Search This Blog

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.18.2019

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah

Difficult, the future is to see.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton has a long history of advocating for robust military intervention in Iran. He has a strong hand in shaping our military policy, if we are not careful a man like him can get us involved in a conflict that the majority of us do not want.

John Bolton believes that the United States should have an unfettered hand in exercising its military power; Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Yemen, the Taiwan Straits, he advocates for an aggressive pursuit of what he perceives our interest to be.

When it comes to our military stance against Iran he echoes the interests of allies like the Netanyahu government of Israel, or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These are relationships that Donald Trump is keenly interested in protecting, in advancing because of this you might think that the National Security Advisor would have a free hand in his efforts to get us engaged in conflict with Iran.

But for some reason he has been rebuked by Trump.

T-Rump has softened our approach with North Korea, against the recommendation of his National Security team. T-Rump has pulled us back from John Bolton’s more aggressive posture against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and he has pulled us back from John Bolton’s adventurism in Iran.

I am not suggesting that the interference T-rump has been running against the National Security Advisor is based on any kind of firm policy position.

I am just noting that it has happened, and I am offering an explanation as to why.

The explanation is Vladimir Putin.

Putin supports the Maduro regime, and though the United States does not, T-Rump will not go head-on against Putin’s wishes.

Putin wanted us out of Syria, and so we left, leaving the Russians, who support the murderous Assad regime, and the Iranians, Assad’s long term allies, to fill the Vacuum.

In the same way T-Rump has bent over backwards to treat another ally of the Russian’s, North Korea, as if they were not the most wicked, most dangerous, most evil-totalitarian regime on the planet. T-Rump tell us that he and Kim Jong Un are in love.

Because of Putin’s long standing relationship with the Iranians you can be sure that T-Rump will not actually allow an invasion of that country to occur. The Russian’s don’t want that to happen, and so neither does he.

Now, I am not sure if I have this right. I think T-Rump would break any alliances, violate any treaty, subvert any pact, commit any crime to stay in power; as long as he sees something to be in his political interests he would even go against Putin, but right now that is a long way off.

Right now, Putin has no desire to see us invade Iran, and that explains why T-Rump rebuked John Bolton this week. Putin said no dice, let the ayatollah be.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Ancestors


Be proud to walk in
The path of your ancestors
Traverse the same hills

Proud to fly with them
Singing in their company
Harnessing their dreams

Tie them to your own
As a function of the will
The choosing you do

Soar through the ether
Starlight, shining in your eyes
Bright constellations

Monday, May 13, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Three, Earth; Chapter Eighteen, Disaster


Week 19


Yellowstone National Park was a place of awesome-beauty, a landscape of surreal contrasts exploding from the living rock and shifting mountains.

It draws millions of visitors every year to wander its grounds and traverse its trails, including some who are simply driving through

It was a sanctuary for wildlife; a thousand little creatures preserved in their habitat as well as the apex species, the bison and the elk and the wolf who hunted them for food.

Yellowstone was made a National Park in 1872, through a law signed by United States President Ulysses S. Grant, one-hundred and twenty years before they discovered the volcano lurking beneath the fantastical landscape.

Yellowstone was a cradle of life, nested above the most deadly natural feature of planet Earth.

Earth’s molten core burned beneath its thin surface, a cauldron of liquid rock boiling below the mantle, deep inside a vast chamber filled with super-heated and poisonous gasses.

In the park, the most popular features for tourists, beside the landscape itself, were the hot springs, the bubbling waters and high flying geysers that blasted off with incredible regularity.

Heat from deep within the earth created these phenomenon. It melted exotic minerals in the waters, giving them bright, colorful and psychedelic trappings.

Some of the pools were so toxic and acidic they could melt the flesh off a person’s bones in seconds.

Changes in the pattern and timing of these geysers gave the tell to the monitors, that the Catastrophe was approaching, but it was too late.

The scientists of Earth only noticed the volcanic activity when the mountains surrounding Yellowstone Park began to lift.

They noticed a change of several centimeters over hundreds of square of miles of mountain range, between the newly conducted surveys and the surveys that had been taken a hundred years earlier.

At first they thought that there must have been a problem with the original surveil, but they ruled out that possibility in short order. The science of surveying was well established at the time they were originally done, even the equipment that a person would use to make those calculations had not changed much in the intervening decades.

The math was the math and it was sound.

It took the best geologists among them years to figure it out, that the changes were actually caused by geological uplift. The understanding of what that meant, its implications, took even more years to complete. They had to change their perspective significantly, they had to look at the area of uplift with satellite imagery and that is when they noticed that the entire Yellowstone Park was a massive volcano.

Even then, they did not know how significant the problem was.

Geologists from across the country began to study the park in minute detail. Looking at every strata of rock they could see exposed in the surfaces of the surrounding mountains, measuring, and re-measuring, and through their diligence they discovered the long cycles between eruptions of this killer volcano.

A six-hundred thousand year cycle, a cycle of planetary doom.

When they knew what features to look for, they discovered other such volcanos around the world. They discovered the volcano in Indonesia that last erupted seventy-four thousand years ago.

The Earth’s volcanologists, climatologists, and geophysicists weighed in. It was a small cabal of people. They correlated data from arctic ice core samples, soil samples, tree ring samples. They began to understand just how devastating an eruption of a volcano this size could be.

They were just beginning to understand it.

They were hoping it would not erupt in their lifetime.

Those hopes were in vain, the entire planet was under threat, no-one was safe.

There was a rumbling.

The seismographs told the tale.

They had been graphing it for years, but disbelief had crept into the analysis. The story was blacked out, even as the tar in the roads cutting through Yellowstone, above the volcano began to melt, cracking from the heat and the top researches on the site resigned to protest of the deliberate misinformation campaign the government waged to keep people in the dark.

The government knew the disaster was coming. They just could not be sure when. It might not happen in their lifetime, or it might happen tomorrow. It was an impossible thing for them to plan.

Those who understood the nature of the problem, and those who did not quite get it, they were all together in the same web of uncertainty, making the laypersons view as valid as the expert.

It was a quiet day in the great park.

Yellowstone was always quiet.

Deep beneath the earth something was happening. Pressure was building. Molten rock was bubbling, rushing into the great chamber.

The wildlife in the nature preserve sensed it first, birds took off with their entire flocks. Bison fled in droves. The wolf and the fox and the coyote followed them, all creatures great and small sought a path of escape.

Most of the humans looked on, befuddled.

A few knew what this meant, or believed they did. They sounded the warning. Some of them were alarmists, they were perceived as people who were always ringing the bell, Chicken Littles crying out, The Sky is Falling!

It ended up in the news of the weird.

Few of the researches fled the park, the all knew it was hopeless.

They wanted to see their families, perhaps one last time before it was all over. Those who could did, those who couldn’t opened bottles of Champagne and toasted the end of the world.

Their life’s work was now complete.

The survivalists retreated to their shelters, basking in the esteem of vindication.

They were being proved right.

Every living thing on Earth, above ground or in the air heard the explosion.

Everything, even the most remote creature in the deepest ocean, felt the blast.

Every creature walking or standing, stumbled and fell as the planet lurched, shuddered and shifted on its axis.

Fault lines cracked open, leaping a thousand years forward in the space of seconds.

It was a massive upheaval, it was turmoil on an unimaginable scale.

Skyscrapers came crashing down in cities around the world, as the continental plates groaned and twisted.

Planes and low orbiting satellites fell from the sky.

Chaos followed quickly upon the sound wave.

The desperate prayers of the dying-faithful rose up to greet it.

In security centers around the world the most astute military planners knew what had happened. Nevertheless, they were utterly bewildered by the scope and the magnitude of the devastation.

The level of instantaneous destruction was beyond any of their calculations, the collateral damage to geological and hydrological systems was not anything that anyone had conceived of.

Communications were down around the globe.

Nuclear reactors were off line and began melting down.

Tsunamis were rising in the shallow seas.

 It was the end of the world.

It had been over six hundred and forty thousand years since the last massive eruption of the great North American volcano, six hundred and forty thousand years of pressure had been building.

Volcanoes erupted around the world all the time.

There were other smaller volcanoes of this type in other places.

The only witness to the last event was, who had been there  seventy-four thousand years ago, when the last massive caldera blew.

The Indonesia volcano nearly wiped out the human race. It reduced a population of millions to just a few thousand. That volcano, while one of the largest on Earth, was only a tenth the size of the monster in Yellowstone.

When the Yellowstone Caldera blew, the Earth shook, the entire planet felt the rumble. The magnetic poles reversed, the world shifted on its axis, and wobbled in its orbit.

The stars, when they became visible again, would never look the same.

None of the scientists, the geologists and seismologists, none of them had any idea just how much power would be expelled when the eruption finally came.

None of them had long to contemplate their error.

If they had known they might have tried to do something about it, even in consideration of the risks. They might have tried to ease the pressure from the sleeping giant, but they never had a chance.

Life would certainly reestablish itself. New species would emerge. Some humans would survive, but they would all be changed.

Even still, the planet was doomed, its orbit was altered, and that alone spelled the end of the line for Earth.

Ashshot in to the stratosphere and fell back to the ground, burying North America in poisonous dust.

Clouds of fine particles and streams of deadly gases blanketed the entire world, blocking all light from the sun.

Within days nearly every living creature on the face of the earth was dead.

Those that survived were the most determined.

There were many who had readied for some kind of doomsday. They had prepared for nuclear war, an alien invasion, a zombie apocalypse, but not this.

A majority of those survivalists either died in the preliminary blast, and the subsequent correlated upheavals of the chaos that ensued.

Many died trying to reach their secret bunkers while roads became impassable, they were buried in the fallout.

Nevertheless, there were many who did make it.

Many who had sequestered themselves in hidden enclaves, in secret compounds. Some of them worked together.

For them, their stores of food needed to last years beyond the decades they had planned for. It would take that long for the sun to reappear, longer still for farming to be possible.

Human beings quickly became their own worst enemy.

Outsiders became foodstuff.

Cannibalism set in, as it always did, and quickly as it always did in times of crises.

It was, once again, the end of civilization.

The human race had faced this before, it was difficult, nearly impossible, but they had an Observer helping them in the past, they had Jim.

They made it through.

This time there would be no rescue, no wisdom from beyond, no help of any kind.

Volcanic eruptions of this magnitude were the prime movers of planetary evolution. Even the oceans were not immune from the fallout. All organic matter on the surface of Earth perished, becoming just another layer of clay. An event like this was a crucible, even more so in the present time than it had been in the past.

What was taking place in this iteration of the evolutionary cycle was something brand new. The biological evolution would take place as it had hundreds of times before in the history of the planet. In this cycle, however, a cognitive evolution was taking place at the same time, an evolution of the group consciousness, it was a designed evolution, it had been carefully planned by Jim, over the past seventy thousand years.

It was intended, and it meant that the human being who survived would have transcended into a brand new state of being.

There coming would change the Empire in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Half of the world’s population perished within days of the blast, most of the rest in the weeks, and months that followed.

By the end of the year, without intervention, the number of human being living on Earth would be down to a few thousand, or less.

Every species was affected; mammal, reptile, avian, insect. Those living on land were hurt the worst. There was widespread extinction. Entire ecosystems were just gone. Only nature’s apex survivors would continue; the crocodile, the turtle, and the frog.  

Coastal areas provided recourse for the survivor. There were fish, there was water, there was mobility and there was power.

But it would take decades before the poisons were filtered from the atmosphere, all mammalian life would change as a result, but life would endure on the other side.


Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth


Chapter Eighteen, Disaster


A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Jennifer


Jennifer is she
Bright as a morning in May
Sensual and sweet

A light in the dark
A warming breeze in winter
February’s love

Freckles, and green eyes
Her flashing smile lights my heart
As the sun in spring

Clear as the bright stream
Swift as the rising moon, cool
In the evening

She is strong, and fierce
I lean on her when I’m tired
And she carries me

Five years of loving
Kind and caring Valentine
Jennifer is she

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Homily – Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year C)


First Reading – Acts 13:14,43-52 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 99(100):1-3,5 ©
Second Reading – Apocalypse 7:9,14-17 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 10:14
The Gospel According to John 10:27-30 ©

(NJB)


Be mindful!

We do not preach the good news to save people, we preach the good news that they are already saved.

We are not the actors in the drama of salvation, God is, and we are the subjects of God’s love.

Remember, grace is not a trust that we are given, it is not a thing of value, like a talent of silver or a measure of grain. The grace God has poured out on you, God has poured out on everyone.

As Christians we are called to have faith in that grace, to trust in it, to trust in God’s plan for the salvation of everyone.

Leave no one outside of your prayers.

The apostles were motivated to adhere to the norms of their society, going first to the Jews because they had relationships with them already, and so the preached to them first, and through them they reached out to others in the community, people who did not know the laws of Moses, or the tradition of the prophets and they made converts among them.

The apostles presented themselves as instruments of God’s will, spreading the good news, to all the nations, and so they slipped the bounds of their society, because God’s proclamation of love is to great to be confined to a single group.

Their message of hope and lovee was welcome among the people. The people wanted to hear, that no matter what their class or station God knew them, God loves them and has selected each of them for eternal life.

Nevertheless there was resistance among the leading Pharisees and their allies in upper classes. There is always resistance to the gospel from among those who feel like the path to salvation is something for them to protect and control.

In the face of that resistance, the apostles recognized that they had reached the end of what they could accomplish there, and so they moved on, carrying the good news with them.

Be mindful!

God is with us wherever we are.

Wherever God is, there is God’s temple.

Enter the temple with hope and joy, there are no prerequisites, the entrance is there. You are standing at the threshold.

Serve God, by serving your sisters and brothers, look into the face of your neighbor and see the face of God shining back at you.

When the scriptures tell us we are God’s people; those words are not directed to the audience who first heard and read them, nor to us as we are reading them now. The scope of those words is not so narrow, the scope of God’s work is infinite. God’s word is directed toward every living being that ever was, ever has been and ever will be.

The good news applies to the whole of creation, in a world without end; we belong to God and God’s mercy lasts forever,

Remember this!

God is not a king.

God does not sit on a throne.

The multitude that John witnessed in his vision is numberless, their number is without measure.

Their number is without end.

It is the full number of those who have experienced the persecution of the living, of long the sojourn of time and space.

The multitude is all of us, all of God’s children gathered together as one, and none are lost, the good shepherd has ensured it.

Be mindful!

We do not arrive in this place by the blood of the lamb, not the literal blood, this is a poor metaphor is a metaphor (one we should abandon), we are not sanctified by animal sacrifice. We never were.

We come into God’s presence when we have let go all of our enmities, when we have forgiven all who have wronged us and accepted the forgiveness of those we have wronged.

It is then and only then that we stand in the presence of the fullness of God.

To stand in God’s presence before we are prepared, is to face God as a purifying fire.

Listen!

There is wisdom and truth in the reading for today. There is also folly, misconstrual, fear, and lies.

Separate them!

Remember the beginning of Joh’s Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word
All things came to be through the Word
Not one thing came to be with the Word
In the Word was life, and light

Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word is the Good Shepherd, every sheep belongs to him. There is not one sheep that is not a member of God’s sheepfold.

It is sad and unfortunate that the priests and the bishops of the Church, the hirelings who put themselves in positions of management forget this. They have done great harm to the People of God because of their fear, their greed and their shortsightedness.

They believed that were only responsible for a few of the sheep, when in reality that were tasked with protecting the whole.

Many of them, even from the earliest days of the Church, presented themselves as Sheep and Shepherd to the community, both; but they were really rustlers and wolves who came to devour the flock, consuming it and wounding it in their ravenous hunger.

Remember, God does not love the shepherd because the shepherd laid down his life, but rather the Shepherd laid down his life in recognition of God’s love that was already present, a love so great that the Shepherd trusted in it completely.

Love preceded the sacrifice, the sacrifice did not engender love.

Be mindful of this! Remember it always!
 
The sheep do not choose the shepherd, but rather the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

Jesus, the Christ, the Word of God; in whom all that is comes to be, Jesus is the shepherd and his flock is the whole of humanity, he has chosen all of us, and everyone belongs to him.

As Christians we hold that Jesus is the shepherd and the shepherd is God; God, the creator of the universe.

There is just the one shepherd; and the Shepherd has just the one sheepfold, and whether it make sense to us or not, that is immaterial, we belong to the Shepherd, he has called us each by name.

Listen for the voice of the shepherd, and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text, how the shepherd speaks to your sister or brother, to your neighbors or the stranger.

The shepherd is speaking to them too, and they are listening as they are able (or willing). In this same way the shepherd speaks to you. You are no different from them.

Everyone that is, everyone in existence, everyone without exception follows in the way of God, there is no other way.

Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey any other person is on, God is guiding them, as God is guiding you.

Your failures are your own, as theirs belong to them. God has accounted for them all.

If you resist, God will be patient, God will wait, as God waits for everyone.

For God, Jesus, the shepherd, their ministry is a ministry of love, they are love, and love is as patient; as it is kind.

Do not doubt it.

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God. No matter what; God is with us, because there is not place, not a single place where God is not.

To the end God is with us, and the end is God.


First Reading – Acts 13:14,43-52 ©

'We Must Turn to the Pagans'

Paul and Barnabas carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the Sabbath and took their seats.

When the meeting broke up many Jews and devout converts joined Paul and Barnabas, and in their talks with them Paul and Barnabas urged them to remain faithful to the grace God had given them.

The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’

It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.

But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 99(100):1-3,5 ©

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
  Serve the Lord with gladness.
  Come before him, singing for joy.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
  He made us, we belong to him,
  we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
  eternal his merciful love.
  He is faithful from age to age.

We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Alleluia!


Second Reading – Apocalypse 7:9,14-17 ©

The Lamb Will be their Shepherd and Will Lead them to Springs of Living Water

I, John, saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. One of the elders said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.’


Gospel Acclamation – John 10:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my own sheep and my own know me.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to John 10:27-30 ©

I know my sheep and they follow me

Jesus said:

‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.

The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father.
The Father and I are one.’


The Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Off the Rails - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.11.2019

Off the Rails


Donald Trump is openly talking about using the Justice Department to investigate his political opponents, namely Joe Biden, and there appears to be no resistance coming from his Attorney General, William Barr.

Rudy Giuliai was preparing to travel to Ukraine to place pressure on that government to reveal the details of a closed investigation into Joe Biden’s son. He said that he wanted to know what role Joe Biden played as Vice President of the United States, in quashing an investigating and removing a corrupt prosecutor from a case involving a Ukrainian oil firm which Biden’s son had a connection to. Never mind the fact that Great Britain, Canada, and multiple other countries were all working in tandem with the United States to oust the Ukrainian prosecutor on grounds of corruption. Never mind the fact that a multi-national effort to remove that prosecutor and close that investigation succeeded on the merits.

Donald Trump and his administration are in open defiance of the law, refusing to submit to congressional oversight, refusing to respond to congressional subpoenas. They are operating a criminal regime, and they must be stopped.

It was revealed this week exactly how terrible of a businessman Donald Trump is. A look at his losses over a ten year period revealed that he lost more money than any person in the history of the United States. It is absolute madness that anyone takes him seriously.

This government is off the rails.

If Donald Trump and his croonies get their way the Republic will be finished. There will be no checks and balances in government, we will be ruled by an autocrat and our democracy will be in a shambles.

He laughed at a rally this week when one of his supporters suggested that we should just shoot undocumented immigrants on sight…no hearings, no due process.

The most failing entrepreneur in the history of the world is holding the reigns of executive power, and he is driving us over a cliff.

Stay united people, get rid of him.