Author: russell1

Healthy Shame Woefully Absent in Washington, DC

By Brian C. Joondeph

Righteous and appropriate indignation was on full display at last week’s Senate hearing over sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  From the Democrats, it was the usual outrage they have had since Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016.  From Judge Kavanaugh, we witnessed a heartfelt human reaction to a good and decent man being accused by the despicable left of being a serial rapist in high school, between his time studying, going to church, and playing sports.

How did the Senate process of “advise and consent” deteriorate into a Supreme Court nominee having to detail his teenage sexual chastity on an international media stage?

Shaming a guiltless person before others inflicts humiliation, disgrace, and disrepute on an entire family – shame without guilt.  This is what the left has been throwing at Judge Kavanaugh and his family for weeks, shaming him through allegations and insinuations of being a sexual predator, a rapist, an alcoholic, even a pedophile, along with death threats to him and his family.

Ironically, these claims are diametrically opposed to the impression millions of Americans have after hearing Kavanaugh’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Or from the scores of Kavanaugh’s friends and classmates who have rallied to his defense.  Or from his former law clerks and legal associates.

Is it any surprise that he came out swinging before the Senate committee?  He was shamed on an international stage, humiliated and disgraced over bogus, politically motivated, and unsubstantiated accusations of sexual impropriety.  Imagine any of us being in his position, or any of our sons, fathers, husbands, or brothers.  A weaker person than Judge Kavanaugh would go into seclusion or commit suicide under the withering attacks occurring on a daily basis, blasting from every television and newspaper.

What is obvious is that the American left has no shame, no conscience.  From Democrat senators Blumenthal, Feinstein, and Booker to Republican counterparts Flake, Collins, and Murkowski, all are happy to participate in the destruction of a decent man and his family to protect abortion or for revenge against a president they don’t like – followed in lockstep by the media, driven by a rabid obsession to destroy anything and everything related to President Trump.

And don’t forget NeverTrump Republicans, happy to sit quietly on the sidelines while everything they have embraced for decades is thrown on the scrap heap, as long as Trump’s agenda suffers.  Where are Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney?  Wasn’t Kavanaugh on top of their list of Supreme Court nominees if they won the White House in 2012?  Why aren’t they leading the charge to defend Kavanaugh?

What drives such hatred and lack of healthy shame, conscience, or human decency?

Committee Democrats, channeling their inner teenage mean girl personas, nitpicked over 30-year-old entries in Kavanaugh’s calendar, suddenly interested in each and every word or expression from a teenage boy’s diary of events at the time. They accused him of being a passing-out drunk, not remembering the rape train parties that were part of his Jesuit high school life, between football practice and church.

Not finding the smoking gun they sought, some senators preferred to bloviate.  One in particular stepped in it big time, based on his own personal life story.  His words illustrate clearly his own lack of healthy shame and represent so much of what’s wrong in Congress and the Deep State.

Connecticut’s Senator Richard Blumenthal is best known for repeatedly lying about serving in Vietnam.  Even far-left Snopes confirmed Blumenthal’s “handful of false and misleading statements.”  Perhaps this is an affliction of New England senators, as John Kerry also misrepresented his Vietnam war activities, and his tall tales backfired on him during his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2004.  And don’t forget the late Ted Kennedy, another New England senator.

During the Kavanaugh hearings last week, Senator Blumenthal invoked a legal concept, “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.”  Translated, this means “false in one thing, false in everything” – that a witness who is untruthful in one portion of his testimony is not credible in any matter.  The one falsehood disqualifies any further assertions, regardless of the veracity of any further testimony.

Senator Blumenthal, forgetful of his previous Vietnam falsehood, stepped in it bigly, actually impugning himself during his remarks.  Trying to impugn Judge Kavanaugh, he actually disqualified himself from rendering judgment on virtually anything.  False in one thing – his Vietnam service – false in everything – his arguments against the Kavanaugh confirmation.

This was the same Senator Blumenthal who, like most of the Hollywood hyenas, was convinced that Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Ford, was credible before ever meeting her or hearing a word she had to say.

Will the media notice this?  No way.  Instead, they are apoplectic over Kavanaugh’s heartfelt self-defense, believing that Republican men deserve scorn and derision simply because they live and breathe.

The hypocrisy is lost on the hypocrites.  Smarmy Senator Blumenthal legalistically destroyed his own credibility over his previous whopper of a lie.  There is also Senator Cory Booker, sitting in judgment of Judge Kavanaugh and allegations of sexual impropriety when Booker himself admitted to sexually groping a high school classmate in 1992.

There is also Senator Feinstein, with more Chinese connections than even the Clintons, daring to render judgment on Justice Kavanaugh – much like those senators who lionized Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton despite their long history of sexual indiscretions and worse.  Those same senators are now screaming “j’accuse” at Brett Kavanaugh, without any sense of hypocrisy or shame.

Now these senators demand another FBI background check, the seventh for Kavanaugh, a background check that many of them would not pass.

As an aside, did anyone notice that President Trump had no reluctance or objection to another FBI background check – that in fact, he seemed eager?  Such investigations can go both ways.  The accusers may also find themselves investigated, as well as those who financed and abetted them.  What if the FBI uncovers some surprises or perjury?

As author Sarah E. Ball put it, “Healthy Shame is a balance between knowing what is morally right or wrong and having remorse for our actions and taking responsibilities for our mistakes.”  Going farther, she says, “a person with zero shame is a sociopath.”

Sociopathy has been on full display from the Democrats and the media ever since Donald Trump was elected president, escalating to the point where they are happy to go scorched earth, destroying a decent and accomplished man, a longtime public servant, someone who worked hard and arrived at the top of the legal profession.

All because they can’t abide losing the 2016 election to someone they deem unfit for the presidency – with no regard for the short- or long-term damage they are doing to the country and the Constitution.  No shame, indeed.

 

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There Are Trillions Of Pieces Of Floating Plastic In Our Ocean

 If We Don’t Stop All Marine Life Will Eventually Be Dead

We are filling up our oceans with trillions of extremely small pieces of plastic, and in the process we are literally killing off entire ecosystems.  But because it is a very gradual process, most people aren’t really too alarmed by it.  Every single minute, the equivalent of an entire garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into our oceans, where it joins all of the plastic that is already there.  You see, the plastic that is already in our oceans never goes away.  Instead, it just gets turned into smaller and smaller pieces.  It is being projected that the total amount of plastic in the oceans of the world will exceed the total weight of all fish fish by the year 2050, and when we get to that point our oceans will probably be permanently beyond the point of recovery.  Sea creatures are the very foundation of the global food chain, and once we lose that foundation we will see global famine on a scale that is absolutely unimaginable.

Much of the plastic in our oceans collects in giant swirling areas of water known as “garbage patches”.  The most famous of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Hundreds of millions of tons of plastic sit in our oceans, and we add millions more each year. That plastic never goes away or degrades; it just breaks into smaller pieces and becomes even more dangerous. Right now, much of that plastic is concentrated in a region known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which currently contains some 350 million tons of trash.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches over a vast area between the west coast of the United States and Hawaii.  It is approximately twice the size of Texas, and it has been estimated that it contains somewhere around 1.8 trillion pieces of floating plastic.

And remember, that is just one of the many garbage patches in the oceans of the world.

Every year, 12 million tons more plastic garbage is added to our oceans, although that number will inevitably go up as our population continues to grow.

So how does all of this plastic get into the oceans?  Here is a brief summary from USA Today

Plastic waste washes from roads into culverts, to streams and finally rivers where it enters the ocean. Or it’s dumped over the side of ships or from sewers that feed directly into the sea.

The trash enters the water from coastal countries, with the majority coming from Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Developing economies that don’t have garbage and recycling programs that can keep up with their increasing use of disposable plastic are responsible for an outsized proportion of the trash that enters waterways, according to research published in the journal Science in 2015.

Of course the U.S. needs to take a lot of the blame as well.  We produce approximately 70 pounds of plastic garbage per person every year, which is the largest amount per capita on the entire planet.

Once all of this plastic gets into the ocean, it stays there forever, and it slowly but surely kills off marine life

Over time much of the plastic is broken down into tiny pieces, known as “microplastic,” by the wind, waves and sun. These pieces can be the size of a fingernail to the size of a grain of rice, or smaller. Because they are made of plastic they will never decompose, only become smaller and smaller.

This material is carried by global currents into one of the five “garbage gyres,” vast areas of ocean, sometimes hundreds of miles across, where slowly swirling currents gradually concentrate it into waters infected with a “smog” of micro plastic amid larger pieces and discarded nets, buoys and other industrial fishing gear.

Marine life that comes into contact with this plastic can become entangled and cut by the larger pieces, or have their stomachs filled with inedible plastic as they mistake the smaller pieces for food, causing them to die of starvation because they can’t get enough nutrition.

If we completely stopped putting more plastic into our oceans today, things would probably be okay.

But if we continue on the path that we are on, we are truly going to be facing an apocalypse.

Right now, approximately 25 percent of all ocean life lives in coral reefs, and our plastic is extremely toxic for coral…

The likelihood of coral becoming diseased increases from 4% to 89% after coming in contact with marine plastic. It also damages the skin of coral, allowing infection. Coral reefs are home to more than 25% of marine life.

And studies have shown that various forms of ocean life are gobbling up small pieces of plastic at an astounding rate

There is more plastic than natural prey at the sea surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which means that organisms feeding at this area are likely to have plastic as a major component of their diets. For instance, sea turtles by-caught in fisheries operating within and around the patch can have up to 74% (by dry weight) of their diets composed of ocean plastics.

Something must be done, and one organization is taking unprecedented action

The Ocean Cleanup is equipped with a 2,000-foot-long floating boom, which carries a large screen below to trap trash. Plastic trash will naturally pile up against that screen, making it easier for follow-up expeditions to clean it out. That is, assuming the device works as intended.

There are plenty of questions surrounding this plan, such as how well the tubing holds up in storms, whether it can maintain its effectiveness over a period of months or years, and whether it has an impact on marine life. This upcoming test run, which is scheduled to last for the next year, is intended to answer these questions.

Unfortunately, this will only clean up plastic that is right on the surface, and it will only make a very, very small dent in the overall problem.

Once our oceans are dead, future generations will look back on us as “the crazy plastic people” that ruined the planet.

We have got to stop being so selfish, and we have got to get things turned around before it is too late.

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Robert Mueller, This Investigation is Personal

ROBERT MUELLER: UNMASKED

by Congressman Louie Gohmert

Robert Mueller has a long and sordid history of illicitly targeting innocent people that is a stain upon the legacy of American jurisprudence. He lacks the judgment and credibility to lead the prosecution of anyone.
I do not make these statements lightly.
Each time I prepared to question Mueller during Congressional hearings, the more concerned I became about his work ethic. Then as I went back to begin compiling all that information in order to recount personal interactions with Mueller, the more clearly the big picture began to come into focus. At one point I had to make the decision to stop adding to this or it would turn into a far too lengthy project.
This is a must read: Here
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In Honor of Mr. Thomas Jefferson’s 275th Birthday

 

Here are recommended essays regarding Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) on The Imaginative Conservative:

Looking for Mr. Jefferson by Clyde Wilson
Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday by Clyde Wilson
Thomas Jefferson & the American Declaration of Independence by Ross Lence
Thomas Jefferson, Conservative by Clyde Wilson
Jefferson Was Right by Joseph Sobran
Calhoun, Jefferson, and Popular Rule by Lee Cheek
The Jeffersonian Conservative Tradition by Clyde Wilson
From Union to Empire by W. Winston Elliott III

More on “Thomas Jefferson” on The Imaginative Conservative (including quotations from Mr. Jefferson)

 

Temperate, sound in morals, sound in taste, learned in more than one discipline, open-handed, ready to fill great offices at personal sacrifice and then to retire modestly to Monticello—this was the genuine Jefferson, no doctrinaire egalitarian, no abstract intellectual…Jefferson indeed was a Whig through and through, with the virtues and the defects of the breed. Joined with this Whiggery was another facet of his character…a bitter partisanship, not overly scrupulous…Jefferson could be ferociously emotional in politics.—Russell Kirk (pg. xvii, introduction to Mr. Jefferson by Albert J. Nock)

Jefferson and his friends came to power (the “Revolution of 1800”) in opposition to the economic and moral imperialism of Hamilton and his friends—a program of taxes, manipulation of the economy for the inevitable benefit of the few and the burden of the many, moral dragooning of the population, and involvement in foreign power politics. It was this threat that Jefferson and his friends put down, and kept down, for half a century—the happiest era of the Union.—Clyde Wilson (Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday)

Jefferson, despite the show of French ideas which he made from time to time, founded his idea of liberty and justice upon the writings of Coke and Kames and the other English juridical writers, and upon the tradition of English freedom from the Anglo-Saxons down to the 18th century.—Russell Kirk, Program for Conservatives

Among the agrarian and democratic Republicans looms the angular figure of Jefferson, whose doctrines always were more radical than his practice and far less extreme than French notions of liberty…as his talents were immensely varied, so did his character display odd and sometimes inconsistent facets…Yet for all this, and for all his acquaintance with the philosophes and his affection for France, Jefferson had Coke, Locke, and Kames for his real political mentors; and, like them, he had half a mind to be a conservative—and sometimes more than half a mind for it.—Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, p. 73

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The Brilliant Darkness of a Friday Afternoon

Not only did Jesus manifest Himself as the Logos so long desired in the pagan West on that Friday afternoon, but He also manifested Himself as the Christ, the true and eternal king. In some mysterious way, it was the death on Friday that revealed all of this, not the resurrection on Sunday…

As Jesus looked down from the cross, so close to three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, he saw his “mother, with her sister, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” Next to the three Marys stood “the disciple whom he loved,” St. John. For nearly four decades, this scene has haunted me. As Catholics, we focus so much on Jesus’s physical suffering on the cross, the pain his mother must have felt, and the forthcoming death and resurrection that we often readily and understandably skip a person who is vital—actually, fundamentally and profoundly critical—to the entire story: St. John. Tradition tells us that John was the youngest, that he was the last to write his Gospel, and that he was the only apostle not to have been brutally martyred. At the moment that Jesus looked down from the Cross, He gave His mother to John, asking him and his house to shelter her. “’There is your mother’; and from that moment the disciple took her into his home.” While I have often wondered what St. John must have felt—the pain and the anguish—at seeing his savior crucified, I have wondered far more often what Jesus must have felt, especially given that He was fully man as well as fully God. No doubt, it meant a great deal to Him to have the four by his side in His greatest moment of agony. All to the good.

But, as a man, what must He have thought knowing that all eleven of His closest male friends had betrayed Him, deserted Him in His hour of greatest need? Judas the worst, to be sure, but even Peter had denied Him three times, and not a single one of them dared suffer with Him or even next to Him that Friday afternoon. Only John. Might this not have been a blow as great as any dealt to Him in his entire thirty-three years of Incarnate life on this world of sorrows? Though I have no idea, perhaps these betrayals were the greatest blow to Jesus. It’s possible I’m projecting too much of myself on the situation, but given that Jesus already knew what God the Father’s response would be, how the people would (pen)ultimately view him, and the fortitude of His mother He had come to cherish, the only real unknown in the entire Passion was the response of His closest friends. We expect nothing of Pilate, but of Peter and James? While their betrayal is, of course, forgivable, it’s deeply disturbing. We expect our leaders to lead, but we—even more—expect our friends to stand by us, no matter the cost. After all, is there a greater definition of friendship? Or, of love?

Could we imagine Beowulf without Wiglaf, or Frodo without Sam?

When Jesus died on the cross, He revealed Himself—at least as St. Paul tells us—as the King of the Universe, the touchstone of all creation.

Through Him God chose to reconcile the whole universe to himself, making peace through the blood upon the cross—to reconcile all things, whether on earth or in heaven, through him alone.

Not only did Jesus manifest Himself as the Logos so long desired in the pagan West on that Friday afternoon, but He also manifested Himself as the Christ, the true and eternal king. In some mysterious way, it was the death on Friday that revealed all of this, not the resurrection on Sunday. And, yet, we regard the resurrection as the ultimate joy in a Christian life, the conquering of death itself. If we take St. Paul at face value, however, Jesus conquered death not by His resurrection but by His surrender to death, some forty-odd hours earlier.

Though I am no theologian, I have often thought St. Paul’s understanding came from St. John, with Paul—having been deeply anti-Jesus at the time of Jesus’ death—in hindsight, wondering with some disgust what happened to Peter, to James, and to the others who betrayed their savior.

St. Paul’s meditations on suffering are nothing short of profound, perhaps some of the wisest in all of Western literature. They are worth quoting at length and meditating upon.

In his letter to the Colossians:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body—for the sake of his body, the church—what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. (St. Paul, Letters to the Colossians 1:24)

In his letter to the Romans:

Let us exult in the hope of the divine splendor that is to be ours. More than this: let us even exult in our present sufferings, because we know that suffering trains us to endure, and endurance brings proof that we have stood the test, and this proof is the ground of hope. (St. Paul, Letters to the Romans 5:2-5)

In his letter to the Philippians (3: 12-14):

My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Or, as the anonymous author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote:

And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts. Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. (Author unknown, Letter to the Hebrews, 12: 5-13)

Jump forward, nineteen centuries. Of all meditations on suffering in the twentieth-century, perhaps none have struck me as hard as did Whittaker Chambers in his own memoir, Witness (1952), as he admits to his children that he might very well fail in this world and take his own life, knowing how much pain one can or—simply—cannot tolerate.

My children, when you were little, we used sometimes to go for walks in our pine woods. In the open fields, you would run along by yourselves. But you used instinctively to give me your hands as we entered those woods, where it was darker, lonelier, and in the stillness our voices sounded loud and frightening. In this book I am again giving you my hands. I am leading you, not through cool pinewoods, but up and up a narrow defile between bare and steep rocks from which in shadow things uncoil and slither away. It will be dark. But, in the end, if I have let you aright, you will make out three crosses, from two of which hang thieves. I will have brought you to Golgotha—the place of skulls. This is the meaning of the journey. Before you understand, I may not be there; my hands may have slipped from yours. It will not matter. For when you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman, and child on earth, you will be wise.—Whittaker Chambers, 1952

I do not doubt that St. Peter and St. James grew in wisdom, but I also have no doubt that they never grew in wisdom as did St. John. Or, maybe St. John was wise even before that Friday afternoon.

This afternoon, as you contemplate the death of Our Lord, don’t forget that John remained. Fully man and fully God, Jesus saved all of Creation, but John, so unbelievably human, shows us what the true man does in the face of adversity.

 

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