Sunday, September 29, 2019


[first published 29 September 2012]

On this feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael -- some thoughts of Doc Pence on our angelic partners.  He begins with an anecdote:

   About a year ago when I was arguing with a theology professor at St. John’s in Collegeville MN about women priests and homosexuality -- it struck me.  I asked him, "Do you believe there was a first man and woman, Adam and Eve?”  He said, "No, science has proven that wrong."  I asked, "Do you believe there is a wicked angel, Lucifer, who is the devil; a real being, dedicated to evil and not redeemable?”  He said, "No, there is definitely evil in the world and in all of us but not an actual powerful spiritual evil being."  "Well, how about angels in general -- another order of beings -- purely spiritual who can know and love and who are actors in the domain of nature and history?"  I asked.  He hedged and hemmed and asked to be excused.

   I told myself, "I have been in the wrong discussion -- the problem is a lot of these guys don't have the cast of characters or central events of the Divine Drama in place.”

   What is priesthood, and who cares if it is all-male, if there is no Satan and the story of Salvation History is just a hodgepodge of Semitic texts?  I haven't gotten into arguments over women priests for a long time because I find those who favor them have a much bigger deficit that has to be first addressed.  

  Today we give thanks for the angels -- pure spirits organized in hierarchical orders -- our great elevated partners in the Divine Drama. 

God is an eternal Being outside of time: one Divine nature in three Persons. The angels are pure spirits. They have the two characteristics of spiritual beings: they can know and love.

The material world is mineral, vegetative, and animal. The minerals (atoms, chemical elements and molecules, and all non-living matter) do not have souls.  The vegetative and animal beings are living, and thus have souls. Souls are the central unifying principles of living things. All physical living beings have souls, but their souls are different. The souls of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals die with the creature. Spiritual souls are immortal and rational. We don’t talk about an angel’s soul because a soul is a form in a material being.
Living Beings have interiority and agency and hierarchy. Living things act for themselves in a way that rusting iron and eroding rocks don’t (agency). All living things have an inside and an outside, from cell structure to internal body cavities to the interior spiritual life of man (interiority). All life comes from life, and exists within a structured sacral order (hierarchy).

Man is the one material being with a spiritual soul -- he can know and love. Thomas Aquinas thought one could logically argue to prove the existence of angels. He said there needs to be a created being which is spiritual but is not made of matter. (This balances the material world in which there is matter without a soul, material creatures with a “material soul,” and material beings with a spiritual soul.) Angels perfect the universe because they are created immaterial beings, which are spiritual. They too can know and love.

Angels know directly (they intuit), and desire and decide instantaneously. Their decisions are irrevocable. Angels use matter for appearances but do not become living material beings. Each angel is his own species. Angels are organized into hierarchical orders: some worshiping, some in charge of movements in nature, and some personally involved in the lives of men and nations.

When we contemplate the angels this brings us in closer contact with the hierarchical nature of the cosmos, the reality of Satan, the heroism of Michael, the ongoing active dialogue between the spiritual world and human development. We are part of a cosmic drama that started long before we got here. In this drama, the sons of Adam are given a major participatory role in the restoration of Justice after Satan’s rebellion. Man is part of a cosmological reality and so are the angels. Man cannot fully understand his role here without a robust and clarified view of the Angels in the Drama.

UPDATE: In both Jewish and Christian tradition, every nation has been assigned a guardian angel through which Divine Providence works out His purposes in history. While Pope Francis suggested that Catholic discussion be less preoccupied with homosexuality, abortion, and contraception, he has continually emphasized the present-day reality of the evil angel Lucifer. 

St. Michael, St, Raphael, and St. Gabriel: pray for us.   

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

by A. Joseph Lynch


TRUMP-UKRAINE SCANDAL? Did the president unduly pressure Ukraine to investigate the seemingly corrupt dealings of the Biden's in their nation? The press seems to think so despite the fact that neither Trump nor the foreign minister of Ukraine think so. A real scandal is the national security leaks that keep the president from being able to have frank and honest conversations with world leaders. Vladimir Putin has rightly expressed concern his phone transcripts with Trump could be released in a future invented scandal. The president - any US president - needs to know he can talk to world leaders without fear of a rumor leading to revelations of high diplomacy and national security plans.

Some leaks are sure to stem from Obama's executive order 12333, which we commented on this past June:
The recent problem of leaking may stem from changes made in the waning days of the Obama administration. Until he left office, raw intelligence was shared only between three intelligence agencies, but as Obama left office he signed executive order 12333, allowing raw intelligence now to be shared between seventeen agencies. The widened access meant that it would be harder to find leakers - a problem the President has faced time and time again.
As the transcript of the Trump-Ukraine phone call has been released, along with the complaint from the supposed whistle-blower (who as a third party "witness" is not technically a true whistle-blower), the "scandal" is even less credible than the debunked Russian collusion scandal.

The true scandal, of course, involves former VP Joe Biden, on tape stating he pressured Ukrainian officials to end an investigation that could have implicated his son, Hunter. Just before being placed on a Ukrainian board of directors with a salary of $50k per month, he has been discharged from the US military for heroine use. His hiring stinks to high heaven of crony capitalism even before Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in defense funds from Ukraine, sparring his son of the same fate that befell Paul Manafort. Biden is sure to take a, perhaps mortal, hit from any impeachment investigation into Trump. Some suspect the Warren campaign is behind supposed Trump scandal, seeking not so much to damage Trump but remove Biden from contention. She is now leading in many polls - more from Pat Buchanan.

SINEMA CENSURE (A TRUMP WIN?): Sinema is the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in thirty years, yet her centrist record may lead to censure from her own party. USA Today sees this as bad news for Democrats and good news for Trump's re-election chances.


GERMAN SYNODAL ASSEMBLY: Pope Francis has indeed called for a synodal process across the Church. This was the practice across the whole of the early Church, with regional bishops meeting regularly to discuss matters affecting their areas. While in one way the German bishops seem to be doing the same, there is concern the focus of the Synodal Assembly is to liberalize the German Church. This was the Anglican solution - but as our AOA charts from July 13, 2019 reveal, it's a losing strategy. Corruption of the German bishops may be endemic, but Pope Francis himself warned them in writing last June telling them to avoid schism and a new Pelagian "works-righteousness" heresy.

DEATH OF PRELATES: Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under Benedict XVI, has died. Despite Benedict's orthodoxy, his choice for CDF head seemed rather flimsy on homosexuality. The former Archbishop of San Francisco (1995-2005) had been suspected of having a live-in boyfriend, was questioned for sex abuse cover up, and was the author of what AOA calls the Levada Loophole. Former St. Paul Archbishop Harry Flynn also passed last weekend. His role in the sex abuse scandal in St. Paul was shadowed by the public shame of Archbishop Neinstedt, yet we at AOA covered it here and here. He is also discussed in MPR's Betrayed by Silence.

USE NOUNS, NOT ADJECTIVES: Pope Francis has asked us to use nouns rather than adjectives when speaking of our Christian faith. Dogma enshrines the people and events - nouns - in protection description - adjectives - but it is the people and events that are at the core of the faith.


NATIONALISTS SURGE IN BELGIUM: The nationalists are leading polls in Belgium. Dr. Steve Turley explains.

HOUTHI OIL ATTACK: The Houthi rebels successfully drone attacked Saudi oil fields, yet the Saudis, Americans, British, French, and Germans have all blamed Iran. The Saudis have said it would be an "act of war" if the attack was launched from Iranian territory, and Secretary of State Pompeo this week has said he was right to label it as such. No evidence has been provided to indicate the attack came from Iran, yet the U.S. has made the mistake to send 200 troops to Saudi Arabia - we pray this doesn't lead to war.

HOWDY, MODI!: Texas welcomed Narendra Modi, leader of the world's largest democracy in India, as tens of thousands of Indian Americans gathered to greet him, together with President Trump, this week. As a religious nationalists, Modi's unpopularity among the liberal elites seems to make Indian Americans - who love him dearly - increasingly into the GOP camp for 2020.

BREXIT POLL: The pro-EU powers among both liberals and conservatives in Britain have drug their heals and done their best to nullify the vote of the people. Despite the recent setback from their supreme court, a new poll shows that 60% of British want out of the EU by October 31. Deadlocked in parliament, it's no wonder why Johnson wants snap elections. Allied with the new Brexit party, populist Brexit candidates would run in liberal areas where conservatives can't compete while pro-Brexit conservatives run elsewhere. The results would be decisive - which is why Britain recently saw the first ever incidence of the minority party refusing to hold snap elections.


PORTLAND'S POOP PATROL: Portland police have revealed that they are not allowed to stop people from defecating in the streets and sidewalks of Portland. The homeless problem in San Francisco has become so bad that residents are taking it upon themselves to erect what they call "anti-homeless architecture" by placing boulders on the sidewalks. Is this further evidence that the "law and order" Trump will win in 2020?

PROFITS DOUBLED: Chick-fil-a has more than doubled its profits since pro-gay groups have worked to shut down Chick-fil-a stores and march around them in protest. This could be more good news for the president as average voters may not know much about Syria or Yemen, but they know they like their chicken and who's trying to shut them out.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

by A. Joseph Lynch with Commentary from Dr. David Pence


On September 14, Houthi rebels of Yemen staged a drone strike on Saudi Arabian oilfields, an attack that led to temporarily shutting down 50% of Saudi oil output or 5% of the world's oil supply. It was a daring strike on the part of the Houthis, 70,000 of whom have been killed by the Saudis. But the attack was perhaps more symbolic than permanent. The Saudis say their facilities will be fully restored by the end of September and any drop off in production will be replaced with their oil reserves.

Although the Houthis declared they were responsible for the strike and Iran stated it had nothing to do with the attack, Saudi officials declared Iranian responsibility and U.S. officials went so far as to claim the attacks originated in Iran rather than Yemen. President Trump declared the U.S. was "locked and loaded" to fight the culprit behind the attack. Should it be found that the Houthis were responsible, attacking Saudi oil fields as part of a five year war is certainly in the realm of legitimate military targets and should merit no response from the U.S. unless the U.S. wishes to declare war on Yemen and participate more fully in Saudi Arabia's genocidal war with the third world country. The Houthis have now declared an halt to their attacks in hopes of cease fire negotiations with the Saudis. Will we facilitate talks?

More importantly, can we avoid war with Iran and take a more sensible nationalist approach to the region? In our Weekly Brief from May 5, 2018, Dr. Pence argued for a nationalist approach to the Mideast. In it he made the following argument against war with Iran and called for a re-shaping of our foreign policy:
War against Iran will quickly pit us against Iraq, the very country we liberated a decade ago. This will also set us against the two major countries that President Trump should be seeking in a new post Cold War concert of powers: Russia and China. It is time for journalists and senators to elevate the national conversation about our place among the nations as a nation... Our national journalists should be dealing with a war that is looming and a peace that is possible. We must deal in our public discourse with the life and death national decisions facing the President we elected. We have to show him true loyalty as our president so we can have a fruitful discussion with him on policy. We must think like men, like nation-men with a world map shaping our shared imaginations and a historical timeline informing our corporate memory. Candidate Trump once suggested restrictive policies on Muslim immigration until we figure out "what the hell is going on." With Iran, Israel and the salafist jihadists of Saudi Arabia, we have not yet figured out what the hell is going on. We haven't really paid back those murderers who attacked our beloved New York. Can we talk?
While Pat Buchanan declared, "John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on," and he makes some good arguments why our current policy has pressed Iran towards war, we have some hope that the president will pull back from the brink. Rather than launching attacks on Iran and starting an all-out war, the president has declared new sanctions - the bare minimum response based on his past rhetoric regarding Iran. We are troubled, however, that plans are in place to send U.S. troops to defend Saudi Arabia. Putting our men in harms way to protect a nation neither part of NATO nor in an official treaty relationship risks pulling us into war should one soldier be injured or killed. And let's not forget that it was the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia leading up the first Gulf War that led to the terror attacks of 9/11. The president needs guidance and wisdom. Attacking Iran would be his biggest mistake. We hope the cool-headed approach of the president's new NSA will help us come back from the brink.


NO MAGIC BULLET: Church Militant's episode of the The Vortex explains there is no single magic bullet, not even the Latin Mass, that can change the course of our current trajectory. Many, many years of prayer and work are ahead of us.

BISHOPS VS. MARTIN: Some bishops, including Chaput of Philadelphia, are raising concerns about pro-LGBT Jesuit priest, Fr. James Marin, SJ (or SJW?). Are the concerns lip service to "conservatives" or signs of something more? The cordial exchange between Chaput and Martin seems to indicate the former. Liberals like Martin follow in the footsteps of von Balthasar, undercutting truth while skillfully claiming to support it. It's time the bishops channel the warrior spirit of the Church fathers, rather than the diplomatic courtesies of the scholar.

MEGA CHURCH PASTOR SUICIDE: Jarrid Wilson was a husband and father - and a mega church pastor worth upwards of a million dollars.


O'BRIEN AS NSA: President Trump has selected Robert O'Brien as his new National Security Adviser, the fourth of his presidency (following Flynn, McMaster, and Bolton). O'Brien is Trump's chief hostage negotiator, helping to release hostages from North Korea - which should give him some rapport with the Koreans. A lawyer by trade with no military background, he is quite different from the previous NSAs Trump has selected. One commentator describes him as "affable, friendly, a manager, a negotiator - not [a] sort of sharp-elbowed, outspoken figure."

TRUMP AHEAD OF OBAMA: Even Newsweek has to face the facts - Trump is polling ahead of Obama at the same point of his presidency. Good news for Trump.

NYT WALK BACK: The NY Times has had to walk back a tweet and report on Justice Kavanaugh. The paper picked up new allegations against Kavanaugh without reporting that the supposed victim didn't recall the reported incident. And in a now-deleted tweet, the paper pressed the allegations were true despite the lack of evidence or memory on the part of the supposed victim. This didn't stop Democrats from calling for Kavanaugh's impeachment. We hope he sues.

MAHER MOCKS NEVER TRUMPERS: The far left commentator, Bill Maher, mocked conservative Never Trumpers who have joined the liberal media to attack the president. Nichole Wallace, Steve Schmidt, and former RNC chairman Michael Steele are all good examples. In interviewing Steele, Maher asked Steele if he was a Never Trumper - to which he said "No." But when asked if he could ever vote for Trump, his second negative reply was met by the obvious from Maher: "Well that's a Never Trumper!" In the great shift within the parties, liberal media outlets must begin to include the voices of nationalists conservatives rather than the voices of out-of-touch and outdated neoconservatives.

WHO DID ILHAN OMAR MARRY? New reports and deleted tweets emerge yet questions remain.


BLACK FACED PM: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada is embroiled in two scandals. One involves the firing of his attorney general and the other involves multiple photos of him in black face. With his leadership on the line as voters hit the polls on October 21, is Trudeau finished?

MY FAVORITE DICTATOR: Shock waves reverberated as President Trump called Egypt's president, el-Sisi, his "favorite dictator." This stems from the military coup that took place in Egypt, overthrowing the democratically elected Morsi. Some commentary from Dr. Pence on el-Sisi vs. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood:
The Muslim Brotherhood won the 2012 election by a million votes and without fraud. They are part of the Salafist Sunni movement but work through elections and education. Their "democratic" government, however, was a real threat to the Coptic Christians of Egypt and the few Egyptian Shiites (less than a million) and the Egyptian secularists. The Saudi ruling family viewed the Muslim Brotherhood and its populist tactics  as a threat to their royalist ideology. The Saudis actually supported the 2013 military coup by Egyptian General Abdel el-Sisi against President Mohammed Morsi, who is now in prison under a death sentence. President el-Sisi has gone to Coptic Easter services as a sign of religious toleration. In January 2015, he made a major speech to Islamic scholars and said, "We are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting for your next move." So, we have a government which overthrew a democratically elected salafist party (the Muslim Brotherhood) but protects religious minorities. 

ITALY'S LEFTIST RULE ON THE BRINK: "Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) to form his own party, potentially destabilizing the days-old ruling coalition." Dr. Steve Turley weighs in.


TUCKER VS. BIG BUSINESS: Tucker Carlson presents a strong conservative nationalist-populist critique of big business and libertarianism.

LISA BLOOM ADMITS MISTAKE: Lisa Bloom is the only child of civil rights attorney Gloria Alred. While she claims to fight for women's rights, her representation of Harvey Weinstein - which she now says was a mistake - speaks otherwise.

OLDEST PARENTS IN ICU: There's a reason why God made us to bear children at a younger age rather than rely on artificial insemination... in our 70s.

MARTIN VS. TOLKIEN: George R.R. Martin, author of the unfinished Game of Thrones books, has criticized Tolkien for not explaining Aragorn's foreign policy. We suggest he finish his own novels before casting shade at those who have finished theirs... especially when you're criticizing the book of the century

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

ANTIETAM: America's Bloodiest Day

September 17, 2017 -  just shy of one week after 9/11 - marks the 157th anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history. It was on this day in 1862 that General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the north was turned back, Confederate recognition by Britain and France was thwarted, and the Emancipation Proclamation was ensured. The cost of this was around 23,000 American casualties, almost 4,000 of which were killed in combat. In comparison, 9/11 witnessed the deaths of 2,996 while some 80,000 Russian and French casualties resulted from the single day Battle of Borodino in 1812.

The Battle of Antietam followed a string of Confederate victories led by the newly appointed General Lee beginning in late June of 1862. In a period of one week, Lee won a series of stunning battles that drove the Union Army back from the gates of Richmond. In late August, Lee followed up his opening victories with the Battle of Second Bull Run, located south of Washington DC. In another decisive win, Lee almost outflanked and destroyed the Union Army as it withdrew over Bull Run.

With these victories in hand, Lee decided it was time to take the fight north.

As he would do in the Gettysburg campaign, Lee marched his army nearer to the mountains in northwest Virginia, using them as a screen to cover his forces moving north. Believing the Union commander, General McClellan, to be a slow and cautious leader, Lee took the risk of dividing his forces on the march. While Lee's estimation of McClellan was accurate, Lee did not know that an order containing his marching plans was accidentally discovered by Union forces. With Lee's marching orders in hand, there was little stopping McClellan from attacking the Confederate army piecemeal, and thus bring an end to the war.

McClellan, however, failed to take advantage of Lee's mistake. As he began his attack, McClellan's advance actually drove Lee's disparate forces towards one another. Their final position, however, found the Confederate army sandwiched between the large Potomac River behind them and the Antietam Creek in front of them.

Unable to rapidly retreat across the Potomac, such a situation could prove disastrous to the army should they lose the battle ahead. What's more, Lee with 40,000 men was far outnumbered by McClellan's 80,000. One large push forward with all his troops should have led to the destruction of Lee's forces.

The Battle of Antietam ended in a tactical draw. However, the repulsion of  General Lee's invasion into the North forcing his return to Virginia, was a strategic win for the Union. It was the most significant victory of the war in terms of American foreign policy objectives.  Some argue that Antietam, not Gettysburg, was the turning point in the war. Why did McClellan fail to destroy Lee at Antietam? We invite our readers to watch this short 4-minute video explaining the battle. We can summarize Antietam by describing McClellan's strategy as a rolling attack on Confederate lines from north to south (see map at left). Fighting commenced in the morning at a cornfield at the north end of the battle, then passed further south to an area called the West Woods. From here the action moved to a sunken dirt road now known as the Bloody Lane. Further south it seemed as though the tide turned as Union forces crossed the large stone bridge, pouring troops around Lee's southern (right) flank. Last minute Confederate reinforcements, however, pushed back Union forces and thus brought the battle to an end.

Antietam proved that Lee wasn't invincible - and with Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the war was increasingly tied to the moral fight against racial slavery. Despite their need for Southern cotton, neither Britain nor France - both of which condemned slavery - would be giving their support to the slave-holding South.

Although the war would drag on for another three deadly years, the blood spilled in war against racial slavery would providentially reflect slavery's grim death toll. For the six million African slaves that died in the Atlantic crossings, one-tenth of that number - 600,000 - is the estimated number of American dead during the Civil War. From Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address:
"...if God wills that [the Civil War] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'"

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

by A. Joseph Lynch


In a surprise 9/11 gift to the nation, President Trump asked for, and received, NSA John Bolton's resignation. The president cited tensions between Bolton and other members of the administration, saying that Bolton is "so tough he got us into Iraq." The one issue that came up again and again was Bolton's use of the "Libyan model" - a phrase that naturally upset the North Koreans and set back 
the diplomatic efforts between our two nations. 

While we had hoped Bolton would temper his views in service to the president, Dr. Pence warned us of this very issue almost a year and a half ago:
John Bolton, the new National Security Advisor for President Trump, gave an April 29 interview with Fox newscaster Chris Wallace suggesting that we had a plan for denuclearization with North Korea based on the "Libyan model of 2003-2004." Talk about tone deaf. Mr. Bolton and the "journalist "interviewing him apparently forgot that after Muammer Gaddafi gave up his whole nuclear program, he was killed by a mob on Oct 20, 2011. That mob was empowered by Gaddafi's ungrateful new "friends from the West." A US NATO air campaign turned the Libyan Civil War decisively for the rebels who now divide their fractured rule in the failed state of Libya. As Hillary Clinton laughingly said, "We came, we saw, he died." An attack by a cohort of those same rebels killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya one year later, Sept 11, 2012. Gaddafi betrayed, the Arab mob given an Air Force against an African leader, and American patriots killed in the aftermath. That too is the Libyan model.
Needless to say there was a strong reaction by North Korea after hearing Mr. Bolton's TV interview. They have a sense of history even if Mr. Bolton and Chris Wallace do not.
...President Trump was very quick to say the Korean negotiations are DEFINITELY NOT THE LIBYA MODEL. He criticized the Regime Change which destroyed that country. He made it very clear he was proposing a very different scenario. This was his position in Republican debates on Syria as well. He said, "Destroy ISIS, don't try to overthrow Assad." "Cooperate with Russia, don't make them your enemies." President Trump is not a neocon...
This is very reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's negotiations with Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan always had a vision of peace and cooperation as a new way for the two nations to live together. He loved Russian proverbs. His "hard liner advisors" were always worried that if Reagan was left alone too long with Gorbachev,  he would give away the store. The hardline conservatives shared his tough talk but they knew not his heart. Paul Kengor's book on God and Ronald Reagan is very good about this phenomenon.


SHARPIE-GATE AND BORDER WALLS: Did President Trump use a sharpie to manually extend Dorian's path of destruction to include Alabama? The controversy became known as "Sharpie-Gate" - the next great presidential scandal put forward by the hysteric anti-Trump media. Trump in turn fed the media frenzy by announcing Trump-branded magic markers - and the media went wild. Meanwhile little attention was given to the announcement that President Trump was diverting more money from 127 Pentagon projects in order to fund another 200 miles of border wall with Mexico - a story which could have been quite negative for the President. Once again, Trump has hoodwinked the media into chasing a crazy story while missing out on the real news that might affect voters.

ANOTHER TRUMP CHALLENGER: We recently covered scandal-ridden Joe Walsh and his challenge to Trump from within the GOP. Now ex-governor and ex-representative Mark Sanford has announced he too will challenge Trump. Sanford is perhaps best known for an affair that saw him disappear from his state while attempting to cover up his illicit relationship. He later lost his bid for re-election to Congress after Trump supported his opponent. Trump has already blasted Sanford, summarizing his collapsed political career in a single blistering tweet. Meanwhile Arizona, Kansas, South Carolina, and Nevada have all cancelled their primaries. We hope more will soon follow suit.

RECORD NUMBER OF APPOINTMENTS: Control of the Senate - especially since many "never-Trump" senators left and were replaced by pro-Trump senators - has paid dividends to the president. President Trump has now successfully hit a record number of judge appointments confirmed by the Senate. He recently hit his 152nd confirmation. This number includes 100 district court judges, over 40 circuit court judges, and two Supreme Court justices. The "nutty 9th" Circuit of 29 judges went from 6 conservative appointments as of 2016, to 13 under Trump - only two judges shy of a conservative majority.

TRUMP SHAPING THE GOP: A recent article wondered if the GOP momentum to re-take the House has been slowed by 15 GOP congressmen announcing their retirement ahead of November 2020's elections. Most of the seats, however, are in solid GOP areas. What we might see is something similar to the 2018 re-shaping of the Senate, where "never Trumpers" left and were replaced by many new Trump allies. Retiring congressman Will Hurd called Trump's tweets against AOC and "the Squad" "racist and xenophobic" while Bill Flores has a history of criticizing the Trump family. Jim Sensenbrenner was one of seven Republicans who voted to condemn "the Trump administration's efforts to have the courts invalidate 'ObamaCare.'" It's not enough for the GOP to re-take the majority. They must replace the "never Trumpers" if they are to do anything with the majority.


SHOULD WE BE THRILLED? GOP Rep. Michael Waltz, says he is "thrilled" that talks were breaking down between the US and Taliban after a recent bombing in Kabul. While we need a good deal, we should never be excited when opportunities for peace slip between our fingers.

SCOTUS TO THE RESCUE: Last Monday a U.S. district judge in California, Jon Tigar, reinstated a nationwide halt on the Trump Administration's implementation of the safe third country agreement it has reached with Mexico and other countries. The problem of a single judge placing national injunctions on American foreign and domestic policies is a massive problem for our nation, making one man in Oakland seemingly more powerful than the President. It's a problem that has doubled from 20 national injunctions during eight years of Obama to 40 national injunctions in three years of Trump. It must end. Thankfully the Supreme Court stepped in to overturn Tigar. Even the "nutty 9th" Circuit limited the scope of the injunction before SCOTUS overturned it altogether.

BREXIT - EIGHT PATHS FORWARD: A anti-Brexit channel explains eight possible ways Prime Minister Boris Johnson can complete Brexit. The video is not down on any in particular, and we're not so pessimistic about their chances as the video is. Worth watching for the information if not for the commentary.

BOLSONARO'S PHILOSOPHER: Dr. Steve Turley posted a four-part interview of Olavo de Carvalh, known as Bolsonaro's philosopher and influential thinker within the nationalist political movements of Brazil. To watch the interview follow these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE WITH... CANNIBALISM: When "science," climate change hysteria, and a total lack of true sacral categories coincide, we start hearing from scientists like one from Sweden calling on us to fight climate change by eating other humans. The inversion of religion and sacral categories continues.

A GRIZZLY DISCOVERY: Over 2,200 aborted babies found in the home of a recently deceased abortionist's house. Ulrich Klopfer, whose medical license had been suspended in 2015, performed abortions in South Bend, Indiana - home of the University of Notre Dame and Democrat presidential contender, Pete Buttigieg.

"HELL, YES...": "...we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," said Beto O'Rourke at the latest Democrat presidential primary debate. Of course, speaking of the AR-15 and the AK-47 conflates the two when the former is a rifle and the latter is a fully automatic assault rifle banned for private use in the US, as are all machine guns without very special permits. Statements such as this will not win over the average gun owner.

September 14: The Triumph of the Cross

"Though He was in the form of God, 

Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. 

Rather He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave being born in the likeness of men. 

He humbled himself obediently accepting even death, death on a cross. 

Because of this God highly exalted Him and bestowed on him the name above every other name. 

So that at Jesus' name every knee shall bend in the heavens and on the earth and under the earth and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!"    



The Triumph of the Cross is the establishment of a new honor/shame code. The obedience of the Son -- filial piety -- conquered the disobedience of the Evil Angel and the first humans. Even more than the sacrificial love that Jesus shows for all of us in His death, it is His obedient love for His Father that is the driving dynamic of this event. Jesus obeys His Father and allows Himself to be publicly humiliated, with His mother close by as a participant in His suffering. Jesus had asked that this cup pass Him, but He submitted to the will of the Father. Obedience to a sacral order, not equality of station, is the road to Victory. This does not abolish honor codes but elevates a new King and incorporates the angels and martyrs in a new court of reputation. This does not do away with shaming and expulsion but dethrones the Prince of this world and scoffs at the glitter and glamour of sin.

The Triumph of the Cross and the Kingdom of God is established by entering into the sacramental order that flows from the side of the Pierced One. That sacramental order reconstitutes the human species as the Body of Christ. The sacramental order is built on a sacral brotherhood that Christ established to maintain His Presence and His sacrifice to the Father on earth throughout time. Through Christ's Church we are incorporated in the interpersonal love of the Trinity. As brothers in Christ we go forth to baptize the nations to effect the Kingdom of God and Triumph of the Cross. The fraternity of priests sustain the Body of Christ in the Eucharistic forms of local Church and earthly Kingdom. The laymen shape civic territorial circles of patriarchal fraternity and order - -some explicitly Christian; others patterned after other transcendental truths. Creating these concentric circles of ordered fraternity bring men into the formations that protect the Eucharistic acts of worship while preparing humanity for the final Coming and Triumph of the Lord.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

SEPTEMBER 11: Remember, Reconsider, Redirect

by David Pence

It has been 18 years since 3,000 Americans died in the attacks of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The New York firefighters and the passenger citizens who prevented the hijacker goals on Flight 93 remind us that a fighting citizenry and local police and firemen are always the primary defense in this asymmetric form of war. The natural response to an attack is for a people to assemble in natural protective relations to safeguard the group. This religious war will be fought by a religious people organized as a nation of protectors in every city and state. A return to God as a people and a renewal of our American national identity are essential elements in our defense. Reversing the asexual modern socialization patterns of young males is just as necessary. Our civc/political failure to link male maturation and patriotic protective duty has spawned, some effeminate and others thuggish, hyper-individualized and ungrateful young males. The 9/11 attacks did bring an outpouring of gratitude and honor toward the soldier, policeman, and fireman -- the traditional male citizen protectors. Our young males need such clarity. Male maturation has nothing to do with color; it is about entering an adult male group united by religious and protective duty. Adolescents think they know it all but real men submit to spiritual authority. Boys are protected by women; grown up men protect women. To effectively protect, we must bond together as a fraternity of fathers. Reversing the cultural lessons of the sexual revolution by reasserting the spiritual meaning of manhood and national brotherhood is another essential response to 9/11.

From the beginning the US governmental response to the attack has misunderstood the religious animus that still motivates our enemies. This has led to strategic incoherence in picking our allies and isolating our enemies. The shock of 9/11 has misguided our tactics as well leading to a skewed emphasis on protecting airplane flights before securing our water supply and electrical grid. We have argued that we must understand the role of religion and nations in framing this conflict. We think there is much to be learned from both Barack Obama and his senior foreign policy advisor (scroll down for interview with Ben Rhodes within this link). They came to understand the failure of our own foreign policy establishment and the mistake in demonizing Shiite Iran when we are fighting a branch of Sunni Islam fostered by Saudi Arabia. This understanding has been deliberately obfuscated by Israeli and Saudi forces who wish to turn the war on terror into a war against Iran. A significant reinforcement  of their narrative is the US Marine memory of Oct 23, 1983. For many soldiers  the Iran/Syrian/ Hezbollah inspired bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut was the "real beginning of global Islamic terrorism." The event was part of the 1982 Lebanon, PLO, Israeli war in which US troops were inserted with no definitive military goals for the forces themselves. There is a great lesson to learn from our soldiers' deaths in Beirut. That lesson is not that Iran is the chief exporter of terrorism in the world.    

The war in Afghanistan is a different theatre than the struggle in the Mideast. But like the fight against ISIS in the Mideast, we will need Iran and Russia as well as India and China in helping bring negotiated peace in Afghanistan. (Scroll to Islam and Mideast in this link for good review of Afghanistan conflict).

The war of the Saudis against the Houthi of Yemen has weakened our fight against AQAP in Yemen. This is directly analogous to our long involvement in aiding jihadist Sunnis against the Assad government in Syria. Our country is an ally in the religious persecution of Shiites which animates so much of Muhammed bin Salman's new more aggressive Saudi foreign policy. This aggression is part of the young Crown Prince's effort to win favor with the Wahhabi clergy in pressing his claims for succession to the throne against his more competent elder kinsmen. The Crown Prince is also the force behind the anti-Qatar campaign (scroll to new Crown Prince). The strategic goals of the US have been obfuscated by confusing them with the goals of our traditional allies. Pakistan in South Asia, as well as Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Mideast have different goals and different enemies than the U.S.

President Trump has advocated an 'America first' foreign policy. Now we need citizens, journalists, scholars -- but most of all the US Senate -- to debate fully what that means. We owe clarity of strategy to our dead, our military, and the young men we are socializing to continue the protection.   This must include trying to resolve the almost 40-year-old Iran/Israeli war which is being confused with the global war against salafist jihadists. (See this excellent summary of Israel's geopolitical stance in which ISIS as a buffer is preferred to a stabilization of Shia-led governments in Iran, Iraq or Syria.)

We now (2018) hear officials and some newsmen say that 9/11 was caused by "radical Islamic terrorism." That is true and that is an advance but that is not enough. That brand of radical Islam which attacked us had a launching pad in Afghanistan but they had a home base as well. The Islamic radical movement which struck us comes from a particular school of Islamic law. They have a territorial  address. But after 7 years under President Bush, 8 years under President Obama, and 3 years under President Trump, we have not given them a proper call back yet. Let us remember, let us reconsider, let us redirect.

{Our extended 18,000 word essay published on Sept 11, 2018 places our arguments about 9/11 in the historical context of the 20th century. It is a long illustrated piece-our culminating synthesis.}

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

by A. Joseph Lynch


Pope Francis has named thirteen new cardinals to be officially installed at a consistory in Rome on October 5, the eve of the Amazon Synod. Conservatives and liberals have either rolled their eyes or cheered the selections. But neither see the whole picture of Francis' "peripheral" and global approach to his cardinal appointments.

Among the new cardinals are the Archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia (the world's most populous Muslim nation), the Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Congo (currently the 8th largest Christian nation in the world and projected to break into the top five by 2050), and the Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco. Francis, whose selections now come to 52% of the total College of Cardinals (Benedict XVI's appointments stand at 33% and St. John Paul II 's appointments have dropped to 15%), has broadened the global representation of the college. Europe may still be over-represented, but it is heartening to see the rising numbers of cardinals from Africa and Asia (now tied or above North America).

Conservatives lament the appointment of men like Zuppi and Höllerich (a Jesuit), but they often fail to mention that it was the "conservative" Benedict XVI that made Zuppi an auxiliary bishop of Rome (there's certainly no mention of it in this article from Church Militant) and that it was again, our man Benedict, who made Höllerich the Archbishop of Luxembourg in 2011. Truth be told, the rise of the current crop of cardinals couldn't have take place without the guiding hand of previous pontificates. The Church certainly has her share of bad bishops and cardinals, but the languishing parts of the Church took decades to reach its current point. Continuing to blame Francis for all the Church's ills is not the path forward - which is why Francis calls the criticism an honor


SEATTLE ARCHBISHOP RESIGNS: A homosexual man received his last sacraments during a First parish Communion, receives a gay marriage, and commits suicide - with coverage from the Associated Press and - it appears - with the full blessing of a priest and Seattle's own Archbishop. That archbishop has no resigned. Church Militant and The Catholic Thing provide coverage. 

CARDINAL NEWMAN ON NATURE AND GRACE: "It is the very character and definition of 'the heavens and the earth,' as contrasted with the void or chaos which preceded them, that everything is now subjected to fixed laws; and every motion, and influence, and effect can be accounted for, and, were our knowledge sufficient, could be anticipated." Yet Newman reminds that the movements of the world are not merely driven by the work of nature, but also at work is the movement of divine grace - and we must recognize it. "Men of the world know the power of nature; they know not, experience not, believe not, the power of God's grace; and since they are not themselves acquainted with any power that can overcome nature, they think that none exists, and therefore, consistently, they believe that every one, Priest or not, remains to the end such as nature made him, and they will not believe it possible that any one can lead a supernatural life." In some ways, this is a difference not only between believers and non-believers, but also between Protestants and Catholics. This is why Catholics love and have devotions to the saints - men and women who have been transformed by grace into something supernatural. Every saint is a miracle. Catholics are sometimes blind to this, but at least they're in contact with it.


BAHAMAS HURRICANE: The 29-island nation was hit by category five Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane to ever strike the northwestern islands of the Bahamas. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called it the nation's greatest national crisis and may cost the nation upwards of $7 billion. Another article about the destruction reminds us of the importance of authority and security as militias form to stop the looting and shooting now taking place amidst the chaos. Learn more about the Bahamas from Geography Now.

CAN BIDEN MAKE IT? Pat Buchanan ponders his stamina for the race ahead. His blood-filled eye was certainly not a good sign.


WWII TURNS 80: Pat Buchanan offers a sobering reflection on who won and who lost.

POLITICAL SWINGS IN EUROPE: It's been a crazy week in European politics. While nationalists have had their best showings yet in parts of Germany, Brexit is at a sudden standstill and Salvini's Lega (League) Party has been betrayed by their coalition partner, thus returning the Left to power in Italy. As Dr. Steve Turley notes, both setbacks in the UK and Italy, however, came not from voters but from the machinations of globalist-elites - the "swamp monsters" - within the political machinery itself. Elections should prove the setback impermanent.

EX-HONDURAS FIRST LADY SENTENCED: "'The former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla was sentenced to 58 years in jail for the crimes of undue appropriation of funds and fraud,' said Supreme Court spokesman Carlos Silva."  We at AoA are not surprised.

EPSTEIN THE SPY?: An older article, but worth reading.


WOMEN ARE PASSING: Looks aren't everything; money counts, too. And it turns out when men do the proposing and women are asked to "yes," they weigh their consent on how "economically attractive" their man is. Given this, a new study unsurprisingly shows that the decline in marriage is connected to men falling behind women. There's little space here to list the host of problems that come with the decline of marriage, but we can say that few have considered the long term implications of feminism on society - the problems are legion.

INTERVIEW WITH A SHERIFF: Candice Owens interviews Sheriff David Clarke.

DR. PENCE ON NEW EMANGELIZATION: Dr. Pence may not be with us in the flesh, but we continue to bring you his words on a regular basis. Here is an audio interview he did with the New Emangelization Project. Listen and learn from the master.

PATRIOTIC PUNISHMENT: An American flag steeling young man avoids charges by handing out 150 flags at a local business - a very patriotic second chance.