August 10, 2022

Golden Age for Conspiracy Theorists

This is a golden age for conspiracy theorists because 

a) rarely if ever before has our government so consistently lied or not been transparent with us 

b) rarely if ever before has our media so consistently lied or not been transparent with us and 

c) odd things keep happening, like a raid on the ex-president’s house or Election Day vote-counting stoppages or covid lab leak coverups or a 1/6 “insurrection” in which the participants forgot to bring guns. 

It certainly forces one to think outside the box.

Tom Luongo sometimes seems farfetched, sometimes less so, and I like how he's given us a rather provable data point on his theory: simply whether the Fed will raise interest rates 75-100 bps next month. Will Powell pivot (loosen up on interest rates) or smash Europe?!

He began his pod with talk about the shocking Trump raid and the lawlessness of our current leadership:

“They’re going to run the same plan with gun control they did with civil asset forfeiture. Just turn everybody into a felon and make it impossible to own a gun again. Seize your guns as assets and then turn around and say you can’t buy a gun anymore because you’re accused of a felony.  This is how they’ll do it, just bureaucratize the entire system. If they can’t get rid of the 2nd Amendment then they’ll attack it through the court system, weaponize the police, and all the rest. The question becomes whether or not we’ll have governors and local sheriffs who refuse to go along with this. But here’s the problem - those sheriffs who refuse to go along will get summarily removed from office and they’ll put somebody in who is. They don’t care about how much money they spend. The only way to beat these people [Davos] is to take away their money and the only way you do is by taking away their ability to print it.

Davos has alienated a bunch of people by outing themselves. So all you have to do is see the play in front of you.  And the play from the Fed is, ‘your bet doesn’t work for you guys anymore. We’re raising your interest rate to 7% and we don’t care how it breaks the world, we just know it’s going to break you." And that’s why the counterplays have been so vicious politically over the past couple of months. The Fed raises interesting rates 75 bps back-to-back while the polls shifting against Biden and nothing has worked to get people supporting Biden. Abortion hasn’t worked nor January 6th commission.  America is looking at the kangaroo courts and people are asking, ‘When did America turn into East Germany?’.  Well it’s been East Germany for a long time, just quietly been turned into East Germany. 

It’s rapidly turning into an authoritarian nightmare. Davos will happily burn the United States to the ground by goading us into stopping the 2024 election or, depending on how things go, get NY and California and Oregon to say ‘we’re done, we don’t want to be a part of this anymore’. 

They want to break up the U.S. and it’s not going to stop until you break the Eurodollar offshore banking system and you end dollar diplomacy. There is no alternative save a military coup and they’ve purged the military of people who would ever stand up for America. It’s a Hobson’s choice of “either you can have a civil war or you can have a civil war, your choice”. 

So the Fed has to raise 75 basis points in September if not 100. If they pivot it’s all over and everything I’ve said for the last year ... Maybe they’ve taken Powell’s kids hostage or whatever, but if he goes 50 bps it's over, and if it's 75 or 100 basis points then it’s game on."

August 09, 2022

Alexis de Tocqueville: "Americans Will Eventually Lose Their Liberty to Lawyers"

Well, as was said of covid, "you might not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you." If they come for Trump and the Jan 6rs, they come for anybody, low or high. 

Mark Halperin says that "Trump broke us" but I'm not sure I understand that given that whatever Trump did wrong, he didn't do it before he was fired upon - in form of the deep state Russia hoax circa 2015. Why isn't the FBI’s character on trial and haven’t they shown us who they are?  Didn’t they and DOJ break us? It’s as if we should blame the U.S. for causing a war with Japan after Pearl Harbor. 

But it all predates. CNN’s Catherine Crier (a lawyer!) wrote a book almost two decades ago making the case against lawyers and quoted De Tocqueville who predicted that Americans will eventually lose their liberty to lawyers.

We’re seeing that play out in real-time.  If it wasn’t Trump, someone else would’ve come along. You could say that Trump sped up the process by not only exposing the rotting justice system but by encouraging it — like how someone shows off a whiskey bottle to a drunk and encourages vice in the drunk.

But the drunk IS the story, not the taunter. In the end, this seems about the destruction of the rule of law and politicization of judiciary and not Trump.

I like DeSantis but it appears the regime has just forced us to pick Trump. The principle at stake is whether the FBI/DOJ have veto power over the democratic election of a president. Some things are worth fighting for and this sure looks like one to me.

The “funny”/tragic thing is that they decided to bring down the country over a figure like Trump, who appears more Mr Magoo than Napoleon.  He couldn’t even protect Gen'l Flynn from the knives or pardon anyone controversial (like Assange). He also can boast of engineering an “unarmed coup” (oxymoron alert!). But the elites hate him and they are apparently deeply offended by not getting veto power over the democratic process. 

But interesting that Patrick Byrne is not perturbed about this Trump raid. He'd predicted the blue team would try desperate measures to provoke the red team to do something violent prior to midterms..."And they will keep being provocative until you do something so they can come in and impose authoritarianism."

August 08, 2022

Miscellaneous Monday

Kayaked last week “fresh ground”, meaning new waters. I've learned that just having water by your house (even your back yard) doesn’t mean much unless it’s the Scioto or Ohio. These smaller creeks and rivers have points of non-passibility, so aren’t true water superhighways. I pondered how even in our modern times, the landscape still rules. No one has likely ever said, “I want to build my house right in center of that creek.” Thus subdivisions always preserves creeks.

**

Wondering if an analogy of a spiritually harmful act like a gay wedding is like if you’re the parent of Evel Kneival and you don’t want him riding a motorbike over Snake River canyon, think it’s too dangerous and may die, but you may attend it anyway since he’s going to do it anyway. 

**

It’s weird how our leadership was so involved in far-off Ukraine for past decade, so much so that they couldn’t even make the minimal concession that Ukraine not be part of NATO. 

Interesting how Putin even went to the pope before the war to try to prevent it.  That could be why the pope,  alone among western leaders, was not immediately condemnatory towards Russia but put the blame on both parties.  The pope didn't get the WEF memo? 

I also really don’t understand why Pelosi wanted to go to Taiwan and show off to Chinese. I had thought it was a minor miracle that China hasn’t already taken advantage of the Russia aggression in Ukraine as an excuse to take Taiwan while the West was preoccupied. But it’s as if we want a war now. Mysteries abound. 

I also don’t understand how a man can compete in women’s swimming events. At the very least he should have his johnson chopped off as a show of solidarity with the women.

And Jan 6 is confusing.  Biden’s DHS reset all Secret Service devices on Jan 27, '21 and didn't have them backed up automatically which would seem to be standard practice for any org. 

The J6 committee hadn’t even asked for the Secret Service texts for 18 months, which is telling. 

And of course it’s curious why Kamala Harris was at DNC HQ and curious how the Secret Service detail missed the "bomb".  Or how did a federal contractor who just happened to work for a group that just received a $90M FBI grant find the "bomb" near RNC HQ right before 1st breach of Capitol perimeter?

Tangential, but interesting that Liz Cheney hired a retired Secret Service guy to accompany her on 1/6 and Kinzinger came armed that day.  They certainly were a lot more prepared for 1/6 than the rest of our gov’t.

And funny how Trump is supposed to have authorized national guard troops in front of an insurrection that he orchestrated. 

I suspect elites and most everyone in power placed a bet on that stupidity of the Trump voters between 2016 and 2021, but I don’t think they're on the right side of the bet.  I think there’s too much common sense still out there. 

**

Headed to Dubin Irishfest over weekend. I rambled over to the Irish wake tent and it was educational.  She had a tombstone there and translated what the Irish on it meant. Often Americans would spring for tombstones to parents and family back in Ireland. The Irish also had a very eccentric way of trying to ensure the ghost didn’t come back to the house, i.e. by taking a winding way to cemetery full of twists and turns. And took the body out feet first so it would be facing its destination rather than facing where it was so rooted for many a year. Kind of funny that they outsourced some of the keening, or memorializing of the deceased, to professionals. It was called a “wake” because someone needed to be awake for the three days to be with the corpse which otherwise would be a sign of disrespect. “I’m sorry for your troubles” was the old Irish equivalent to today’s “I’m sorry for your loss.” Clocks were stopped at time of death and mirrors covered since now was no time for vanity.

**

Today (Monday) I continued my health project. I’ve made at least six calls now over the past few weeks trying to get somebody to prescribe me meds to prep for the colonoscopy. My general practitioner doesn’t want to, my gastriologist has ignored most of my calls, and the hospital said that there’s a different set of meds for a “virtual colonoscopy” versus a regular one.  News to me there’s a virtual one! Wish I was doing that one I guess.

I decided since I’m having no luck I’d have a little fun, so my latest call went like this:

“Hi, I have a colonoscopy coming up and understand I’ll need a prescription for prep. I’ve not been able to find anyone to prescribe these meds. I wonder if I should go to downtown Columbus and try to buy them off black market?  Or go to some dicey third-world website to buy them online? Or maybe buy from China?” 

The humor was lost, as she said she could not give me medical advice since she was in the hospital registration department. 

It’s certainly not comfortable to me that they have so much trouble with details like getting a prescription. Feels like they’re mailing it in and I’m going to be hurting on colonoscopy day since the doc and team aren’t taking it very seriously.  I hope they take the procedure seriously. 

No one is good at their job anymore of course so this is hardly surprising. 

I’ve learned you really have to earn your colonoscopy. First to beg for medicines, then to fast and then to hope for the best. 

July 26, 2022

Serving All Your Doom & Gloom Needs

On his podcast Eric Metaxas, the author of a praised Bonhoeffer biography, constantly mirrors the sort of perpetual surprise that I do regarding the fall of equal protection under the law and the collapse of the media as watchdog for that.  It's the sort of thing that gobsmacks and of course we patriots run the risk of being cranks for exhibiting one-track minds on the subject. 

I was reading a novel about horse-racing and came across this paragraph (from "Lords of Misrule", an apt title for our current administration). "Medicine Ed" is a horse trainer of long experience who is like Metaxas and me:

Seem like every day since time he been thinking what a shame and pity it is how the world is coming down, how the pride of work has disappeared, until they just laugh at him, the boys that come on the racetrack now—how the horses is misused and abused, started out racing too young before they bones is hard, not rested proper and dosed with all kind of shots and pills, and so consequently don’t last—how these five-and-dime horsetrainers and they ten-cent owners anymore be tighter than the bark on a beech tree, when it come to anything but rush rush rush them horses back to the track and collect a bet. It ain’t no real sportsmen round here no more, if it ever was, or either sportswomen.

Seem like since time, that was the most fun old Medicine Ed been having, studying on it every day, every day, how this good thing has come down and this other thing that once was fine, has went to pieces on him.  Until he be sick and tired of his own self. 

I can relate. There ain't no real statesmen around, if there ever was, or stateswomen. 

A bishop on Twitter recently posted the daily Mass reading which emphasized treating the resident alien well.  Which always feels disingenuous given that immigrants at least have the heft and might of a political party (Democrats) and the media behind them. Their travails are certainly real but they are hardly marginalized in our society. In fact, they are given the privilege of breaking laws without real consequence. 

So I cheekily responded: “Let us not forget the truly marginalized, those without political party or institution backing them, those Jan 6rs imprisoned for trespassing and errant political thought.” 


You can say the Jan 6rs have it coming and my justice side well understands that. The problem with justice and mercy is I don't understand them as being compatible, but God somehow can. So I leave it to him. But I do understand the difference between someone paying for their "crimes" in spades, i.e the Jan 6rs - and those who enjoy their FBI pension despite treasonous acts that should land them in prison. 

The last five years have opened my eyes to the first time to injustice. I’m sure it existed before, say, 2015, but I was blind to it!  I thought the last injustice - prejudice against blacks primarily - was repudiated with the election of an African-American president.  Just as capitalism strutted and felt the conqueror after the Soviet Union fell, similarly I thought American injustice had fallen after 2008.  Time to move on! Ha, but history never ends nor does human nature... The socialists and the BLMs came back with a vengeance. 

It’s probably a healthy thing to understand, at last, what the Old Testament prophets were so exercised about. The American system seemed to have had an impervious nature to it, designed so expertly by the Founders, and yet we now plainly see that just like every banana republic in history the law is not blind and that it favors those with the regime’s political views. Liberals can be found guilty of contempt of Congress or lying to the FBI and face no repercussions while Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn are tried and convicted.  Antifa can get away with things a Jan 6 trespasser cannot. 

The Founders never envisioned or would've sanctioned a fourth branch of government, that of the administrative state, and so to some extent the system they designed is really not what is currently practiced. The hermeneutic of discontinuity applies. As Erik Prince, Navy Seal officer and founder of Blackwater said: “The real constitutional crisis is we have four branches of government…the fourth is that permanent state bureaucracy that is unaccountable  and they start to abuse those tools for the benefit of one political party.”

Part of my affection for the Jan 6rs is many of them had such an idealistic view of their country, not realizing they were walking into a trap laid for them. God love them, they really thought the Capitol was “the People’s House”.  One has been charged up to her neck despite trying to physically restrain an agitator (probably FBI plant) from breaking a window (see this).  

It's an ever source of surprise to learn that real history - and evil - occurs even in your own time. 

July 23, 2022

Romulus & Remus, Peter & Paul

Rome is known as the city of Peter and Paul; their names are forever linked (sharing a feast day) and their martyrdom (birth into Heaven) birthed the locus of the Catholic Church on earth. 

Meanwhile the myth of the founding of Rome was centered around two abandoned twins named Romulus and Remus who were nursed by a kindly she-wolf. 

Interesting parallel. Even in the Latin the names are alliterations: “Romulus and Remus” and “Peter and Paul”. 

The birth of spiritual Rome was due to two “brothers” in Christ, adopted by God, who because they died there gave life to Rome as the spiritual center of Christendom. 

The birth of pagan Rome was attributed to two brothers adopted by a wolf who because they survived there gave life to the earthly city of Rome. 

The Sound-Driven Words "Feckless" and "Niggardly"

I wonder if the popularity of two words in the lexicon are suffering/benefiting from our culture's failure to make distinctions combined with a move back to a pre-literate, oral society primarily driven by sounds (i.e. podcasts and YouTube videos). 

The two words are "feckless" and "niggardly".  In an oral culture words are more often said than written but both of these words have sounds that are associated with either a forbidden-but-enticing word (feckless) or a forbidden-but-ugly word (niggardly). 

The first syllable of "feckless" sounds like f-bomb and so seems like a particularly ribald way to criticize a wayward politician.  For those unclear on its meaning, the ambiguity only serves its cause. Add in "less" and you have a euphoniously derogatory word -- and indeed it's popularity is up from the dead (at least it was s a nearly dead word when I was young): 


Similarly, the first two syllables in "niggardly" sound like the infamous "n-word" and so has fallen into disfavor because of a failure to make distinctions and, presumably, whites terrified of being tagged as a racist. It is guilty by association as it were. The "n" word only fell into disfavor in the late 1960s so it's understandable that's when usage of niggardly dropped dramatically. 



 

July 14, 2022

Ray Epps, International Man of Mystery

So I see the lovely and talented New York Times has added Ray Epps to its Foxe's Book of Martyrs (joining Eric Coomer and Liz Cheney). Amusing and revealing, I suppose. As Matt Taibbi (no fan of Trump) wrote: “With censorship soaring and real reporting all but taboo, the major dailies have just one important function left: being a political signaling system.” 

Kremlinology has come to America!

Kash Patel,  chief of staff to the Sec of Defense under Trump commented that the NYT love Epps "the way they loved Christopher Steele" and that any investigation will likely show Epps is the Steele of 1/6.

Naturally Darren Beattie likewise threw the B.S. flag. (The powers that be really think Trump voters are stupid, or it's simply a way to steer elite opinion properly on Epps.)

Humorous Babylon Bee forum writers jumped on it: "Ray Epps Says He Feels Like He’s Been In Solitary Confinement For The Last 18 Months In The Comfort Of His Ranch With His Loved Ones, Able To Travel Freely."

And: "Biden Awards Ray Epps Purple Heart For Jan 6 Heroics"

And: "Jeffrey Epstein, Ray Epps, And Los Vegas Shooter Invite Uvalde Police Chief To Join Unsolved Mysteries Club"

The Deep State is marvelously entertaining these days such that it's pretty hard to get my novel reading in. These guys combine humor and malevolence and incomprehensibility in a way that's hard to look away from. 

No doubt part of my discomfiture is that we conservatives have traditionally had an inflated image of FBI and authority in general and seeing the FBI picking winners and losers - almost at random - is gobsmacking. According to an FBI confidant who infiltrated the Proud Boys, the much denigrated group actually helped de-escalate 1/6 and for their trouble have proven that no good deed goes unpunished. They were there, according to the source, to prevent Antifa from attacking MAGA people but alas the FBI was the bigger threat.  Who could know?  

Richard Hannian on Twitter gets our post-reason environment: 

Elites need to look at themselves in the mirror. The picture of Lia Thomas on the podium should be your everlasting shame. You opened the door to [Trump]. But they think they’re sane.

You couldn’t write a screenplay with anyone more absurd than modern liberals, and you couldn’t dream up a more perfect foil for them than Trump. I feel lucky to be alive at this current moment, and so should you.

Trump has helped me better enjoy movies and TV shows. I used to say some events were too absurd to be believable. But then Trump comes along and everything about his persona and role in American politics is even stranger. He’s expanded our understanding of what is possible.

Everything is faintly ridiculous or completely ridiculous all the time. Like John Bolton bragging about how he arranged coups in foreign countries, the idea being apparently if they aren't going to be a democracy on their own then, hell, we'll force democracy on them!

And Ukraine, amid what was supposed to be an existential crisis (war with Russia), is "considering legislation to legalize same-sex marriage" according to an BBC headline.

It's a perfect storm of such folly such that it can't be an accident, and that a wise Providence is setting us up for a wake-up call. It's only when multiple institutions fail spectacularly that we look upward. 

**

Bill Clinton's Georgetown intellectual mentor, Carroll Quigley, predicted decades ago some of our current trouble: "Aristotelian logic says, 'night is not day and day is not night.' The semanticists answer, 'what is twilight?' and we are expected to abandon Aristotelian logic. If Aristotelian logic says, 'male is not female and vice-versa,' the semanticists say, 'what about homosexuals?' and we are expected to give up Aristotelian logic." ... 

So I got to wondering if the spectacularly successful novel "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides a decade o two ago helped ignite the current trans cult.  The protagonist was a hermaphrodite and so the identity of male versus female for all people was thus, somehow, held in question...

July 13, 2022

Guatemalan Bishop Gerardi and the Jan 6 Problem

Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi was once involved in investigating war crimes and had this to say: 

“Unless we know the truth the wounds of the past will stay open and cannot be healed…..Truth is the primary word, and is what will break this cycle of violence and death and open up the future of hope and light for all.”

He was assassinated for his troubles, alas, but his statement is nevertheless true.  Trump voters will never "move on" until the truth is revealed. 

Speaker McCarthy says everything is ready for the investigation to start after the GOP wins the House but no one believes he will. Kash Patel put on social media that he his phone hasn't rung despite exposing the largest conspiracy in modern gov’t history and having worked for Trump on defense dep’t.

A list of unanswered questions from the last real reporter, Julie Kelly: 

On the eve of the 18-month anniversary of the so-called "insurrection," let's review what we still do not know:

--Identity of pipe bomber or any related investigation

--Role of FBI including informants and undercover agents embedded in the crowd and in "militia" groups

--Who ordered Capitol and DC Metro police to attack crowd outside with explosives incl flashbangs and other weapons such as rubber bullets, chemical spray, and pepper balls?

--Who gave the order to allow protesters into the building?

--Where's the 14k hours of surveillance video?

--Why did sergeant-at-arms for Pelosi and McConnell refuse pleas for extra help on Jan 6, delaying deployment of guardsmen until after 5pm?

--Why did DC Mayor Bowser refuse offer for thousands of guardsmen?

--Where is public testimony of cops involved in lethal, excessive force?

--Where are Pelosi's records re Jan 6?

--And Muriel Bowser's?

--And Capitol Police's?

--And FBIs?

Just like Russiagate and "quid pro quo" impeachment, J6 smoke is a coverup for the regime's underlying fire. Release the tapes.

The death of journalism has necessarily resulted in a death of truth. The lies we’ve been told have been staggering, starting with “covid as a Chinese lab leak is a conspiracy theory” to “Trump colluded with Russia to become president” to “the Hunter Biden laptop is Russian disinformation” to the latest with respect to Jan 6th. 

July 12, 2022

One Line Tuesday

Today, in the style of the Babylon Bee headline, here are a few: 

Hunter Biden Talks Presidential Teleprompter Operator To Include Reference to a “Seymour Buttz”

**

Biden Reads From Teleprompter: “Wait For Applause” (Long Pause Ensues)

**

The Publicity around "the Big Guy” Deal With Chinese Only Upset Biden Because He Looks Like Bad Negotiator For Only Getting 10%

**

Rogue Biden Teleprompter Writer Adds:  “And I’d Like To Recognize Kamala Along With Oliver Klozoff”

**

OpEd: Other Than Incompetent Foreign & Domestic Policy, Poor Communication Skills, A Heart For Division, And A History Of Corruption - Biden Is A Good President!

**

OpEd: Try To Find Someone Who Loves You Like The FBI Loves Ray Epps

**

Study Shows That 9 Of 10 Scientific Studies Are Bogus

**

Man Of Irish-German Heritage Has Clean And Well Ordered Liquor Cabinet

**

Study Finds Democracy Not Transferable to Iraq or U.S. Blue States

**

FBI Denies Being Fourth Branch Of Government Despite Evidence To Contrary

July 08, 2022

Archbishop Sheen's "Declaration of Dependence"

I’m reading Archbishop Sheen’s 1941 book “Declaration of Dependence” and it’s so good. He was a prophet! 

I’m only part of the way through but can see why it’s just gotten re-released. It really speaks to our time and the disillusionment so many Christians feel about our government. 

Some excerpts:

"Political irrationality is used as a contrivance for power. There was once a time when a man blushed at being caught in a contradiction, but the insane or irrational never do. The Communists who berated the Nazis embraced the Nazis without a blush.” 

That goes along with the “death of shame” that I’ve noticed in politics since Bill Clinton.   

Sheen also predicted the crazed unpredictability of modernity (and although he didn’t predict the insanity of  being able to “identify” as a different sex it certainly fits here): 

"Because the spirit of the world is irrational, modern international politics is to a great extent unpredictable. If ideas are only instruments for power, it follows that treaties will be repudiated when they no longer serve power. We can never, for that reason, predict what certain nations will do tomorrow, because they are governed not by reason, which is predictable, but by unrestrained power, which is unpredictable.”

He mentions how WW2 is a smashing our illusions, of how “even Americans had the false optimism" during the last war, WW1, which they thought was the ‘war to end all wars. 

Mom will like this because the Church and Archbishop Sheen are both pessimists about history! He writes on the eve of Pearl Harbor: 

"In a word, everything human, everything historical, has collapsed. Self-destruction stalks the earth...Now that we are disillusioned, where are we going to look for hope? The modern man despairs because his utopian progress has failed. Not so with the Church! Her insight is far more realistic. Never expecting man to be a god, the Church does not feel that all is lost because he turns out to be just a disillusioned man. The perfections for which man is made are free gifts of God to be received through repentance and faith and forgiveness. Man’s despair today is only his proud and impenitent pretension to be independent of God and His love. In this sense, the war is a revelation. It has brought man back to earth, to his misery, to his need of God.”

"The Church is not optimistic about history; it has always seen that the final product of history will be anti-Christ, the concentration of diabolical evil in human souls. And the only way out of that horror will be, not a new social order, but the Second Coming of Christ to judge the living and the dead. Every year in the Gospel of the Mass the Church reminds her children that there will be no perfect state in the world, for while good men sow wheat, evil men sow cockle; and both will be permitted to grow together until the harvest.” 

July 06, 2022

Jan 6 SWAG

Pitched a new Babylon Bee headline:  “FBI Online Gift Shop Now Offering Jan 6 Themed SWAG Including 'This Insurrection Sponsored By The FBI' T-Shirt". 

The best (only?) revenge of the powerless is mockery, in the great Irish tradition under centuries of British rule. 

I recall back in the '90s how Islamic terrorism seemed like just something you had to put up with, sort of a cost of living in a fallen world. Then 9/11 happened and it felt different, a change of perspective given the enormousness of that atrocity. 

Similarly, with the FBI, it seemed like you had to put up with the excesses with J. Edgar Hoover and later Ruby Ridge and Waco. Just a cost of doing business. But the 9/11 event for them was the attempt to take Trump out via the Russian hoax followed by the Jan. 6th Fed production number (with the Whitman prequel). 

They obviously need to be disbanded since they are more a force for evil than good at this point. But unlike bin Laden, the FBI has powerful friends in Congress and media.  I think all or most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis but Saudi Arabia was not punished for 9/11 due to having patronage in D.C., so we took it out on Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, the FBI has great patronage in D.C. so it looks like the plan is to take it out on Trump and the Jan 6 trespassers.

July 03, 2022

In Praise of Rosaries, Scapulars and Indulgences

It occurred to me how consoling and healing it was reading “The Secret of the Rosary” back in grade school. The post-Vatican II response to the promises around the Rosary, as well as around the wearing of the scapular, were intended to discourage us and for us to see it as bordering on superstition. I was influenced in that direction certainly. Even the gospel’s miracle stories were de-emphasized, such as the Feeding of the Five Thousand reduced to a sermon on sharing. 


But the promises of the Rosary and scapular and indulgences seem a necessary antidote to the Pelagianism of our age. Nothing quite expresses the power of grace and God’s love like pondering the promises of those devotions and by implication the feebleness of man’s works compared to God’s. Instead, we tend to think man’s works and thoughts are determinative and prayer an add-on like the A-1 sauce on a steak. The pragmatism of our age whispers that only the material matters.  Or, if religiously bent, that only one's actions matter.  But the devotions mentioned above give unexpected power to the weak and confer benefits non-material. 

**

 Justice Clarence Thomas in new book "Created Equal":

“I went off to school and I took all sorts of philosophy and took history, took theology. You read, you thought about things. Later in life, I was thinking back on my life, and I thought after all of that, the person who had the greatest influence and probably the most accurate was Sister Mary Dolorosa in the second grade in 1955 as we were beginning the Baltimore Catechism. She would say, “Why did God create us?” And the answer was pretty uniform—a whole group of second graders answered in unison: “God created us to know, love, and serve him in this life and be happy with him in the next.” So that’s pretty simple. After all the existentialism, having studied metaphysics, nihilists, you’ve been through all these, and you come back to Sister Mary Dolorosa and the second grade in September 1955. It seemed to me in a lot of ways that life was a circle that you started in one place, went away, and came back.”

July 01, 2022

Conservatism: A Rediscovery

Reading the book “Conservatism: A Rediscovery” and it’s pretty enlightening. Edmund Burke is not the gradualist he gets the reputation for.  Hazony makes the case that it's not the documents or government structure that allows us to thrive, it’s the culture and the people. I think there's a temptation to want to believe there's a "system" (especially for this computer programmer) when, of course, humans are complex, irreducible, and dependent on God. 

We found out, the hard way, in 2004 that democracy and the rule of law were not easily transplantable in the infertile cultural soil of Iraq. But what we learned of late is that democracy and the rule of law is also not salvageable in the infertile soil of modern America. It all makes sense now, what’s happening, when you see it with the eyes that our Constitution is only as good as the people who enforce it (or don’t enforce it). The edifice or false idol is the Constitution; what made us great is a nationalism (common language, law, religion) and the Bible. The sacred founding documents were a kind of “fiat currency”, i.e. only as good as the faith the people had in them and that faith was ultimately dependent on faith in the culture and traditions and religion of Anglo-Americanism. 

**

Delivered a shot at company leadership yesterday. Human Resources put out a non-sequitur email saying they are evaluating potential changes to our benefits in response to the recent Dobbs Supreme Court decision. I responded to the HR person and cc’d the CEO saying that I hope we provide additional benefits to those choosing to keep their unborn child rather than encourage or facilitate the opposite. No response obviously. 

It’s kind of a crazy world when a decision to turn the abortion decision back to the states where it belonged is greeted with hysteria. But our CEO understands his audience - he’s always been interested in millennial generation and he’s big on insights about them - and one of the insights is the famous “snowflake” metaphor in which they are fragile flowers easily upset by political events like Trump winning the presidency or now Dobbs. So he has to massage them with either actual benefit changes or instilling this temporarily hope for them that the company will “push back against that evil Supreme Court”. 

June 29, 2022

Trump Associate John Eastman's Phone Seizure

Heard podcast with a documentary director (Michael Pack) in which he talks about the effectiveness of lies:  “What happens is that if you’re not thinking about it you just absorb the narrative. If you don’t have a counter-narrative to set against it, you can’t just disbelieve everything you’re told, some of it just comes in.“ 

So the January 6th committee may well be successful towards it's goal, that of narrative-setting.  To the extent it goes unchallenged by enough outlets, it trickles down eventually. You can't disbelieve everything. 

I’m trying to square Trump’s supposed involvement with how Kash Patel testified under oath that Trump asked for 20,000 troops if need be a couple days before the 6th. Did Trump suddenly become thirsty for violence on the 6th while he wasn’t on the 4th? 

Patel testified that the president, on his own, told Patel and Gen'l Milley: “if you guys need 20,000 National Guard in the coming days you have my authorization”.  

We know if Milley had said anything to the committee contradicting Patel’s statement there's a 100% certainty it would’ve been leaked. 

**

Trump associate & constitutional lawyer John Eastman had his iPhone seized and was only shown the warrant after it was seized.  (The 4th and 5th amendments apparently now regarded as optional.)

Additionally, the FBI held the phone up to Eastman's face so that they could access the phone. Civil libertarian Kurt Opshal tweeted: "The Eastman phone seizure warrant illustrates how a password can provide more legal protection than fingerprint or facial unlock."

Hell hath no fury like a Deep State scorned.  Smart phones are pretty dangerous instruments these days. I recall what a lawyer said on "60 Minutes" years ago, how lawyers have the real power in this country and they can single out winners and losers at will. But then so do corporations.  

**

Fwiw, this quote seems reasonably true enough of our own leaders with respect to the border problems and their attitude towards blue collar Trump voters: 

"All empires fail because of arrogance, ignorance, and because they treat the very people who made their empire with utter disdain.” 

June 27, 2022

Let's Play...What's on a Bishop's Shelves?

Is it nosy to examine a bishop’s bookshelves when he’s videotaping from, presumably, his office? 

I did take a gander at our new bishop's YouTube message and here’s some of what’s on the shelves (besides a Bible): 

“Left to tell” by ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza

“Catholic Mission and Culture in Colleges and Universities: Defining Documents: 1965-2014”

Historical fiction novels of Ellis Peters involving suspense in Middle Ages

A book by or about Pope Benedict XVI

“Stewards of the Mysteries of God Immaculate Conception Seminary, 1860-2010”

“In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing”

**

Whilst I'm here and as we wind down the best month of the year (Sacred Heart month), a good message from Amy Welborn:

“In a time and culture in which hardly any of us understand what love actually is, in which we seem to be surrounded by dehumanizing hate and horrifying violence as well as public discourse characterized by contempt and judgment, a daily prayer (you can find some here) focused simply on love might just have surprising power.

‘O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness.’

In a time and culture in which human beings hear, from the moment that they can understand words, that they will be valued for their abilities, their achievements and their appearance, to hear the Good News that no, this is not so, that a Heart pours out love for us just because we *are* – can mean the difference between life and death.”