis has problems with the 12 potential candidates that could be elected under the current Order’s statutes. The reason he would have a problem with these individuals is that they most likely do not want to take the Order in a new direction. A “German tendency“.

On the other hand, Team Francis would like a new and transformational direction very much, a “German tendency”. Giuseppe explains what this “German tendency” entails:

The “German tendency” in the Order has for some years been said to make the Maltese Order such an NGO, which would surely be efficient, thoroughly organized with German efficiency and superior to all comparable NGOs because of the diplomatic immunity of the Order. They see the framework within the Order to build up therein the perfect humanitarian, international player and contact for governments and international institutions. 

The critics of this “German tendency“, i.e. the 12 potential candidates under the current statutory regime however, are of the following mindset:

Critics, on the other hand, argue that this is possible only at an unacceptable price: the loss of its identity as a Catholic order, if not the loss of its Christian identity. The main distinction between other humanitarian NGOs would no longer be the charism of the Knights ‘and Hospitaler’ Order, which in Jerusalem protected the pilgrims on their way to the holy places, who for centuries defended Christianity militarily and who always performed works of active charity with the works of the spiritual Charity.

And what is the primary motivation for introducing these transformational FrancisChanges into the FrancisSovereign Order of Malta?

The answer comes via Edward Pentin and the OnePeterFive blog. Here is that text:

The anonymously written paper also claims that the Vatican is supportive of Boeselager (the “German tendency”) and the order’s wealthy German members partly because it is cash poor and relying on outside financial help.

“The German bishops practically control the Vatican because they are so rich and the Vatican so poor,” the author stated. “Indeed, the Vatican is constantly in danger of becoming insolvent and is easily manipulated by the German bishops.”

This is said to explain why the Vatican did not want Boeselager dismissed, formed a commission of investigation into his dismissal largely made up of people connected with a $118 million bequest to the order based in Switzerland, and had him swiftly reinstated.

So what can be inferred from the information above?

Much!

What we are witnessing is TRANSFORMATIONAL FrancisChange being forced onto the Order of Malta. What in fact is happening is that The Francis is using the artificially created leadership crisis that he brought about, to bring new management into the Order, management that will change the Order from a Catholic organization into a secular Non Governmental Organization.

What is in fact also happening, is that Francis is using the Order as an experimental Petri dish to see how far he can go in introducing this sort of TRANSFORMATIONAL FrancisChange into the wider Universal Church.

If it goes smoothly, and Francis sees that there is little or no opposition, we can expect that the FrancisChange will go full speed ahead in the Universal Church

If he is stopped or even faces stiff opposition, he will adjust his scheming and skullduggery and try to figure out something else.

Remember, his ghost writer Victor “heal me with your kiss” Fernandez said so.

But whatever the outcome of this little situation, the FrancisWreckingBall is in full swing, taking down any and all opposition to Francis’ plan for creating a ONE WORLD RELIGION with Francis sitting on the top of the heap.

He is doing to the Order of Malta that which the Taliban did to the Buddhas of Bamiyan

Welcome to reality folks!

The Post-Modernist FrancisContinuum Explained

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In today’s post we jump over to a philosophical theme. In the below post, our friend Jonathan Newman from the Mises Institute provides the Zero Hedge readers, and by extension you dear reader, with a great overview of the current pseudo-rationalist cult known as SCIENTISM. (see here)

Just to frame the CONTEXT of what you will be reading below, one needs to understand where the SCIENTISM ideology/sect lies on an ideological continuum. So let’s define the continuum.

A good place to start is to define the extremes. I will use the classical philosophical markers, i.e. Aristotelian rationalists versus Platonist mystics. Furthermore, since we are dealing with ideologues, we are dealing with an “adaequatio realis mentis et vitae” mindset. Therefore, the extremes on this “bringing thought into line with life” continuum are in fact “pseudo” extremes, since they only exist in the ideologue’s minds. So below, I will depict this continuum and affix some ideological points onto it. Here goes:

YES?

So today, we allow Jonathan Newman to define the pseudo-rationalist extreme, i.e. scientism

Before we get to the post, can anyone take a guess where Francis, the bishop of Rome fits on this continuum?

Actually, he fits everywhere.

If you dear readers recall, Francis went through his Pentecostalism phase early in his bishopric of Rome, but “brother bishop” Tony Palmer passed on and he probably couldn’t come to a revenue sharing agreement for the “church” consolidation attempt. These days, he has focused on the Scientism extreme with his special “distinguished” guests that he is bringing into the Vatican. Folks like George Soros and his team of George Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Ehrlich.

And the reason that Francis can fluidly traverse this post-modernist continuum is that he is a …. wait for it… a post-modernist. Once again, Dr. Jordan Peterson explains The Francis here:

And explains why Francis is not only a danger for your salvation, but also for your mental health here:

An now, the Mises Institute post on Scientism.

*****

Neil Ty – The Scientism Guy

Authored by Jonathan Newman via The Mises Institute,

Neil deGrasse Tyson has released a new video aimed at a what he sees as a growing anti-intellectualism problem in the United States.

It was released at the same time as the March for Science and many Earth Day demonstrations. He reflects on what he thinks made America great and what’s stalling progress today. Science used to be respected, but today, there is a growing crowd of science-deniers who threaten our “informed democracy.”

The real anti-intellectual move, however, is conflating science, the scientific method, and truth to be one and the same. Fundamentally, science is any human attempt at discovering truth. What is true exists independently from what humans believe to be true or how humans arrive at truth claims. The scientific method, the process of using repeated experiments in an attempt to validate or falsify the conclusions of previous experiments, is but one way humans attempt to discover truth.

The purpose of the video was to call out the obstinate, ignorant voters who deny what many regard as certain truths handed to them by a body of elite, trustworthy scientists. Yet Tyson and the marchers border on an equally dangerous view: scientism.

Scientism isn’t scientific

Scientism is the over-reliance on or over-application of the scientific method. Scientism has many forms, one of which is the use of empirical methods to do economic science, or the dismissal of claims not based on experiment results that question other claims that are based on experiment results. Mises dealt with scientism repeatedly, and closely guarded the boundary between economics and other sciences.

The scientific method is not universally appropriate. Consider an extreme case: if you measured a few right triangles and observed that the sides did not correspond to what the Pythagorean theorem says, would you toss the Pythagorean theorem, or would you reexamine your measurement method? Would you dismiss the logical geometric relation in favor of the scientific method?

The scientific method is particularly suited for the natural sciences. It’s hard to recommend a different method than experimentation and observation to answer questions about chemical reactions, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and biology.

The scientific method is unnecessary or even ill-suited in other areas, however. Consider these questions, and what sort of approach is appropriate to answer them: What is 17 divided by 3? All else held equal, what are the effects of an increase in demand for blue jeans? Who should I invite to my party? What are the effects of expansionary monetary policy on employment, prices, incomes, production, consumption, and borrowing? How should I treat people?

Of course, Neil deGrasse Tyson wouldn’t recommend using the scientific method to answer all of these questions (hopefully), but the point is that empiricism and experimentation are limited in their appropriate applications. The scientific method does not have a monopoly on truth.

Always open to falsification

The scientific method has another large limitation: conclusions derived solely by experimentation are always susceptible to falsification by just one aberrant observation. For this reason and others, even wide consensus among scientists should be met with at least some skepticism before the heavy hand of the government gets involved.

In 1992, the government, backed by the scientific community, told you that you needed 6-11 daily servings of bread, cereal, rice, and/or pasta to maintain good nutrition (and that saturated and animal fats are to be avoided). Many government policies and public school food offerings were based on this recommendation, including, suspiciously, agricultural subsidies and import tariffs. But then, years later, new information revealed this to be terrible advice, after a big jump in diabetes diagnoses and obesity rates.

Or, consider the government’s attempts at alleviating malaria. The National Malaria Eradication Program sprayed DDT in 4,650,000 homes and overhead by aircraft. Later, it was realized that DDT is carcinogenic and the spraying had a severe effect on the environment and wildlife, birds in particular. Birds of prey like the bald eagle are not considered endangered species anymore, and the ban on DDT is considered a major factor in their recovery. Even this conclusion is in question, including whether or not DDT is carcinogenic for humans, but the point is that the government itself backtracked on its own science-based solution to a problem. It banned a chemical it once sprayed indiscriminately.

Since the climate is such an important issue for Tyson, consider also the claims and predictions of various scientists around 1970. Earth Day had just started, and scientists were predicting rather apocalyptic scenarios, similar to what we are hearing today from climate scientists. To be clear, just because these predictions turned out to be “spectacularly wrong”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that modern claims are wrong. But it might explain a lot about the modern layperson’s skepticism, as opposed to sheer stupidity as Tyson suggests.

Sites like retractionwatch.com document the increasingly frequent cases in which academic journals must retract published research because the peer review process was a sham or when other fraudulent activity comes to light. A recent entry reports that Springer had to retract 107 papers on cancer due to fake peer reviews. Surprisingly, retraction doesn’t always mean fewer citations, as this top 10 list of most highly cited retracted papers demonstrates.

Skepticism and science are good friends

These examples reveal another larger issue with Tyson’s argument. Tyson says, “every minute one is in denial, you are delaying the political solution.” The problem is that sometimes delays and denial are exactly what is needed. The scientific method requires time and attempts at falsification.

There is an inherent contradiction and arrogance in Tyson’s video. In one breath he is praising science and the way the scientific method works: “I get a result. A rival of mine double checks it, because they think I might be wrong.” But in the next breath, he declares to the doubter who also thinks some scientific conclusion might be wrong: “You don’t have that option! When you have an established, scientific emergent truth, it is true whether or not you believe in it.”

So the rival scientist is allowed to question the conclusions of other scientists because the conclusions might not be true, but nobody else is. We may not all be equipped with a laboratory, but we are all equipped with reason, experience, preferences, common sense (some more than others), gut instincts, some ideas about what is morally right and what is morally wrong, and our own areas of expertise. Surely these are not meaningless when it comes to judging the claims of a politically-connected technocratic elite and their policy recommendations.

Political connections bias science

Like the food pyramid, political interference in the scientific process led to terrible consequences in scheduling various drugs. Marijuana, which is now widely accepted to be virtually harmless, is still scheduled with heroin and ecstasy, and higher than cocaine and methamphetamines. Yet researchers and agencies produced enough of Tyson’s “emergent truths” (which we are not to doubt) over the years to keep it that way. The effects of this prohibition have been devastating, including a prison system bursting at the seams, militarized local police, violent organized crime (legal and illegal), and more deaths than marijuana itself could ever cause on its own.

Indeed, when the government does or funds research, it seems to always arrive at the conclusions which involve the government getting larger in size and scope. To question these expansions is to question the science, and to question the science is to mark oneself a stubborn idiot.

Tyson is trying to convince these stubborn idiots to learn some science. Only then, he says, will they become the informed citizens this democracy needs. But what if the skeptics aren’t stupid? What if their skepticism is due to the perceived track record of the scientific community over the years (especially when the government is in the mix)?

Most of what Tyson perceives as anti-intellectualism may not be a problem with people’s ability to think, but an inability to trust a politically-connected scientific community that has led them astray in the past. Besides, if he really thinks too many Americans are too stupid, then he ought to look no further than the public education system that produced this alleged mass of illiterate science-deniers.

Name-calling over debate

But I don’t think Tyson views the American electorate as 51% dumb and 49% smart. I think he knows that there are a few outliers with truly unscientific ideas and who will not be convinced of even the most obviously true scientific conclusions.

The implication in the video is that if you don’t go along with this one idea, you are just like those wacky outliers. Those who have a healthy skepticism of what the government and the intelligentsia claim are lumped together with the outliers as a rhetorical strategy.

In practice, however, even those who are on board with the science but disagree with the government solution to the problem, are also added to the same group of idiots.

It’s a rhetorical strategy that may not work for him. Having been in my fair share of debates, I know that insulting my opponents isn’t the best way to have them see things from my point of view. Suppose I come across a minimum wage proponent. Should I call them an ignorant economic-theory-denier, or should I just keep trying to convince them of the effects of minimum wage legislation? Should I treat them the same way I might treat somebody who holds to the completely debunked labor theory of value or somebody who thinks the economy is subject to the whims of lizard-people?

The end goal: bigger government

At the end of the video, Tyson’s real interest becomes apparent. He wants the government to battle with the climate, stick everybody with the same vaccinations, and teach every student a materialistic explanation for the origins of the universe and human and animal life.

Tyson implies that scientific conclusions give way to political solutions, when often what is best is to simply inform the people of some new “emergent truth” and allow individuals and firms to change their behavior in light of and to the extent that they buy in. Top-down, universally enforced “solutions” often cause more problems than they solve and don’t have the flexibility, effectiveness, or economic viability that they need.

In the beginning of the video, Tyson asks, “How did America rise up from a backwoods country to be one of the greatest nations the world has ever known?” I would argue that the impressive accomplishments of the United States are in spite of and not because of government intervention. The economic development of the United States is due to a wide range of factors, including an early adherence to relatively laissez-faire economic policy, the industrial revolution, only the occasional war instead of the state of perpetual war we find ourselves in today, a relatively individualistic culture, an “entrepreneurial spirit”, and abundant natural resources and farmable land.

Certainly scientific and technological innovations played a major role. But my questions for Neil deGrasse Tyson are these: what made those scientific and technological innovations possible? Do you want Americans to be more scientifically literate as an end or as a means to establishing a political agenda? Does the government really need to get involved for us to solve all of our problems? What harm is there in further experimentation and further attempts at convincing the population of your ideas before resorting to silencing the unconvinced by labeling them “science deniers”?

Telling people not to question their government or a politically-connected scientist-class is dangerous. It’s throwing the baby out with the bath water, and it seems to run against his own values. Indeed, Neil deGrasse Tyson is frequently featured on a popular YouTube channel called “Question Everything”. We should encourage a healthy skepticism, especially when the government is involved.

When it comes to political solutions to Tyson’s list of problems, it means scarce resources must be employed toward some goal. This puts him outside of his jurisdiction, natural science, and into my jurisdiction, economics. Dare I tell him to not question my conclusions?

The Battle For Your Mind – What Is Truth?

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Today your humble blogger returns to the NARRATIVE. 

Over at the Zero Hedge website, we get a post titled Schumer: “U.S. Is No Longer Fact-Based” Nation; Breitbart News A “Threat To Democracy”. And this post is too juicy to let pass by without presenting it to my loyal readers.

Furthermore, the subject matter of this post dovetails quite neatly with that of another post that appears on the OnePeterFive blog, written by Maike Hickson. (see here) In that post, Mrs Hickson translates an interview given by the Head of the SSPX breakaway group, the Fraternal Society of St. Peter’s Father Bernhard Gerstle .

Without commenting on the post itself, (I would like my dear readers to read and judge for themselves) all I will say is that if that part of the post-conciliar church that is promoting the Restoration of all things in Christ, is not able to define truth as bringing the mind into conformity with reality (adaequatio rei et intellectus), then what is in fact left is simply to push the post-conciliar NARRATIVE.

The problem with pushing the NARRATIVE, or any NARRATIVE for that matter, is that it introduces cognitive dissonance into the minds of the Faithful. And just to remind everyone what cognitive dissonance entails, it is this: (see here)

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts one of those beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts one of the beliefs, ideas, and values.

This state of mind produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

Now, in order to restore balance, the mentally stressed party is forced to take one of two alternative routes:

Scientific Method: a method of inquiry commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. (Bringing mind into conformity with reality – adaequatio rei et intellectus)

Magic Thinking:  denotes the belief that one’s thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it. (Bringing thought into line with life – adaequatio realis mentis et vitae)

So at the end of the day, the question that everyone, including the good Father is reduced to asking is the same question that Pontius Pilate asked in this below dialogue:

And just to drive the point home, below is the Zero Hedge post with an example from the political sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium, and the “distinguished” Senator who has obviously taken sides.

*****

Schumer: “U.S. Is No Longer Fact-Based” Nation; Breitbart News A “Threat To Democracy”

Last Friday Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a press release reminding sanctuary cities of their obligation to enforce federal immigration laws or risk losing their federal funding.  Within the release, Sessions noted that Chicago’s murder rate has risen “more than 50 percent from the 2015 levels” and that New York City continues to experience gang murders due to the city’s “soft on crime” stance.  Here’s what he said:

“Additionally, many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime. The number of murders in Chicago has skyrocketed, rising more than 50 percent from the 2015 levels. New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s “soft on crime” stance. And just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area, after a raid captured 11 MS-13 members on charges including murder, extortion and drug trafficking, city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next.”

We suspect that Sessions’ “soft on crime” comment was in reference to an ongoing feud between the NYPD and Mayor Bill De Blasio that erupted back in 2014 after De Blasio effectively legitimized the assassination of two cops in broad daylight by referring to minorities as “oppressed” and “threatened” by local police.  The situation garnered national media attention when the NYPD turned their backs on De Blasio after he showed up at the funeral ceremony of the murdered cops.

Of course, the main stream media had a slightly different interpretation of Sessions’ “soft on crime” comment and has worked itself into a tizzy insisting that the Department of Justice is ‘attacking’ the NYPD. 

As evidence, here is a comical exchange from MSNBC this morning in which Joe Scarborough insists that Sessions is “attacking the NYPD” while Mika accuses the DOJ of propagating “fake news”:

Scarborough:  “The Attorney General sends out a letter basically attacking the NYPD saying that they are ‘soft on crime.’  Has he never been to New York?”

Schumer:  “We are the lowest of the 25 biggest cities in crime.”

Mika:  “But they say crime is out of control.”

Schumer:  “My daughters ride the subway at 4am and I’m perfectly happy about it.  We are a safe city.  And, by the way, New York has grown from 7 million people in 1990 to 8.5 million today, the largest of any city because crime went down.”

Mika:  “There’s this talk about ‘fake news’ but that quote we just put up there is ‘fake news’ coming from the Attorney General.”

Schumer:  “We’re no longer fact-based.  The founding fathers created a country based on fact.  We don’t have a fact base.  If Breitbart News and the New York Times are regarded with equal credibility, you worry about this democracy.”

We won’t even bother to highlight all of the instances in which the New York Times decided to push ‘fake news’ regarding the Trump administration’s alleged ties to Russian hackers (but feel free to read this for an example:  “NYTimes Reports Trump Aides’ “Repeated Contact” With Russian Intel Officials, Admits No Collusion Discovered“).

That said, we can at least agree with Chuck that many politicians no longer live in a “fact-based” world….in fact, here is just one of our favorite examples…

..and this one is also very good.

Others Seeing It – Tradition The Only Way Forward…

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In today’s post we skip back to the Restoration theme. Over at the American Thinker, a post appeared titled  Mater Si, Magistra No: Renewal of Tradition in the Catholic Church, written by Mr. Paul Ingrassia.

This post contains several key DATA POINTS, which is why I am bringing it to your attention. Among those key DATA POINTS are:

  1. The Restoration is real, taking place and a good thing.
  2. The “Francis” as well as the entire “new springtime” experience has been a complete bust. (last paragraph)
  3. Only way forward is to return to Tradition.
  4. Catholicism (Tradition) will become the largest movement within the Catholic Church in the not too distant future.

NOTE BENE, and a big one. In the text, we find this passage:

And while it would be unwise to ascribe a cause-and-effect relationship between Mass attendance and Vatican II, it is nevertheless indisputable that Christianity in the Western world is currently experiencing an existential crisis as people everywhere – particularly the young – abandon organized religion in droves. 

Readers of this blog know why, yes?

For the new readers, allow me to explain.

We know from the seminal work of Dr. John Lamont that protestantism is a mixture of positive and negative theology. The negative theology is an anti-Catholicism that needs Catholicism in order to exist. The analogous situation in the biological sciences would be the relationship between the parasite needing the host.

Or to put it another way, with a protestantized NUChurch, there is nothing to “protest” any longer.

On the other hand, the positive theology aspects are very weak. Too weak in  fact to sustain protestantism in and of itself. Hence a rapid disintegration of the Catholic Church leads to an even greater disintegration of the prostestant sects.

Numquam Ponenda est Pluralitas Sine Necessitate

And now for the article that appeared on the American Thinker… (see here and emphasis added.)

Mater Si, Magistra No: Renewal of Tradition in the Catholic Church

It has been over a half-century since the closure of the Second Vatican Council, which ran in multiple sessions from 1963 to 1965 under the papacies of Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.  Vatican II, as the ecumenical council is colloquially known, is considered the defining moment of the Church in the twentieth century.  The council brought forth historic change to the Roman Catholic Church, fundamentally altering the liturgy and dispensing with centuries of tradition to appease a world society that had freshly emerged from the two deadliest conflicts in human history.

The council, which sought to rigorously examine the challenges that had long plagued the Church in the modern era, was the impetus behind the liberalization of the Catholic Church.  The Council Fathers sought to transfer the focus of the liturgical movement from the priests to the laity, ascribing renewed significance to the congregation.  This coincided with a movement away from Latin to the vernacular.  The way the documents of Vatican II were written allowed practitioners of the Novus Ordo Mass, promulgated by Pope Paul VI, to replace Gregorian Chant with secular religious hymns, thus making the latter the predominant musical tradition. 

This and other reforms accelerated the overhaul of traditional customs and likewise reflected the Church’s growing aloofness to such things as doctrinal orthodoxy and traditional morality.  In keeping with the stylistic changes of the liturgy and the theological approach of aggiornamento, a “bringing up to date,” Church architecture, particularly over the past half-century, has been compromised by the spirit of Vatican II.  Grandiose cathedrals that once towered over cities and reached toward heaven have been replaced by pedestrian structures devoid of the Romanesque and Gothic elements that in years past fostered the allure and mystique of the Catholic Church.  The interiors underwent a similar transformation: tabernacles were, in many cases, relegated to side alcoves, and the centerpiece crucifix was replaced by a resurrected Christ or a barren cross, indistinguishable from Protestant symbolism.

In addition to the liturgical alterations, the rites of the seven sacraments were subject to considerable revision.  Traditional vestments were dispensed with, and the regalia of the papal coronation, such as the sporting of the papal tiara, last worn by Pope Paul VI in 1963, was indefinitely retired.  Priests have also moved away from the Tridentine custom of celebrating Mass ad orientem (facing “liturgical east,” or toward the high altar), instead opting for the more personalized versus populum (facing the congregation), which was consistent with the Church’s pivot toward personalized morality and emphasis on self-fulfillment over set dogma. 

Perhaps the most salient change is the Second Vatican Council’s commitment to ecumenism.  Keeping in line with its desire to democratize and reconcile longstanding theological rifts in a rapidly globalizing world, the ecumenical reforms were met with varying degrees of success.  In this respect, the Council Fathers had hoped to reorient the Church’s perspective to highlight the shared orthodoxies between the Catholic Church and other faiths, a departure from its former practice of highlighting the deviations among other denominations.  Some traditionalists viewed these unprecedented measures with horror, believing the Church to have completely abandoned centuries of tradition.  But the Council Fathers reiterated that no doctrinal changes had been made; the Council’s chief aim was to democratize and appease a modernizing world, not surrender to it. 

Over a half-century later, it remains unclear just how successful the Council was in achieving its goals and to what extent the ensuing history of the Church is incumbent upon Vatican II reforms.  Some traditionalists cite the vibrant state of the Church prior to the Council’s formation in many parts of the world – notably, the United States, Canada, and many parts of Eastern and Southern Europe.  Today, Mass attendance in all these regions – particularly those bereft of a prevailing Protestant subculture – has dropped precipitously, suggesting a failure of the Council to deliver on its goals.  Incidentally, Mass attendance in the United States has declined as well – approximately three in four practicing Catholics attended Mass on a regular basis prior to Vatican II, whereas now, participation hovers around twenty to twenty-five percent.  To some, this is vindication that the Church must restore many of its former traditions or risk annihilation altogether.  And while it would be unwise to ascribe a cause-and-effect relationship between Mass attendance and Vatican II, it is nevertheless indisputable that Christianity in the Western world is currently experiencing an existential crisis as people everywhere – particularly the young – abandon organized religion in droves. 

Perhaps the most disheartening case of this is the devitalized state of the Irish Catholic Church, which, for centuries, had provided the cultural foundation of one of the most Catholic countries in Europe.  Today, Mass attendance barely exceeds thirty percent and remains in decline.  This figure is less than a third of its 1950 participation rate and, by some estimates, is markedly lower than in countries that do not have a traditionally Catholic heritage, such as the United States.  The long-term results of this wholesale secularization are not yet fully understood.  However, the fact that Ireland redefined marriage in 2015 by popular referendum in an attempt to include same-sex couples suggests a certain permanence to these trends, at least for the foreseeable future.  Granted, the Catholic Church remains an integral part of Irish society, but its influence has waned considerably in the past few decades, setting the stage for a renewed debate of once untouchable issues like abortion and euthanasia.

The problems facing the Catholic Church in Ireland are very much interrelated with the problems affecting the Catholic Church globally; the former is a concrete derivative of a systemic issue whose origins trace back to the fallout of the Council itself.  Some, including Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI, maintained that it was not Vatican II, strictly speaking, that caused the crisis of the modern Church, but rather how the Council was subsequently misconstrued by the burgeoning news media and leftist academicians.  Considering the liberal climate of the late 1960s, there is little doubt that the cultural changes of that era impacted the interpretation of the Council.  This, in conjunction with the evolving media climate, in which biased journalists labeled the Council Fathers as winners and losers depending on their philosophy, furthered the confusion about the Council’s implications.  In recognizing this, some blame can still be accorded to those who backed the Council for haphazardly calling for its creation without accounting for the cultural changes that would invariably dint its rollout, regardless of whatever the actual outcome was. 

Ultimately, whether or not the Council accelerated today’s lack of religiosity is secondary to the larger premise that the modern Church was, in fact, greatly shaped by Vatican II reforms.  Knowing this, it would be wise for Church officials to gradually roll back many of the liturgical changes and work toward implementing a more traditionalist platform.  Pope Benedict XVI appeared to sympathize with traditionalists in expressing during his papacy that liberals had wrongly interpreted Vatican II by objecting to such reforms as pushing back against local suppression of the Latin Mass, in addition to smaller reforms, like reviving several papal garments that had fallen into disuse.  Although these efforts were rather diminutive in theological significance, they nevertheless signaled that the Vatican was at least open to the idea of bringing tradition back to the Catholic Church. 

So where left to go for the surviving religious hoping for a grand awakening of their faith? 

Some, like Rod Dreher (who left the Catholic Church for Eastern Orthodoxy), believe that a new “dark ages” have befallen contemporary civilization and that the best way to manage the situation is for the remaining few Christians to organize into monastic communities of believers removed from the moral decay of modern times.  This so-called “Benedict Option,” named for St. Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480-537), is tailored for Americans who wish to preserve genuine Christian culture by displacing themselves from a society that is in its current state outwardly hostile to the Christian faith.  Essentially, the debauchery of American civilization has reached a point of no return, forcing the few devout remaining to withdraw from the world, if not physically, then at least spiritually, into true communities of faith that will uphold the principles of the Church and form a “living spiritual relationship with God.” 

Others have advocated for less drastic measures, though a common pessimism about the degraded state of Western civilization appears to unify many traditionalists.  Indeed, there is a clear metaphysical crisis working to dismember any form of objective truth or attach genuine significance to the human person.  Above all, the effects of modernity have reduced the dignity of the modern man into nothing beyond a baseless social construct contingent on no substantive higher moral truth.  The horrible eventualities that might result from such spiritual lethargy are, at present, unknown.

Christians should hope that at some point in the future, the truths embedded in the writings of such distinguished theologians as Benedict XVI may ignite an awakening of the Logos and a renewal of faith founded in the memoria Ecclesiae, the memory of the Church.  Tracey Rowland, writing for the Catholic Herald, put it this way: 

When a new generation arises in full rebellion from the social experiments of the contemporary era, craving a human ecology that respects both God and nature, and wanting to be something more than rootless cosmopolitans, Ratzinger’s publications will serve as Harry Potter-style Portkeys, giving creative young rebels access to the missing cultural capital – indeed, access to what Ratzinger calls the memoria Ecclesiae.

So long as current trends continue, traditional Catholics may ultimately become the Church’s most prominent voice, if for no reason other than that they will be the only ones remaining, thereby forcing it into this direction by default.  Naturally, Catholics should hope it doesn’t reach this point, but considering that the updated papal idiom of Pope Francis did not usher a wave of disaffected Catholics back into the Church, it seems that a reversal of course might actually be a good thing.  The Church would be well advised to stop pandering to lapsed Christians, and instead to strengthen its resolve on doctrine and tradition, especially given the alarming trend of moral relativism among younger people in particular, which is grossly incompatible with the objectivism espoused by Catholic doctrine.  A more reverend, disciplined, and ordered Church might ultimately precipitate a rekindling of the Catholic faith and shift the emphasis away from the material and personal and toward the metaphysical and divine.

Vive La France… (w Updates)

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Today, Low Sunday is a big EVENT day. The first round of the French presidential elections are taking place as I write this.

Update 6: 13:25 23 April 2017

No drama.

LePen and Macron through.

Not surprising, but disappointing none the less.

Uphill fight since entire French establishment will be against her.

Update 5: 12:35 23 April 2017

UK’s Daily Mail reporting Le Pen through to second round.

They have Macron as leading though, so we have conflicting reports.

Update 4: 12:20 23 April 2017

More leaks. Looks like Le Pen and the communist Melenchon going through to second round.

OBJECTIVE REALITY is just 34 minutes away!

Update 3: 11:33 23 April 2017

We are on the right track folks… (see here)

Story appeared on Gateway Pundit with a timestamp of 09:41 Eastern.

If correct, it looks like Le Pen v. Fillon in second round.

Update 2: 10:10 23 April 2017

It’s like Deja Vu all over again…

Just took an online poll and here are the results:

And this is the result from the #FrenchElection Twitter timeline, i.e. not pro Le Pen.

And this one here:

The above poll shows Le Pen within 2 percentage points of wrapping it all up in the first round.

Wow!

Fillon is consistant at 9% to 11%. If this is correct, that would mean that his support is heading over to the Le Pen camp. Very interesting….

Update 1: 09:40 23 April 2017

The Daily Telegraph comes out and admits that Marine Le Pen is “riding high in the bellwether town”.

Slowly the unwashed masses are being prepared for OBJECTIVE REALITY.

Turnout in the first round of France’s hotly contest presidential elections was higher than expected at midday, after recent polls suggested that more than a third may stay away from polling booths.

At midday, the interior ministry said that 28.54 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot, compared with 28.29 percent in 2012.

Turnout is key. Big turnout is good for Marine Le Pen. And in a country where 80% + of the electorate goes to the polls, even fractions of percents become significant.

 

*****

I have not been writing about nor predicting the French election since I don’t speak French and don’t follow the French political scene let alone the cultural scene. Therefore, I will not insult your intelligence by providing you dear reader with information that I have no way of verifying.

Having said that, there is one blog that I do follow which operates under the name of GalliaWatch. Today, on this blog their appeared the following post titled: The latest poll and the bookmakers.

In that post, there is some information that I find credible, in the “can be objectively verifiable” sense of that term. This has to do with one of the candidates, namely Mousier Macron. Now for those who have not been following this campaign, Macron shot up from nowhere into the lead, in the French fake polls after Mousier Fillon had his little problem with nepotism and sweetheart deals given to immediate family members.

Now Mr. Fillon was leading in the polls at the time the scandal broke and what I found strange about this flip-flop was that intuitively, it would mean that the ex-Fillon voters would be going over now to the Macron side.

HIGHLY UNLIKELY, especially in the first round!

Now… knowing the positions that these two politicians represent, I found this hardly credible. Hence, FAKE POLLS.

Which brings us the the below post. In this post, a poll appears with the following results:

I find the above credible in terms of positioning in which the candidates will fall after the polls close.

If this is the case, the second round will be fought between Marine Le Pen and François Fillon.

The second and last observation that needs to be made is this: by how much are the Le Pen votes suppressed in the fake polls? If we recall, in the Trump election, we had a 13% point swing in the final week (Courtesy of ABC “News”).

So what we will be watching for today is the voting percentage that Le Pen gains from the actual voting. If she gets an increase of say 10%-13% that we saw in the Trump elections, she could be in the mid 30’s in the first round.

And if we are in the mid 30’s in the first round and Fillon is the opponent, then Marine Le Pen stands a good chance to be the next President of the Republic of France.!

OREMUS!

*****

The latest poll and the bookmakers

First, as you probably know, Donald Trump tweeted for Marine Le Pen.

Second, the impatience is growing in the comment sections of the websites I consult.

Third, all kinds of plots and schemes are being bruited about but I have no proof of anything. These “plots” concern the honesty of the election and whether or not one can place any faith at all in the “democratic” process. We have been through that here, we know how it feels to suddenly realize that an election is merely a trick, a bait that the gullible population gobbles up, that it is all rigged in advance, that nothing we do matters, etc… But here, we learned (to our amazement) that the people still had something to say, and we can only hope that the same is true in France. For the people of France, the patriots, to win on Sunday they have to come out massively, and leave their doubts behind. If Marine Le Pen wins in the end, and becomes president, there will be ample time to criticize her decisions, to complain, to say you’re sorry you voted for her, to wish you were in another country, to cry in your beer, etc… And the complaints may be justified. She is NOT  the “far right-winger” the media proclaim her to be, we know that, and she has changed the nature of the Front National from a nationalist right-wing party into a nationalist left-friendly party, and this is not good. But there is no other choice. Of course, you can stay home and not vote, and many people refuse to participate in a “democratic” process they perceive as corrupt and leftist financed and manipulated.

Rather than rant like everyone else is doing, I’ll give you the latest predictions, showing Marine in the lead. This poll, dated April 21, 11:30 p.m., is the last one from Filteris. The FN is black, the LR (Fillon) is blue, Mélenchon is red, and Macron is yellow:

From Riposte Laïque:

Note that the attack on the Champs-Elysées occurred 24 hours before this poll. Marine Le Pen advanced by almost one point (0.97%) while François Fillon remains qualified for the second round, even though he lost 0.56% of potential votes.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon seems to be the beneficiary of the “useful votes”, that are coming from the voters of Benoît Hamon and Philippe Poutou (both leftists). He has progressed again 0.23% and is currently at 21.34% or barely 0.2% from the Les Républicains candidate (i.e., François Fillon).

As for Emmanuel Macron, he too has progressed by 0.11%, stopping his free-fall, no doubt because Benoît Hamon’s voters are also giving him some “useful votes”.

Note: In France a “useful vote” is a tactical vote, not a vote based on conviction. It usually serves the purpose of preventing someone from being elected.

Among the “small candidates” François Asselineau appears to be the only one to advance slightly.

Note: Asselineau founded the UPR party in 2007 and has slowly managed to become known to the public via the Internet. He espouses a comprehensive platform that is essentially pro-sovereignty and nationalist/protectionist, and advocates that France leave the EU, the Euro Zone and NATO. He has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories, and of being anti-American. Read more at Wikipedia.

If we are to believe Filteris, we are heading for a second round between Marine and Fillon, with a possible surprise from Mélenchon. (…)

The bookmakers continue to bank on a second round between Macron (favored by far) against Marine, who would beat Fillon by a hair.

Note: Readers at Riposte Laïque have no faith whatsoever in Filteris and feel the author of the article, Anne-Laure Joly, doesn’t know her job. Many readers at this website believe Marine is way ahead of everyone and that the truth about her ratings is being covered up.

One reader reports the following, but does not provide the source:

– The news is out. If in the second round it’s Marine vs Fillon, the left is calling for a night of barricades and destruction throughout all of France… a fine example of democracy. I don’t remember any FN voter burning a car, smashing a bus stop or throwing Molotov cocktails at the police during the 2012 victory of that slug Hollande. Now we know who the real fascists are in this country.

For those interested in the gambling aspects of the election, the website Oddschecker posted this report dated April 21, 10:44 p.m. (gambling jargon is above my head):

The first round of the Presidential elections will take place this Sunday as French voters head to the polls. Results will be released around 8pm local time and if one candidate receives more than 50% of the first vote, they will automatically become the next French President and the second round of voting will be cancelled. However, no candidate has ever walked away with the main prize after the first round of voting and given the odds, it seems unlikely to happen this year. If there is no outright majority, the top two politicians will face-off again on Sunday May 7.

Betting on the next French President has been a popular market throughout the year on Oddschecker, with betting activity at its highest this past week. Emmanuel Macron remains favourite with the bookmakers at 5/6 (54.5% implied probability), ahead of the National Front leader, Marine Le Pen who is 10/3 (23.1% implied probability) to take the hot seat. Far-right leader, Le Pen has always been a popular pick with bettors; in the first three months of 2017 she accounted for a massive 42% of bets on the market, whereas Macron only held 23% of bets placed via Oddschecker. Third favourite, Francios Fillon took up 13% of bets in the same period and his odds are currently 4/1 (20% implied probability). In the last week, Macron who married his former high school teacher, has become an ever more popular pick with politics punters. Despite Le Pen still being the favourite choice (34%) with bettors, Macron’s share of bets placed has grown to 26.6%.

As well as increasing support for the favourite, both Fillion, Mélenchon and Asselineau’s share of bets placed have also risen and they now account for 15.2%, 11.1% and 7.2% respectively. The left-wing politician, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s odds have been extremely volatile leading up to the first round of voting. On March 12th he was available to back at odds as big as 150/1 (0.7% implied probability). However, just over a month later these odds had been slashed to as short as 4/1 (20% implied probability) on the 15th April. His chances, and with that his odds, seem to have dwindled of late though and he’s now as big as 16/1 (5.9% implied probability) to win the election. Despite the dramatic change in odds, Melenchon has only accounted for 7% of bets placed through Oddschecker so far this year.

Another candidate whose support has grown throughout April is François Asselineau. The Popular Republican Union President’s views on taking France out of the EU seem to have resonated with members of the French public. Even though his odds of 250/1 suggest there’s no chance of him making it through this round of voting, he’s accounted for just over 7% of all bets placed on the market this week.

According to bets placed on the next President market today, Marine Le Pen looks guaranteed to make it through the first round of voting with over 87% of stakes placed, and 60% of bets. One bookmaker is still offering 66/1 that she wins over 50% of the first round share.

For They Sow The Wind, And They Shall Reap The Whirlwind

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For itself also is the invention of Israel: a workman made it, and it is no god: for the calf of Samaria shall be turned to spiders’ webs. [7] For they shall sow wind, and reap a whirlwind, there is no standing stalk in it, the bud shall yield no meal; and if it should yield, strangers shall eat it. [8] Israel is swallowed up: now is he become among the nations like an unclean vessel. (Hosea 8:6-8)

 

On the back to the recent post titled Restoration Round-up: The Zeal For Tradition, over at the Rorate Caeli blog this appears:

For the first time in nearly 200 (or 50?…) years, only the traditional Latin Mass to be offered in Irish Diocese

The pathetic tale of the Catholic Church in Ireland continues to unfold. The latest chapter is that, because of a priest shortage, there will be “no Masses” said on Tuesday in the entire Diocese of Limerick — something that hasn’t happened in almost two centuries.

The diocese and the media tell us there will only be “lay-led liturgies of the Word” (God be praised, this Catholic has no idea what that even is, and will die happy never knowing).

Normally, we wouldn’t really care that all the Novus Ordos dried up in a Diocese. Why would we? We pray they all die on the vine around the world. But we did find this a good time to correct the Diocese of Limerick and the media.

There will indeed be Masses said there Tuesday. Two of them, in fact, by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (click here for Mass times and location).

You can read the full — yet incomplete — story, for the record here by the Irish Times.

So history truly is being made Tuesday in Limerick. This will be there first time in nearly 200 years  –or, to be exact, the first time since Paul VI invented and imposed his committee-made new mass, on the First Sunday of Advent, 1969 — that the only Mass a Catholic can attend in an entire Irish diocese will be the traditional Latin Mass. Deo gratias.

– See more at: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/04/for-first-time-in-nearly-200-years-only.html#sthash.VwnhLxXw.dpuf

And then there is this, from the SSPX Ireland website:

The Isle without Priests

The numbers of working Catholic priests in Ireland will halve in the next 10 years, a bishop has warned.

Bishop Francis Duffy has issued a letter on the severity of the vocations crisis to all 41 churches in his diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. He has told how a priest in each parish will be a thing of the past.

Bishop Duffy says a big factor in the decline is how a changing faith in Ireland is down to people becoming more private about their religion.

The bishop’s pastoral letter detailed how the numbers of priests will drop from 52 to 25 by the year 2030.

Bishop Duffy said there are currently no seminarians getting ready to be ordained in the diocese, which covers most of Longford, much of Leitrim and parts of Westmeath, Offaly and Cavan.

(Read the rest here)

Where some see problems, others see opportunities.

Hint, hint…

The NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ – Can She Do It?

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As most of my regular readers know, Sunday is the first round of the French presidential election. And as my readers also know, your humble blogger is not predicting a Le Pen victory in the second round.

Your humble blogger just doesn’t see it.

The EU largess (read €, € and €) flowing to the French citizenry is just too YUGE.

But this does not mean that others don’t see it. One of the others is a very astute financial analyst that also predicted the Trump victory and Brexit Leave like yours truly. His name is Charles Gave and he is the founder of Hong-Kong based asset-allocation consultancy GaveKal Research. I am re-producing his post below. See original here.

What is of note is that a whopping 40% of the French electorate still has not made up their minds 3 days from the first round of voting.

Simply amazing….

This is the wild card.

But will it be enough?

Oremus!

*****

Analyst Who Predicted Trump’s Rise Bets On Le Pen Victory

Don’t bank on a relief rally in the euro area anytime soon…

Le Pen’s momentum is a slow-moving reaction against the men of Davos – as we have seen with Brexit and Trump – but markets don’t want to believe it.”  

That’s the conclusion drawn by Charles Gave, founder of Hong-Kong based asset-allocation consultancy GaveKal Research, who, as Bloomberg reports, predicted the triumph of Donald Trump in the U.S. election, and is now betting on a win for the anti-euro National Front candidate.

Markets are underpricing the prospect of Marine Le Pen emerging victorious in the French election as a sea of undecided voters throws into sharp relief pronounced apathy for center-leftist Emmanuel Macron — the front-runner by a whisker — and the backlash against the European Union project.

Given the prospect of a Le Pen victory, Bloomberg adds that Gave, who has been researching tactical asset allocation for more than 40 years, is advising clients to adopt long positioning in the pound as the U.K. would benefit from haven bids, and shorts on inflation-linked German bonds amid the risk of deflation in the euro area.

The market is talking about the nightmare scenario but it’s not pricing it in” said Mark Tinker, head of AXA Framlington Asia. Tinker’s a GaveKal client, and admirer of Gave’s tail-risk warnings over the past year.

“After Sunday, we will have more information to make a considered risk-return wager to trade and hedge, but high-quality European companies and German bonds look like an attractive bet,” Tinker said.

The stars, however, appear to be aligning for the National Front candidate, said Gave. The fact two candidates for the runoff are likely to be determined by voters who have yet to make up their minds — as many as 40 percent — is a bad omen for the centrist contender, he said.

At least half of the far-left and half of the center-right won’t vote for Macron in the second round if he is pitted against Le Pen, believing he is“tainted” by his association with Francois Hollande’s government, and would rather abstain, Gave said.

Supporters of Francois Fillon, a center-right candidate whose momentum has been curtailed by graft charges, and a sizable chunk of Macron’s followers would probably rally to Le Pen’s cause if she were to face leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the final round, according to Gave.

He sees only Fillon with a chance to defeat Le Pen in the run-off.

The odds are very different…

But Gave offers an ominous vision of what happens next…

If she emerges victorious, the euro would tank as markets would price in the prospect of its dissolution, rather than focus on Le Pen’s legislative hurdles to exit the single-currency bloc.

French and Italian bonds will be “unquotable” given vanishing bids, and the European banking system would be beset by seismic turmoil.

Restoration Round-up: The Zeal For Tradition

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Hope all my loyal readers had a peaceful and pleasant Easter Weekend.

Coming back from a few days away, I would like to start off with a Restoration post.

A number of events occurred which could have gone under the radar screen, if not for your eagle-eyed and most humble blogger. The reason being is, as I write this post, there is quite a large Restoration taking place within the universal Church. Therefore, there is quite a lot of Restoration news out there.

A good case in point, a new oratory being formed today, like this Oratory Canonically Established in Cincinnati, which comes on the back to these six  here, does not pack the same punch as it would just a couple of years ago.

What is of major significance and worthy to note and emphasize, is the events occurring in what this blog would call the “foundational areas”. As we know, without a solid foundation, any Restoration is bound to fail. Just as the fate of the mustard seed in the gospel according to St. Mark 4:3-6 (see here):

Hear ye: Behold, the sower went out to sow. And whilst he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and ate it up. And other some fell upon stony ground, where it had not much earth; and it shot up immediately, because it had no depth of earth. And when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

So today, your humble blogger focuses on what have been identified as the “foundational events” that have transpired recently. According to the Deus Ex Machina proprietary Peirce/Ockham Pragmatic Methodology, there are two foundational areas: liturgy and philosophy.

First on the philosophy front, there is not a lot happening in the ecclesiastical sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium. However, the secular side of the Visibilium Omnium has been going “full speed ahead”. We have identified several of the main promotors, of which of note are Stefan Molyneux, Curt Doolittle, Duke Pesta and Jordan Peterson. One can say that these folks et al., collectively can be viewed as setting the foundation for the advent of a contemporary St. Thomas Aquinas. For your “edification”, please see the below video and note how close it comes to pinning  down the theology ideology of a certain bishop of a certain town in central Italy.

The “great white hope” for the next Aquinas will most likely come from St. Thomas’ religious community, i.e. the Order of Preachers, who have been for quite some time experiencing a “Lefebvrist drift”. This new Aquinas will consolidate the contemporary body of knowledge that is being developed in the behavioral sciences and provide it the theological wrapping that will provide it with the coherent and comprehensive theological “foundation” that only the ONE TRUE FAITH can provide.

Remember where you heard that first…

Now onto the second foundational element, namely the liturgical. Here we see more occurrences, and groundbreaking at that, of what can be termed “foundational developments”.

As my loyal readers know, the problems with the post-conciliar liturgical aberration can be pinpointed to the 1955 Holy Week changes that were introduced that fateful year. I have an entire page dedicated to this chronology here.

The first event with the arguably greatest level of importance on the liturgical front, comes via a post on the Rorate Caeli blog and titled You Suggest: An ‘immaculate’ new internet radio station broadcasting pre-1955 Easter Triduum.  

What is of paramount importance to understand in this post, is that the destruction of the Sacred Liturgy actually started under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. The first manifestations were the changes to the Holy Week liturgy in 1955, also perpetrated by the notorious Annibale Bugnini. Buy broadcasting the Easter Triduum in the “Extraordinary Form” (pre-1955), the “signaling effect” aspect of this event cannot be overemphasized.

One can say that the Franciscan Friars from Gosport, England have turned back the clock on one of the two ROOT SOURCES of the destruction of the Catholic Church through the destruction of the Sacred Liturgy. This destruction was done under the pretense that it was “external forces” which the Church accommodated. This eventually led to the notorious Dignitatis humanae and Nostra aetate, i.e. the complete “relativization” of the Faith.

That any religious order would now be promoting the pre-1955 Triduum is a signal that there are elements within the Catholic Church that now realize that they need to go to the ROOT CAUSE in order to rectify the disastrous post-conciliar destruction of the Catholic Church.

On the back of that “green shoot”, we get more information coming from the New Liturgical Movement’s website. In a post titled The Dominican Easter Vigil (before 1957), we see interest in the pre-“reform” Holy Week Rite of the Order of Preachers and movement in tandem with the Franciscan Friars from Gosport.

Note bene: Given that there has been an observable shift back to Thomism inside the Dominican Order, especially among the young friars, it would be fair to say that it is this Order that will provide the future “boots on the ground” for the Restoration when it becomes the dominant movement within the Catholic Church. As we can see from the photo at the top of this page, it is with great joy that one can observe young Dominicans sitting “in choro” at Vespers and Benediction on Palm Sunday at St. Kevin’s Church in Ireland.

Now on to the other important Restoration developments.

First, I think that a hugely significant Restoration event occurred recently coming from the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison and the “request” from His Excellency Most Reverend  Robert C.  Morlino to his priests that the “priests of the diocese – beginning in September – to encourage reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, while kneeling”. (see here) This move in essence destroys the optics of the “Kasper/German school’s” Communion as a breakfast meal in line with the protestant sects.

This comes on the back of another announcement coming from this “extraordinary Ordinary”, namely that he will offer Holy Mass ad orientem at the church of the Cathedral parish. (see here)

Now given that the Diocese of Madison is a very “successful” Diocese, in objective terms (see here), these recent moves add to the number of “successful” Catholic ordinaries (see here and here) who are ostentatiously, yet humbly leading the Restoration effort.

NB: We define “objective success” as number of seminarians/vocations since we have good info that the next conclave will pivot on the “seminarians/vocations” issue (see here).

Aside, while we are waiting for the 2016 Mass stats to come in, I would like to draw your attention to this post here that gives an overview of the advance of the Mass of All Ages in the US up to 2015. But I digress…

Back to the issue at hand and back to Fr. Z’s blog. On his blog, your humble blogger also monitors what can be termed the “turning Ad Orientem” subset of this “brick by brick” Restoration. Here is a screen shot of one quick search. Notice the frequency with which the “ad orientem” news flows presently:

Ad orientem worship appears to be the second most frequently raised topic currently, yet far behind the first, i.e. the bishop of Rome’s almost daily insults hurled at the Catholic Faithful. But once again, I digress…

And while we are still on the topic of “ad orientem” worship and cathedrals, of note is that the new Metropolitan of Krakow, His Excellency Most Reverend Marek Jędraszewski offered his installation Mass (Mass of Paul VI) at the Wawel Cathedral ad orientem. (see here – Mass begins at about the 1:28:00 mark)

And tying in offering Holy Mass “ad orientem” and the post-conciliar church’s destruction of the Sacred Liturgy, we see just this issue being brought back to the fore by no less than the Pope himself (see here) and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship who recently has made this observation: (see here)

Next occurrence(s), tying in the Catholic Church turning “ad orientem”, Poland and the Holy Week Rite, this year saw a record number of Holy Week Triduum liturgies using the 1962 Missale Romanum. NB: Rorate Caeli informed its readers of the following (see here):

One of the biggest myths still remaining concerning the traditional Latin Mass is that the use of 1962 books for the Sacred Triduum is not allowed at regular parishes.  Not only is this “fake news,” but the Vatican has clarified the fact that any parish may use the 1962 books for the entire Triduum — and it can even be in addition to an existing novus ordo schedule. 

Here is that list of the Polish churches that took advantage of this opportunity in Anno Domini 2017:

Shocking, and in the land of the JPII “the great” cult of personality no less. Simply shocking…

But that is not all that is shocking. When those “alter Christi” were vesting for the Holy Week liturgies, they were subject to another “request” emanating from the Vatican. And that “request” entailed vesting prayers. Here is that news:

Vatican Recommends Use of Tridentine Vesting Prayers Before the Ordinary Form Mass

On February 16, 2010, the Vatican’s Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Roman Pontiff issued a document entitled “Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers,” which elaborates upon the value of the traditional vesting prayers and their continued usefulness, even before the celebration of the Novus Ordo.

Yes, even “before the celebration of the Novus Ordo”.

The protestants will not be happy…

And finally, for the quick linking to the Holy Week and Easter review of photo-posts on the New Liturgical Movement website, this year titled “Zeal for Tradition”:

Roman Sacrament Altars 2017

Palm Sunday Photopost 2017 (Part 2)

Holy Week Photopost Request 2017

Palm Sunday Photopost 2017 (Part 1)

Passiontide Photopost 2017 (Part 3)

Passiontide Photopost 2017 (Part 2) – Zeal for Tradition Continues!

Passiontide Photopost 2017 (Part 1) – Zeal for Tradition

What is of note this year is the strong representation from the Philippines. I know from a source that the SSPX is very active with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and its peregrination on the Philippine Islands. Wonder if this has anything to do with this new found “zeal for Tradition”?

But back to the subject matter. One church that I always love to see featured on the NLM’s blog is the London Oratory. I used to attend the Mass of All Ages when I lived in the neighborhood for over 7 years. It is amazing how Tradition has gone from a small, yet very beautiful side chapel (the Little Oratory) into the “mainstream” Church. Anyways, here is that series of photo-post:

The Easter Vigil at the London Oratory.

Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion at the London Oratory

Maundy Thursday at the London Oratory

And on that note I will sign off.

The Feast Of Corpus Christi And The Signaling Effect (Update)

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Today’s post will be a synthesis post. In the post titled Oh My! Real Dialogue Has Broken Out…, your humble blogger chronicled the observations that “real, objective, definitional” dialogue, i.e. dialogue, has broken out within the President Trump electorate.

On an operational level, the Trump administration engaged in a series of acts that were the subject of the debate. Among these acts were a military action in Syria and personnel changes within the National Security Council. (see the “set-up” here and the effects here and here)

On a psychological level, these acts had a very significant signaling component. And since your humble blogger has spent some time explaining this aspect of human behavior, or what we call the et Invisibilium, (see here) I am republishing a post from Charles Hugh-Smith that does an excellent job explaining further this subject matter.

A further reason that I am bringing this post to your attention, and something that the below post clearly explains, is that “signaling” is also a strategy. Here is a definition of strategy:

  1. 1a (1) :  the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war (2) :  the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions b :  a variety of or instance of the use of strategy

    1. 2a :  a careful plan or method :  a clever stratagem b :  the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal

    2. 3 :  an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success foraging strategies of insects

And since signaling is a strategy, and a strategy has an implicit element that attempts to alter the actions of the trageted subject, it follows that a strategy has a testable component.  In other words, one can objectively assess the effectiveness of the said “signaling” strategy to ascertain whether it met the desired effects.

Which brings me to the ecclesiastical area of the Visibilium Omnium and a post written by Hilary White that appeared at the OnePeterFive blog this morning titled  Understanding Pope Francis: The Need for a New Narrative Framework. In this post, we read the following:

Immediately after that chilly, damp night in Rome when the Church was given her 266th pope, I remember seeing some brief comment here and there about “questions” over Bergoglio’s involvement in the Dirty War. But since no one really knew what it was all about, it got no traction. And so, these questions dried up almost instantly, lasting no more than a couple of days post-Conclave, until the secular media decided to change tracks. Only a scant few weeks later, Bergoglio himself started the game, distracting the media with his “Who am I to judge?” plane presser, and the lot of us have been running barking after his trail of carefully deposited breadcrumbs ever since.

If you dear reader analyze the above passage, in light of the signaling strategy perspective, what we see is that Francis, the bishop of Rome employed a very successful signaling strategy to… put the hounds off the trail, one can say.

Going forward and speaking more generally, one can say that the entire Francis bishopric of Rome is one entirely based on a signaling strategy. One can start with the Francis musings, i.e. the Francis teaching office and carry it through the produced docs, starting with Evangelii gaudium and ending with the diabolical “Joy of Sex”. If one looks at the past four years, one sees that there has been nothing in terms of “deepening” our understanding of the Faith. All we have gotten so far is le changement pour le changement… like l’art pour l’art! 

Yet since Francis’ bishopric of Rome is just one big exercise in signaling strategy, this means that it, and by proxy the entire “new springtime of the spirit of VII” that has allowed for someone like Francis to ascend to the See of St. Peter, can now be objectively judged as to its results.

One piece of information relating to this last point is, as I have heard, that the crowds in St. Peter’s Square have been so bad, that the official Vatican photographers are instructed to focus their cameras on the “crowds” in front of the papal window during the Francis addresses and not photograph the empty spaces in the wider Square. Now, I do not know if this is true, but from the official L’Osservatore Romano photo shoot from Palm Sunday 2017, it would appear to be the case. (see here) Here is another one for your viewing:

And here’s how Palm Sunday 2012 (Pope Benedict’s last ) looked like:

And:

Concluding, what is of significance here is that since Francis, the bishop of Rome has based his bishopric of Rome on a signaling strategy, he will be judged on the effectiveness of this strategy. The assessment can and will be made on objective assessment criteria.

One hint at how this assessment will end is by looking at the crowds in St. Peter’s Square at major religious Holy Days. This sub-set of the assessment criteria can act as a proxy for the numbers of Catholics that Francis has been able to “attract” back to the church pews and will eventually be reflected in the “contributions made pursuant to Canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law”. Or to look at the situation more realistically, the numbers of Catholics that he has driven away.

But at the end of the day, this assessment MUST be made by the future Conclave Electors!

And finally, if we now hear that the Feast of Corpus Christi is being rescheduled for Sunday instead of being held on its proper day, Thursday the 17th, then it is fair to ask if the “crowd sizes” were a significant consideration in this UNPRECEDENTED TeamFrancis decision?

And now, to the signaling post, (see here).

UPDATE: Today’s General Audience

*****

The Media’s Missing The Point: Syria, Empire, & The Power Of Signaling

Authored by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Trying to reduce the carefully choreographed drama to one stage and one audience risks misunderstanding the signal.

It seems many media observers are confused by events in Syria and the swirl of competing narratives. Did the Swamp drain Trump? Did the Neocons succeed in forcing Trump to follow their lead? Is the U.S. ramping up yet another endless war?

Consider the possibility that none of these narratives actually get to the heart of what’s going on. To make sense of all this, we’re going to have to delve into topics far below today’s headlines.

I think Ilargi (The Automatic Earth) got it right in his recent essay Symbols of Strength, in which he proposed that the entire cruise-missile exercise had little to do with Syria and everything to do with signaling Trump’s willingness to use force to China’s President Xi jinping.

Signaling is a term that is currently much in vogue. I used it in my recent essays Virtue-Signaling the Decline of the Empire (February 28, 2017) and It’s What’s Happening Beneath the Surface That Matters.

The original idea of signaling, drawn from economist Michael Spence’s job-market signaling model, has become confused with communication.

Spence proposed the notion that a college degree bridges the asymmetrical information gap between employer and employee: the employer has a tough time obtaining useful information on the qualifications and intelligence of job applicants. A college degree signals employers that the applicant is perseverent enough to get through 4+ years of college, and has enough intelligence (and work ethic) to earn the diploma.

Here is Bloomberg writer Noah Smith’s description of the difference between signaling and communicating: “Spence’s signaling model was about proving yourself by doing something difficult — something so difficult that someone who didn’t have what it takes wouldn’t even bother.”

In other words, communication isn’t a signal. A quizzical raised eyebrow, a scoffing chuckle, a wry comment–all of these telegraph emotional content as well as information. But these are not signals.

A signal is a form of communication, but its cost must be high to be persuasive. A signal can provide information on intent, depth of commitment, willingness to accept risk and much more.

A signal is often intended to communicate different things to different audiences.

To understand signaling, we need to understand the difference between force and power. Edward Luttwak ably described the difference in his book The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: force is a mechanical input (expense) that doesn’t scale: it takes a lot of people, effort and treasure to force others to comply with Imperial edicts.

Power, on the other hand, is ultimately the sum total output of the Empire: its productive capacity, resources, human and social capital–everything. Power influences others without direct coercion. This allows the Empire to extend its influence without having to bear the enormous costs of applying force.

Luttwak explains that power results from positioning military assets to serve political-power objectives. That is, the assets must be positioned to credibly threaten the use of force anywhere in the Empire, but the job of maintaining influence/control is done more by signaling the readiness and ability to use force rather than having to put the force in the field (a very costly and risky venture that often turns out badly).

In other words, the perception of power and the willingness and ability to apply force is what matters in terms of political influence. If we look through this lens, we discern a much different picture of what may be going on with the cruise missile attack on Syria.

(I also recommend Luttwak’s companion volume, The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire.)

The “Secret Sauce” of the Byzantine Empire: Stable Currency, Social Mobility (September 1, 2016)

Here is some essential context for the signaling of the U.S., Russia and China. The U.S. spends roughly $700 billion annually on its Armed Forces and another $100 billion on intelligence agencies and defense-related expenditures. So round it up to $800 billion.

That is roughly 15% of total federal spending, and a bit over 3% of America’s GDP. Historically, these are very low numbers. In other words, the U.S. isn’t even spending much of its total available output on its military.

Every great power aims its signals at both the international audience and the domestic audience. Rather than being a poker game, signaling is more 3-D chess, with three boards in play at all times: client states and allies; potential adversaries, and the domestic audience.

China, Russia and the U.S. are all signaling to these three different audiences with every pronouncement and every action.

We must be careful not to misread a signal primarily intended for a domestic audience as being more than a symbolic act. All the analysts who see the cruise-missile attack as “proof” that the Swamp has drained Trump, or the U.S. intends to raamp up its involvement in Syria are looking at only one board–or they’ve misread the game entirely, and are glued to a PR sideshow.

A successful signal performs on multiple levels, leveraging the effect at a low cost. No Great Power can afford to use only brute force to maintain influence. Signals may be directed at multiple audiences, and trying to reduce the carefully choreographed drama to one stage and one audience risks misunderstanding the signal.

The entire cruise-missile drama hints at the possibility that U.S. Neocons are being played. It’s all too pat for my taste. But that’s a topic for another essay.

*  *  *

For those interested in Imperial strategies, force and power, I recommend these books as worthy starting places. I am not an authority, I am only an avid amateur, so please let me know which other books you’ve found to be especially insightful.

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower (Adrian Goldsworthy)

War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires (Peter Turchin)

The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire (Anthony Everitt)

428 AD: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire (Giusto Traina)

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Jack Weatherford)

Venice: A New History (Thomas F. Madden)

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire (Judith Herrin)

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun & the Fall of Rome

The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History

The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization

This essay was drawn from Musings Report 14. The Reports are emailed weekly to major contributors and patrons ($50 annually or $5/month or higher).