Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 12, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - (NOT Ukraine) OT 2022-84

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Not a serious offer:




Use as open (not Ukraine) thread ...

Posted by b on June 12, 2022 at 11:51 UTC | Permalink

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Today Putin met with Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin, who appears to be having a positive impact on the efficiency of Russia's government at the federal and regional levels based on what he details in what I'd describe as an ongoing audit, which is what the Accounts Chamber is tasked with performing. IMO, the report is timely and positive, but you can read the machine translation and decide that for yourself.

Vladimir Putin: Let's start with the results of the Accounts Chamber's work. You are welcome.

A.Kudrin: Mr President, over the past month there have been two events in the Accounts Chamber. First, we reported to the Federation Council and the State Duma on last year's work. Secondly, these days we submitted to the State Duma an opinion on the Government's report on the execution of the budget for 2021. This is a lot of work, it is a check of all the main managers of budget funds, there are more than 90 of them, and this work was completed for the first time in six months, three months earlier than usual. And now we have the opportunity to consider the Government's report in the summer, in the spring session. Thus, we make comments and note the shortcomings that can be used in the formation of the budget for the next year, which will be presented by the Government in September.

But if we talk about our work, the Federation Council and the State Duma noted the improvement in the quality of our inspections, the analytical part of these inspections, openness, achievements in improving the methodology, that is, we pay more attention to evidence, argumentation in our inspections.

And I will say right away that last year alone we found violations in all work, in all inspections worth 1.5 trillion [rubles]. Basically, these are violations related to accounting, misuse, violation of procurement procedures. Let's say in procurement it is basically the determination of the minimum and maximum price for purchases.

When assessing the budget – we have also just finished the conclusion – we, of course, note the veracity and reliability of the Government's report, but at the same time we also found violations worth 676 billion rubles. It's basically accounting. Most were corrected during the audit itself, because it is very important that each expense is taken into account under the article under which it was carried out. Very often, this is the registration of property and constructed buildings: it is delayed, sometimes, for months and even years, and we celebrate these things. The operation of buildings that have not yet been registered begins – this is a very frequent remark.

But I would like to note that the Government has fulfilled the budget by 97.5 percent for the first time in five years, the highest percentage of expenditures, despite the fact that during the year, taking into account anti-crisis measures, the budget was increased by two trillion rubles. At the same time, we counted 645 billion of the balances of unfulfilled expenses. I want to remind you that last year it was a trillion. 645 billion is the remaining resources, as a rule, these are already contracted things that are transferred to the next year. There is somewhere that they did not even have time to contract. Nevertheless, [there is] a positive trend in reducing this kind of unused balances.

You instructed us to assess the effectiveness of national projects. National projects are implemented through state programs. The budget is built in the structure of state programs, so the quality of state programs, in fact, characterizes the quality of public administration. Every penny should be spent for some purpose and the fulfillment of some task. Therefore, we do not just check the costs, we also make sure that the results that were announced in the state programmes are achieved. Therefore, we proposed to the Government, together with the Ministry of Economic Development, to take a fresh approach to the assessment of state programs, to increase the role of assessing and assessing the effectiveness of state programs, in order to subsequently make decisions on their adjustment and increase in effectiveness.

For example, we draw attention to the fact that out of one and a half thousand indicators of all state programs, a significant part is of a technical nature. Only 22 percent is a high-level indicator where the real results are. And the rest are often of this nature: the number of organizations receiving support. Well, they got support, and then what? Or the number of events held – this also does not yet characterize the result. Therefore, we focus on the fact that all programs should be more results-oriented. And we draw attention to the fact that the indicator of this kind of final results should grow. For example, 50 percent of the indicators are planned with almost zero dynamics, that is, they do not grow. From year to year, the same result is achieved, there is no increase in tasks. We also paid attention to this.

The number of unachieved indicators is decreasing, they amount to only 20 percent, this is a good movement forward, but nevertheless, 20 percent are unachieved indicators of state programs. But I would like to mention the most successful programmes: the agricultural development programme, the development of the transport system, the development of the nuclear machine-building complex, and the Accessible Environment programme. We single them out as balancing, with good dynamics, and the right final indicators, fewer technical issues and better managed. Among such programs, which are just in the opposite direction, we show shortcomings, is the development of space activities.

The peculiarity of the Government last year [is] that the Government created the Reserve Fund, which the Government has the right to spend without changing the law, so we are paying special attention and care at the expenses that the Government distributes within its powers, without turning to changing the law. There were four trillion such expenditures last year. The reserve fund is still large due to the need for a quick response to the current situation. As a rule, this is the use of funds for social support, for the fight against COVID, the elimination of the consequences of emergency situations, support for business in crisis situations. I must say that everything is being done quite clearly here, but there are also small violations that we are paying attention to.

Perhaps, concluding about the report, I would say that over the past two years, when COVID began and when the new reconfiguration of national projects began, spending on the regions of the Russian Federation, support for the regions increased by one and a half or more, sometimes twice. And this transfer to the regions reached 3.7 trillion rubles in 2020 and 3.6 trillion rubles in 2021. That is, huge support for the regions.

At the same time, it turns out that all these costs are of a targeted nature, they seem to be "colored" and seem to be set to the goal. Such subsidies, more precisely, targeted inter-budget transfers – they have grown from 197 to 347 – 347 different subsidies, for each [there is] an agreement, with each region or with the majority of regions. And we just note that here the independence of the subject, on the one hand, decreases, because the amount of support for the "colored", targeted one increases, and the subject must also add its resources, which are limited.

Vladimir Putin: If we talk about the ultimate goals, then maybe this makes some sense?

Alexei Kudrin: We are drawing attention to the need to balance it a bit. If earlier the "unpainted" means that the subject can use within the framework of its powers were about 50 percent of all support, now it is 28.

Vladimir Putin: But the regions' own opportunities are growing, their incomes are growing.

Alexei Kudrin: Yes, their incomes are also growing, this is fair. But we are just saying that, okay, we even see an opportunity to maintain the "coloring" and targeted nature, but maybe there are several subsidies – there are three or four subsidies for one state programme – maybe we can combine them and make more aggregated final indicators for the region. By the way, the State Council and the Commission on Inter-Budgetary Relations are also asking to move in this direction.

Accordingly, we see the possibility of consolidation, and slightly increase the share of "unpainted" resources that could be sent to the regions. This would allow governors to respond more clearly to the problems that arise in the region, which are not always visible from above.

Perhaps, in conclusion, I will tell you about a few of the inspections that were the most important last year, on which the Government, as a rule, reacted and took into account our recommendations. In general, working with recommendations has become a permanent practice of the Accounts Chamber. After each major inspection, we give recommendations, as we would see an opportunity to systematically improve the efficiency of these expenditures, and in three years we have made two thousand recommendations. Approximately half of them have been implemented by the Government. For example, last year 503 of our recommendations were implemented. In other words, there is constant joint work with the Government to improve this entire system.

For example, I will name a large check on the reproduction of forests. Unfortunately, our forest restoration is still lagging behind their use and felling. Or, for example, maternity capital. When citizens received maternity capital, sometimes indexation is late accrued on these funds, and they do not even know that they have several thousand rubles in their accounts, and sometimes it is 20 and 30 thousand rubles. That's how we identified 4.7 billion rubles, which citizens did not know about, and they lay dead weight, now they have been paid.

Or, for example, such systems as GIS, state information systems: housing and communal services and the Unified State Information System of Social Security. These systems should make it easier for citizens to apply for certificates or the opportunity to find out the state of the economy of the building, especially where there are housing associations. EGISSO – Unified state information system of social security, which will allow faster issuance of benefits or other social payments to the population.

Of course, there we found certain shortcomings in terms of maintaining, updating information, filling. Thus, it is less possible, especially in the GIS of housing and communal services, to use it to make management decisions. Such recommendations are given. In general, 67 authorities use 630 state information systems, and maintaining them in an up-to-date state, in an effective way, so that they are used, is one of the tasks that we set for ourselves.

We checked the state of the fight against HIV infection, gave recommendations, and the Government responded. We work on housing for orphans. We still have 280,000 orphans who have not received housing in a timely manner. I reported to you in the autumn on the problem of combating poverty and conveyed a number of proposals to you.

We have been working with the Government, and the proposals to distribute targeted benefits to families with children aged 8 to 17 are a very timely measure. This year, taking into account the problems in the economy, it will significantly mitigate or even reduce the number of potential people in need in our country.

In conclusion, I would like to say that as I have already said, we are improving our methods of analysis in order to clearly distinguish between the measures that the Government is applying have they affected the improvement of the result, or is it a coincidence of other trends in the economy? This stricter separation of factors of any event is our serious work now. We use big data analysis, mathematical modeling and, in general, make the work of the Accounts Chamber more justified or more evidence-based.

Vladimir Putin: All right. Thank you very much.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2022 16:43 utc | 101

Deputy Chair of Russia's Security Council Dmitri Medvedev published the following note on his Telegram today:

The Arctic zone of

our country has colossal hydrocarbon reserves - about 25% of the all-Russian reserves of oil and gas condensate, more than 70% of natural gas reserves.
Over the past few years, the region has also been included in the list of world centers for the production of liquefied natural gas.

Of course, our opponents will continue to do everything to cause maximum damage to the domestic fuel and energy complex, to undermine Russia's position in the Arctic. However, the mere intention of Western countries to abandon our energy resources is already having an extremely negative impact on millions of Europeans. Today, they are experiencing an energy crisis, the scale of which will only increase. Even the main instigator of anti-Russian aggression, the United States of America, suffered.

Everyone understands that in their zeal to destroy the domestic economy, our enemies will go to the end. To impose more and more sanctions against us, to exclude Russia from various organizations under far-fetched pretexts.
Recently, seven Arctic states decided to resume the work of the Arctic Council, but without the participation of our country. Apparently, they amicably forgot that Russia controls the longest Arctic zone, where more than half of the indigenous population of the Arctic lives and most of the economic activity is carried out in high latitudes. You can arrange "interlocutors" as much as you want and try to solve something without Russia. But if such decisions are made without taking into account the interests of the largest Arctic power, they make no sense. And our country is absolutely not obliged to follow these decisions. Joint effective work to ensure environmental protection and the development of the circumpolar regions will be virtually frozen. Although the Arctic Council was created precisely for these purposes.

Nevertheless, these are their problems, not Russia's. We will consistently expand cooperation with friendly countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We have a lot to offer each other.
Now it is necessary to accurately determine the possible volumes of supplies of our energy resources, including from the Arctic, in these areas. And also to analyze in detail the prices for their products, which would meet the national interests. And of course, we will increase the consumption of Russian oil, gas and coal in the domestic market, and stimulate the deep processing of energy resources.

Taking into account these tasks, all projects and plans related to the development of Russia's Arctic zone require special attention. First of all, the transport infrastructure and the Northern Sea Route, including its icebreaker, navigation, port and communication support. It is important to continue to connect this key Arctic route with railway tracks and at the same time create a system for storing and transporting liquefied natural gas in high latitudes.

A decrease in demand for fossil fuels can lead to an increase in electricity consumption in the world. It will also be necessary to diversify the products that we export from the Arctic zone of Russia. We are talking about the production of such promising energy carriers as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen. Of course, this will require quite large costs, so a comprehensive economic assessment of such opportunities is necessary.

The development of this important region for our country was considered today at a meeting of the Commission for the Development of the Arctic.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2022 17:02 utc | 102

Arganthonios wrote:

"If we last long enough, that is."
Yes, and only perhaps :)

However it seems that the "Grabby Aliens" idea could/would occur to any and all civilizations at some point well before they start expanding and maybe the existence of such an idea itself makes everyone choose a strategy of deliberately cautious and stealthy expansion? Again only one of many possibilities.

Maybe I started thinking that from watching an interview with him on a YouTube channel named "Bold Conjectures with Paras Chopra" titled "#28 Robin Hanson - Aliens Exist and They're Coming Towards Us" (he has some other observations towards the end) or from the beginning of another one (I had to pause) on a channel named "Science, Technology & the Future" with the title "Robin Hanson - Grabby Aliens - How Far Away Are Expansionist Aliens?", the second one is older from right after he got some of the newer ideas. And there's at least five more I would like to watch if I can although I guess most of them will be more or less the same. I should have a look at his blog as well, and then there are the co-authors.

I remember when the idea of the Great Filter was new-ish, time is moving way too fast for me... do we really die or does our consciousness achieve some kind of escape velocity? XD (mostly joking).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 14 2022 17:05 utc | 103

This might help understand the French situation.
I expect the article makes more sense in French than it does translated where it can be a bit mysterious at times. It is actually noteworthy that Melenchon's NUPES came out in front of Macron's shower in the first round.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 14 2022 19:09 utc | 104

@ karlof1 | Jun 14 2022 17:02 utc | 103

Thanks much for Medvedev's comments on the Russian Arctic. Evidently nobody told the rest of the Arctic Council (product of the 1996 Ottawa Declaration) that, like, most of Earth's terrestrial Arctic happens to lie in Russia. I had to look it up to believe it, for some reason (these days nothing regressive is difficult to believe): It looks like they've destroyed the Arctic Council, for good, for whatever it might have been worth:

So much for further diagnosis of terrestrial gas pains... Incidentally (from PhysicsToday):

Permafrost is an undefined variable in the climate equation
Russia is home to the bulk of the Arctic’s permafrost. The country’s invasion of Ukraine jeopardizes a new initiative to pin down how thawing will impact climate change.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | Jun 14 2022 20:09 utc | 105

thanks bevin

i ran it thru translate and got the impression that the people who are not showing up to vote is quite significant.. seeking change politically has been a disappointment for me in my lifetime... i wish it was different.. i understand why some people opt to not vote in the present system we have here in canada.. it sounds even worse in france...

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2022 20:14 utc | 106

"...Margarita is an enigmatic figure in the book, it is not clear exactly why she is there, a sort of Mary Magdalen to accompany the Master..."

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 14 2022 11:55 utc | 99

Thanks for your comment, Bemildred -- You may very well be correct to find the second part, as I did also, a disappointing row to hoe after the quirky, fast paced activity of the first part. Let me play devil's advocate for us both. I was struck in my previous comment that Margarita compares herself, as Part Two opens, to Matthew Levi in the second telling of the Gospel story, Chapter 16 of Part One, The Execution.

Bulgakov's Matthew Levi does not much resemble the Evangelist Matthew in Scripture. And Margarita does not much resemble Mary Magdalene. The person in Scripture he most resembles is Zaccheus, who is also a tax collector, but is a little man who had to climb a sycamore tree to watch as Jesus passed by. The person she most resembles is the Mother of Jesus when she tells the servant at the wedding feast "Do what he tells you." That is, for me, these are the Scriptural incidents that reveal an active character most close to the activity in the novel of each of these fictional persons.

Let's stick with Margarita. If we look at the wedding feast at Cana, told to us by the Evangelist John, an important link for me is that it is central also in The Brothers Karamazov. So, there's a literary precedent. And there's also a different 'take' on her in Orthodox iconography than in western images of Mary. She is seldom portrayed in icons without being in the presence of her son. (Whereas we often see Western images of Mary alone.) That's a very unique situation for Margarita as well - her 'aloneness' in the first scenes of Part Two only takes on meaning (if they do) if we carry forward her devotion to the Master -- he is somehow present to everything she does in those early chapters. It's why she does what she does.

Dostoievski was able to bring his Scriptural references into the narrative of his novel. For Bulgakov, though, in the Moscow of his time, even the very existence of Jesus has become highly questionable - churches have been blown up! Parks, streets, ponds have been re-named. That is how and where the novel begins. How then to compare Scripture to the every day, if every day it has become easy, (even mandated), to ignore?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do -- only do it better.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 14 2022 20:21 utc | 107

@ juliania

if it is any consolation, although i didn't enjoy the master and margarita, i did like another book of his which i read immediately after - heart of a dog... that was a very enjoyable read.. the guy has a creative mind and i especially enjoyed this short read.... my brother happened to have a copy and gave it to me when i was finishing up reading the m and m book...

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2022 20:29 utc | 108

June 2022 Greenhouse Gas Goomerdizmo

Growth-rate trajectories of the big three GHG's with a composite of 20-year GWP's (warming potential factors of 84X and 280X, respectively) for methane and nitrous oxide. Based on yearly global averages from NOAA's ESRL trends page.

four-year growth-rate (percentages)

year      CO2      CH4      N2O     comp
2006     2.30     0.13     0.91     1.57
2008     2.14     0.56     1.02     1.60
2010     2.00     1.35     1.05     1.70
2012     1.98     1.18     1.10     1.66
2014     2.21     1.32     1.19     1.85
2016     2.65     1.94     1.20     2.28
2018     2.59     1.90     1.18     2.22
2020     2.33     1.95     1.24     2.35
2022     2.62     2.76     1.33     2.47

total growth since 2001

          ppm      ppb      ppb     CO2e
2001   370.57  1771.24   316.36   607.93
2022   418.31  1908.50   335.30   672.48
  ∆     47.74   137.24    18.94    64.55
 + %    12.88     7.75     5.99    10.62

This view of greenhouse gas trends is designed to detect initial signs of self-sustaining release (e.g. from thawing permafrost). Arguably, goomerdizmo has already found its target, in the 2022 growth-rate line of the methane column. The significance of self-sustaining GHG release, be it imminent or incident, cannot be overstated. Once Earth's atmosphere commences such an escalation, there's no way to stop it, and nobody knows how far it can go.

Observations: CO2's dominant growth-rate winds up near its maximum in 2022. CH4 leaps from slowest- to quickest-growing GHG -- quickest ever. N2O's growth is so steady, it's nearly monotonic. The CO2e (e for equivalent) composite's growth-rate steadily accelerates.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | Jun 14 2022 20:45 utc | 109

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2022 20:29 utc | 109

Thank you, james! I think you'll see from the great comment that BeMildred made yesterday, in answer to mine, that we are not far from what maybe was, as the Brits say, 'offputting' to you in TM&M. No problemo!

I'm not sure Bulgakov does what I think he is trying to do there - it might be up to a Russian to say if it works for a Russian reader, having lived the same history.

I do think the menace of living in communist Russia would be hard to appreciate as an outsider - we just haven't had that experience...yet, though hints of it seem to be with us already. Hopefully we will face it differently!

(I'm using Putin's remark to westerners that 'you are on the same path' as my rationale for digging into this particular novel here on b's forum. And learning a lot myself, which is always enjoyable.)

Thanks, b!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 14 2022 20:51 utc | 110

When I said in my comment to james at 111 above 'hopefully we will face it differently' I wasn't thinking that would happen because as westerners we are better at facing things -- far otherwise, as we prove currently! No, but Russia, I really feel, is showing the way forward, so it will be (hopefully) easier for us to follow in the end.

They are shining the light.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 14 2022 20:56 utc | 111

i hope you are right juliania.. at this point we need all the light we can get!! there is too much darkness as it presently stands!

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2022 23:03 utc | 112

Can I create whitespace with html code?

Can I create whitespace with html code?

I did not use the spacebar to create spaces in the second line I used
the following html code:
nbsp; (add a & character immediately before the n to get a valid html code)

        Can I create whitespace with html code?

I used six of those codes in a row in order to force an indent or margin.

Perhaps you will find this useful.

        Can I create whitespace with html code?
        Can I create whitespace with html code?
        Can I create whitespace with html code?
        Can I create whitespace with html code?

Posted by: librul | Jun 15 2022 0:01 utc | 113

Let's stick with Margarita. If we look at the wedding feast at Cana, told to us by the Evangelist John, an important link for me is that it is central also in The Brothers Karamazov. So, there's a literary precedent. And there's also a different 'take' on her in Orthodox iconography than in western images of Mary. She is seldom portrayed in icons without being in the presence of her son. (Whereas we often see Western images of Mary alone.) That's a very unique situation for Margarita as well - her 'aloneness' in the first scenes of Part Two only takes on meaning (if they do) if we carry forward her devotion to the Master -- he is somehow present to everything she does in those early chapters. It's why she does what she does.


When in Rome, do as the Romans do -- only do it better.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 14 2022 20:21 utc | 108

Thanks for your comment. I think I'm going to leave it there and go find a copy. I'll have to re-read, it's been too long.

The Catholics in particular make a big deal of Mary, Protestants not so much. Not versed much on Eastern Orthodox beliefs, I got a good protestant education back in the day.

I like your view of Margarita better. Mustn't forget the cat either. Perhaps we can pick this up again sometime. A pleasure.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 15 2022 0:08 utc | 114

˙sᴉɥʇ pᴉp I ʍoɥ ʍouʞ ʇ,uop I

Posted by: librul | Jun 15 2022 0:10 utc | 115

PS, I haven't read any fiction in ages, this should be interesting.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 15 2022 0:10 utc | 116

@ 108 Juliania

I think either way works for Mary in iconography: either with Jesus or without.

Kierkegaard, in Fear and Trembling, positioned Mary next to Abraham as the only other Knight of Faith that he was aware of.

And what is the Knight of Faith but the most alone amongst us? Those that have turned their back on the other so that they can be fully present to the others' Other.

I think an absolutely solitary figure of Mary works in iconography if we are to fully realize the absolute aloneness of Mary before God in her encounter where she said firstly to His messenger, "Yes?" And then when hearing the news, "Yes."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 15 2022 2:47 utc | 117

From the [paywalled] NYT,
Iran Suspects Israel Poisoned Two Scientists to Death,
June 13, 2022
"They both graduated from Iran’s top universities — young, healthy and athletic — before they suddenly fell ill in late May. The two scientists grew sicker and sicker, and ended up in the intensive care units of hospitals in two different cities nearly 400 miles apart.
Then, they both died within days of each other.
Iran believes Israel killed them by poisoning their food, according to an Iranian official and two other people with ties to the government who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. One of them, Ayoub Entezari, was an aeronautical engineer who worked for a military research center, and the other, Kamran Aghamolaei, was a geologist.
Compounding the mystery behind their deaths, Israeli media and Persian news channels abroad reported that Mr. Aghamolaei worked at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. But friends denied that, and said he worked for a private geological research company, and The New York Times could not corroborate that he had any ties to the government or any weapons program.
Mr. Entezari had a doctorate in aeronautics and worked on projects related to missiles and airplane turbines for a government aerospace center in the city of Yazd, about 390 miles southeast of the capital, Tehran.
He developed symptoms of food poisoning after attending a dinner he was invited to in Yazd, according to a staff member of a senior Iranian official. The host of the dinner party had disappeared and authorities were searching for him, according to the staff member, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly....."

Posted by: Paul | Jun 15 2022 6:51 utc | 118

Here's an interesting site.

Posted by: Paul | Jun 15 2022 8:03 utc | 119

@ paul - i agree it is an interesting site.. i was just reading the about page and like what they say on it... thanks!

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2022 15:47 utc | 120

I think an absolutely solitary figure of Mary works in iconography if we are to fully realize the absolute aloneness of Mary before God in her encounter where she said firstly to His messenger, "Yes?" And then when hearing the news, "Yes."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 15 2022 2:47 utc | 118

Thanks for your observation, NemesisCalling. In my discussion of TM&M I am comparing Orthodox Christian iconography, in which tradition dates first icons of the Theotokos to Saint Luke having painted the Mother and Child, and also to the Deisis on the iconostasis in every church which depicts Mary and Sain John the Forerunner facing Christ on either side. I am attempting to follow Bulgakov's thought as he was the product of such church traditions, even though his novel presents in an untraditional form. So I think your observation is a helpful one. And it does go to the veneration accorded Mary in traditional Orthodoxy, as she indeed had been troubled by the angel's greeting before, as in the icons, providing her acceptance.


Posted by: juliania | Jun 16 2022 16:07 utc | 121

Thanks, Bemildred! I look forward to your enjoyable read (I hope) and more discussion later on. My own feeling (and you can go to the first chapter of Luke's Gospel for this) has always been that Mary's priestly relative therein is being given a gentle push to the side as they both get visited by the angel, yet he, as the father of John the Baptist (or 'Forerunner' in Orthodoxy) doesn't have the same standing -- so one has to say the priesthood is taking a back seat in those early chapters.

Thanks for being an interested participant in our little discussion!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 16 2022 16:18 utc | 122

Thanks for being an interested participant in our little discussion!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 16 2022 16:18 utc | 123

Thank you. I found a copy for 19.95US$, Pevear trans., Red Classics, which I have not seen, should be here in < 2 weeks. I hope to learn a thing or two.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 16 2022 18:06 utc | 123

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