The Greatest Show on Earth

Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey has reached the end of its run. They are closing down. Their last shows will be in May of this year.

Not to worry, however.

The Greatest Show on Earth is about to begin.

Keep your eye on the center ring. That's where the clowns are. The clown in the orange hair is for the moment the main star, but keep your eye on the ringmaster. That's the fellow running around with no shirt. A lot of spectators think he's the Strong Man, and in one sense he is, but he is really the ringmaster. He goes by 'Bad Vlad,' and he's a downhome hoot.

He is an accomplished puppet master, too.

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing is a sort of heroic figure in the DC Comics world. He '... fights to protect his swamp home, the environment in general, and humanity from various supernatural or terrorist threats.'

He's a good guy, in other words.

Our Donald has made 'draining the swamp' synonymous with cleaning out the cronyism, corruption, fossilization, of Washington. The Congress. The gummint in general.

So when we use the term 'Swamp Thing' in reference to one of Our Donald's political and financial cronies, we are not referring to a heroic figure. Quite the opposite.

Our latest 'Swamp Thing' is Steven Mnuchin, Our Donald's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

It seems that Mnuchin has acquired huge piles of personal wealth. Much more so than anyone really understood. This has come out in the recent confirmation hearings.

Mnuchin's initial disclosures showed that he had a net worth of as much as $400 million, but just before his confirmation hearing Jan. 19, he subsequently disclosed additional real estate holdings valued at nearly $100 million, which he said his lawyer had mistakenly omitted from the first document.

So much so, that Mnuchin doesn't even miss a hundred million or so bucks. It slipped by his lawyers, and it slipped by him. Or so he says.

In his revised questionnaire, Mr. Mnuchin disclosed several additional financial assets, including $95 million worth of real estate — a co-op in New York City, a residence in Southampton, New York, a residence in Los Angeles, California, and $15 million in real estate holdings in Mexico,” Democratic staff members of the Senate Finance Committee wrote in a memo on Thursday. “Mr. Mnuchin has claimed these omissions were due to a misunderstanding of the questionnaire.


Asked about the omissions at the hearing, Mr. Mnuchin described them as a simple mistake made amid a mountain of bureaucracy.

A hunnert million bux.

We do not live in the same universe, you and me, and this character. Who can not notice a hundred million dollars?

A Goldman-Sachs robber baron, as Secretary of the Treasury. Talk about a fox in the henhouse. Or Swamp Thing, wallowing in the decaying sewage of the national cesspool of politics and greed.


"Do you smell what I smell?"

No, not a new Christmas carol.

First on CNN: Trump's Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it

Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.


Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented.

Swamp gas. That's what you smell. Oozing out of Trump's cabinet.

Smokin' some Hopium

Tumult surrounds Trump days ahead of his presidency

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, however, said Trump has a mandate even as Democrats point out he lost the popular vote and question the legitimacy of his victory.

"Donald Trump won a landslide election," Pence said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "The American people spoke decisively, they wanted change and I promise ... come noon this coming Friday, change really begins and we are going to make America great again."

"Mandate?" "Landslide?" I'd like some of the Hopium that Pence is smoking.

The Democrats are wrong about Trump not being 'legitimate.' Sadly, he is. But he lost the popular vote by a good measure, and his electoral college win was 46th out of 58 elections. That's hardly a 'mandate', or a 'landslide.'

"His approval rating stood at 44% a week before the inauguration, according to Gallup. President Barack Obama was at 83% at the equivalent moment, George W. Bush was at 61% and Bill Clinton at 68%.

A Pew Research poll found that 39% of Americans approve of the way Trump has outlined his policies while a Quinnipiac poll put his approval rating at 37% last week."

Repeating ... that's hardly a 'mandate', or a 'landslide.'


How MLK can get you out of your 'Trump Slump'

"For them, Donald Trump is a champion, a truth-teller who takes on the elites and will restore America's greatness. But there are other Americans who have been mired in a stupor since election night. If President Barack Obama seemed to them like the fulfillment of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, then Trump represents their nightmare."

Really? It's 'either/or?' Obama never seemed to us like the fulfillment of much of anything. Neither does Trump, and neither would have Hillary, but especially Trump. All either of them would have done, have done, is embarrass the nation and play the political scoundrel/horse's ass.

How about those of us who voted, then went outside and vomited, literally or figuratively?

The Liberation Tradition

Fr. Richard goes on about liberation theology this morning.

"I would like to assert that the theme of liberation is the largest frame in which to understand spirituality. The term liberation theology has a negative connotation for some people. It sounds like something heretical, leftist, or Marxist, and certainly not biblical. In real fact, it is at the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition and marks the tradition’s very beginning. It is amazing that much of Christianity has been able to avoid the obvious for so long, probably because many of us read history from the top down and seldom from the bottom up, which is the recurring perspective of both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures."

He is correct about the 'negative connotation' for some people. No less a personage that Pope Emeritus Benedict had strong negative feelings about it.The murderous right-wing fascist regimes supported by the United States in Central and South America didn't like it, either.

Martin Luther King, Jr, however, understood the concept and its biblical foundation quite well.

If our president-elect can take a break from beating up John Lewis on Twitter, and do a bit of thinking for a change, he might understand it as well.


The 'Christian' Way

Oh hoo hoo hoo ... this is a good one. Linda Bean claims to be a 'Christian,' yet when it comes to being boycotted, she has a hissy fit. 'Christians' are the masters of the boycott threat. Happy holidays? Boycott 'em! Crush 'em! Drive 'em into bankruptcy! Kill all the jobs of those stockers and cashiers and floor moppers! It's the 'Christian' Way!

Linda Bean Calls Boycott ‘Un-American,’ Trump Says Thank You in Tweet

Speaking of Un-American ...

Fairly typical, from L.L. Bean.

AFA, that paragon of 'Christian' values and behaviors, even publishes a list, so RealChristians™ know which businesses to try to drive into righteous bankruptcy.

But fortunately, not everyone agrees, though of course we all know that Relevant is a hangout for all those Emerging Churchers/New Agers/Millennials/SJW types and so on. 

and ... trouble in Paradise? This is from the Lewiston, ME L.L. Bean plant:

Photo from the New York Times


"Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out!"

Many of us have probably seen that t-shirt. If not, here it is.

The statement is based on an instruction given by Arnaud Almaric back in 1209.

Drawing upon a Wiki article ...

Arnaud Amalric to one of his minions, at the sack of Beziers in 1209. Amalric was a papal legate sent by Pope Innocent III to try to convert the heretic Albigensians. He failed, and then slaughtered them. At Beziers, one of his men asked him, "How do we distinguish the heretics from the true Catholics?" Amalric said, "Kill them all. For the Lord knoweth them that are his."

That's where we get the "Kill 'em all" comment.

Our Donald is fond of going on about killing the families of terrorists. His followers, especially  the Eighty Percent, sucked that down like Obama's minions slurped the purple SEIU Kool-Aid.

It isn't a particularly 'Christian' view, but that doesn't bother the Eighty Percent.

The Trumpkins really like this Internet meme; they seem to think that Mattis would be the kind of SecDef that would do this kind of thing 'because he's tough.'

The Trumpkins seem to think that James Mattis is modern day incarnation of Arnaud Almaric. He is not. He has this to say about killing non-combatants, including families of terrorists:

"While Trump has espoused killing the families of terrorists, if necessary, Mattis wrote in a 56-page questionnaire: “The killing of non-combatants  in a war against a non-state enemy violates Common Article 3 the Geneva Conventions. Legal questions aside, it is my view that such actions would be self-defeating and a betrayal of our ideals.”

If the Trumpkins are expecting a SecDef who will advocate for the slaughter of Muslims around the world, they are going to be disappointed.

We are not going to get moral leadership from Trump and his circle of sycophants. We stand to get that from James Mattis. Mattis, for all the hubris surrounding him - most of it generated by an ignorant press and an even more ignorant public - is well-read, thoughtful, and fully aware of the cost of prosecuting a war. Trump - Ol' Heel Spurs - thinks it's kind of like banging your way through college and not catching any nasty social diseases.

All that aside, slicing off that fellow's testicles - if it's even true -  has not in the least dissuaded radical Islamists from attacking Russia or Russians:

Radical Islamists from Chechnya and other North Caucasian republics have been held responsible for a number of terrorist attacks throughout Russia, most notably the Russian apartment bombings in 1999, the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002, the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the Domodedovo International Airport bombing in 2011.

And how well did that Afghanistan experience work out for the Soviets and the Russians?


George Bailey, Clarence, and Martin Luther

So we are watching the outstanding lecture series on Martin Luther, by R.C. Sproul. It's on Amazon Prime. A 10 part series, 24 minutes each.

Along about part 6, Ol' R.C is on a roll about how Luther's knickers are in a twist over indulgences. R.C. cites Tetzel's famous jingle, "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs," which apparently drove Luther right up the wall.

This recently being the Christmas season, we re-watched that old fave, "It's a Wonderful Life!" I had never made the connection between Tetzel and the twist on his jingle - "Every time a bell rings, it's an angel getting his wings!" until R.C. brought up the jingle in his lecture. The recent watching of the flick banged right in with the jingle and made it click.

It dawned on me at that moment that the flick is a fine piece of Roman propaganda; the real star of the flick is not George Bailey, but Clarence, the poor soul in Purgatory struggling to get out. Though he has faith, he needs the works. George becomes his project. The whole flick is a understated theological statement in support of the Roman church's position on faith, works, justification and sanctification, and the natural order of those things.

It never dawned on me, because I'm a recovering Catlick and the whole storyline makes perfect sense in the context of the One True Church's teachings.

What surprises me, however, is the number of Protestants who miss it completely. It's a Catholic flick, through and through, though not one priest or preacher do you see, and IIRC, George, in his desperation, makes but one reference to God. Apparently Protestants do not make the connection between Clarence (played by Henry Travers) being in a sort of limbo, not yet having his wings, and the entire concept of Purgatory, a concept which usually drives them up the Lutherian wall.

R.C. does a fine job of explaining the real focus of the Reformation in Parts 8 and 9. Though ol' R.C is a staunch Reformed theologian (read that 'hard core Calvinist) he is a great speaker, and despite the obvious Calvinist errors-of-theory is otherwise right on the money, this series is really a 'must watch.'

The Fifth Domain

Traditionally, warfare comprised two 'domains,' land and sea.

When aircraft entered the warfighting scenario, air was added as The Third Domain of Warfare, though 'Up, Up, and Away' did not enter into it.

Then, space became the fourth domain.

Back in June, NATO officially declared cyberspace to be The Fifth Domain. This is significant because now a major cyber attack on an alliance member can trigger Article 5 of the treaty:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security. 

The thinking:

The concept was exposed by the NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to the media.

“A severe cyber-attack may be classified as a case for the alliance. Then NATO can and must react,” Stoltenberg said in an interview to the Bild newspaper. “How, that will depend on the severity of the attack,” 

Stoltenberg explained that the NATO intends to respond to any assault against its members, including a cyber attack that could be considered as an act of war.

That opens the door to armed response, with conventional weapons, to cyber attacks. The idea of shoving a cruise missile up the bungholes of Bad Vlad's boys and girls as they sit in the basement of Lubyanka Square, videotaping Trump's bedroom antics, just moved up a few rungs in the options ladder.

Meanwhile,  Raytheon is sponsoring a new hub for cybersecurity:

The Fifth Domain

That is to launch next week. That will be an interesting site to follow.


Hoist by his own petard

Here's a pretty good editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of CNN as purveyors of 'fake news.' Presumably, because they were not. In fact, it's a stretch to accuse BuzzFeed of publishing fake news; BF never claimed it was true. All they did was publish the documents, with this caveat: "The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors."

Editorial - With Trump 'bombshell,' fake news gains new life

The last paragraph is the best:

Turnabout is not necessarily fair play, but it bears noting that Trump spent years casting doubt on Barack Obama's citizenship. He has tweeted patently false statistics about black-on-white crime, asserted that global warming is a Chinese plot and claimed he watched "thousands" of people in Jersey City cheer when the Twin Towers fell, among an endless train of blatant lies. If America has grown overly tolerant of political lies, perhaps nobody bears more blame for that than the subject of what may be the latest one.

Meanwhile ... The thing about Ol' Gaslight paying hookers to urinate on the same bed in which the Obamas slept ... I dunno if it's true, but having watched the totally irrational ravings of the far right for the last eight years, over birth certificates and closet Muslimness and a somewhat swishy penchant for arugula, based on nothing but colonic vapors and a venal maliciousness that defies all sense of propriety, making a mockery of Christ's New Commandment ... it fits with Ol' Gaslight's mindset. That last is important because of The Eighty Percent, the four out of five white evangelical 'Christians' who voted for Trump. Tell me again how that John 13:34 thing works? I dunno if the golden shower thing is true but I certainly would not be surprised if it were. But at this point, what difference does it make. It's just 'locker room' stuff.  Like going on about grabbing wimmin by (insert descriptive term of choice). Apparently everyone does it; so ... doesn't everyone pay hookers to pee on them?

None of Ol' Gaslight's 'locker room' talk bothered in the least The Eighty Percent. I guess the Moral Majority is not quite so moral these days ... as if they ever were.

I'm thinking Daniel Craig should play the MI6 agent, Michael Kitchen (or perhaps Kenneth Branagh) can play the British ambassador, Dustin Hoffman can play Comey, Denzel can play The Big O, Adam Sandler can play McCain, they can hire some skinny hooker to play Melania and another to play Ivanka, Charley Sheen can play Jared Kustner ... and Ol' Gaslighter can be played by ... drrrrrrrrrummmmmmmroolllllllllll ... Alec Baldwin.

Puerile Petulance

Ol' Gaslight is having hissy fits over CNN publishing the thing about The Not-So-Secret Memos.

He claims it's 'false news.'

Well ... CNN never said the memos were true.

In fact, CNN didn't publish the memos at all.

The intel chiefs gave the memo to Ol' Gaslight when they briefed him. That is fact.

CNN reported that the intel chiefs gave the memo to Ol' Gaslight. They did. That is fact.

How is that 'false news?'

Here is a good article on this from The Atlantic:

What CNN's report on Russia and Trump says and doesn't say

But wait! There's more!

Fifteen lies from Trump's press conference

Grow up, Donald. Your tantrums are beyond tiresome.


The honeymoon is over, Donald

and it wasn't much of one.

A couple of excerpts:

...the Quinnipiac poll shows a drop in confidence in Trump across the board. Although 59 percent were optimistic about the next four years under Trump in November, today that number is 52 percent. While 41 percent thought he would be a better leader than President Obama, it’s now 34 percent. While 52 percent thought he would help the nation's economy, it’s now 47 percent. While 40 percent thought his policies would help their personal financial situation, it’s now 27 percent. While 53 percent thought he’d take the country in the right direction, it’s now 45 percent.


Trump won the election, which in his mind — and in the minds of many analysts — would seem to have vindicated his brand of politics and many of the decisions he made on the campaign trail. He got elected, so it all must have been secret political genius!

That’s not really how things work, though. Trump squeaked his way into the White House with a very narrow win in which he got 46 percent of the vote, won the states he needed to by less than a point, and lost the national popular vote, as voters told pollsters said they had huge reservations about him.

That's the interesting thing. The ones who are swooning over Our Donald's every word, copy/pasting all the whacko Internet memes and blatantly fake stories from the fringe right 'news' sites seem to be mostly The Eighty Percent.  The four out of five white evangelical 'Christians' who voted for Trump. They were and are the most heavily addicted Kool-Aid drinkers. The rest of the people who voted for Trump are the ones who voted, then went outside and puked, either literally or figuratively.


Frida Ghitis has written a pretty good opinion piece illustrating how Our Donald is using the Gaslight Gambit to screw with the collective American mind.

Donald Trump is 'gaslighting' all of us

Here is a good, non-technical explanation of the term, from Wiki:


It's a technique that is far more widespread than most people realize. Here is an excerpt from the Wiki article:

Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically are also convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent. Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both, lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions.

Gaslighting also occurs in examples of school bullying – when combined with other psychological and physical methods, the result can lead to long-lasting psychological disorders and even progress into illnesses such as depression or avoidant personality disorder. Gaslighting describes a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity: "Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the woman's reactions. […] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations."

That's Trump to a 'T.'

As Ghitis points out in her opinion piece, Trump is an accomplished Gaslighter; he pulled it off continually throughout the campaign, and is still doing it today. Her article is well worth a read.


Monica Crowley and HarperCollins

The nonsense about the Starbucks CEO is yet another shameless lie being circulated by TrueAmericans™ (basically Trump supporters, since everyone else is a collection of hopelessly stupid Godless libtards). It doesn't take much effort to refute this kind of garbage, as we see in this article from Christian Post.
I always thought gossip-mongering was one of the great sins (though you would never know it from most churches); apparently if you are a Trumpkin, gossiping, spreading lies, and other forms of character assassination are just fine. Perhaps God makes an exception for Trumpkins?
He must. Look at the Monica Crowley scandal.
The evidence that Trump's pick for his 'national security team' is a lying fake is clear and overwhelming. Yet Team Trump takes this position:
"Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country," the spokesperson said."
Apparently HarperCollins doesn't share that view; the publisher is pulling her book. Much in the same way that Thomas Nelson pulled the book of that other charlatan, David Barton.
Monica joins the ranks of literary thieves. It's not the first time she has done it, which one would think would have given HarperCollins pause before accepting Crowley's 'conservative' nonsense for publication in the first place.
Crowley plagiarized part of a Wall Street Journal article back in 1999.
The scandal widens, however. In addition to stealing content for her book, she is now accused of plagiarizing for her PhD dissertation.
Crowley brings new meaning to the term, "Piled Higher and Deeper."
Doesn't faze the Trumpkins, though. It's all very interesting, considering that one of the main objections to Clinton, by the Trumpkins, is her incessant lying. An immoral man cannot provide moral leadership, and a constituency that will accept that immorality, is by extension, just as immoral.
I think what this all means is this: If a Trump supporter tells you something, you can assume he/she/it is lying. Truth, despite all their Outrage!™ matters not to them. This is particularly interesting, given that so many of the Trumpkins claim to be "Christians."
The excuse most frequently offered by the Trumpkins is ...'well, the libtards do it!'
Based on that incredibly ignorant logic, Jesus should have taken the hook during the Temptations by Satan. Jesus' logic? "What the hell, Satan does it ...". It fits the logic of the 'Christian' Right perfectly.


Fr. Richard Rohr's theme for the year

Fr. Richard Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, down in Albuquerque. He is one of our favorite writers and thinkers.

Fr. Richard sets the stage for the year's meditational theme, with today's blog posting.

You can find it here, along with the means to sign up for his daily mediations and other thinkings, here.

This meditation is longer than usual, but I think it will give us a solid foundation to build on in the year ahead. I want to state at the beginning the way I have formed my own pattern of interpreting Scripture. Then we can build “from the bottom up” (which is our theme for the year).

Hermeneutics is the technical word for a method of interpreting sacred texts. If someone does not have a consistent and declared hermeneutic, their understanding of Scripture is whimsical and subjective. A good and solid biblical teacher must come clean about their manner of interpretation early on, or you have no foundation for trusting what they say. Just saying, “It is in Scripture,” as most do, is largely meaningless, because anyone can find a workable “proof text” for whatever they want to believe somewhere in the Bible. This is why many have so little trust in Christians today.

We will move forward on our “tricycle” of faith only with three good wheels:  Tradition, Scripture, and Experience. (This week we will discuss Scripture; the following two weeks we will explore Tradition and Experience.) If we leave off any of these three wheels, our interpretations of Scripture and reality will be unstable and biased according to our egoic need of the moment.

Christians who say “only Scripture” end up being unconsciously dishonest and inconsistent, because they are relying on their own “tradition” of interpreting those Scriptures (without acknowledging it). Even more importantly, we must recognize that we cannot not rely upon our own experience. There is no such thing as a completely unbiased opinion! Since we all use tradition and experience anyway, why not admit it and thereby hold ourselves accountable?

Let’s all start being honest, or we end up saying, in effect: “We have a tradition of not believing in tradition!” Catholics loved to say we relied upon the Great Tradition, but this usually meant “the way we have done it the last hundred years here in Italy (or England or Germany, etc.).” What we consider “sin” changes every century or so. Most of our operative images of God come primarily from our early experiences of authority in family and culture. Then we find the Scriptures to validate them!

If we try to use “only Scripture” as our methodology, we will get stuck early on, because many passages give very conflicting and even opposite images of God. I believe that Jesus only quoted those Scriptures that he could validate by his own experience. At the same time, if we humans trust only our own experiences, we will be trapped in subjective moods and personal preferences. But if we can verify that at least some holy people and orthodox teachers (Tradition), and some solid Scripture also validates our own experiences, we can be more confident that we are in the force field of the Holy Spirit and participating in God’s sacred work in this world. This is how we know inside “the communion of saints,” as the Apostles’ Creed calls it.

Jesus and Paul clearly use and build on their own Jewish Scriptures and Tradition, yet they both courageously interpret them through the lens of their own unique personal experience of God. This is undeniable! We would do well to follow their examples.

I’ve often said the Bible is the best book in the world and the worst book in the world. It is the worst when it is used for bullying and self-justification; it is the best when it is used for the healing of the world and for transformation of the self. Obviously, God intended the latter.

My methodology and hermeneutic is almost too simple: I will try to read Scripture and Tradition the way that Jesus did. This is precisely what Christians should mean when we speak of understanding the Hebrew Scriptures “in the light of Christ.” This is not “supersessionism” (the belief that Christianity supersedes Judaism); it is just healthy developmental thinking. In this way, there is no such thing as an “Old Testament” because now it can always be fresh and timely! If Jesus (who of course was Jewish) is our interpretive key, it demands that we take Jewish texts and history more seriously than ever before, which will allow us to appreciate the actual context and culture inside of which Jesus taught, but to also recognize the trajectory that they—and the Christian Scriptures—create forward!

To take the Scriptures seriously is not to take them literally. Literalism is invariably the lowest and least level of meaning. Most biblical authors understood this, which is why they were free to take so many liberties with what Westerners would call “facts.” In many ways, we have moved backward in our ability to read spiritual and transformative texts. I am afraid we have for too long used the Bible merely to prove various church positions, which narrows its range and depth. Instead of transforming people, the Bible has become merely utilitarian and handy ammunition against others.

Serious reading of Scripture will allow you to find an ever-new spiritual meaning for the liberation of history and your own soul. You discover that the text holds truth on many levels, instead of trying to prove it is true on mere factual or historical levels. Sacred texts will always maximize your possibilities for life, love, and inclusion, which is precisely why we call them sacred.

Gateway to Silence:

Your word is a light for my path. —Psalms 119:105


Adapted from Richard Rohr, Yes, And . . . : Daily Meditations (Franciscan Media: 2013), ix-x; and

Scripture as Liberation, disc 1 (CAC: 2002), MP3 download.

A taste of Trumpian reality

Here is a good article on the Monica Crowley plagiarism scandal, from WaPo:

The Trump Team's embarrassing defense of fraudulence

A few choice excerpts:

His team’s latest attempt to disorient the public came in response to a CNN investigation that found more than 50 plagiarized passages in a 2012 book by Trump’s choice to be deputy national security adviser, Monica Crowley. The Trump transition team’s response? “Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”


The statement is a wonderful example of how Trump’s private universe works: If it’s beneficial to him, or flattering to people in his circle, then it’s true. If it’s unflattering, then it’s not merely false, it’s the result of malicious political motivations. And this particular attempt to push back against criticism suggests just how little is stable, unchanging and unerringly true in Trumpland.

Whether or not Crowley plagiarized large sections of her book is a factual question, not a partisan one. There is no sensible world in which copying someone else’s words is literary theft if you’re a Democrat, but an act of original creation if you’re a Republican. Your party affiliation does not change the answer to the question: Did Crowley write an original book on her own, or did she steal other people’s work and pass it off as her own for reasons only she can clarify?

The CNN reportage leaves little to the imagination regarding whether or not Crowley lifted the work of others.

What is truly astounding, what continues to be truly astounding, is how Trump and his Trumpkins can simply ignore facts, and react with the most blatant lies and truth-twisting ... all of which is sucked down like the world's most delicious Kool-Aid by Trumpkins.

Truth is of no consequence to Trump and his henchmen. It just gets in the way.

Ike speaks.

Straight from Isaiah 40 this morning, in the morning mailbag. No ... not Ike himself, but like, you know ... one of those daily devotional thingies.

21 - Do you not know?
     Have you not heard?
     Has it not been told you from the beginning?
     Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 - He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
     and its people are like grasshoppers.
     He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
     and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 - He brings princes to naught
     and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

So ... Trump has been anointed by God ...

No ... wait ... Ike is talking about God, not Trump ...

Huh. Do you suppose we should tell The Eighty Percent?

Nah. Anyone who thinks an immoral man can provide moral leadership is almost certainly beyond reason anyway.

Of course, the same applies to an immoral woman ... which is why we were screwed no matter what.

So we can take it as Gospel (in a manner of speaking) that Trump is the next president ... but we don't have to like it, and we don't have to drink the Kool-Aid and embrace his nonsense as though he is truly the Savior of the Nation.


"She was askin' for it ..."

We've all heard that one.

The female college student (they used to be called 'co-eds') who goes to a frat party, gets drunk enough to puke through her nose ... and ends up being used as a sexual punchboard by a collection of drunken frat boys.

I think we can all agree that the female in question clearly wasn't overly bright.

But to blame her for the crimes while downplaying the fratties' animal behavior is so much nonsense.

So too is the latest out of Our Donald's 'team.'

The Russian hacks are all the Dems' fault.

There's no question that the Dems were - still are, for that matter - dumber than dog poop over all this, and more.

But that makes the assault against the nation by the Russians ...the Dems' fault?


That follows the same 'logic' as blaming the co-ed for getting gang-banged.

I'm seriously beginning to wonder if Our Donald really isn't a Manchurian candidate of some kind. Yeah, I know ... it sounds like a wild-eyed conspiracy thing. But hey ... the birthers kept  the 'Obama's a Kenyan' and 'Obama's a Muslim pretender' thing going for years with absolutely no evidence to support either position. A lot of GOPers still believe both. Of course, going with a bit of stupidity because 'the Democrats did/do it!' is a favorite mantra of the GOP ... so I guess we'll pass on the Manchurian candidate thing, and just chalk it up to the GOP being ... the GOP.

But we do seem to have a president-elect, who, along with his staff, clearly have Russian interests at heart more than those of the United States. How many times to we have to have it shoved in our faces?

Stupid people ... and fools

Our Donald's latest Twit:

"Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only 'stupid' people, or fools, would think that it is bad, We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!" Trump tweeted.

Implicit in the latest Trumpian edict is the 'thought' (we use the term loosely in connection with Our Donald) that if you question Russian motives; if you question Russian actions; if you don't buy the Trumpian position that all this stuff about Russian hacking is so much nonsense ... then you must be 'stupid' or a 'fool.'

Considering that Trump is so busy swappin' spit with Bad Vlad and wouldn't recognize a threat to national security if it were to waltz into his office and crap all over his gold-plated desk accouterments ... that's probably a compliment to those of us who remember the Cold War, and don't see any real difference between the mindsets of the old Soviet leadership and the current Russian leadership. After all ... they are the same people, their lies and protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. This is a leopard that has not changed its spots.

The whole thing now centers on Trump's ego. The Trumpkins don't care about the security of the United States and the threat presented by Soviet ... uh ... Russian ... hacking.

Trump just can't stand the idea that he had to have Bad Vlad's help to win; that he didn't win on the strength of his own thuggish personality; that he didn't win on his good looks and political skills.

It's all about him.

Just what the country needs ...

Truman had that 'The buck stops here' thing on his desk. What is Trump going to have? 'Stupid is as stupid does'?