"Up Around The Bend" (opens in separate window)

through a glass darkly

friday, december 23rd, 2020

Perhaps the most intriguing passage in all of St. Paul’s writings is his description of an inner struggle in Romans 7.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” (Romans 7:18-20)

This is just a snippet from a passage that often seems tortuous to read. It describes the incredible frustration of doing something that you actually didn’t want to do. But if you didn’t want to do it, why did you do it? It clearly says that there is more going on within us than simple willing.

Might be actual. May be mythical. Definitely interesting.

This is a passage that, for me, undermines the claims of an unfettered freedom of the will, or the exaltation of the will to the key position within our lives. There is something, St. Paul reasons, that seems to stand between who I am and my ability to actually access that reality. St. Paul concludes, “It is sin that dwells within me.”

Now, you might think you know what that means – but the meaning is far from obvious. The worst conclusion to draw is the notion of a “sin nature” (a horrible theological error). A “nature” (by definition) is “what a thing is.” If we have a “sin nature” then we not only sin – we are sin. This is blasphemous. Sin is extraneous to what it is to be human – it is a parasite. St. Paul doesn’t say, “It is sin, which I am.” He says, “It is sin that dwells within me.” If you need an image, think of the alien thing (like in the movie) dwelling inside you. It’s a bother (to say the least), and it can be devastating, but it’s not you. You are not sin.

What can it possibly mean to say that “sin dwells within me?”

First, I will note that St. Paul speaks of it as “something.” It’s not a legal issue (“Father, is this a sin?” – meaning, “Did I break a rule?”). No, this is a “thing” of some sort, spoken of in a substantive manner. It is not my nature, or some collective way of speaking about my bad stuff.

Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it

I think there is a good candidate for thinking about this sin – one that is familiar to many. That candidate is what is termed “toxic shame” in some modern discussions. It is distinguished from “healthy shame” and has some interesting characteristics. The Book of Sirach has this:

For there is a shame that brings sin; and there is a shame which is glory and grace.” (Sir. 4:21)

The “shame that brings sin” is synonymous with toxic shame. It has a very vicious character. Toxic shame operates like a “second self” without being the self at all. It is something like a false personality and filter or window through which we see the world and relate to it. We come away from an experience of toxic shame with this kind of thought (for example): “Why did I say that?” In some cases, though an incident or conversation might seem embarrassing, or poorly thought-out, the motivation or context behind it may seem entirely opaque. These actions (in my experience) do not have the character of “willing.” It is as though we were watching someone else speak in our place (while at the same time assuming that it is the self that is speaking, which only deepens the shame – “How did that happen?”).

The “second self” of toxic shame can, in shame-bound personalities, become almost a default position, the “window” through which the world is viewed. It may be a window of anxiety, of worthlessness, of awkwardness, or perfectionism (and a much longer list, as well). It can be such a familiar “second self” that we have come to imagine it as an actual expression of who we are. It is, however, not “who we are.” It is much closer to being “sin that dwells in me.” At the very least, it is an ersatz personality that acts as though it is us. We come away from its actions feeling unclean, disgusted, embarrassed, frustrated, or simply confused.

The second-self of toxic shame leaves the true self with a feeling of isolation and alienation. Indeed, the true self can live in a hidden state, feeling alienated from the world at all times, unable to break free from the false, second-self. Our inability to be in communion with the world leaves us feeling out-of-communion with the self. It is easy in such situations to begin to doubt that there even is a true self, to imagine that the shame-created false self is all there is. Adam and Eve were naked and ashamed and felt as strangers in their own bodies. The fig leaves made no difference. Sin is not a legal problem. It is a matter of the loss of communion. Nothing is more lonely.

When I think of this existential predicament, my mind turns to Christ’s descent into Hades. We are “trapped” within the confines of toxic shame, and discover that we cannot simply or easily will our way out. We need a savior. On an emotional level, there is a need to identify and break open the secrecy and hiddenness of the shame itself (and this can be a slow process). It requires safety and love (lots of it). On some level, depending on the nature of the toxic wounds, we may find ourselves as exceedingly vulnerable “children.” Much of the personae that are developed in adolescence and adulthood are constructs of the toxic self. The truth of who we are may well have been hidden for years.

Who wants to be like a little child in the presence of another adult? Who wants to be that vulnerable or naked? What adult can be trusted with such a thing?

The answer, of course, is – very few. Nevertheless, God makes possible what often seems impossible. Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah: “A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench.” (Matt. 12:20) The meekness and gentleness of Christ is truly “the safe place.” He enters into the loneliness of the various “hells” we inhabit in order to bring us out, and to crush the toxic lies of the shame that seeks to silence us.

I have heard His voice whispering softly that it is so.

The ascetic and pastoral ministry of the Church is rightly focused on this existential liberation of us all. We do well to lay it to heart that our encounters with other people are often “behind glass,” that is, we are ourselves behaving through the distortions caused by shame in our lives, as are others. The rarest thing on earth, I think, is the actual encounter of the true self (whether our own, or someone else).

I have had the profound experience through the years of hearing confessions, including those of young children (starting around age 7 or 8). Often, at those early ages, the fragmentation caused by shame is negligible. I’ve often come away from those confession shaken to my core – the intensity of seeing and hearing purity of heart in a child can reveal the very darkness within my own. At the same time, I’ve had the deep sadness of slowly seeing that purity fade over time and the fragmentation begin. We are not born depraved. Anyone who thinks that is profoundly mistaken.

I believe that if we would attend to the moments of clarity (however brief), points when the dark veil of shame is pulled back but a bit, and in that attending, would cling to Christ, we would find greater strength for the whole of the battle.

© 11/17/2022 by Fr. Stephen Freeman, "Ancient Faith Ministries".

A Day In The Life.

Up at 5:30a on Friday, I went thru my finger stick to check my BSL (Blood Sugar Level) and recorded it on my Diabetes 2 chart, made coffee and held-off on breakfast, took a 500mg Tylenol Extra Strength for various pains, had a couple smokes in the semi-cool garage and checked the leftover errands list. It was 37° -- warmer than when I crashed last night -- and was forecast to hit 45° -- and it was still raining. The "coating of 1-3" mixed rain and snow" was still up on AccuWeather's site. Bah. Personally, I'm just glad that all this rain wasn't snow, or we'd all be buried under 4-5ft.

I had fresh Mini-Croissants w/ Strawberry Preserves for breakfast -- never go food shopping on an empty stomach -- got ready for the day, just as it was getting light, and left for the NEF Market. I left at 8:30 and as I came to the intersection near the Market, all electricity was out, including traffic lights, so it was dicey get thru. Police soon arrived to direct traffic, and MetEd Electric was there too. I was thru my pick-ups and home by 9:15, listening to the "Chris Plante Show", until 12.

Those who want power, should be prohibited from any office of power.

Vintage Market Pic 1955

People on the right need to realize that the US military is now their enemy. The military is being intentionally filtered to support leftist ideology only. Do not support it as it is now constructed. It is not only congressional prerogative but congressional responsibility to direct the military. The constitution is very specific about civilian control of the military for this very reason. WE DO NOT WANT AN AUTONOMOUS MILITARY. The article says that 8400 service personnel's careers have been destroyed by Austin's wrong-headed mandate. It says nothing about the wrecked morale that now exists in the ranks and those who have washed their hands of the military forever.

Other than that incident, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the performance?

Trump's NFT Trading Cards was a stupid idea, although they sold out in under 1 hour. How much money did President Trump make off the NFT? Don’t know but he could be trolling Hunter Biden (selling his “art” for hundreds of thousands of dollars). or, perhaps he is simply trolling those that give lip service support for him but are willing to abandon him when the going get tough. or, President Trump is playing the part of the stalking horse before the 2024 election season, taking all the hate from the left so another candidate can build support quietly behind the scene. Too many stupid people with too much money. Quickly parted. Not that it matters any more —- there is no path to victory for a Republican president ever again —- but Trump has been losing me little and little, with his "dumb stunts". This is just another in a long line of stupid stunts. Will I vote for Trump? Yes, but I won't actively promote him, any more.

I had a 2p haircut, and later Sherry stopped-by for a visit. I had a snack for dinner, fell asleep for 2hrs on the LR couch, and woke-p around 8p. Almost immediately, I got a call from a neighbor, whose *ring* surveillance system caught 2 guys trying to break into Sis' car. I grabbed my Kimber 1911 .45cal ACP and we went 2 doors down to investigate. Two Springettsbury Police SUVs showed-up and... well, no damage, they took a copy of the *ring doorbell* video from our neighbors' iPhone, and all ended well. By 12:30a, I was tired of watching "Gold Rush", and bagged it for the night.

Up at 7:30a on Saturday, to a bright, sunny, cold 34°, I fired-up the furnace, made coffee -- Kona Hawaiian, of course -- did the BSL, and had a couple smokes in the garage. While checking the weather and new on my office-sunroom desktop, I ran into an article on Fox News that caught my, since I've been warning about this happening to America, for the past couple of years.

As I offered in this Journal entry, a few weeks back, we're headed toward a very "uncomfortable" place in America, where none of us have any say in our lives, anymore. We'd be run by the "State", or machine robots controlled by others. Our children are already being indoctrinated, and have, for several decades, by leftist filth and scum. I read about this 10+yrs ago -- when a couple of leftist wackos in the US House, tried to pass such a bill, and it was killed in committee -- and I didn't think it would ever go anywhere. But CCP-China has it in place, and it's a living hell for their "workers", who are not citizens anymore. In this article, Jordan Peterson issues dire warning: 'woke' totalitarian social credit system is 'highly probable'. Read it and think about how you'd react if our shitbox leftist US Congress just passed it in the dead of night -- as they did with ObummerCare -- and we all woke-up one morning to a totalitarian state, which controls every facet of our lives. It's coming, whether we like it or not. Here's a good primer video. Sucks, huh?

This is a street fight. The Democrats are winning, the Republicans aren't even fighting. If you can’t beat 'em in the streets, you won't be beating them in a courtroom. Politics ain’t beanbag.

Phase 1 of this "Social Credit System" was the planned roll-out of Covid-19 and its rules, regulations, mandates, shots, penalties etc, and we compliant Americans obeyed the NIH, CDC, FDA, and other gov't agencies. Another virus is coming to "condition" us to stay under "state control", of every facet of our lives, so that when they roll-out the Phase 2 Digital Currency System -- Order 14067 -- we won't complain or riot, as we should. The criminal, corrupt leftists, communists, socialists, Marxists, anarchists have 2+ years to get all this done and in place. Cameras are everywhere, including in your homes, doorbells, Alexa units, TVs, computers, phones, retail stores, intersections, buildings etc etc etc, and will monitor us at every turn of their leftist playbook's page. Count on it.

What's really going on? Did that surprise you? Well, all that bummed me out, this morning. But, on to other things.

Did the CIA assassinate JKF on Nov 23, 1963? More good discussion and theories, right here on FR. Got 3hrs to kill? Watch this YT video, "Everything Is A Rich Man's Trick".

After a trip to Hollie's Virtue Local Art Market in nearby Hallam with Sis, I had her move her BMW SUV into my driveway for the night, due to last night's roving, possible car-jackers, and have arranged for her to park next door, in neighbor Phil's driveway, instead of in the visitor spaces. After Baked Lemon Chicken w/ Angel Hair Pasta for dinner, I watched TV until 12:30a, and unplugged.

It's colder than a welldigger's ass, in January.

Up at 9a on Sunday, it was bright and sunny, but a cold 32°. I made coffee, had a couple smokes and did the other routines. I checked the news and weather, took a 50mg Tramadol for back/leg pain, and tried to fully wake-up, aka clear my "brain fog". By 10:30, after some breakfast, I felt better, got ready for the day, the garbage/recyclables ready to go to the curb, moved Sis' car to the next driveway -- my neighbor's kindly letting her park there, since he has no vehicle -- and left for an errand. Back by 12:30p, I had a Lasagna Sandwich for lunch, and flipped the wash into the dryer for a hour, and did computer work. Still only 36°, and forecast to drop to 11° tonite, but no snow, at least.

Looks like a snowstorm is coming, later this week, into Christmas. I'm glad that I'm not a Holiday Traveler, contending with cancelled flight, transportation etc etc etc; I did that while working in NYC for 11yrs, and it wore me out being "on the road" for 200 days each year, on intercontinental business for the ad agencies I worked for. As we get closer to the Winter Solstice, this Wednesday, December 21st -- the First Day of Winter, and the shortest day of the year -- it's now getting dark around 4:25p, and light around 7:45a.

I garaged the Jeep for the night, and by 6p, tenps had dropped fast to 30°, and were going much lower. I had crabcakes and fingerling potatoes for dinner -- my BSL is out of control! -- and watched some current season 23 rerun episodes of "American Pickers", until Fox News came on. I watched the next season 11 of "Gold Rush" until 10:45, and quit for the day. Good night, Irene.

Here's a partial list of all the notable people people we lost, in the entertainment industry, in 2022.

Up at 7:30a on Monday, it was a bitter cold 25°, cloudy start, and Sis had been up early for her 10a mtg in Lancaster, so the condo was warm. I made a new carafe of Kona Coffee, did the BSL (134 decent number), and took a 500mg Extra Strength Tylenol for some back/hip pain. I tuned into the Chris Stigall Show (6-9a Philly) for a few hours, until the "CP Show" came on at 9. The garbage truck came thru, but the recycle truck was tardy, once again. Looks like a cold, snowy Winter ahead. I left for the cleaners, down south in Red Lion at 10:30, and was back by 11:15.

The most insidious power the media has, is the power to ignore.

I said this a few weeks ago, that Trump would be charged or indicted by the corrupt, leftist demonKKKrat "Jan 6th Committee", and looks as if he will be.

After lunch, I brought-in the recycle bin, and did that for a neighbor. Cold as it was, I decided to stay inside for the afternoon, absent of any more errands or need to go out. I fell asleep on the LR couch for a few hours after 10 BBQ Ribs and Roasted Potatoes, for lunch. I woke-up in the dark, closed down the condo, and upped the heat. After dinner I watched Fox News, "Jesse", "Tucker" and back to the season 11 of "Gold Rush", until 11:30p. Lights out. That show is addicting, darnit. And my cleaning lady is in tomorrow at 8:30a.

Awake at 5:30a on Tuesday, I finally got up ahead of the alarm at 6. It was a bitter 22° outside, so I fired-up the furnace, office-sunroom and garage heaters, made coffee, did the BSL routine and had a cup of Kona with my first Marlboro of the day: heaven. I checked the weather and news on the office desktop. After 2 Croissants & Orange Marmalade for breakfast, I got ready for the day, and get my Jeep moved out of the garage so I could do a couple errands and not get parked-in by JoAnne, my cleaning lady.

I just read that the left coast shithole, Stanford University published an index of "harmful language" it plans to eliminate from the school’s websites and computer code, offering terms to be used as replacements. The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, which was revealed in May, is a "multi-phase, multi-year project to address harmful language in IT at Stanford," according to the guide. The guide says its goal is to eliminate "many forms of harmful language", including "racist, violent, and biased -- disability bias, ethnic bias, ethnic slurs, gender bias, implicit bias, sexual bias etc -- language" in Stanford websites and code. It added that it strives to "educate people on the impact of words". There are 10 "harmful language" sections outlined in the index: ableist, ageism, colonialism, culturally appropriative, gender-based, imprecise language, institutionalized racism, person-first, violent and additional considerations. All bullshit.

The Left doesn't care what you do, as long as it's mandatory. And what's not mandatory, they want to ban.

Continuing with the idiotic Stanford crap: Other terms deemed harmful in this section include "abort," which offers the replacement of "cancel" or "end," because of moral concerns about abortion; "child prostitute" is replaced with a "child who has been trafficked," so the person is not defined by just one characteristic; and "Karen" is replaced with "demanding or entitled White woman". Under the ableist section, the index urges people to use "accessible parking" instead of "handicap parking," "died by suicide" instead of "committed suicide" and "anonymous review" instead of "blind review." It also says people should use "unenlightened" as a replacement for "tone deaf," and a "person with a substance abuse disorder" as a replacement for "addict". A person should also use the term “LatinX” instead of “Hispanic,” since the former term is connected to Spanish colonization, the document reads. It also listed the word “Karen,” explaining that it can “ridicule or demean” a group of people due to their behaviors. The list further includes the term “straight,” “victim,” “grandfather,” “landlord,” “gentleman,” “ladies” and “chief.” The no-no list recommends replacing the term “straight” with “heterosexual”

because it allegedly “implies that anyone who is not heterosexual is bent or not ‘normal.'” The term “people of color” should also be switched to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The “Institutionalized Racism” category bans the terms “black mark,” “brown bag,” “master,” and “white paper” for its alleged racial connotations. The “Person-First” category lists the terms “immigrant,” “prostitute,” and “homeless person” as they define an individual by a single characteristic. Utter, total, mentally-ill ("neuro-divergent"), f•cking bullshit, isn't it? But it's everywhere.

Biden's southern border will remain WIDE OPEN, until America is destroyed.

Watch the Nazi Quest for Thor's Hammer -- WW2 Documentary Special on YT. Interesting, but disturbing since it's Nazis.

If I was "Dictator For a Day", I could ***FIX*** everything wrong with America, in 24hrs, and bring America back to us. Give me your vote! (((Heh)))

I left at 10a to run a few errands, and got back around 11:30 or so. After unpacking, I busied myself with re-arranging things after JoAnne had finished cleaning; nothing is ever where I put it, initially. Sis brought some FIVE GUYS Double Cheeseburgers, and I had a "carb overload", and hit the couch until 4p. I called my WF Investment Broker and put in an order for 5,000 shares of Testa (TSLA) at $137.60, at market open, Wednesday. I hate EVs, but it's a chance to make some good money, since Tesla was recently at $400+, and will climb back. Temps started dropping, from a day's high of 38°, down into the upper 20s, quickly. I garaged the Jeep, closed down the condo, and upped the inside temp after a nice snooze. My BSL has been 10-15pts over the agreed-upon 150pts, with my Endocrinologist. I'm going to have to seriously modify my "Holiday Diet" to get the numbers back down into the 120-130 range. Damn, I'll miss the carbs.

By 8p, I wasn't feeling well, and decided to make a very early night of it. I didn't watch any TV all day; just listened to the morning's missed "CP Show", due to my cleaning lady's vacuum, errands and general chaos of Tuesday. With a morning Dr's app't tomorrow, I bagged it at 10p.

Up at 8:30a on Wednesday, I was groggy but mostly back-pin free. Another bitter 23° morning -- with near-zero night coming -- Sis already had the condo and garage warmed-up. I had a smoke, made coffee and checked the news and weather on my computer, in the office-sunroom. No breakfast. I tuned into the "CP Show" for a while, until I and Sis had to leave for my Dr's app't, and then down I83 south to the Balducci Stoneyard in New Freedom, near the Maryland Line. My WF Broker called to tell me that he'd bought 5,000 Tesla stock at market open this morning, at $139.40, so that is done. We left for the Dr's app't, got thru that and drove south to the Maryland Line, to the stoneyard, and picked-up a sample of PA Slate, for Sis to discuss with her interior designer. Traffic was heavy going south.

12.21.22, Winter Solstice,
shortest day, longest night
of the year is today.

The trip home was thru unbelievably heavy traffic, and my wait at Rite Aid, for 2 Rxs, was almost an hour in line, inside. Never saw that before. Poor Rite Aid folks are mobbed and understaffed. I finally got home around 1`:30p, unpacked and tuned into "Bonehead" Bongino, on local WSBA 910AM, for the afternoon. I had breakfast -- 2 Croissants -- for lunch. I just didn't have any appetite. I kept getting ***WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY*** notices on the Jeep's dash screen, from AccuWeather. At home, I checked the various weather maps, and didn't see anything resembling rain or snow or diddly-squat, coming our way. I did see that temps would be dropping into the single digits: BITTER, BITTER COLD coming our way, Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon. Who knows? Well, Mother Nature knows.

Have you read "The Twitter Files", yet? All 8 parts, collected by 'The Gateway Pundit' site, are right here. Spend some time reading and see what all this subterfuge with the corrupt FBI and Biden, is all about. It's a real eye-opener, and a bit scary that our government is subverting America.

Journalists: they use the words, but they don't know what they mean.

Today, being the shortest day and longest night, of the year, is the Winter Solstice, and I closed down early at 4:15p, just to get 30mins nap on the LR couch. I couldn't sleep; too much stuff going on in my mind. I watched Fox News -- usual Watters and Carlson shows -- for a few hours, and switched over to "Gold Rush" until 11:30, and bagged it. I'll sleep-in tomorrow morning if it snowing or sleeting. I'm meeting Sherry at 1p, at the nearby York Galleria, if weather permits getting there.

Up at 9a on Thursday, at 33° outside, I missed the snowfall; wasn't much but I always like the first snow of the season. Sis was already up, so the condo was warm. I made coffee, had a couple smokes in the garage. I called Sherry, and we rescheduled our 1p meeting at the York Galleria, until tomorrow, after she's finished working at Daughter Hollie's Shop. I took a 50mg Tramadol for lower back pain, and a 300mg Gabapentin for the neuropathy in my feet. That helped with the pain. I did 3 loads of laundry, replaced a CR2032 Nickel Battery in my bathroom scale, skipped breakfast and had it for lunch. Snow changed to sleet to rain and back again, as the massive weather system continued to push into the PA area. It was a huge system.

No, there's no end in sight, to the Ukraine's corrupt dictator, Zelenskyy demanding, last evening, BILLIONS & BILLIONS of OUR TAX DOLLARS, from America. It's only just begun at around $80 BILLION, and will continue, until they demand $1 TRILLION to rebuild the whole country. The so-called Biden Administration can't account for a penny of that. It's going into politicians' pockets and into the coffers of the US Military-Industrial Complex. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a European War, NOT a conflict America should be involved in, in any way, shape or form. Both Putin and Zelenskyy are corrupt, murderous dictators. The pitiful EU is broke, so we'll have to bear the cost. America is $30+ TRILLION in debt, and has another $150 TRILLION -- that's with a "T" -- in unfunded liabilities. There's no way to erase any of that, let alone balance our budget. We're way, way, way beyond that point.

This is the future of our US Military.

America has no moral clarity, anymore. We're seriously lost in a morass of leftism, gender and sexual orientation, wokeness, wide-open borders, etc etc etc -- mentally-ill sicknesses that should require institutionalizing and heavy medication -- to keep those subhuman/pervert/degenerates out of society, and away from our children. Biden's been bragging that he's "created 1,000,000 jobs" so far, but the FED in Philadelphia has fact-checked that number, and it's a mere 10,000 jobs in 2yrs, not one million. Biden is a serial liar, mentally-ill, a pervert, degenerate and all-around filthy, compromised scumbag. Sadly, that's the "norm" for DC. The Twitter Files expose that massive corruption, and legally bear it out. But the corrupt media -- an arm of the DNC providing "information dominance" -- won't touch it, as all the GOPe lowlifes won't.

I spent the afternoon doing laundry, paperwork and filing in between that laundry stuff. I had 3 Amazon deliveries, and had to cut down the numerous cardboard boxes to fit the recycle bin. The rain continued, and at only 36°, it was damned cold sitting in the empty garage, with the door open, having a smoke.

The corrupt FBI issued a statement in response to the damning Twitter Files 1-8 released by Elon Musk, and it’s offensive. The FBI admits the facts in the files, claims what is recounted are normal interactions, and then suggests the information results from conspiracy theorists spreading misinformation. They’re not apologetic. Instead, they’re continuing the disinformation campaign. Here's THEIR BULLSHIT STATEMENT: "The correspondence between Twitter and the FBI shows nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding, and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidence in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers. The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency." Lies; all lies. They say what they are doing is legal and legitimate. They’re gaslighting us. The truth is they are manipulating Americans with propaganda and taking away our free speech. They ran an operation, in the 2020 elections, against the American People, in favor of the demonKKKrats. The FBI alone, had 80 agents monitoring Twitter and feeding suggestions about accounts and tweets to censor. Lots of people are rightly outraged about that, but in itself it is hardly surprising. The growth of the security state has become pervasive enough to make me almost shrug. Sad, I know. The FBI & CIA are corrupt, criminal assholes.

How old would you be, if you didn't know how old you were? (Biden said it)

The FBI self-consciously interfered in the 2020 election in order to stack the deck, hoping to ensure that the preferred candidate of its leadership won the election. This is a much, much worse threat to our democracy than anything a foreign government’s propaganda efforts could possibly be. We expect our adversaries to screw with us; we depend upon our own government’s law enforcement agencies to protect elections. They interfered with one instead. The FBI is a key player in protecting our elections. They are supposed to be the most professional law enforcement agency in the world. Instead the agency is run by political hacks, apparently. Americans were appalled when they learned of the political manipulations of J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI was subject to numerous reforms after his death. Yet none of it stuck. The FBI clearly wants to be the Praetorian Guard, choosing their emperors and (politically) assassinating the ones they don’t care for.

During Trump’s presidency the FBI was clearly his enemy. They ran operations against him (remember when FBI Director Comey considered wearing a wire to tape Trump?) Comey illegally leaked documents, the FBI spread falsehoods about Trump, and clearly there was a vendetta against the former president. They pretended that the Steele Dossier was credible and led the media to this conclusion, all the while knowing it was trumped up oppo research from the Clinton campaign. They are liars. The top rungs of the ladder are filled with power hungry liars who are cashing in. Whatever you think of Trump, the FBI was obviously his enemy and acted the part. They really were out to get him, and with the Hunter Biden laptop story suppression, they eventually did. The FBI’s response to the revelations is classic. They can’t dispute the facts, so they spin the story. “Nothing to see here, move along”.

The FBI is one of those institutions, like the CDC, that once appeared to be above reproach. As with the military, these institutions seemed to retain their shine even as the rest of government looked bloated and corrupt. But no, that was an illusion. They are all bloated and corrupt. There are still plenty of fine people doing the work that keeps us safe, but the fish is rotting from the head down. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a good guy employed by these corrupt men. It must hurt terribly. I imagine most people join the FBI to be the good guys, and that most still are. It is even likely that many or most of the folks doing this work thought they were doing the right thing. But the enterprise itself is now corrupt. I don’t see how it can be fixed, either. As an institution it is compromised.

*** Wind Chill Warning ***
02:26pm EST, Dec 22 2022
11:00am EST, Dec 24 2022
•Issued By State College (Penn State) -- PA, US, National Weather Service.
• WHAT: Very cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 15 below zero. Frequent wind gusts between 35 and 45 mph late Friday morning, through Saturday.
•WHERE: Dauphin, Lebanon, York and Lancaster Counties.
•WHEN: From 1 PM Friday to 11 AM EST Saturday.
•IMPACTS: The cold wind chills could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
Limit time outside. Dress in layers and cover exposed skin. Wear a hat and gloves. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken.

If there are 90+ gender choices, why do men transition only to women, and women only transition to men? Wouldn't it be easier to transition one of the "other genders", since it wouldn't involve surgery or pain? Think about it. Personally, I like to identify as an Ice Cream Sandwich.

I closed the condo down at 4:30p, to keep warm, although it was a "mild" 38° outside, and still raining. Friday night is when the single-digit, dangerous well-below-zero wind chill temps arrive, the forecast says. I've got my Winter Parka and rabbit fur-lined leather gloves, at the ready. It was pouring outside with 35-50mph winds, and we're waiting for the arctic cold front to come thru. I caught the evening news, and then got lost on the computer, on FR, for a few hours. By 10p, I was running out of steam, and called it quits for the night.

Tomorrow starts a new week here in the "Journal", and it's a totally clear week, right now. I'm looking forward to putting 2022 in the rearview mirror, and am hoping 2023 will be a better time for America. But somehow, I don't think it will be. Prove me wrong.

General Washington’s Christmastime Hanukah Encounter.

There is a particularly American Hanukah story that occurred when Washington and his troops were at Valley Forge during Christmas of 1777.  Dan Adler’s article “Hanukkah at the White House” recounts this tale of George Washington’s encounter with a Jewish soldier: “In December, 1778, General George Washington had supper at the home of Michael Hart, a Jewish merchant in Easton, Pennsylvania.  It was during the Hanukkah celebration, and Hart began to explain the customs of the holiday to his guest.  Washington replied that he already knew about Hanukkah. He told Hart and his family of meeting the Jewish soldier at Valley Forge the previous year.  (According to Washington, the soldier was a Polish immigrant who said he had fled his homeland because he could not practice his faith under the Prussian government there.)  Hart’s daughter Louisa wrote the story down in her diary.”  Rabbi Susan Grossman has written that, “[l]ike generations of Jews before him, that soldier served as a ‘light unto the nations’ (Isaiah 42:6), bringing inspiration and courage to a nation in its birth pangs.  And he did so in a perfectly American way, a way in which a miracle did result, the miracle by which the light from one religion helps give comfort and courage to another.”

Rabbi Sharfman’s Account of Washington’s Hanukah with the Hart Family

Washington “was welcomed at the home of Corporal Michael Hart,” which is described as “a two-story stone building on the southeast corner of the public square, directly opposite the courthouse.  His general store was on the first floor, his residence on the second.  Michael Hart’s wife, Leah, prepared a kosher meal... in honor of the Hanukah festival, it being the sixth day of the holiday.”  (To offer a mild correction, December 21, 1778, was the eighth and final day of Hanukah that year, since Hanukah ran from sundown, Sunday, December 13, 1778, until sundown, Monday, December 21st.)

Further, Louisa Hart would “proudly record” in her diary: “Let it be remembered that Michael Hart was a Jew, pious; a Jew reverencing and strictly observant of the Sabbath and festivals, dietary laws were also adhered to although he was compelled to be his own Schochet [ritual slaughterer].  Mark well that he, Washington, was then honored as first in peace, first in war and first in the hearts of his countrymen.  Even during a short sojourn he became, for the hour, the guest of the worthy Jew.”

General Washington proceeded to explain to the Harts “how the Hanukah festival had inspired him during the previous year, when encamped at Valley Forge morale had sunk to its lowest ebb.”  Due to the lack of warm clothes and protective footwear among Washington’s men, the severity of the winter had caused a feeling of despair to descend upon the commander-in-chief, and it was in this context that “a young Jewish private tendered the General a ray of hope.”  The soldier, an emigrant out of Poland, was “proud to be a soldier for freedom and liberty.”

“It was the night of December 25, 1777.  Christmas Day had been observed glumly and after eating their rations the men were bedded down for the night -- all except the Jew.  [Actually, the first night of Hanukah -- beginning on the 25th of Kislev, 5538, on the Hebrew calendar -- would have begun at sundown on December 24, 1777.]  In a corner of the drafty wooden shack that served as their barracks, as quietly as possible, he lit his menorah, an eight-branched candelabrum that he had carried with him from overseas in his knapsack ever since the war had begun.”  As he lit his menorah, the Jewish soldier wept softly to himself, a detail that did not escape the notice of General Washington, as he was making his appointed rounds.  Approaching the soldier and touching him on the shoulder, as an aide-de-camp looked on, the general proceeded to ask, “Why do you cry, son?” to which the soldier replied, “Actually, I am not crying.  I’m praying with tears for your victory.”

Per Rabbi Sharfman, the rest of the conversation went something like this:

“And what is this strange lamp?” asked the commander.

“This is my Hanukah lamp,” and the young man related briefly the ancient story -- how long ago a small bedraggled but patriotic army routed a huge and powerful foe.

“You are a Jew, a son of the Prophets, and you say we will be victorious?” the general declared, his eyes fixed on the flickering flames of the menorah.

“Yes,” the soldier unhesitatingly replied.  “The God of Israel who helped the Maccabeans will help to build here a land of freedom for the oppressed.”

To the Harts, General Washington recalled on his luncheon visit when Hanukah was again celebrated, that the warmth of the glowing candlelight and the words of optimism and courage on that darkest night at Valley Forge uplifted him and gave him the fortitude to fight against all odds for victory.

So, take joy, Patriots, in the Festival of Lights this season.  Stay in faith, and do what is necessary to be a light unto the nations.  Happy Hanukah!

© December 18, 2022 by Paul Dowling, "American Thinker".

Ranked-Choice Voting Is Just Another Way Of Letting Elites Tilt The System In Their Favor.

Americans want honest, straightforward and fair elections that they can trust. Regardless of whether candidates win or lose, voters deserve far better than the incompetence, mismanagement and multi-week delays in counting votes that we’re seeing in so many states today. So, at a time when trust in elections is at an all-time low, why are some establishment Republicans teaming up with Democrats to push a complex, confusing and painfully slow method of voting in America?

Simply stated, supporters of ranked-choice voting (RCV) believe it will produce a new era of pastel campaigns and a greater public acceptance of final results that yield crops of spineless candidates who won’t challenge the failed status quo. But for the struggling forgotten men and women who are looking for new leaders and innovative solutions, RCV is just one more way for elitists to further tilt the system in their favor. (RELATED: DOWNING: Red Wave Washes Through Florida, Fades In The Heartland And Barely Reaches Alaska)

As conservative economist Thomas Sowell observed, “There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs.” And RCV’s trade-offs make clear that our traditional way of voting is far superior — just like the Founding Fathers designed it.

When Maine Congressman Bruce Poliquin lost his election in 2018 due to RCV he stated, “It is now officially clear I won the constitutional ‘one-person, one-vote’ first choice election on Election Day that has been used in Maine for more than one hundred years.” Poliquin’s legitimate frustration with RCV will be echoed by countless others if the practice is expanded into more states.

The obvious truth is that RCV is complicated, difficult to understand, and relies on a counting process shrouded in mystery. Just look at the recent news from Alaska. On Election Day, more Alaska voters opted for a Republican to represent them in the U.S. House.

Then two weeks later — following Alaska’s RCV protocols — a liberal Democrat was re-elected because the conservative vote was split between two candidates. How could a state that Donald Trump carried by 10 points send a left-wing Democrat to Congress? Along with ignoring the will of the people, RCV’s opaque and multifaceted counting process paves the way for more distrust in the system.

Look no further than Alaska’s Senate race, where incumbent RINO Lisa Murkowski was re-elected using RCV with the support of liberals who voted for her instead of backing a viable Democrat. Now, instead of having another conservative voice in the Senate, Alaskans get six more years of Murkowski, who will spend her term pandering to the Democrats who propelled her to victory.

While it sounds like a viral pathogen cooked up in a lab, RCV may be worse. It’s a type of voting that essentially prohibits American voters from making one choice and instead requires or encourages them to rank multiple candidates for the same office in order of preference.

After the ballots in a RCV election have been counted, if a candidate has received a majority of votes, then he or she wins. However, if no one gets a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first-choice ballots is removed, and that candidate’s ballots are counted for their second-choice candidates.

This process is then repeated — with more opportunities for mistakes or worse — until eventually a candidate receives a majority of the votes.

No wonder leaders on both sides of the political spectrum have raised concerns about RCV. According to Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, “People are starting to look nationally and say RCV ‘could be the answer.’ I think they need to be cautious about that. It’s very confusing.”

He continued, “Ninety-five percent of the people talking to me about our new ranked-choice voting system were saying how utterly confusing it was.” Senior NAACP official Hazel Dukes also castigated RCV, “It is voter suppression … I hope that the courts see that ranked choice voting is not right for democracy.”

Despite these concerns, 11 states already use RCV in some capacity for local elections and its spreading. The critical battleground state of Georgia may consider a RCV system in the future.

Hawaii and Nevada have moved RCV measures for use in future elections. In Utah, 23 cities and towns opted into a pilot program to use RCV for local elections.

Thankfully, under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida has taken a stand in defense of the Constitution and prohibited RCV. More states should follow suit.

Even in the best of circumstances, RCV runs the risk of disenfranchising voters. If a voter’s chosen candidates have been eliminated in the RCV process, these voters won’t have any say in the final vote. By its very design, RCV slows down the process of counting the votes and introduces an array of ambiguities into what should be a simple process of determining a clear winner.

RCV requires voters to place absolute trust in the vote-counters that they tabulate accurately everything in an uncertain process. And as we’ve seen yet again from paper shortages in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania to machine malfunctions in Maricopa County, Arizona, things go awry even in the best circumstances.

So let’s defend the integrity of our elections, not undermine them through dangerous so-called reforms like RCV.

© 12.17.2022 by David Bossie, "DAILY CALLER".

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