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Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country … To the land that I will show you; and I will make of you a great nation … And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Gen 12: 1, 2, 3

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I sit in the morning fog in God’s green land.  Behind the mist are the pastures and the hills and mountains that I am sure to see when the veil is lifted and the sky is opened. I listen to De Profundis and Palestrina’s Gloria from Missa Papae Marcelli.

The news of the world is troubling.  In this land we wake to stories of overdoses, and of the murder of two young Muslim teenage boys on the eve of their high school graduation, both honor students on their way to college, and of conflicts and hostilities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  In our legislature the Party out of power acts like spoiled children, turns to obstruction while problems pile up and division disheartens.  Small groups act like angry pagans demanding this or that.  Racism surfaces among those once its victim.  The morning fog cannot hide the shame of this.

It had been four centuries without a prophet until Jesus emerged.  Four centuries.  Our Jewish brothers and sisters wondered why God was silent.  Then we received The Word, Immanuel – “God with us.”

We have been given the opportunity to become the children of God, to become the great nation that Abraham was called to bring forth.

Children of God and children of Abraham, but how do we act today?  We act as if there was no Abraham, no Jesus and there is no God.

Today we seek to create good through human acts but in place of good is conflict, discontent, selfishness, hatred.  The flesh and the will of man cannot triumph … it is God who perfects man, not man who prefects man.  Like Abraham we must be His vehicle, His instrument.

Like you I see the conflict, the needless hurt, the arrogance of man and woman, the reliance on self as if we are God.  We have credited ourselves with wisdom and power we do not have.

The good and wise man is humble, speaks softly – sees others as his family.

Are you the good and wise man?  Am I?

Shalom.

 

 

Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts … the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality … played a definite part in unleashing upon the world … horrors and miseries (World War II).

Winston S. Churchill, in The Gathering Storm

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Wars have their prelude, their component miscues and misadventures, their self-delusions and grand deceits.

One thinks of this now as many troubling signs emerge.

Russia is in Syria propping up a brutal regime, Iran pursues both nuclear weapons and expansion while supporting insurgents in foreign lands, North Korea strives for a nuclear arsenal and European countries seed authority to stateless Brussels bureaucrats while terrorists roam their homeland largely unabated.

In the United States, we enlarge the national debt, fatten the dependent population and the expand the expectations of citizens for more and more national benefits.

Some European nations are beginning to resume required national military service, yet attention turns to “global warming” as if nothing is more important. Fantasies absorb us.

In our once mature and sane representative democracy, college students require pampering and “protection” from free speech while some assault civility and those with whom they disagree.  On campus, hate is protected by cowardly administrators.

In the public square God is unwelcome while obesity looms and one wonders where the next “Greatest Generation” has gone.

As Churchill rightly notices, the antics of the Liberals pave a nasty road to a tragic destination.

Hard to dispute this today.  Indeed, we have lost touch with truth, and consequently, with reality.  But neither truth nor reality have lost touch with us.

At the foundation of moral thinking lie beliefs in statements the truth of which no further reason can be given.

Alasdair MacIntyre, in After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory

When immorality prevails, we have stopped believing … without belief, truth and reality are lost and the storm gathers.

Shalom.

Postscript – An “unfunny”* female “comic” thought it amusing to be photographed holding the “head” of President Donald Trump.  Darling …

It is, thank God, always the case that people “self-report” – tell you who they are. So with this woman we see the Left is quite comfortable with those who behead their enemies. Charming …

(* “unfunny” is a state of being whereby a person does not have a humorous impulse in their body … if you see these people coming, run quickly in the opposite direction … if you encountered them in a social setting, make yourself disappear as soon as possible)

“Come let us build us a city, and a tower with it to in the sky, to make a name for ourselves.”

Gen 11:4

This Tower of Babel story is quite an interesting story for its utility and application throughout the ages.

If you recall Babylonian people wanted to build a tower with its top to the sky.  In essence this is a story used to show the pridefulness of people – how they could not come to defer to the dominion of God … their Superior.

How often do people act having “made a name” for themselves or seek to make a name for themselves?  It is quite a frequent event … now and throughout human history.

Think about it, the Babylonians were technically advanced … yet, they did not pursue this tribute to themselves with any sense of God, any reverence for God. They exalted themselves – mankind, their genius.

Pride always derails the prideful. Humility, on the contrary, insures success and contentment.

Shalom.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to any prevailing superstitions and taboos.

H.L. Mencken, in A Mencken Chrestomathy

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I have been interested in government and politics since I was a youngster in Boston.  I majored in government as an undergraduate, after law school and service in the military (U.S. Army officer), I studied American foreign policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. and have worked in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, in a Washington law firm and as a trial and appellate lawyer in private practice in the Nation’s Capital.

All tolled, I spent over thirty years in Washington and have been following national government, politics and public policy for 60 years.  That said, I have never seen any President relentlessly attacked as Donald Trump is being attacked.  And I mean attacked by newspapers with story after story stocked with “unnamed sources” and repeated by media lightweights as if such “unnamed sources:” (a) exist, and (b) are truthful, accurate, without bias or personal objective if they do exist.

On first blush this is remarkable, astonishing and difficult to understand … until you consider H.L. Mencken’s astute and timelessly true observation, to wit: the governing class hates anyone who appears on their doorstep and does not kowtow to them and the prevailing genius they claim exclusively for themselves.  

This more than any other thing is the controlling proposition that explains why the Democrats, the Left, the political press, television “talking heads,” assembled “D.C. special pleaders” (who fancy themselves an essential part of the “importance” of government and public policy), the globalists, elite Republicans, etc. despise President Trump and those who elected him.

Yes, you are correct: “the governing class” is immune from any notion that we are a nation “by the people,” and “for the people.”  This class, you see, views themselves as “special” – better than the populace and the voting public.

Make no mistake in hating Trump, the governing class disdains those who voted for him and anyone who dares to disagree with them or disturb their peace.

Lest, you think this is hard to believe – I offer one wonderful account from history.

When Ronald Reagan was newly elected, an old Washington “hand” – the Patrician lawyer Clark Clifford (a former Secretary of Defense and key assistant to President Truman) – labeled the newly-elected Mr. Reagan “an amiable dunce.”

Clifford, a denizen of the swamp (shall we say), thought himself and those of the Washington ruling class to be far superior in every way to Ronald Reagan and any of the outsider-ilk.  Yes, his view and that of the “insiders:”- anyone not of Washington has no business or place in Washington and its affairs.  That is the constant and prevailing view of those in politics, public policy and news here in Washington.

Now the delicious point about Clifford is this: he was the actual dunce.  You see he succeeded to disgrace himself by ineptly managing and subsequently destroying all or much of the former New York Governor Harriman’s fortune during President Reagan’s time in office.

What we are seeing now, however vicious it is, is nothing new – it just puts on display what the governing class is all about, and how plainly they elevate themselves far above the public and everyday citizens.   What you see today confirms the existence of an established disposition.  So much for the concentration of government in Washington …

Shalom.

… the useless always judge themselves as being important and hide their incompetence behind authority …

Paulo Coelho

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There is truth in what Coelho plainly says.  Think Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry and their “negotiations” with Iran on Iran’s nuclear program (and its quest for nuclear weapons). Their “negotiations” could be best called a “give-away” and generously assigned to incompetence or, less charitably, to something worse.

Think also of the Congress which cannot, it seems, to do much more than increase the national debt and, at the present, in doing so – give us a look (in present day Venezuela) at the pain and chaos that ensues when economies are run very, very irresponsibly.

Then you can recall the reaction of the highly paid Superintendent of Montgomery County (Maryland) Schools who scolded parents for their “xenophobia” (dislike of foreigners) when they complained that two immigrant students (at least one illegally in the country and both in their late teens) were arrested for raping a 14-year-old 9th grade girl in a school bathroom.

There are at present endless, indeed, daily renditions of abject stupidity, or apparent dishonesty emanating from “authority” figures.

Makes you long for smaller and smaller government.  The point: the fewer of them, the less insanity and resulting danger and waste.  Likewise, this sadly applies to courts and particularly to the federal judiciary.  And how can we forget Mr. Comey at the FBI or the endless “special pleaders” advocating one self-serving desire after another, or the legion of “climate-changers” who resemble nothing so much as the loony Leftists whose cause once was unilateral disarmament?

Have we not come to a point where less government is better?

… excel in everything …

2 Cor 8:7

Shalom.

The Breakdown – In my lifetime it seems that we have had a breakdown in the echelon of the elites – those well-trained of the privileged class who benefit from an affluent start in life, education at venerable schools and access to corporate, political, educational, charitable, governmental and professional leadership.

This is hard to fathom except to say we have abandoned religion and faith, morality, honor, dignity and public service – and elevated self, godlessness, indulgence, celebrity, gaudy affluence, fetish and Leftist ideology in their place.  In effect, we have replaced excellence with incompetence and shamelessness.

This, of course, must change.

Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in Heaven and on earth …

Plato, in Laws

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Among the victims that the Left and feminism have claimed is Truth.  As to women, feminism has made those once strong and beautiful, inspiring, reliable and superior in their divine endowment, now shabby and cheap.

Case in point: Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice.

Here we have pampered people who have enjoyed what once were privileged educations: Wellesley, Yale, Stanford, Oxford; but who now are known for their public lies and behaviors that put their educations and vaunted “intellect” to question.

Their public lives have not distinguished them, their educational institutions, their Leftist politics nor created a reputation for honesty and character.  Quite the contrary. They are, sadly, a dismal image.  They have, however, poked large holes in feminism and its “mystique.”

In feminism there are great claims, and hence great risks.

When one claims an exalted status, long unfairly withheld – one had best show far better than Hillary and Ms. Rice.

Yes, with such claims one needs more Thacher, not lying and constant dissembling, confusion and ineptitude.  You see when a gender claims great things of its biology, it had best show great things.  Alas, this is definitively not so with Ms. Clinton and Ms. Rice.

With Captains Clinton and Rice, the ship of feminism is shown to be not seaworthy.

Eventually all that is not true takes on water and dies in the ocean deep.

Shalom.

Irony – One of the things that Ms. Clinton and Ms. Rice show is this: “education” notwithstanding, they are not smart enough to lie successfully.  Their deficit?  It is not a lack of dishonesty, but rather a lack of real world experience and understanding as to how to operate as a dishonest person.

A “teachable” take-away: getting an “education” does not make you particularly smart in the ways of the world – it means you went to school longer than other people.

There was a time when people were not concerned about self.  It was a time of simply being.  (Emphasis added.)

Gerald May, M.D., in Simply Sane

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It is said by some that when Adam and Eve partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that this is the moment when consciousness is born, when man and woman see themselves as “self” – as living in a state of being “separate” and “apart” from God and one another.

That said, Dr. May in his book Simply Sane examines the evolution of the human being once he and she discovers the self and other.  

May sees this as a very significant turning point that posts a false state of being and creates very difficult tensions, and problems, for the human person.

In particular, May reminds us when we were less conscious of self we are more aware of being itself, and life and creation as we were but a part.  Says May, when we focus on self our awareness fades and thought clutters our mind.  This transition, I offer with May’s help, creates distance between one person and another, imposes particular burdens on a single person and makes intimate experience far more difficult for the distance consciousness of self fosters between one person and an other, or all others – and in relationship with the Divine. One might ask in this context, Can one know the “I Am” when one must be the I am?

Yes, in self comes estrangement.  In a way, consciousness of self makes another a potential threat, an enemy.  Perhaps this is why we seem to prefer that “God is dead” or forgotten in the present secular age.

I have come over the years to see the loss of intimacy as a major and very damaging issue in modern life.  My observation has me think about so many of the modern horrors and disordered behaviors and wonder if it is not the estrangement from our divine and whole being and the resultant loss of intimacy that gives rise to so many modern illnesses and murderous escapades.

I ask for instance: What explains the homicidal rage of ISIS?  What empowers the need for nation states, like Iran or North Korea, to fortify themselves against “others” as they do?  Why is a flawed ideology like Marxism so embraced by “educated” people who should know it’s ugly and brutal history?  Why is pornography so prevalent?  How can homosexuality can exist in a vowed religious community?  How can women justify the killing of an innocent, unborn child in the womb?  How can the Left justify their lying to secure political power at the expense of their dignity and honor?  How can once great nations, where freedom was secured and debate welcomed, become so divided, so at war with their citizens with whom they do not agree? How can obvious dangers be ignored and incidents be overlooked because they are at odds one’s distorted political view of what is “correct?”  How can people lie to themselves and live what is false and a lie itself?  Cover up and excuse horrible crimes?

Self.  Self more than other.  Thought replacing awareness.  The other as enemy. Estrangement. Loss of relationship.  Loss of intimacy. Distance from others. Distance from one significant other.  Sickness on display.  Sickness excused, justified.  Sickness.  Decay.  Decline.  Death.

Think about it.

Shalom.

Question: When can we prosecute Hillary for national security breaches, or at least get her psychiatric help?

… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

The Declaration of Independence

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Things lost.  Things desperately needed to be recovered.

Yes, our nation was founded on humility and dependence on God.  It is in this overarching reality that men and women pledged to one another their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

Yesterday, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer caused a scene by verbally attacking an elderly woman and her husband who were quietly eating their dinner in a posh Manhattan restaurant, and followed the woman and her husband on to the street yelling at her because she voted for Donald Trump.

Where’s the sacred honor in that?  Or in former Democrat Senator Harry Reid lying about Mitt Romney in a speech on the Senate floor where Reid had immunity from a libel suit?  Or the sacred honor of DNC Chairperson Donna Brazile for passing debate questions to Hillary Clinton?  Of Ms. Clinton’s multiple stories about her one unsecured computer device that turned into 13 or more unsecured computer devices?  Or Mr. Obama’s “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan?”

Think we might demand that people in power not lie any more?

We are, unlike our Founders, bound as One Nation by “nothing” now. This is the grave injury presented by Charles Schumer and the Democrats. They utterly lack honor – sacred or otherwise – rude, rank hacks as they are.  And with all things of the Democrat Party – we pay the price. Same old, same old.

Shalom.

… imagery can be interpreted as … psychological; for it is possible to observe, in the earliest stages of the development of the infant, symptoms of a dawning “mythology” of a state beyond the vicissitudes of time.

Joseph Campbell, in The Hero of a Thousand Faces

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I remember one of my first lectures when I entered a year of monastic life in the mountains of Colorado.  The speaker, an experienced Catholic priest, told us this: never lose touch with imagination.

Imagery.  Campbell tells us infants show signs of having a natural state of mind that exceeds the “vicissitudes of time” – that is, that accesses the mystery of life that has been recorded by varied humans, in varied cultures over the entire stretch of human history.

Oh, if that natural state were present in America and Western Culture today!  But alas, we are secularized and our ignorance is displayed in ideologies that bring us to ruin – personal and collective.

I get emails today from friends I have known over the years and with whom I have retained kind relationship.  The ones I refer to are in a twitter, a panic – turned to fear and frantic language; to wit:” Trump is a liar and those who support him are fascists, crazy, demonic, etc.”

Mind you, these are emails from people with college degrees who have cash in hand and have done well financially.  I note that they lack the state of being that brings them beyond the vicissitudes of time.  They have been sufficiently secularized, their imagination crushed and their range of experience boiled down to less than that of an infant.

These are brittle and sadly limited people.  Fear grips them.  Panic is near, and hatred within reach.  Resentment and anger has replaced calm and optimism.

When the Catholic Mass is said and the Body and Blood of Christ is consecrated the priest says “Et Verbum caro factum est.”  (And the Word was made flesh.)  This is the experience of apotheosis – an exaltation to divine rank … making what seems but one thing, yet another more glorious than our mere human perception thought it to be.  Imagination.  

We have lost the capacity to imagine, to access and experience what is Divine, Eternal, Real, beyond the vicissitudes of time.  We have been dumbed-down and where hope was once known hatred, panic, anger, antagonism has taken its place.

By the way, I sadly count those who offer attacks in emails as casualties of secularism and dismiss their “views” accordingly. Education notwithstanding they are lost … lost to the mystery, converted to all that is material, now – lost to Truth and the long yesterday of the human story.

We live very poorly today in the West… and one wonders if those who wish our death and destruction live closer to imagination than we do?   At the same time it seems the case that some among us, without imagination, pose a danger all their own.

Shalom.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with Us.”  (Emphasis added.)

Mk 1:23

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God with us.

Think about that.  God with you.

How might that change your life?  Frankly, in a very, very fundamental way.

If God is with you, might road rage visit you?  Insecurity?  Anxiety?  Anger? Impatience?  Fear?  Worry?  Uncertainty?

Indeed, is there anything that can diminish you?  No, there is not!

If God is with you, do you act like the troubled denizens of Hollywood?  Think about blowing up the White House like “Madonna?”  Or “call” for a “military coup,” like the obscure “comedian” Sarah Silverman?  Or act like the impudent and childish Democrats in the U.S. Congress?  Or the anarchists on the Left?

Indeed, if you have God with you – how can you be dissolved into depression over an election result?  Would one not have let politics precede and “trump” the reality that God is with you, and you (in turn) are with God?

How quickly I see people I know who are Church-goers completely dissolve in despair because their candidate (a person of very questionable conduct) did not become President.  Their “belief” is paper thin, and just as weak.  More appearance than substance.

One thing you notice very plainly is this: many who attend Church are easily anchored in the culture, and uncritically so.  That is, they present themselves for worship but park their trust in politics and status, income, address, their bias and poorly tutored views, etc.

Is any of this necessary when one recognizes that “God is with us?”  You know the answer.

Shalom.

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