Saturday, February 29, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29

by A. Joseph Lynch


BREAKING THE NARRATIVE (I): Liberals have long delcared Francis one of their own and conservatives are all too happy to agree. The liberal and "Never Francis" conservative narrative of Francis, however, was brought down a notch or two following the promulgation of Querida Amazonia, Francis' post-Amazon synod apostolic exhortation - a document which the National Reviews says reveals his conservatism.

BREAKING THE NARRATIVE (II): If we needed further evidence of Francis' departure from the liberal and conservative narrative, we learned this week that Francis is most displeased with James Martin and how he used his papal audience to push his homosexual agenda in the Church. An anonymous bishop from a private episcopal meeting described what Pope Francis has said: "The Holy Father's disposition was very clear: He was most displeased about the whole subject of Fr. Martin and how their encounter had been used. He was very expressive, both his words and his face — his anger was very clear. He felt he'd been used."

SLAYING DRAGONS: A great interview of author Charles Fraune by Taylor Marshall on Fraune's new book on exorcisms, Slaying Dragons.


TRUMP'S HISTORIC WIN: While focus in New Hampshire's primary was placed on the Democrats, what went under-reported was President Trump's record vote in the state's GOP primary. In previous re-election bids, Obama received 49,000 votes in New Hampshire's primary while W. Bush and Clint received 54,000 votes and 77,000 votes respectively. President Trump blew these numbers away as he received over 120,000 votes. It's certainly a good sign for the President's re-election.

NEVADA CAUCUS: We saw fewer problems with technology in Nevada's Democrat caucus while Bernie won in a landslide. Sanders now has a commanding lead with 45 delegates, nearly double the 25 held by second-place Buttigieg and 15 more delegates than the combined total of Biden (15), Warren (8), and Klobachar (8).

BLOOMBERG BUST? Mayor Bloomberg has spent around half a billion dollars to gain zero delegates. It remains to be seen how he will perform on Super Tuesday in the states where he has spent much more attention and funds. With his name not on the South Carolina ballot and his focus on Super Tuesday people have wondered why he has risked taking the debate stage ahead of the Nevada caucus where he had little to gain and much to lose. Pat Buchanan described Bloomberg's dismal debate performance this way: "Bloomberg learned what it is like to be thrown up against a wall and frisked." With billions in the bank, Bloomberg is the one candidate who can survive a disastrous day at the polls on Tuesday.

PATRICK OUT: Democrats have lost their last black candidate for the presidency. Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, has dropped out. In many ways this marks a turning point in the Democrat party. It has become the party of rich white feminists (Warren), crony money and power hungry politicians (Biden), homosexuals (Buttigieg), socialists (Sanders), and billionaires (Bloomberg). With Trump gaining support among African Americans and Hispanics, is the GOP the future home of racial diversity and support for the working class?

THE REPUBLICAN STEELE: Lindsay Graham plans to see a Senate investigation into Biden and Ukraine corruption, yet he says he is hesitant to take the information from Rudy Guiliani's investigation in fear of becoming the "Republican Christopher Steele." Graham seems to forget that we've already had a Republican Steele. It was "Never Trumper" John McCain who passed Steele's total fraud dossier to the FBI. See our past AOA commentary for more.

NSC OVERSTATEMENT: There is definitely collusion afoot, but Russia has nothing to do with it. It's a collusion between the "deep state" - actors within the government opposed to the Trump agenda or from other politicians outside the mainstream - and the elite media. Often something gets "leaked" or reported, saturated in the public mind through media attention for a day or two, then quietly backtracked when it is revealed as fake news. This is exactly what happened this week after it was widely circulated that intel supposedly revealed Russia was helping Bernie and Trump.


PHILIPPINES - TIME TO LEAVE? President Duterte plans to end the US military presence in his country. Pat Buchanan thinks we should accede, leave, and let Duterte know we'll never come back - even if the Philippines need military aid. What isn't being said is that the Philippines is the largest Catholic nation in Asia and America is the largest Christian nation in the world. The two should be natural allies, yet we seem to be moving apart. That being said, Duterte and Xi are two strong leaders of neighboring nations and their cooperation may be more important than hosting American military forces aimed squarely to counter China.

MORE SAUDI WAR CRIMES: The Saudis kill more than 30 civilians in Yemeni air strike. So far over 100,000 Yemenis have died at the hands of the Saudis. Have we cut funds to the Kingdom yet?

TRUMP IN INDIA: President Trump was met by tens of thousands of Indians this week as he made a presidential trip to India. More from Dr. Steve Turley.

CORONAVIRUS SPREADS: As the virus spreads, the CDC is warning of "significant disruption." Debunking myths.


WAR IN NYC? The NYC police sergeants union has declared war against Mayor de Blasio for his anti-police posture and rhetoric. Meanwhile a new state bail law is wreaking havoc. One man has been arrest 139 times and can't be held in jail due to the new law. He's thanking Democrats, saying, "Bail reform, it's lit!"

SAVING BABIES IN AUSCHWITZ: The story behind a Catholic Polish midwife who delivered 3,000 babies in Auschwitz

PRAYER IN SCHOOLS: President Trump is working to protect it.

NUTTY NO MORE? The "nutty" 9th Circuit Court is still nutty, but becoming less so. As we reported last September, under Trump court "of 29 judges went from 6 conservative appointments as of 2016, to 13 under Trump - only two judges shy of a conservative majority." This week the "nutty 9th" upheld an anti-abortion Trump policy while the US Senate failed to gain enough Democrat votes to ban infanticide. If the GOP can continue to hold the Presidency and the Senate beyond November, they just might see the "nutty 9th" less nutty than the Democrats in the Senate.

GHOSTING ON THE RISE: An increasing number of younger employees are "ghosting" their employers by mysteriously leaving their jobs by failing to show for work and never formally quitting.  One study shows 50% of Gen Z (or iGen) and Millennial have "ghosted" at least one job while the same can be said of 35% of Gen Xers and only 19% of Boomers. The trend reveals something of the attitude and and lack of maturity in many young entrants to the job market. They may not know it, but it's bad for them in the long run.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Feb 22: The Feast of the Chair of Peter. Pope Francis and the leadership lessons of Lincoln

Chair of St Peter. A wooden chair given to a Pope by an Emperor in 875 AD. Gilded in bronze in 1647. 

On the birthday of America's founding patriarch (see Feb 22 below), the Church dedicates a Feast Day to celebrate a Chair given as a gift from an Emperor to a Pope.  We are meant to contemplate this symbol of authority and the Petrine office. Community demands Authority. Pope John Paul II asked all Christians to  suggest how this office should be lived to bring Christian Unity. Pope Francis has called together all the heads of Bishop Conferences and heads of religious orders to a summit in Rome "to listen to the cries of the little ones." A major theme of the Pope for episcopal and priestly reform is the necessity of synodal governance of the Church.(His address on 50th anniversary of Bishop Synods)  He called the February 2019 gathering to show the Church in a synodal form addressing abuse of minors. He is at all times keeping in mind the bishops of the Orthodox tradition and the need for unity with them so the Church can "breathe with two lungs". He has strongly resisted the American desire to insert lay people into Church governance. He has called the Apostles together to confront the pain of the victims and assert their every bishop and bishop's conference must go back to their home territories and show mercy by ruling justly. His gathering of the leaders is to insure that the sins of some do not diminish the authority of the Apostolic whole. His war against clericalism is not a war against the sacral Apostolic character of priestly identity. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis has shown any individual can be stripped of his rank to purify the priestly bond. The dramatic reduction of Theodore McCarrick the big spending, high flying American to the lay state is a vivid reminder that the old days of gentle whispers are over. The communal whole is greater than the wealthy maverick.

In this conference he is pointedly not addressing  homosexuality in the priesthood as a root cause of the crisis. This does not mean other bishops and free flowing press conferences cannot forcefully make the connections. Rather the Pope is mustering the authorities in the ecclesial form of the corporate brotherhood in prayer and parrhesia(fearless speech).  This is the antidote to the lobbyists, the magnified little men behind the curtains of media, the secret intriguers who fill the chanceries and Curia, the "homosexual parish" that shapes Catholic clericalism. He draws bishops together as he expects them to assemble their priests---in public, face-to-face, man-to-man encounters of fraternity under the Father. He has always emphasized that in synodal gatherings the bishops meet with (cum) the Pope and under (sub) the Pope. The problem with the Church is not an all male clergy. It is an emasculated clergy that has lost its sacral identity as a fraternity of fathers.

 Pope Francis knows the clerical rot is deep and he will need many new men and groups of men rising within the  diocesan and national gatherings of the ordained. He sees the synod in the Church the way he sees fraternity among the world religions and the nations. Fatherhood and brotherhood are the antidotes to spiritual incest. These are built in the many communal forms of the priesthood and episcopacy.  The Holy Father always starts with the whole before the part. He has written about this for decades (see The Mind of Pope Francis) 

President Abraham Lincoln faced the division of the American nation as he assumed the Presidency in 1860. Slavery was the fundamental sin which could not be reconciled with the Declaration of Independence though it was allowed in the Constitution. Many abolitionists demanded he build his campaign and Presidency on condemning the evil of slavery. But Lincoln understood he must hold together the Union or he would never have the authority to end slavery. He built his Presidency and  his Second Inaugural on expanding the civic brotherhood upon which the nation was founded.   The Pope is acting like Lincoln and many of us critics (self included) are playing the abolitionist. We should pause to see the whole and respect the Chair. ( There may be a lesson from the world of motorcycling explained in Matthew Crawford's book on The World Outside Your Head. He says when you are walking, you keep your eyes on a hazard ahead to avoid it. But if you are on a high speed motorcycle you must deliberately keep your focus on the clear road ahead not the hazard. )From the beginning of his papacy the Pope has said he will not focus on "contraception, gay marriage and abortion". He is not an individual writing a blog entry.  He is on a very fast and dangerous motorcycle, directing a global Church. His vision and words must inspire millions of poor fathers trying to find work in the megacities before placating hundreds of western elites debating their abominable perversions.

Another Man who understood the Authority of His Chair

All those who have taken this crisis as an opportunity to strike at the liturgy of the Novus Ordo, the validity of the Second Vatican Council, and the papacy of Pope Francis should consider the whole. They are in very dangerous waters playing the Accuser in trying to discredit the true agents of the Holy Spirit. They do the Accuser's work more efficiently than enemies who display no veneer of "faithful Catholics' to fool the faithful. They recoil with righteous indignation when they and their fraudulent clerical heroes (Vigano and Burke) are exposed for helping the Serpent who wants a headless Church. Those two same Chief Pharisees were quick to accuse the women in adultery after the Papal Amoris document but were not so authoritarian as they let two notorious homosexual bishops (Nienstedt and Apuron) slip through their perfumed hands of mercy. So stringent with the lady in the back pew with her kids; so gentle and accompanying with the predator clerics. Those polluted priests have done much more to desacralize the Eucharist from the priest side of the altar than any lady reaching through the crowd to touch Christ's garment. As Pope Francis says, there is something of the Black Mass with the predator priests. "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord." It is not the Novus Ordo that desacralizes the Mass. That is another smokescreen from diabolos. It is the Nienstedts and Apurons and McCarricks and Spellmans. It is not the sins of the laity which threaten our liturgical life--it is the priestly pollution.
The "traddies" and "resistance" should be mindful. Their momentary  media bubble is a glass house built on sand. As the traffic generated by their hysteria recedes, they will have time to remember the first rule of regicide. Be sure you kill the  king, if you are going to shoot at him.
For those of us who want to help the Father clean the filth we must reassert the whole with Pope Francis.  Vatican II is "rereading of the Gospels in a concrete historical situation." The event of Vatican II and especially the liturgical reform is the biblical answer to modernity not the fruit of modernism.  The renewed Church of Vatican II will be composed of synodal brotherhoods not the hidden clerical cliques of chancery, Curia, and "the lavender parish".

 One principal storyline of the Francis papacy is restoring the Papacy  as Shepherd-Ruler after the papacies of the philosopher-prophet and the theologian-priest. The journey Pope Francis is walking with us cannot be interrupted for you tube monologues contrasting two American queens like Raymond Burke and James Martin. We must think much bigger to think with Francis who is not the provincial that American neoconservatives label him.

It is not only the Church but the nations which constitute Christendom and humanity. Pope Francis understands the Church must go 'to the periphery" to baptize the nations or the Church forfeits her mission. Pope Francis is calling together the Apostolic Church as a Synodal fraternity to reform herself and function as a template for humanity. He is leading the biblical People of God amidst the nations. He is showing us the public fruits of Vatican Two are still maturing while the twisted fruits of hidden clericalism are rotting.  Following the true Spirit of the Second Vatican Council, he has initiated his unique diplomacy of fraternity to Confucian China and Islam. He answered the beheading of the Coptic martyrs on the shores of the Mediterranean with public Mass on the sands of Arabia. Synodal brotherhood in the Church and fraternity amidst the religions and nations of mankind may just be the wholistic approach that will best isolate the lavender Judas in the Vatican and the  salafist Cain in Mecca. Let us pray for Our Holy Father on this feast day and honor that Holy Chair.  He has a large plan and we can all agree he has not yet  found his General Grant.  

Monday, February 17, 2020

President George Washington: All Praise the Patriarch

by David Pence

This Monday’s federal holiday officially commemorates the birthday of our first president George Washington (b. Feb 22, 1732). In many states this is called Presidents Day and is meant to both commemorate the men who were presidents and honor the office which they held. In five states (including our own Minnesota) those February Presidents Lincoln and Washington are the special objects of our civic honor.

Patriarchy means rule of the father. A patriarch can also refer especially to the beginning father or the founding father. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) are called the patriarchs of Judaism. Christianity is deeply patriarchal with the model prayer taught by Jesus petitioning that  God our Father will extend His rule in heaven over all the earth. Americans have always referred to Washington as a founding father, and our most affectionate name for Lincoln came from the black tradition: 'Father Abraham.'

We honor George Washington today (Read this AOA profile as your civic duty for the holiday)  for leading our first national army to victory in winning independence from the British, for acting 8 years as our first president under the 1787 Constitution, and for giving up the office of authority establishing a tradition of peaceful succession for the commander-in-chief of the military. "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." In Washington’s farewell address to his troops, he prayed that the brotherly bonds of affection forged in war would animate the bonds of citizenship in the new republic. Men who believed in republics rather than monarchy still believed in authority, fatherhood, and God. They knew that men in protective and productive civic groups needed strong leaders with considerable discretion to act for the group. As Washington wrote:

"It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor."

There is in our land a hatred of the father and a rebellion against authority which destroys community. It is a repudiation of God the Father and disrespect for authority figures from the local policeman to the President. Abraham Lincoln in one of his first public speeches as a young man to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield decried the mobs and hate and violence that were infecting public life and replacing the civic bonds of affection that come from men living under God and the Law together. (See Matthew Holland’s Bonds of Affection describing the twofold love of American civic life.) President Trump reminded us in his inaugural that the loyalty of patriotism by its very nature deepens the loyalty of Americans to one another. (AOA on our current President)

There can be no community if there is no authority and respect for law. The baby boomers were wrong and that disastrous party is now over. The adolescent death yelp we are hearing across the nation is a primal recognition that a certain kind of partying is coming to an end. There can be no civic peace in our cities unless there is a renewal of fatherhood in our families. But we do not have to wait a generation for the  spiritual renewal of marriage and good dads. There are city fathers in blue patrolling every city in America. A great blessing of American civic life is the republican tradition of local universal male protective duty expressed in the militia tradition and policing as a local responsibility. The local male citizens in every city, town and county can offer to young males the identity and status which comes from taking up our shared duty of protection. This is the classic definition of that much abused form of male bonding-politics.
 If the criminals are getting the upper hand in certain neighborhoods, then there are American fathers garbed in blue who can come in and take care of our spiritual widows and orphans. Politics is the communal strategy of making fatherhood available to all young males in the territory.  The anti-political forces are a strange combination of brutish predators, violence prone adolescent anarchists,  and effeminate careerists. They all would undermine a civic presence of masculine protectors. Patriarchy and fraternity are not the problems -- they are the solution. Fathers know we need a brotherhood of fathers to protect a nation or a city. We know fatherhood and duty are not based on color but they are entirely dependent on gender. We know the household is not safe if the city is not strong. The great Presidents and Patriarchs called men and their sons into a common identity as American citizens.  The founding fathers who shaped the initial bond of American citizenship and the brave men who secured that Union under Lincoln have bequeathed to American men of every color a template for civic brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God.  

Let us build our country. Let us thank our God. Let us teach our sons. Let us honor our fathers.   

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15

by A. Joseph Lynch


POST-SYNOD EXHORTATION: Pope Francis has promulgated Querida Amazonia, his post-Amazon synod apostolic exhortation. While all expected the "liberal" Francis to officially allow married priests in the Amazon and perhaps even announce deaconesses in the Church, liberals were once again disappointed. Perhaps conservatives were disappointed as well. A Francis who upholds tradition fits neither the liberal nor conservative narrative. While the document may not be perfect, it's a far cry from the abandonment of Catholic tradition on Orders that both liberals and conservatives were expecting.

DECLINE IN IRISH PRIESTS: Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests, a censured organization seeking to end priestly celibacy and allow women's ordination, is warning of declining vocations in Ireland. The island nation, they say, could be without priests in twenty years. While the problem is legitimate, their proposed solutions are not. Irish Catholic men must renew their sense of fraternity and mission. Only then will young men be drawn to their ranks.

FORMER FBI HEAD INVESTIGATES BISHOP: Louis Freeh, who headed the FBI from 1993-2001 (he was succeeded by the infamous Robert Mueller), will investigate homosexual child rape claims against Brooklyn bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio. Freeh is also known for his investigation at Penn State into Jerry Sandusky, the homosexual predator who rapped dozens of boys. The new investigation seems to be in good hands.

400 SHRINES TO MARY: Lay Catholics in Argentina plan to erect 400 small shrines to Mary across. When it comes to conversions, hammers and rosaries often do more good than new theological treatises.


NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY: Sanders, who won the popular vote but lost the delegate vote in Iowa pulled out a win in America's first primary state of New Hampshire. As of today, the delegate count stands at: Buttigieg (23), Sanders (21), Warren (8), Klobuchar (7), and Biden (6). A candidate must win 1,991 of the total 3,979 pledged delegates in order to win in the first round of voting at the DNC next summer. 1,357 delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday (March 3).

LYING DOG-FACED PONY SOLDIER: Every time Biden opens his mouth (or loses another primary) we are reminded of how ludicrous it was for Democrats to impeach Trump over fears he was digging dirt on Biden because Biden was such a threatening presidential contender. After calling a female voter a "lying dog-faced pony soldier," Biden's plummet in the polls continues (he's dropped 10 points in a little more than two weeks).

DEMOCRAT FOR LIFE NO MORE: Charles Camosy, a Catholic theologian on the board of Democrats for Life is leaving the board and the party. As the party moves harder Left, room for pro-life Democrats is shrinking. Democrat front-runner Bernie Sanders has already said as much: "...being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat." According to Gallup, 59% of Democrats believe abortion should either be illegal (14%) or under some legal restrictions (45%). Only 39% of Democrats hold the extreme views of the party elites and current party presidential hopefuls. As the woke Left pushes the party to new extremes, expect more sane Democrats to follow Camosy out of the party.

VIOLENT TRUMP DERANGEMENT: As Trump continues to win, violent extremes of Trump Derangement Syndrome emerge. One man plowed his van through a GOP voter registration tent Florida while a Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to burn down a GOP office in California.


SCANDAVIAN OIKOPHOBIA: Scandinavian Airlines released a shockingly "oikophobic" commercial that denied the reality of anything unique or "Scandinavian" about Scandinavia. Oikophobia refers to a kind of self-hatred of one's own nation or countrymen. It is the natural result of a globalist mindset that must deny one's own nation in order to embrace the world.

PUTIN RULES OUT GAY MARRIAGE: As Ukrainian bishops contend with European bishops more "Western" than Catholic, their separated brethren to the east are led by a man who continues to uphold gender and marriage sanity.

MERKEL'S SUCCESSOR QUITS: Agela Merkel's successor has called it quits, perhaps paving the way for political change in Germany.

SINN FEIN WINS IRELAND: Sinn Fein, the far Left party historically tied to the Irish Republican Army, won in the popular vote Irish elections. Though branded a nationalist party, Sinn Fein's leftist agenda leaves it open to the globalist vision of the EU. What their win means is a weakening of the political center and an opening for a stronger nationalist party to emerge in Ireland.

CORONA VIRUS SPURS NATIONALISM: The outbreak of the corona virus has put the spotlight on the need for strong national borders. More from Dr. Steve Turley.


NAMING NAMES: Former child actors, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, were as children by at least one predator homosexual in Hollywood. His new documentary, My Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys, will name names. He's hired 24-hour protection ahead of the documentary's release.
We suspect that homosexual predation in Hollywood is much bigger than the male-female focus of the "Me Too" movement. Perhaps this documentary will be a first domino to fall.

SANCTUARIES FOR THE UNBORN: Small towns in Texas are declaring themselves sanctuary cities for the unborn. The move parallels gun rights sanctuary cities, which is itself a response to sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. As the Trump Administration moves against liberal sanctuary cities, the sanctuary cities of the conservative bent may likewise end up in court. Time will tell how this plays out.

FAIR PLAY: Three brave young women in Connecticut are suing to keep transgendered players off of female sports teams. Enacting sane policy shouldn't require a lawsuit.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8

by A. Joseph Lynch


Democrats just had a very bad week. It began with Iowa caucus, which turned out to be a chaotic, controversial, and nearly week-long fiasco. Fears of corruption began last weekend when Pete Buttigieg successfully had the Des Moines Register pull its final, and most prestigious, poll ahead of the caucus. It was later revealed Bernie Sanders had polled ahead of the rest with Mayor Pete in a distant 3rd place. The next day, on the eve of the caucus, John Kerry was overheard talking about joining the 2020 race over "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole." 

Total chaos ensued when the caucus took place Monday night. Democrats decided to report caucus numbers through an app, whose nefariously-sounding name was Shadow. Its total failure, inconsistencies in official numbers, irregularities at caucus sites (especially in the coin tosses) and utter disconnect from poll data, has led to many conspiracy theories and recount calls. In one case, Sanders won 111 votes to Buttigieg's 47, yet both received two delegates. It then appeared that the Iowa Democratic Party was allowed to tally votes from Buttigieg strongholds while the DNC - which cheated Sanders in 2016 - reserved the right to count the final votes from areas in support of Sanders. It was further revealed that Pete Buttigieg - who has now been declared the winner - had given some $42,000 to the Shadow app company. Some are now calling him "Mayor Cheat" instead of Mayor Pete. 

The facts are still forthcoming, yet given the history of the 2016 race AoA would not be the least surprised if the Democrat establishment is playing more games in 2020. What is certain is that the chaos surrounding the Iowa caucus has divided Democrats voters, with many on all sides questioning democratic process within the Democratic party. With Democrat turnout this year down from 2016, some Iowans do not plan to attend future caucuses. The drama was also a jarring image of Democrat incompetence, with some wondering how the party could govern a nation when it couldn't govern a state caucus. 

For President Trump, however, Iowa was a huge success. He took 97% of the vote and had a higher voter turnout this year than Obama did when running for re-election in 2012. In a year that demands historic turn out for Democrats if they hope to win, Monday was not a good sign. 

Tuesday night brought the nation one of President Trump's best speeches. At his State of the Union address, the president highlighted the nation's record economy, declaring: "The State of our Union is stronger than ever before!" Under his leadership unemployment of minorities, non-college educated, and disabled Americans reached historic lows, seven million jobs have been created, seven million are off food stamps, ten million are off welfare, and the markets are up 70%. The president also featured the moving stories of many guests in attendance, including the 100 year old Tuskegee airman and veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, Charles McGee, who the president promoted to Brigadier General. Speaking to all Americans, the President reminded us: "...we must never forget that the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people. The people are the heart of our country, their dreams are the soul of our country, and their love is what powers and sustains our country. We must always remember that our job is to put America first!"

While Trump was at his presidential best, setting aside any mention of the partisan impeachment efforts, Nancy Pelosi was at her worst. For three years the Democrats declared they were adults in the room, yet Pelosi, in tearing up the president's speech, played the part of the petulant child. She didn't realize that what she really tore up were her party's chances of holding any power in Washington next year. Indeed, soon after the speech concluded, CSPAN received many angry calls from Democrats, some stating they would never vote Democrat again. While Pelosi drew disdain, the president's speech drew high approval numbers - 75% approval overall and 87% approval from independents.

On Wednesday Trump received his full impeachment acquittal in the US Senate. Neither the abuse of power charge nor the obstruction of Congress charge survived the final votes. Mitt Romney was the sole GOP Senator to vote in favor of removal (for abuse of power). We suspect his vote cleared the way for every moderate Democrat to vote for removal. Not even red state senators Doug Jones (AL) or Joe Manchin (WV) voted to acquit - and why would they when the GOP couldn't keep its full caucus together? But Romney didn't vote as a Republican. He voted as an angry neocon. He's angry at Trump's non-imperial foreign policy, angry for receiving no role in the Trump White House, and angry that Trump has called him out for his political failures. It was not a vote made in good conscience but rather made in vengeful spite. It likely cost the president a bi-partisan acquittal. Romney is now justly facing a recall threat in Utah and has been barred from attending CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) later this month.

On Thursday Trump delivered a rollicking acquittal speech.

Friday night's next Democrat debate was a preview of things to come. One might even call it Trump's final win of the week. The Democrats are hopelessly out of touch. Biden,Warren, and Klobuchar are falling the polls. Buttigieg's pyrrhic victory in Iowa is alienating voters. Sanders may be best poised to win overall yet lead Democrats to annihilation in November. Bloomberg - the Democrats' final hope - has yet to appear on a debate stage.

Meanwhile Gallup now has Trump at 49% approval while Rasmussen shows Trump winning an astounding 42% approval from African Americans. By week's end, the Democrats are in disarray as Trump stands triumphant.


SEMINARY CLOSING: Christ the King Seminary of Buffalo, New York is being shut down. Its closing comes after the shocking revelation that it was one of several seminaries used for the now uncovered gay seminarian pipeline from Latin America. The Diocese of Buffalo may soon be join around twenty other dioceses in declaring bankruptcy. More from Church Militant.

GANSWEIN SACKED: Archbishop Gänswein has spent nearly seven years attending to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI each morning and Pope Francis each afternoon and evening. The papal go between and head of the Papal Household, however, has been indefinitely suspended of his duties in service to Pope Francis. This comes not long after his involvement in the Cardinal Sarah-Benedict XVI book controversy. The two events are undoubtedly connected.

WOMEN'S SERMON DAY: Although they call their work the "Synodal Path" the German bishops continue to betray the fraternal character of episcopal collegiality as expressed in synods of brother bishops. Oldenburg, Germany is turning over the pulpits to lay women for a Mass in Lent. Despite calling it a move away from clericalism, using their authority to hand over the pulpit to the unordained is the an abuse of power that is the epitome of clericalism. The German church is running far afield of the Gospel and the apostolic brotherhood that is the foundation of the Church itself.

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS LEADERSHIP: Cardinals Re and Sandri have been elected as dean and vice dean, respectively, of the college of cardinals. Conservatives fear Francis' approval of the election solidifies a liberal bent in the next papal elections. We at AoA, however, believe the Holy Spirit will have the final say. We suggest this article for more information on the election process and the role of the college deans.

BARR ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: In an interview by Cardinal Dolan, William Barr gave his defense of religious liberty, again asserting the Founders connection of religion upholding democracy while making the following statement: “To me the problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on nonreligious people, it’s the opposite — it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.”


EMOLUMENTS - TRUMP WINS AGAIN: This week also witnessed another resounding win for President Trump. On Wednesday Trump won in a 3-0 ruling against a Democratic-backed lawsuit regarding the Constitution's anti-corruption emoluments clause. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats must win on policy, not on faux Trump scandals and fake news.

SWIFT - AND JUST - RETRIBUTION: EU Ambassador Sondland and Lt. Col. Vindman have been sacked. Although neither offered any evidence in favor of impeachment, both men provided key testimony against the president during the House impeachment investigation. Now fully acquitted, Trump has rightly fired both men. We hope more firings are forthcoming.

JAMES CARVILLE SPEAKS OUT: Former Clinton strategist, James Carville, is sounding off against the current Democrat strategy going into November. Democrats would be wise to heed his words.

THE SENATE TO STEPS UP? Although the president won another victory against the Democrats in impeachment, we can be rest assured that the Democrats will not give up on fake Russian collusion scandals, dirty dossiers, and unsubstantiated abuse of power claims unless Republicans in the Senate step up to launch investigations of their own. Many were disappointed that Joe and Hunter Biden did not testify during impeachment. Such testimony would have revealed Trump's rationale for investigating them in connection to Ukraine. It now appears, however, that the US Senate will finally begin their own investigations into the Bidens and into the origins of the impeachment farce. In the end, it might have been wise to separate this from impeachment. We hope enough is uncovered to dissuade Democrats from further faux investigations that do nothing to further the needs of the nation.


INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ALLIANCE: Hours before his post-acquittal speech on Thursdsay, President Trump gave another great speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the prayer breakfast, the president announced the creation of the International Religious Freedom Alliance. The alliance, aimed at protecting religious freedom around the world, consists of twenty-seven nations: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the US. At its first meeting this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rightly declared: "...freedom of religion or belief is not a Western ideal, but truly the bedrock of societies" (emphasis ours). As we have argued in the past, the future of American alliances must not be based in "Western civilization" or in mere self-interest but rather in terms of nations and religions. The president is headed in the right direction with this alliance.

AQAP LEADER KILLED: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) came into existence as President Obama took office. The terror organization was co-founded by bin Ladin personal secretary, Nasir al-Wihayshi, and Qasim al-Raymi. After al-Wihayshi was killed in a US drone strike in 2015, al-Raymi took over as full leader of AQAP. It was announced this week that al-Raymi has been killed by American forces in Yemen. This is good news and a return to Trump's original form in Yemen, where his first attack was not against the Shia Houthis but against AQAP - America's real enemy in the region. The Saudis, at war with the Houthis, are ideologically aligned with the Wahhabi theology of AQAP. Both are share a mutual hatred of the Shia, and thus the Saudis are highly unlikely to give much attention to fighting the real terrorists in the peninsula.

BATTLE FOR IDLIB: Assad continues his advance on the rebel stronghold of Idlib. The Turks have troops in the area and are threatening war if Syrian forces do not withdraw in three weeks. Is the war in Syria about to intensify anew? Russia may make the final decision.

TWO-STATE SOLUTION? President Trump unveiled his new plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The plan proposes anew the failed idea of a two state solution. Yet is it really a two state solution? A brief look at the proposed map of Palestine reveals a disjointed hodgepodge of enclaves connected by miles of tunnels. These borders are a non-starter for any nation-state. Ultimately the proposed peace plan is further evidence that there can be no two state solution.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

February 2: Candlemas -- A Light to the Nations

by David Pence

It was ordered that forty days after a "son opens the womb",  he must be consecrated to God. Jewish males had been spared on the night of the first Passover in Egypt 1500 years before the birth of Christ. Jewish parents acknowledged that their first born sons were not their own and they presented them in the Temple to God. For millennia the Pidyon haben (redemption of the first-born son) has been performed. In present day Judaism, this custom is now seen as ransoming the boy from his duties as priest. Thus, a Kohen is often paid in his stead.

When Jesus was brought to the temple for this offering, an old man who had been promised that he would see the Messiah before his death, greeted Mary and Joseph and took the boy in his arms and gave thanks to God. Simeon spoke this short song or canticle which is now prayed daily by priests and religious in the official night prayer of the Church.

"Lord now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled;
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

Jesus revealed the glory of Israel through His mother Mary. The God of the Universe chose Israel  among all the nations of the earth and His Son was born to a Jewish Virgin-mother. Thirty years later as a man, Jesus would draw twelve Jewish males into the apostolic brotherhood of the Church. That sacred fraternity would be a template for the territorial nations in which men live bound together as fellow countrymen under a law and leader. The Church and the nations are meant to form the ordered biblical pattern of male agreement in the Kingdom of God. The 2500 bishops and patriarchs during the Second Vatican Council (1961-1965) put forth the Catholic Church's interracial and international priestly brotherhood as such a template for the nations. Their document on the Church was called Lumen Gentium: a light for the nations. On this 40th day after Christmas, every February 2, candles are lit in memory and fulfillment of Simeon's words. The love by which Christ bound his apostles has formed the living  foundation stones for the Church. An analogous public love binds men as citizens in nations from Ireland to China. This kind of Love is like Light -- public and emanating by its very nature. Interlocking sacral patriarchal fraternities constituting the Church and the nations are meant to order the public loves of mankind into a single Body under God. Thirty three years after Simeon said that Christ would reveal God to the nations, Christ completed his offering as the Beloved Son. His words fulfilled the promise made at His Presentation in the Temple: "Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

by A. Joseph Lynch

BOLTON'S BETRAYAL: AoA has never been a fan of John Bolton. Despite our reservations, we were hopeful he would make a good National Security Adviser to President Trump. There were times it seemed as though he understood he was there to implement Trump's foreign policy, not Bolton's. Nevertheless, Bolton has been eager to testify and throw Trump under the bus over Trump's unwillingness to fight more useless neocon wars. We are not the least bit surprised Romney sought Bolton's testimony in the Senate impeachment trial. Thankfully there fifty-one sane senators who voted against it. While we would have liked to see the Biden's testify, we look forward to the acquittal of the president next week. The damage to the Democrats is done. The Nadler-Schiff scramble for the mic revealed they both know the show's over the and the gig is up. While Biden is doing his best to wreck his own campaign, most Americans saw through the Ukraine hoax and Trump's approval is now at a three year high. Let McConnell get back to confirming judges while Trump uses the impeachment to campaign for a renewed GOP-controlled House.

BLOOMBERG & THE DNC: The DNC won't let Bloomberg's riches, "white privilege," or total inability to pet dogs keep them from moving the goalposts to let him on stage in the next debate. The DNC has changed the rules meant specifically to keep billionaire candidates like Bloomberg from buying their way onto the debate stage. With Biden falling flatter by the day - this voter interaction from the week might take the cake - Democrats are in need of Bloomberg to edge ahead of a huge Bernie win in the weeks ahead. More on Bernie and Bloomberg from Pat Buchanan.

BREXIT FINALIZED: AoA congratulates the United Kingdom in its newly regained independence. Watch Nigel Farage give the UKs dramatic final speech to the European Parliament.

BISHOP BARRON'S MANDATUM: Bishop Robert Barron is suggesting a kind of mandatum for Catholic media but some see it as an attempt at episcopal censorship. More from Church Militant.

CATHOLIC BISHOPS WITH ACTON: Three cardinals and 110 bishops from 42 nations gathered in Portugal for a “discreet, confidential, private, friendly [and] informal” meeting with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. Their goal is to form an ultraconservative counter to Pope Francis' vision of economics. AoA, however, warns the bishops in partnering with Acton in general and Fr. Robert Sicirio - the Fr. James Martin of the right - in particular.

CATHOLIC KOBE: Kobe Bryant's death shocked America last week. Although many knew of his athleticism, few knew of his Catholic faith. Cain Pence, son of the late Dr. David Pence, reminds us of the Catholic brother we lost.

RITUAL DOWNGRADE FOR KC'S: The Knights of Columbus took away the sword, then changed the 4th degree uniform to mirror a look the US military is abandoning (President Trump knows what a real military uniform should look like). The KC's are now giving up on secret initiations open only to males. The men can now bring their wives and kids. The initiation rituals have problems. They are lengthy, require too much training to facilitate, and are spaced out so irregularly that many men cannot attend them. They require enough simplification to be run by any council on any given meeting. If the goal is to reach younger men, domesticating the initiations is not the answer. Making a knightly order less militant is not the answer. Emasculating fraternal bonds is not the answer. The Knights of Columbus may no longer be the answer for Catholic men in need of Catholic fraternity.

MALE BONDING IS MEN'S HEALTH: A study shows male bonding lowers stress levels in men (and is more relaxing than an evening with the wife or family). It's already known that marriage leads to lower testosterone in men. The key to testosterone's increase? Two choices: adultery or male bonding. AoA suggests the latter course of actions to wives who want healthy husbands.

KEEPING MEN CATHOLIC: Taylor Marshall discusses ways to keep men in the Church with Eric Sammons. They make many good points on liturgy, but their emphasis on male bonding through work and silence over sharing feelings at Bible studies should be food for thought for parish men's ministry. Read Sammon's article on the topic at Crisis Magazine.