Comments Posted By Diogenes
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Absolutely true! It’s my understanding that several weeks ago, the entire school of Holy Cross GO Seminary in Brookline, MA, was brought to task. They were reamed for not knowing their Greek and pushing the Hellenism agenda. So as you can see, Orthodoxy in America along with outreach is dying to come forward, but SOME want this stopped. So why? As said in the article, the “fear” of the loss of control. In the OCA, we’ve gone the other way very quickly. We have unbalanced converts wanting to run things with their own agendas. This too is a danger. The Church must embrace ALL who wish to come to the “knowledge of the Truth,” but LEADERSHIP must be responsible and wise.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 1, 2012 @ 5:32 pm
No, it is true. The “Bishop of Detroit” told + Philip to get rid of + Mark or else. + Mark is now gone and the thievery in Detroit has been protected. And yes, monies did filter into Englewood.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 16, 2012 @ 3:53 pm
So, let’s examine some of the “innovations” that Fr. Schmemann taught his students that parish staritsta complained about. Let’s start with “frequent communion.” Heaven forbid any lay person receive the Eucharist except for Christmas & Easter. Next, how about the “innovation” of Pre-sanctified Liturgies during Great Lent and in the evening no less. How about the “innovation” of Matrimonial Divine Liturgies or Baptismal Liturgies; oh how horrible & foreign. The truth is that all of these and many other things taught were indeed Orthodox and the American Church had adopted bad practices influenced by the Unia and other outside influences. What Fr. Schmemann taught was the “original” Orthodox teachings where even bishops rejected them.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 16, 2012 @ 3:28 pm
There were secret bank accounts. Monies given to the OCA somehow ended up in these accounts; including monies from the agricultural seed baron. When added up, millions were passed through these accounts.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 16, 2012 @ 11:55 am
All sacramental functions were originally performed within the context of the Divine Liturgy. When mixed marriages were done, the service became separated. Baptisms are to be done within the context of the Divine Liturgy and with ALL the people present.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 16, 2012 @ 11:43 am
RSK created all the problems that the OCA currently has. Quit singing his praises; he abused his authority and we’ll be suffering from it for many more years to come.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 16, 2012 @ 9:55 am
You are correct and I was wrong. + Theodosius went to Moscow to accept the Tomos of Autocephaly as the Bishop of Alaska in April of 1970. Shortly thereafter he was transferred as the Bishop of Pittsburgh (1972). Met. Ireney was sick and could not fulfill his duties and Fr. Hubiak heavily interfaced. + Ireney refused to retire and it was in 1977 when + Theodosius was chosen over + Dimitri.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 12, 2012 @ 5:15 pm
Uh….Met. Theodosius was elected Metropolitan in 1970. + Dimitri had the popular vote, but + Theodosius had the backing of the Synod. This worked out fine since + Theodosius received the Tomas of Autocephaly that same year. Not only did he reflect the new vibrant Orthodox Church in America as a young “nash” bishop, but was also quite smart. His downfall came when he accepted RSK as his Chancellor.
» Posted By Diogenes On May 12, 2012 @ 3:52 pm
Russian Orthodox Church is in spiritual crisis, critics say
BY SERGEI L. LOIKO
Los Angeles Times
KARABANOVO, RUSSIA — His unruly mane of white hair giving him the look of Moses, Father Georgy Edelstein struggled over the grayish snow that is the late-spring landscape of this barren village, heading to his church for Good Friday services.
When he got to its small, darkened main hall, the 79-year-old put a simple silver cross over his robes and began saying prayers on one of the holiest days in the Russian Orthodox Church. His audience: his assistant and one villager.
Two days later, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, exchanged hearty Easter kisses with President-elect Vladimir Putin amid the lavish interiors of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, his jewel-encrusted cross and gold brocade robe shining in the television limelight.
Separated by 220 miles on a map but by a much wider gulf in circumstances, the two scenes provide a vivid portrait of a church that some critics say is undergoing a spiritual crisis.
Kirill’s public support of Putin in the country’s recent presidential election, as well as a scandal over a $30,000 wristwatch that appeared in a photo of the patriarch – and then mysteriously disappeared – have raised alarms that the church is out of touch with ordinary Russians, and too cozy with the nation’s leaders.
“We hoped so much that in the new Russia the church leaders would be telling a real and loud word of God’s truth to the society, but our hopes were dashed,” said Alexander Nezhny, a Russian writer and expert on the church.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people came to the square in front of Christ the Savior in a show of support for the church.
Still, criticism remains.
For centuries the church was an obedient servant of Russia’s rulers, and that deference became more pronounced after Stalin’s ferocious repressions. Critics such as Nezhny say that hasn’t changed in the two decades of a democratic Russia. A recent appeal for a public show of support for the church even had some of the trappings of Putin government rhetoric, warning of dark forces intent on bringing down the country’s oldest institution.
During massive anti-Putin protests this year, some Russians gave Kirill credit for his attempts to reconcile the two sides. He cautioned the Kremlin not to ignore the growing discontent, but also warned the protesters that the country had “exhausted the limit of confrontations and … any possibility to carry out a revolutionary transformation of our society.”
Other observers expressed concern that the church was trying to play a political role after centuries of staying on the sidelines.
In the middle of the presidential campaign, Kirill publicly backed Putin, saying, “I must say quite openly, as the patriarch who must tell the truth regardless of political considerations and propaganda accents, that you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, have played a huge role in correcting this crookedness of our history.”
In a document released this month, the patriarch spoke of “the confrontation between the church and the anti-Christian forces,” which becomes “more obvious and acute.”
“The anti-church forces are afraid of the strengthening of the Orthodoxy in the country,” the document says. “These people are not numerous, but some of them have influence and are ready to use their financial, information and administrative resources to discredit the (church leadership) and clerics to create schisms and tear people away from temples.”
The document compares the current “attack” on the church to the tragic events of Soviet times, in which tens of thousands of priests died and thousands of churches were closed or destroyed.
Then, in an unprecedented move, the patriarch called on believers to express their loyalty to the church in a common prayer outside Christ the Savior Cathedral and other cathedrals across Russia.
“The patriarch is a prominent public leader, and there is nothing extraordinary in his call for a mass demonstration in favor of the church,” said Maxim Shevchenko, a popular TV anchor and member of the presidential Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory board. “A resolute response must certainly be given to this outrageous and beastly ongoing campaign against the church and its patriarch.”
Most experts are skeptical about the existence of an orchestrated campaign against the church, but agree that the controversy started in February.
That’s when a group of young women broke into Christ the Savior Cathedral wearing extravagant outfits and sacks with eyeholes over their heads and performed a song and dance largely interpreted as their way of praying against Putin’s imminent presidential victory and the church hierarchy for helping him attain it.
Three of the group were soon arrested and are awaiting trial in prison on charges of hooliganism, which can mean a sentence of up to seven years if convicted. The Moscow Patriarchate accused them of gross blasphemy and publicly demanded an irrevocable punishment.
And then came the case of the disappearing wristwatch. In early April, bloggers and journalists noticed the watch on Kirill’s wrist in one of the protocol photos on the patriarchate’s website. The next day, the watch in the photo had been edited out, but its reflection on the table surface remained, causing an even bigger scandal.
“It was a stupidity that shouldn’t have happened,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said of the edited photo.
He added that the watch was a gift from a believer. “People have always brought to priests and bishops the most precious things they had, and I see nothing bad in the fact that the leader of the largest confessional in Russia receives expensive gifts from the people.”
Soon after the watch episode, the patriarch, who is a monk by status and is not supposed to own real estate, was recently found to have a lavish apartment worth millions overlooking the Kremlin and Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The patriarchate defended Kirill’s having an apartment. “Many monks even living in monasteries keep their housing just in case their situation may change and they may need it again,” Chaplin said. “The patriarch lived for 15 years in Moscow without having his own apartment and then he got it. His relatives live there and there is nothing bad in it.”
Chaplin said these brouhahas, and several recent acts in which churches and icons were defiled and at least one priest was beaten, were part of an ugly campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and the state itself, and may also be sponsored and influenced from abroad.
“I am convinced that this is an orchestrated campaign which is in its turn part of a bigger campaign aimed to destabilize the situation in the country which is also aimed against the people, against the army, the police, against the government and so on,” Chaplin said. “At the core of this campaign is a small group of pro-Western Muscovites, and residents of other big cities, the pro-Western part of Russian financial circles, political establishment and media elite.”
Edelstein, who lost four fingers and an eye when thugs tried to rob him and pushed him under a passing train in 1948, said he doesn’t believe there is any campaign against the church.
“The church throughout its entire history has never been afraid of any enemies outside it, as the latter have never succeeded in moving even a small stone in the basement of our church,” the priest said in his small wooden hut in the middle of the village, which doesn’t even have a road sign with its name on it. “Our main enemies are inside the church.”
The priest knows something of dissent. Of Jewish heritage, he had to fight to become an Orthodox priest in the 1970s and was suspended for almost two years in the ’80s for “politically motivated dissent” – until a visiting President Ronald Reagan met with him in Moscow and the Kremlin decided it was too scandalous for the priest to stay out of service. “Thus Reagan blessed me for my work,” the old man said with a laugh.
Today, his elder son Yuly is a minister of information and diaspora in the Israeli government, but Edelstein still preaches here in the wild forests of central Russia. He said he has learned to distinguish between “the mother church and its Soviet-type leadership.”
As the Friday afternoon was coming to a close and the rain was drumming on the gilded iron cupolas of his church, the priest was still saying his prayers, his face rigid but his only eye burning with the fire of his soul: “We are praying for our father, Patriarch Kirill.”
» Posted By Diogenes On April 25, 2012 @ 12:08 pm
History is objective; especially recent history. The only reason all the Orthodox haven’t united in the OCA is because of the BISHOPS. The Pat. of Istanbul has been the biggest obstacle to Orthodox unity in N. America and because the Antiochians think they will fare better siding with him, real administrative unity has halted. The entire Episcopal Assembly is crap! All this is, is the Pat. of Istanbul trying to unite everyone under himself. This is an Eastern Pope. The Orthodox are not organized in that manner. All of the bishops in the Episcopal Assembly need to pronounce themselves autocephalous. Then organize a new church i.e., The Orthodox Church of North America (OCNA). Choose their Metropolitan and move on. Simple, easy, but most of the bishops have no cahones!
» Posted By Diogenes On April 24, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
Your assertions just aren’t true. 1970 wasn’t some “experiment” for the Church in North America, but the logical, canonical development of the Church. You fail to realize that the OCA isn’t just another jurisdiction, but it is the continuation of the original indigenous Orthodox Church in North America which began in Alaska and spread throughout the lower 48. The OCA will not disappear nor will it go away. The Greeks & Antiochians can practice all of their Byzantine intrigue, but the truth is, foreign bishops have NO authority outside their own local territory. The Greeks, Antiochians and others under foreign bishops have no real authority in N. America – canon law. The Antiochians call themselves “self-ruled” yet, send bishop candidates to Damascus for consecration and receive their chrism from overseas. In fact Nikos, according to percentages, the Greeks & Antiochians have lost more people than the OCA. Funny thing playing with numbers. Population shifts are going on in the U.S. and Orthodox centers are changing. Moscow is completely corrupt and Istanbul is just about completely dead. Jerusalem has become a remnant; Damascus will become a remnant and Alexandria is not what it was. N. America is the real hope for Orthodoxy and not under foreign bishops!
» Posted By Diogenes On April 24, 2012 @ 8:53 am
We are very lucky that in the United States, the Orthodox Christians have not come under persecution, even unto death. All the more reason that Orthodoxy should flourish. The OCA is the ONLY autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America and like it or not, it has the canonical right to make it’s own chrism. Istanbul can go pound sand!
» Posted By Diogenes On April 23, 2012 @ 6:53 pm
“The road in Hell are the skulls of priests and the door posts are the skulls of bishops.”
-St. John Chrysostom
» Posted By Diogenes On April 5, 2012 @ 11:55 am
The lucky people of ROCOR. + Jonah will release + Nicolai to ROCOR. CONGRATULATIONS! Now you too can endure this man’s insanity!
» Posted By Diogenes On April 16, 2012 @ 3:28 pm
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
Easter in the Liturgical Year
In the center of our liturgical life, in the very center of that time which we measure as year, we find the feast of Christ’s Resurrection. What is Resurrection? Resurrection is the appearance in this world, completely dominated by time and therefore by death, of a life that will have no end. The one who rose again from the dead does not die anymore. In this world of ours, not somewhere else, not in a world that we do not know at all, but in our world, there appeared one morning Someone who is beyond death and yet in our time. This meaning of Christ’s Resurrection, this great joy, is the central theme of Christianity and it has been preserved in its purity by the Orthodox Church. There is much truth expressed by those who say that the real central theme of Orthodoxy, the center of all its experience, the frame of reference of everything else, is the Resurrection of Christ.
The center, the day, that gives meaning to all days and therefore to all time, is that yearly commemoration of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. This is always the end and the beginning. We are always living after Easter, and we are always going toward Easter. Easter is the earliest Christian feast. The whole tone and meaning of the liturgical life of the Church is contained in Easter, together with the subsequent fifty-day period, which culminates in the feast of the Pentecost, the coming down of Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. This unique Easter celebration is reflected every week in the Christian Sunday, which we call in Russian “Voskresenie” (Resurrection Day). If only you would take some time to read the texts of Sunday Matins you would realize, though it may seem strange to you, that every Sunday we have a little Easter. I say “Little Easter,” but it is really “Great Easter.” Every week the Church comes to the same central experience: “Having seen Thy Resurrection…” Every Saturday night when the priest carries the Gospel from the altar to the center of the church, after he has read the Gospel of the Resurrection, the same fundamental fact of our Christian faith is proclaimed: Christ is risen! St. Paul says: “If Christ is not risen, then your faith is in vain.” There is nothing else to believe. This is the real center, and it is only in reference to Easter as the end of all natural time and the beginning of the new time in which we as Christians have to live that we can understand the whole liturgical year. If you open a calendar, you will find all our Sundays are called Sundays after Pentecost, and Pentecost itself is fifty days after Easter. Pentecost is the fulfillment of Easter. Christ ascended into heaven and sent down His Holy Spirit. When He sent down His Holy Spirit into the world, a new society was instituted, a body of people, whose life, though it remained of this world and was shared in its life, took on a new meaning. This new meaning comes directly from Christ’s Resurrection. We are no longer people who are living in time as in a meaningless process, which makes us first old and then ends in our disappearance. We are given not only a new meaning in life, but even death itself has acquired a new significance. In the Troparion at Easter we say, “He trampled down death by death.” We do not say that He trampled down death by the Resurrection, but by death. A Christian still faces death as a decomposition of the body, as an end; yet in Christ, in the Church, because of Easter, because of Pentecost, death is no longer just the end but it is the beginning also. It is not something meaningless which therefore gives a meaningless taste to all of life. Death means entering into the Easter of the Lord. This is the basic tone, the basic melody of the liturgical year of the Christian Church. Christianity is, first of all, the proclamation in this world of Christ’s Resurrection. Orthodox spirituality is paschal in its inner content, and the real content of the Church life is joy. We speak of feasts; the feast is the expression of joyfulness of Christianity.
The only real thing, especially in the child’s world, which the child accepts easily, is precisely joy. We have made our Christianity so adult, so serious, so sad, so solemn that we have almost emptied it of that joy. Yet Christ Himself said, “Unless you become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God.” To become as a child in Christ’s terms means to be capable of that spiritual joy of which an adult is almost completely incapable. To enter into that communion with things, with nature, with other people without suspicion of fear or frustration. We often use the term “grace.” But what is grace? Charisma in Greek means not only grace but also joy. “And I will give you the joy that no one will take away from you…” If I stress this point so much, it is because I am sure that, if we have a message to our own people, it is that message of Easter joy which finds its climax on Easter night. When we stand at the door of the church and the priest has said, “Christ Is Risen,” then the night becomes in the terms of St. Gregory of Nyssa, “lighter than the day.” This is the secret strength, the real root of Christian experience. Only within the framework of this joy can we understand everything else.
» Posted By Diogenes On April 2, 2012 @ 9:10 am
March 31, 2012 18:07
Massive anti-Pussy Riot rally held in Krasnodar
KRASNODAR. March 31 (Interfax) – Advocates of Russia’s cultural and spiritual revival held a massive rally in Krasnodar on Saturday in protest against the scandalous “punk prayer,” staged at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral by the Pussy Riot rock group.
The chairman of the inter-regional Orthodox Union, Roman Plyuta, told Interfax 4,900 people were expected to join the rally.
“I think the number of people who have in fact gathered is about the same. I would describe the event as public festivities in support of the country’s cultural and spiritual revival rather than a rally, and it was prompted by the discussion following the Pussy Riot ‘punk prayer’ rather than the ‘punk prayer’ itself,” he said.
Krasnodar police spokesman Ilya Shakalov told Interfax that over 10,000 people joined the rally. “They have arrived from different parts of the Krasnodar territory. The rally passed off without incident,” Shakalov said.
First, performers gave a concert and then a rally was held, attended by activists of public organizations, including the Learning society, the Center of Ethnic Cultures, and the Kuban Cossack Army. The rally was addressed by Vice Governor Nikolai Doluda, Arch-Priest Alexander Ignatov and members of the Adygeya ethnic community.
An exhibit of pieces of folk arts opened, and field kitchens offered visitors buckwheat meal with onions.
Signatures were collected in support of a plan to form the Movement for Faith, for Kuban and for Fatherland, which pledged to campaign in support of traditional cultural and moral values. Some held flags and posters with inscriptions calling for the country’s moral revival and deploring moral decay.
Several organizations, among them the Orthodox Union, had earlier urged local residents to join the rally.
“A blasphemous clownery profaned an Orthodox church. Nothing can guarantee that the ‘punk prayer’ will not be repeated in a synagogue or a mosque, insulting believers, our history and traditions. Similar actions are shockingly spreading like plague elsewhere in the country. Just a few days ago gays bathed naked in a fountain inside Moscow’s GUM shopping center,” an appeal says.
The Pussy Riot all-girl punk group sang an anti-Putin song at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, calling it a “punk prayer.” A video of the “concert” swiftly spread through the Internet. Police opened a criminal case against the singers on charges of hooliganism. Three singers were later detained – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekatrina Santsevich. They will remain in custody until April 24.
The Pussy Riot action caused a broad public resonance, with diametrically opposed opinions expressed. The Russian Orthodox Church and a larger part of Russian believers demanded that the feminists be punished, but quite a numerous group of Orthodox believers said they should be pardoned.
The group said, “Meow, meow, meow, meow.”
(Our editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
» Posted By Diogenes On April 1, 2012 @ 12:23 pm
Actually refreshing to see a bishop who prefers women. Why we need married bishops.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 28, 2012 @ 7:52 am
Let’s strip away all the bull. You have been in direct opposition to the OCA since God knows whenever. You should have left and went to the Synod years ago, but no, you love to spread untruths and outright lies trying to destroy the OCA. Your “very close” buddy, Nicolai, was a disaster as were you. Now, get over it and stop spreading hatred & lies. Your years of attacks and trying to destroy people and the Church are legendary. It’s Lent. Go repent and join a monastery. Death will be at your door before you know it.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 4:23 pm
Apparently you “old folks” don’t text. a pity. Autocephaly is here and isn’t going to disappear. Those who want to be under the thumb of foreign bishops, go ahead. However, this will NEVER become the norm for any Orthodox unity in N. Am. Both + Iakavos & + Philip will leave legacies of always saying they wanted unity, but never making it happen. That’s like Steve Jobs saying i always wanted to make a personal computer, but didn’t.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 1:04 pm
Right….if we want to pretend we’re in 17th century Russia!
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 12:52 pm
Congratulations on being a proofreader. Now, go back to your knitting.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 9:44 am
No Spasi, you need a reality check! There is no going back to 1940. The OCA will never go under the Russians again. ROCOR is dead. Istanbul will fall to radical Islam. Damascus will fall to radical Islam. Russia has it’s own extensive problems. The Greeks in the U.S. think they can continue their hubris and step all over all the Orthodox. GET REAL! The ONLY way forward is “AUTOCEPHALY.” The OCA has shown the way, but the foreign bishops are the obstacle. “The Kingdom of God must be taken by force.”
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 9:42 am
ROCOR is DEAD! Russian will keep coming to the U.S. and they should be served, however, this doesn’t mean we need more ethnic enclaves. More Egyptian Christians will be coming. More Syrian & Lebanese. If Americans went to foreign countries, would we expect English services and American priests? NO. Assimilate and join the culture. Sure, priests can throw in a paki-paki or a yara-boorham here, but this is America.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 9:36 am
Again George, brilliant and right on! Ligonier could have transpired into something very good and + Philip & + Iakavos could have had the legacy Fr. Schmemann began. As I said before, and people approached + Iakavos after he was forcefully retired, he should have joined the OCA as it’s leader and brought as many Greeks as he could with him. By today, we would have been far along in the unity process throwing off foreign control.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 9:30 am
I told you the answer! Every country in the world to be recognized as a “territory.” Each country recognized as “autocephalous.” All the Orthodox bishops of each territory to become members of a Synod which rules it’s own churches and elect their own leader – in essence, Patriarch. Where’s the issue? Where’s the problem? The problem is the foreign bishops don’t want to let go of what they grabbed in N. America and around the world; simple. The foreign bishops are the obstacle to Orthodox unity. This is why unity must be taken by force according to Orthodox Canon Law. This is what the OCA did! No need for any “Great Council.” Just have all the Orthodox Patriarchs follow Orthodox Canon Law!
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 9:05 am
Apparently the bishops in N. Am. were dumb enough to let Istanbul get a hold of SCOBA and destroy it. Creating the “Episcopal Assembly” officiated by 79th St. – the arm of Istanbul. Where do you think this ends? Autocephaly is what every Orthodox bishop in every country should be striving for as canon law dictates – not ruled over by foreign bishops – non-canonical.
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 8:57 am
Congratulations on writing something with real insight! The unilateral actions of the GOA in this case is only the tip of the iceberg of what will follow if the “sheep” of SCOBA continue to acquiesce. The Greeks have always acted as if they alone were only Orthodox. All the other Orthodox were just second class citizens or just tolerated. The hubris of Istanbul and 79th St. has extensive historical precedence. Any so-called “Great Council” would only be Istanbul’s attempt to become an “Eastern Pope.” The Orthodox world cannot sit by and allow Orthodox Canon Law and the Ecclesiology of Orthodoxy be re-engineered by some archaic bishop in Istanbul trying to put breath back into a “New Byzantium.” Hubris, hubris & more hubris!
» Posted By Diogenes On March 21, 2012 @ 7:26 am
Little do you know regarding the “back-room” deals that were cut. RSK shredded most of the files to incriminate himself. The emails from others at Syosset had and the secret bank transfers were found. They followed the money trail. Both + Theodosius & RSK were culpable. + Theodosius had to step down for “health reasons” and RSK was defrocked and should have been prosecuted and put in jail like his son. Don’t say evidence didn’t exist; it did, but these are now sealed files with the deals made. Next you’ll be saying that + Herman didn’t take mortgages out on St. Tikhon’s property illegally.
» Posted By Diogenes On April 5, 2012 @ 10:43 am
BT, that’s just nutz! It was proven RSK embezzled millions from the OCA. He should be in prison. It’s well-known he was laundering money in Las Vegas. Nicolai was thrown out of Alaska by ALL the priests who rebelled against him – why? Because he is nutz! Ask any of the priests in Alaska about his megalomania and having conversations with his own multiple personalities. Fester is another nut case. He should have never been put in any position of authority after being RSK’s hand-picked guy in Syosset. Fester should have been deposed. And Jonah, is clearly psychotic. Growing up in Calif doing more dope than could be grown. Turning his life around yet, in the same breath, he praises Schmemann and Rose and every other nut convert. Clearly, Jonah belongs back in his little monastery and not in any role to lead or pretend to lead. And as far you (BT) are concerned, as many have said, you should have never been ordained and never been consecrated. Single-handedly, you almost completely destroyed the Diocese of the West. You certainly have done more than enough trying to destroy the reputations of many good priests and bishops with your gossip, lies and innuendo. Get thee to a monastery and pray for your miserable soul; death comes to all of us much too soon.
» Posted By Diogenes On April 3, 2012 @ 9:34 pm
Back To Stats Page
Nobody Understands Debt
By PAUL KRUGMAN
In 2011, as in 2010, America was in a technical recovery but continued to suffer from disastrously high unemployment. And through most of 2011, as in 2010, almost all the conversation in Washington was about something else: the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
This misplaced focus said a lot about our political culture, in particular about how disconnected Congress is from the suffering of ordinary Americans. But it also revealed something else: when people in D.C. talk about deficits and debt, by and large they have no idea what they’re talking about — and the people who talk the most understand the least.
Perhaps most obviously, the economic “experts” on whom much of Congress relies have been repeatedly, utterly wrong about the short-run effects of budget deficits. People who get their economic analysis from the likes of the Heritage Foundation have been waiting ever since President Obama took office for budget deficits to send interest rates soaring. Any day now!
And while they’ve been waiting, those rates have dropped to historical lows. You might think that this would make politicians question their choice of experts — that is, you might think that if you didn’t know anything about our postmodern, fact-free politics.
But Washington isn’t just confused about the short run; it’s also confused about the long run. For while debt can be a problem, the way our politicians and pundits think about debt is all wrong, and exaggerates the problem’s size.
Deficit-worriers portray a future in which we’re impoverished by the need to pay back money we’ve been borrowing. They see America as being like a family that took out too large a mortgage, and will have a hard time making the monthly payments.
This is, however, a really bad analogy in at least two ways.
First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don’t — all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base. The debt from World War II was never repaid; it just became increasingly irrelevant as the U.S. economy grew, and with it the income subject to taxation.
Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.
This was clearly true of the debt incurred to win World War II. Taxpayers were on the hook for a debt that was significantly bigger, as a percentage of G.D.P., than debt today; but that debt was also owned by taxpayers, such as all the people who bought savings bonds. So the debt didn’t make postwar America poorer. In particular, the debt didn’t prevent the postwar generation from experiencing the biggest rise in incomes and living standards in our nation’s history.
But isn’t this time different? Not as much as you think.
It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.
Now, the fact that federal debt isn’t at all like a mortgage on America’s future doesn’t mean that the debt is harmless. Taxes must be levied to pay the interest, and you don’t have to be a right-wing ideologue to concede that taxes impose some cost on the economy, if nothing else by causing a diversion of resources away from productive activities into tax avoidance and evasion. But these costs are a lot less dramatic than the analogy with an overindebted family might suggest.
And that’s why nations with stable, responsible governments — that is, governments that are willing to impose modestly higher taxes when the situation warrants it — have historically been able to live with much higher levels of debt than today’s conventional wisdom would lead you to believe. Britain, in particular, has had debt exceeding 100 percent of G.D.P. for 81 of the last 170 years. When Keynes was writing about the need to spend your way out of a depression, Britain was deeper in debt than any advanced nation today, with the exception of Japan.
Of course, America, with its rabidly antitax conservative movement, may not have a government that is responsible in this sense. But in that case the fault lies not in our debt, but in ourselves.
So yes, debt matters. But right now, other things matter more. We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrongheaded, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in the way.
» Posted By Diogenes On April 2, 2012 @ 1:38 pm