Friday, February 16, 2018

Expanding the Military Budget Is Wasteful and Unnecessary

Gordon Adams comments on the massive giveaway to the Pentagon:
The United States is back to defense spending, in constant dollars, that is higher than the peak spending levels under Ronald Reagan [bold mine-DL]. Only in 2010, at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was defense spending higher.
Support for expanding an already bloated, excessive military budget is broad and bipartisan, but it is also profoundly misguided. For one thing, much of this spending has had and will have little or nothing to do with actually defending the United States or its allies, and most of it isn’t necessary for that purpose. The U.S. spends this much on a military this large in order to police and attack other parts of the world, and the only reason to increase that spending for an even larger military is to do more of those things. We should call it military spending or hegemony spending or imperial spending, but we should stop the bad habit of referring to it as spending on defense.

There is no security threat comparable to the Soviet Union today that would begin to justify spending more than at the height of the Reagan build-up. Reagan’s splurging on the military was also excessive, but he could at least point to a major rival that posed a serious threat as the reason for doing it. Threats to the U.S. today are not remotely on the same scale and don’t require anything like the same outlays on the military. We are frittering away resources on a much more expensive military at a time when we don’t need one and can’t afford one. Jacking up military spending at the same time as cutting taxes makes the new expenditure that much more irresponsible, and compounding the fiscal irresponsibility is the fact that there is no good reason to do it.
Adams notes that the surge in military spending is happening only because the military is demanding it and our representatives and president have no interest in rejecting that demand:

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

California discovers the complexity of creating a single payer health care system

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon may have expected to torpedo the idea of a statewide single-payer healthcare system for the long term last June, when he blocked a Senate bill on the issue from even receiving a hearing in his house.

He was wrong, of course. His shelving of the Senate bill created a political uproar (including the threat of a recall effort), forcing him to create a special committee to examine the possibility of achieving universal health coverage in the state. On Monday and Wednesday, the Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage held its final hearings.
The panel ended up where it started, with the recognition that the project is hellishly complex and politically daunting but still worthwhile — yet can't happen overnight. "I'm anxious to see what it is that we can actually be working on this year," committee Co-Chair Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) said toward the end of Wednesday's seven-hour session. "Some of the logistics and the challenges we have to deal with are multiyear challenges."

Little has changed since last year, when a measure sponsored by the California Nurses Assn., SB 562, passed the Senate in June and was killed by Rendon (D-Paramount) in the Assembly. The same bill, aimed at universal coverage for all residents of the state, including undocumented immigrants, is the subject of the select committee's hearings and the template for statewide reform.

Backers of the Healthy California program envisioned by the bill feel as if they're in a race with federal officials intent on dismantling healthcare reforms attained with the Affordable Care Act, and even those dating from the 1960s with enactment of Medicare and Medicaid.

In just the last few weeks, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approved adding a work requirement to Medicaid in Kentucky and begun considering a plan to place lifetime limits on Medicaid benefits — profound changes in a program traditionally aimed at bringing healthcare to needy families.

The Republican-controlled Congress effectively repealed the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. That is likely to drive up premiums for unsubsidized middle-income insurance buyers and has prompted California and other states to consider implementing such a mandate on their own. (Idaho is moving distinctly in the opposite direction from California, proposing to allow "state-based health plans" that allow insurers to discriminate against applicants with pre-existing conditions.

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 09, 2018

The G.O.P. Is Flirting With Fiscal Disaster

In August 2015, the leading Washington budget watchdog predicted that the federal deficit would total about $600 billion the next year.

Now, just about two and a half years later, the projected gap for 2019 has grown to $1.2 trillion, in large part because of a boisterous round of tax cuts and spending increases. And if history is any guide, when the books close, the final number will be higher.

That amounts to a shortfall that will rival the deficits of a decade ago, when the economy was struggling to recover from the financial crisis and ensuing recession.

But while fiscal stimulus to restore economic growth has merit, staggering deficits in the ninth year of a recovery, with unemployment down to 4.1 percent, make no sense.

In addition to piling more debt onto the current $20 trillion of outstanding obligations, today’s mounting gap between revenues and expenses is already contributing to higher interest rates and the shakiness in the stock market.

Leading the charge into rising amounts of red ink have been the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress.

Yes, blame for what is likely to be $15 trillion of added debt over the next 10 years should be placed squarely on the self-proclaimed party of fiscal responsibility.

“The level of national debt is dangerous and unacceptable,” the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said in 2016. Referring to President Obama’s stimulus program, he added, “We borrowed $1 trillion and nobody could find that it did much of anything.”

That was then and this is now.

Read the rest here.

Unreality and Incoherence Reign at the Vatican

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, it was fashionable for Progressive and left-wing intellectuals to travel to the Soviet Union to find out what was “really” going on in the world’s first great experiment in communism. “The entire British intelligentsia,” the editor of the left-leaning New Statesman Kingsley Martin breathlessly exclaimed in 1932, “has been to Russia.”

The vast majority came back wide-eyed and deeply impressed by what they had seen. Following his visit to Russia in 1919, for example, the American progressive journalist Lincoln Steffens famously wrote, “I have seen the future, and it works.”

There were, however, realities about Soviet communism which few such individuals ever got around to mentioning. They rarely referred to, for instance, the Bolsheviks’ destruction of freedom; the cults of personality surrounding Lenin and then Stalin; the regime’s use of systematic terrorism against real but mostly imaginary opponents; the dynamiting of churches; the herding of peasants into collective farms; the murder of thousands of Orthodox and other Christian clergy; the Great Famine that killed millions in the Ukraine; the show-trials, purges and executions; the labor camps; and the relentless propaganda which assured everyone that everything was fine and that any problems were the work of saboteurs, kulaks, class-traitors, Czarist reactionaries, evil Western capitalists, and British Intelligence.

I was reminded of all this recently when reading a strange interview of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. He is the Argentine-born and Vatican-based long-time Chancellor of what are called the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Having recently visited China, the bishop described the one-party communist state as “extraordinary.”

Why extraordinary, you might ask? Well, according to Bishop Sanchez, China has “no shanty-towns” and “young people don’t take drugs.” Moreover, he said, China takes climate change so much more seriously than most other nations. That’s hard to square with China’s relentless emphasis on economic growth. But, above all, the bishop exclaimed, “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.”

Read the rest here.
HT: Fr. Z

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Antifa’s Handbook: A Primer on Violent Illiberalism

Keith Ellison, the deputy director of the Democratic National Committee and congressman from Minnesota, recently ignited a Twitter firestorm when he tweeted out a picture of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, a book, he declared, that would “strike fear in the heart of” Donald Trump. Upon reading Antifa, it’s easy to see why the tweet generated so much controversy.

Since its release last August, the handbook, by Dartmouth lecturer Mark Bray, has garnered attention as one of the few windows available into the mind of the newly prominent Antifa movement. Bray makes clear from the beginning that the book isn’t an attempt at a neutral rehashing of facts, but rather “is an unabashedly partisan call to arms” for the purpose of equipping activists “with the history and theory necessary to defeat the resurgent Far Right.” He articulates clearly the revolutionary ideology of the far left and defends using violence in its service, from street brawls to kidnappings to assassinations. For those who do not desire to see the world reborn in the flames of global anti-capitalist revolution, the popularity of The Anti-Fascist Handbook should prove alarming.

Antifa’s somewhat obvious immediate goal is the eradication of (what Bray considers to be) fascism. However, conveniently for Antifa, Bray argues that anti-fascist action is not merely limited to academic and historical definitions of fascism. Instead, “anti-fascism is an illiberal politics of social revolutionism applied to fighting the Far Right, not only literal fascists.” This meaning speaks to the broader end of the revolutionary left that Bray sees Antifa as a part of. This end, Bray explains, is the total destruction of the current capitalist order via a violent “international popular uprising.”

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Benedict XVI: ‘I am on a pilgrimage Home’

The Pope Emeritus has written to an Italian newspaper to say he is “on a pilgrimage Home” in this “final period of my life”.

In a nine-line letter to Corriere della Serra, Benedict XVI thanks the paper’s readers for their concern, and assures them he is surrounded “by a love and a goodness that I could not have imagined”.

“I was moved that so many readers of your newspaper want to know how I am spending this last period of my life,” he said.

“I can only say in this regard that, in the slow decline of physical strengths, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage Home,” he added, capitalising the Italian word ‘Casa’.

Read the rest here.

May his remaining days be filled with peace and love.

America's States Of (Fiscal) Siege

America's states and municipalities should be awash in good budget news. Unemployment remains below 5%, inflation is tame, and the stock market rose more than 20% in 2017 — the ninth year of a bull market. Yet many local governments faced intense struggles last year to balance their books.

Localities have confronted unrelenting fiscal pressure since 2008, a result of the  weakest recovery since World War II of tax revenues combined with ever-escalating costs. Many states and localities have had to rewrite budget books in ways that leave taxpayers paying more — and receiving less.

"U.S. states have entered a new era characterized by chronic budget stress," the financial analyst Gabriel Petek, a managing director in the U.S. Public Finance group at S&P Global Ratings, wrote last April.
President Trump has promised $1 trillion in infrastructure spending that could provide some help to localities, but what governments across the country really need is a return to economic growth rates of 3% or higher.

Tax reform passed in December looks like it will help but states and cities will also need to become more efficient and innovative in delivering basic services, or else face a future of tax hikes and service cuts to keep up with their mounting bills.

Local governments got a sense that something might be different starting in 2009, when state tax revenues, hammered by the steep recession, collapsed by nearly 9% — only the second time in the postwar era that state revenues had declined from one year to the next.

Then revenues slumped again in 2010, by 4% this time, leaving governments tens of billions of dollars short of where they'd been just two years earlier.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The Donald's Parade (no not Disney World)

Apparently the narcissist in chief was much impressed with the military show staged by the French on Bastille Day and now he wants one too. And so the order has been given. My personal suspicion is that it's less the French he wants to upstage than the dictator of North Korea who is also fond of public displays of military power and pomp. The irony of course is that this martial spectacle will presumably be reviewed by the draft dodging patriarch of a family, from which to the best of my knowledge, no one has served in uniform... ever.

And the hits just keep on coming

China is the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine,’ says Vatican bishop

Words fail.
HT: Leroy Huizenga via email.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Orthodox Religion, Unorthodox Medicine: The Rise of Romania’s Christian Doctors

A new breed of Romanian doctors wants to place faith at the heart of their practice, alarming those who believe religion and medicine do not mix.

Cardiologist Ciprian Fisca barely got any sleep on last night’s shift, and his next one starts early tomorrow morning.

But right now, eight hours before he returns to hospital, there is nowhere he would rather be than in the kitchen of a religious retreat, deep in rural Transylvania, peeling horse-radishes.

The 27-year-old is volunteering his services as a kitchen-hand in the isolated retreat of St John the Evangelist, helping the priests with tomorrow’s meal. Among the small group assisting with the catering are a pharmacy student and Ciprian’s younger sister, who hopes to study medicine herself.

The retreat consists of a modest church surrounded by modern-looking buildings currently under construction, including a canteen, conference centre and accommodation facilities.

The transformation of this remote site hints at the revival of the Romanian Orthodox Church, flexing its muscles after half a century of communist dictatorship.

Once associated with the elderly and the rural poor, the Church now attracts educated youth in the cities, including a conspicuous following of doctors and medical students.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Red Moon

“I do not believe that this generation of Americans is willing to resign itself to going to bed each night by the light of a Communist moon”. -Lyndon B Johnson

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I knew it!

The real breakfast of champions

Cold pizza, microwaved pizza, store-bought frozen pizza... It doesn't matter what kind of pie is on your plate this morning - it's probably a healthier breakfast than a bowl of cereal.

If you're considering eating pizza for breakfast, there's a good chance you're wildly hungover. Or maybe you're just feeling plain old lazy. You might feel like a piece of trash for eating America's favorite greasy food before 10 a.m., but you really shouldn't.

It's got protein. It's got carbs. It might even have vegetables. That hot slice of cheesy goodness is a balanced breakfast if we've ever seen one.

And heck, if Beyonce can eat cupcakes after SoulCycle, you can eat pizza before 10 a.m.

Plus, you're making a better choice than most moms are when they feed their kids cereal for breakfast. Why? America's cereal options are nutritionally bleak - there's rarely protein, healthy fats, or anything but spoonfuls of sugar in cereal these days. And with cheese gaining momentum as the next hit superfood, you can bet pizza is winning this nutritional war.

To make sure we aren't steering you towards your greasy, heart-clogged demise, we double-checked with a dietitian.

Read the rest here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Are Republicans Ready to Join a Third Party?

WASHINGTON — Want to know what a lot of Republicans have been thinking about in the days leading up to Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to a Republican-controlled Congress?

A new party.

At think-tank conference tables, over coffee at the Senate Chef and at the incessant book parties on the Washington social circuit, disaffected Republicans are wondering whether, if they came up with a truly great candidate, they could jump-start a new party, just as the original Republicans did in the 1850s.

And if surveys have any truth to them, plenty of Americans are ready to join them. A September Gallup poll found 61 percent of American voters support the idea of a third major political party, the highest level of support Gallup had ever recorded. Young voters seem especially eager to junk the two-party system; NBC reported in November that 71 percent of millennials want another choice.

In a world in which Alabama voters elected a Democratic senator, all kinds of previously unimaginable possibilities make a new kind of sense. A third-party presidency in 2020 is no less likely today than the prospect of Donald Trump’s election appeared to be two years ago.

A viable third-party candidate — say, someone with credibility inside one of the parties who bolts from it — would have appeal to voters across the spectrum. There are many Republicans wary of a second term for Mr. Trump, and yet right now they are entirely reliant on the Democrats to deliver a winning centrist candidate out of a primary process that almost made Bernie Sanders their 2016 nominee. A contest between Mr. Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would leave the middle up for grabs. And a big contingent of politically orphaned political strategists, academics and donors would be ready to lend support.

Read the rest here.

Supreme Court Vacancies?

Democrats are biting nails over the possibility of multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court. It is widely expected that Justice Kennedy, the court's lone (left leaning) centrist, will step down at the end of the current term. Assuming this is true, President Trump will have the opportunity to replace him before the next Congress is seated. Which depending on the election this fall, could see the Senate shift to Democratic control.

That's bad enough for liberals as Kennedy has been the swing vote for a lot of very controversial decisions that went their way. But what is keeping them awake at night is the possibility that one, or even two of the court's more liberal justices might also stand down. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 and has been dealing with serious health issues for years. She is often seen falling asleep in public, sometimes while on the bench. The other possible vacancy is Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Just 63, she has been struggling with diabetes and is rumored to be having difficulty remaining focused in her work. Court watchers have suggested that she appears to have aged dramatically over the last year.

My personal opinion is that neither of these liberal icons will stand down this year unless they just can't do the job anymore. With Trump in the White House I suspect that they would rather die in office than voluntarily give him the opportunity to name their successor. But Trump has the better part of three years remaining in his term of office and that is a long time for two judges with serious medical conditions, and one in her mid 80's. It seems likely that Trump will have the opportunity to name at least one more justice, and possibly as many as three.

This is why Democrats are desperate to regain control of the Senate. If the two liberal justices can hang on one more year and the Democrats flip the Senate then Trump will be severely constrained in his ability to get conservative nominees confirmed. After what the GOP did to Obama's nominee, which Democrats are still seething over, my guess is that the only man Trump would have any chance of getting confirmed would be Merrick Garland.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New York City in 1929

Film footage with sound taken by an early Movietone film crew of street scenes in New York City in 1929.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Trump says he wants to talk to the special prosecutor under oath...

What could possibly go wrong? If I were his lawyer I'd tell him to watch this video (I think I may have posted it before on here). Then I'd tell him that if he agrees to so much as discuss last night's ball game with Mueller that I would resign and he would need to get another lawyer.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Quote of the day...

“An impeccable argument can rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful. We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits.”

-Pope Francis

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Another Bible thumping huckster praying [pun intended] on the credulous. Some people simply have no shame.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Unreformable Ireland? The Failure of the Reformation in Ireland

What makes Ireland so interesting for Reformation studies is that it stands out as the classic exception to the general rule of ciuis regio, eius religio. Despite the endeavours of successive monarchs to extend the English Reformation to Ireland since 1534, by the end of the sixteenth century the number of Irish Protestants was reckoned by contemporaries at between 40 and 120 individuals. In Dublin, the capital of Ireland, only twenty Irish householders attended Protestant church services, and only four of those would receive communion by Protestant rites. By any criteria the failure of the Reformation in Ireland was comprehensive and absolute.

Because the failure of the Reformation in Ireland was so overwhelming it had long seemed inevitable, and historians had generally seen no need to try to explain it before Brendan Bradshaw’s exploratory essay, “Sword, Word and Strategy in the Reformation in Ireland,” was published in 1978. However, that article prompted Nicholas Canny’s rejoinder of the following year: “Why the Reformation Failed in Ireland: une question mal posée?” Not only did Canny declare the question as misconceived, he presented a new paradigm for Irish Reformation studies. He claimed that until the 1590s the Reformation in Ireland was characterized by a “quiescent phase” during which the Irish were not bothered about the theological debates that concerned Christians elsewhere in Europe. He asserted that throughout that period they were as liable to be absorbed into the Protestant Church of Ireland as to be lost forever to the Counter Reformation. He argued that the Reformation was rejected at the fin de siècle, not for any religious reasons but because it came to be seen as merely another facet of an English government program for Ireland that was characterized by despotism, militarism, and Anglicization. Tellingly, though, it was not made clear how political alienation from English governance could suddenly have inspired a general commitment to Counter-Reformation Catholicism after more than six decades of supposed religious indifference. 

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Turkish Chemist Claims Noah Had Nuclear-Powered Ark, Called Son on Cellphone

A Turkish academic who claims to “speak for science” said that Noah used a cellphone to call his son before the Flood and powered the Ark with a nuclear reactor. The latest bizarre pseudoscience out of Turkey comes a year after the Turkish government claimed that the patriarch Abraham’s father built Göbekli Tepe and a couple of years after Turkey’s strongman president claimed that Muslim explorers built a mosque in Cuba long before Columbus visited the island. Such claims are part of a growing religious fundamentalism in the Turkish state, where the secularism of Ataturk has eroded in recent years in favor of Pres. Erdoğan’s policy of Islamization.

​Yavuz Örnek, 59, teaches marine science at Istanbul University. He was educated in Turkey and here in upstate New York (but of course) at Syracuse University. He is a specialist in organic chemistry and studies algae, but he is also an outspoken opponent of women’s rights, claiming that families break down when women are free and that gender equality must be bad because “the Jews” advocate for it. Speaking on the state-run TRT 1 television network on Saturday, Örnek outlined his strange claims about Noah’s Ark.

“There were huge 300 to 400-meter high waves and his [the Prophet Noah’s] son was many kilometers away. The Quran says Noah spoke with his son. But how did they manage to communicate? Was it a miracle? It could be. But we believe he communicated with his son via cell phone,” Örnek said, according to a translation published in the Hürriyet Daily News.

The passage Örnek refers to appears in Qur’an 11:42-43: “And the ark swam with them between waves like mountains: and Noah called up to his son, who was separated from him, saying, Embark with us, my son, and stay not with the unbelievers. He answered, I will get on a mountain, which will secure me from the water. Noah replied, There is no security this day from the decree of God, except for him on whom he shall have mercy. And a wave passed between them, and he became one of those who were drowned” (trans. George Sale). As you can see, there is no indication in the text that Noah’s son was kilometers away; rather, the plain reading is that Noah passed him in the Ark and called to him as the ship sailed by him.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who needs coffee...

When you wake up to this on your cell phone?


Somebody needs to get their @$$ run up a flagpole for this one. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018


There is talk of some grand bargain that would resolve the status of millions of illegal aliens in the country. I smell an amnesty sell out. I hope I am wrong but let's just say that when talking about politicians my trust level is pretty close to zero. So is there anything that might move me to accept some kind of broad amnesty?


The one thing that will forever remain an impediment to effectively limiting illegal immigration is birthright citizenship. It's enshrined in the 14th amendment in language that is, unfortunately, at least as clear as that of the 2nd amendment, which means we can't get rid of it without another constitutional amendment. And that is impossible without bipartisan agreement in both houses.

So here are my terms for supporting some kind of broad amnesty.

* Secure the border with Mexico. I don't care about a wall, but the border needs to be secured.
* End chain immigration.
* End the Green Card lottery. If we are going to legalize and absorb as many as ten + million illegals, well we just don't have any room for the others who played by the rules and waited for their turn. Sorry, you got screwed by the fence jumpers and their allies.
*Pass and send to the states for ratification an amendment abolishing birthright citizenship. If it can get out of Congress it will get ratified. There are plenty of states that will do it and fast. The number of states that will oppose ratification are high in population but few in number. California and New York each only count once.
*Require background checks and back taxes to be paid by those being granted residency.

If the Democrats can swallow those terms I can swallow an amnesty bill. That's a long term win in the fight against illegal immigration.

Mail call

Now and then I get emails from inquirers and others seeking advice on various issues. I'm not sure why, as I'm not a priest. But setting that aside I try to help if I think I can.  Which brings me to an email from Ben (not their real name) who is in a situation that I very much fear is not all that unusual these days.

Ben is a small 'o' orthodox Roman Catholic who resides in a diocese (he didn't specify but I can take a guess) with what he describes as a pretty bad bishop who is promoting things that are simply a no no for serious Catholics as well as we Orthodox. Ben used the "H" word in describing him and I'm not going to argue the point. The parish he grew up in and was married in sounds like it has become Episcopalian in all but name. Last summer the priest there gave a homily that was the last straw and Ben realized that remaining there was no longer an option for him or his family.

So they started shopping for a new spiritual home and landed in an Orthodox parish where they have been welcomed with open arms and they are very happy. He and Mrs. Ben love the church, and the liturgy and are very happy with the priest.

I will bet you know what's coming.

The problem is that Ben is not ready to swim the Bosporus. There is much that he admires about Orthodoxy but he is still a Catholic deep down. And of course while he and his family have been warmly welcomed, they can't commune the Holy Mysteries which he, rightly IMO, believes is a problem.

His options vis a vis his own church are limited. There is a fairly conservative parish that is about 90 minutes away. But he would still be within the diocese with a bishop that Ben is convinced is a flat out heretic.

My best advice is to see if there is an Eastern Byzantine* Rite Catholic parish within a reasonable distance. Your mileage may vary, but the Eastern Rites used to be fairly safe compared to a lot of the really dreadful stuff going on in some corners of the Roman Rite. Failing that I would look for a traditional (Tridentine Rite) parish. If necessary, I'd consider a parish under the Society of St. Pius X. Their exact relationship with Rome is not clear. A friend described it as one characterized by strategic ambiguity which seems to suit both sides. To be clear the SSPX has had some issues in the past, but I think they got rid of the more hardcore wing nuts when they expelled Bishop Williamson. Recently the Red Pope granted them faculties for hearing confessions and their Masses are considered valid by the Holy See. For some, in the current emergency in the Catholic Church, the SSPX may well be the safest port in which to ride out the storm.

As for the conservative parish that is an hour and a half away, if all else fails I'd maybe do that once a month, which would permit the reception of confession and holy communion. But I am really reluctant here because that parish is under a bishop that is a heretic. Here I must note my Orthodox side is showing through. In Orthodoxy our connection to the broader Church is through the Holy Mysteries of the Altar which among other things, requires submission to a canonical Orthodox bishop. And to be blunt, if hypothetically my bishop were to be doing/promoting the kind of things that Ben's is, I'd be gone. Which is to say I would never set foot in, much less commune in any parish under their jurisdiction.

The one obvious solution is conversion. But again Ben doesn't sound ready to go there and I for one consider his reluctance to be a sign of spiritual maturity. Conversion should never be done lightly. And as I have noted in the past, it is better to remain in schism from the Church then to enter, only to leave later on. Everything I have heard suggests that this is a chronic problem.

So with my rather lame advice out of the way I am going to open this up in case someone else can offer something a little better. However, I do want to caution that comments need to be constructive and charitable. Any that IMO fail that standard will be quickly dispatched to the cyber trash bin.

* Per the suggestion of Dr. Bill Tighe who worries that some of the non-Byzantine sui iuris churches have been "reformed" in unhealthy ways.