Tag Archives: Election

Electoral Meanderings

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As a Catholic, I have a lot of thoughts about the Electoral College vs. Popular vote, etc.

OK, so being Catholic has little or nothing to do with that, but since this is called Catholic Diatribes I figured I’d remind everyone that I’m Catholic.

In no particular order of points, here we go:

  • The debate about whether or not the Popular Vote should be the determining factor in deciding the winner of the Presidential Election is understandable if viewed from a high-level perspective without a lot of deeper thought. Sure, it’s simple enough to think in terms of the democratic process – one person, one vote, most votes win.    But actually, this is not at all how our country is constructed.    And to view it in this way completely dismantles the way our citizens are represented, and the way our country actually operates.   We are not simply one country as a singular unit.   We never have been.    We are a country formed of fifty states plus the District of Columbia, joined together to form a country, but with each of those units having a say.   As I discuss some of the other points, this is the underlying issue that must be considered.    We are not, never have been, and barring a rewrite of the Constitution never will be a pure democracy.   We are a Republic.    Each unit in that Republic engages in a democratic process, but only to elect those who will then represent us.    We don’t vote on every law or regulation or issue – we elect someone who will on our behalf.   So we are not a pure democracy.
  • Making the argument that the Electoral College is unfair because it doesn’t amount to perfectly proportional weight of each individual’s vote can be extended to representation. Right now, every state, no matter how big or small, gets equal representation in the Senate.    Because of this, the folks who live in the least populous state actually have the largest voice in Congress on a per capita basis.    And even though the House of Representatives is proportional representation, there is still a minimum of 1 representative for the smallest states.    So, even in the House, the smallest state has the weightiest representation per person.   Our entire system is designed to make sure that the most populous states have a lower overall weight so that a small area of the country that has a high population density is less able to dictate policy to the rest of the country, potentially extending to large geographical regions.
  • Making the argument that the Electoral College is unfair is arguing that the states do not matter, and that – for this exercise, anyway – the country is a singular entity. This is simply not how we operate on anything.    Yes, there are federal laws and regulations, but those layer on top of state laws and regulation.    In this case, we are saying that we need to replace state elections with a federal one.    Maybe this is reasonable, maybe it isn’t, but it is a very fundamental difference from how we operate today.
  • There are some fun facts around the latest results that help demonstrate the wisdom of the Electoral College. Probably the most amazing statistic is this:   There are 3,151 counties in the United States.   Donald Trump won 3,084 of those counties.    And yet, Hillary Clinton is going to win the official Popular Vote.     That is actually really amazing.    And while I can sort of understand this whole “popular vote” argument, I simply cannot fathom how someone can’t see the wisdom in having a system that allows for the case where the candidate that wins 97.9% of the counties really deserves to be the President, even if he/she loses the total popular vote.
  • Another thing that needs to be considered as well is whether or not the actual results of the Popular Vote would have been the actual result if the winner was determined by Popular Vote. People are suggesting – either correctly or incorrectly – that the results of the election would be the same regardless of how the winner is determined.    This is far from certain.    Think about the fact that Donald Trump spent ALL of his time campaigning in the swing states.   California?   New York?    Almost no time at all, even though they have the highest two populations.    Illinois?    Since that state is driven by the results of Chicago, very little time was spent there.     The reason is simple strategy and resources.    Donald Trump may well have been able to get an extra million votes or two had he needed to spend money and time in those popular areas.    But he didn’t.   Why?    Because it made no sense with the Electoral College.    Losing California by 100 votes is no different than losing California by 3 million votes.     While this may not seem fair, because it means the candidates don’t go to fight for votes in those states, that’s just the flip side of what would happen if elections were driven by popular vote.    In that case, it wouldn’t just be a particular state getting ignored, it would be most of the United States.    The vast majority of campaigning would be in all the most populous areas.   Not necessarily the states, but just those zip codes or counties.    There are 45 counties in the United States that have 1.0 million or more people living in them.    Those 45 counties represent about 25% of the total population of the US.    County #100 has over 600,000 residents.    The top 100 counties represent just over 3% of total counties in the US, but you can bet that the majority of campaigning would be in those counties.    If ALL campaigning was centered on urban areas, the President would end up being even more out of touch with ordinary Americans than they already are.
  • Another fun map to look at is a red/blue map of who won which counties and overlay that with a red/blue map of highest crime rates. Just sayin’.
  • If you still need to be convinced about this, suppose we don’t talk about counties but we talk about a single state that has 51% of the population and all other states having an equal 1% share of the remaining population (for this exercise ignore Washington DC). Theoretically speaking, that one state could dictate who the President would be for the remaining 49 states.    While it may be a stretch to think that everyone in that state would vote similarly, it certainly isn’t a stretch that the difference in popular vote could be gigantic – all one need to do is look at the fact that 4 counties in NYC contributed over a 1.5 million vote advantage for Hillary Clinton – nearly 75% of the total popular vote gap.    California alone is going to have a 3 million vote difference.
  • The reason the Electoral College works is because it is a balance of Popular Vote and equal representation of the states in selecting the President of the entire U.S. – not just a few counties. The Electoral College count is 538, which is the total of Representatives and Senators (plus 3 for Washington DC, which in my opinion was unnecessarily overstated – I’m not sure why they felt it was necessary to treat that like a full state – but whatever).  The House generally represents the states in proportion to population, while the Senate does not.   So, the Electoral College lands in between the two – balancing geography and population.    Quite frankly, it’s genius.

 

All Hail the Wisconsin Recount

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Diatribe time.

This Wisconsin Presidential recount is the most stupid, pointless, time-wasting, money-wasting, asinine, desperate,politically irrelevant and inane thing I’ve seen in some time.

I live in Wisconsin.   The recount started today.   Even here, it’s not really news.    Nobody expects anything to change, and everyone is rolling their their eyes.   It’s remarkably idiotic.

Anyone who got scammed out of any money by contributing to this epic fail deserves to have had that money scammed.    Thank you for sending your funds to Wisconsin.   We appreciate it.   All the vote-counters will have a little extra money to spend on Christmas presents.   Maybe pro-Trump items will fly off the shelves after he wins here a second time.   Everyone loves a winner.

Jill Stein is probably going to clear a million by the time she’s done.   You guys who sent her money are morons.

 

Post-Election Thoughts

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OK, I won’t overdo this.   There are literally millions of articles on the election, and I doubt anything I have to say is a unique insight.   So I’ll just do some quick hits on the things about this that most interest me.

  • During the Primaries, it became clear to me that the media gave Donald Trump all sorts of air time to, in a roundabout way, promote him to the top of the ticket on the Republican side.   The reason for this was to be able to give Hillary the best chance of winning – a near certainty in their minds – and to tie all other Republicans to Trump by association.   The goal was not just to help effect a Hillary win, but to tip the Senate – and even possibly the House – to the Democrats.   It is entirely sweet irony that this backfired entirely.  Trump wins, and the GOP holds both the House and Senate in a year where the GOP had to defend a lot of seats.   The left is apoplectic now that the GOP controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since 1928.
  • The left will want to make this all about bigotry, racism, and misogyny.    This election had little or nothing to do with that.   If anything, Trump could have done even better had he held his tongue in a number of instances.    But this was about a relative of that.    The overzealous approach of the left to silence all opinion and criticism of anyone on anything not white or not Christian was pure bullying.   Trump brought the disease of political correctness to the forefront and emboldened people to call BS on the PC left.    Instead of tiptoeing and apologizing for every little bit of harshness and claims of hurt feelings, he basically told us we need to grow up and toughen up, and that this is killing us.    Now, he may have gone too far in some cases – he will still be the President – but people were willing to get behind a guy who stands up against the PC culture even if at times we all recognized that there is still a balance.
  • All the people claiming that they have the moral high ground and that it’s now “love” against all of us mean Trump-voters..   you’re simply wrong.    Just because your sense of morality differs from mine does not by default give you the moral high ground.   And your consistent claims of the moral high ground is one of the very reasons why we tire of you and the policies you support and the cultural and moral change you support.
  • Ultimately, despite how anyone else wants to paint this, Trump proved to us that there are rich folks who are entirely out of touch with every day Americans (political and leftist elites, celebrities) and that there are rich people who are in tune with every day Americans (Trump, in this case).    The demonization of the rich has to stop.   The demonization of corruption and crony capitalism is appropriate.

Under Chastisement (Part 2 of a YUUUGE series)

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Forget the title.   I couldn’t help myself.   This isn’t really a series, this is more of a follow-up from my previous post on considering what the nature of chastisement is.

Basically, the prior post says that, yeah, we’re being chastised, and lays out Romans 1 to indicate why.

I won’t rehash that all here, since you can move that thing on your desk called a mouse, click on the previous post, and read it.

For this post, I just want to muse a bit about the general nature of chastisement and the current indicators that this is, in fact, what is happening.   While I believe there are things happening all around the globe that indicates this is a global in scale, I’ll focus on The U.S. because that’s where I am and it’s my immediate perspective.   Others can fill in from around the globe.

I think most everyone thinks of Chastisement as fire and brimstone, wars, plagues, death, destruction…   you know, all the stuff that makes Hi-tech movies with mundane plots otherwise entertaining.   And sure, ultimately the pinnacle of chastisement probably does play out that way when it’s one of the “biggies.”    But even then, it’s usually us giving it to ourselves…   maybe not in the plague area, but certainly in the war area.

Anyway, whatever you might believe about what constitutes a divinely guided day of wrath as opposed to the natural consequence of our own stupidity in a world that has pushed God aside while pursuing a utopia engineered by human brains, the one thing that seems to be clear is that when God decides to pull away, all sorts of weird stuff happens.   Sexual immorality, homosexuality, greed, hate, lack of respect for family and parents, and so on.

I think one can see that we’ve checked most, if not all, the boxes on the list in Romans 1.   What Romans doesn’t talk about is an election cycle that leads to division, confusion, and despair.

Let’s face it – this whole Presidential election is embarrassing.   The stuff released on Donald Trump is unsettling, crude, and unpresidential.   The stuff dropped regarding Hillary is infuriating, criminal, and corrupt.   And with every passing day, more and more and more is released and another shoe drops.

Our political system is broken and corrupt.   It is my belief that this election cycle is a chastisement of sorts.   Layering on top of the cycle is all the division it is causing.   This is not simply differences of opinion between friends – there are very raw beliefs and emotions in play.   This election is driving divisions between family and friends.   One only wonders what will happen after the election in this country, regardless of who wins.

 

This also happens as gang violence soars in certain cities, as high-profile police shootings in turn led to violence against police, concerns about increasing drug use and angst over terrorism threats continues.

 

We don’t need a comet or an asteroid.   We’re doing fine all by ourselves.

Paul Ryan’s Conscience and Politics

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I’ve spent a lot of time on Politics here lately, for a blog called “Catholic Diatribes.”   In my opinion, everything in life can be, and indeed should be, viewed from a lens of faith.   It need not be the only lens, but it should be part of the equation.   In our world, but in particular the country of the United States, we are overly consumed with politics.

Politics can be very difficult to be viewed through a lens of faith.   And even when attempted, two people can come to startlingly different conclusions.   I won’t re-hash the debate about how a good Catholic can vote for Hillary, but I’ve discussed it before.   I never have, and will never understand, how a person of faith can ever support a pro-abortion candidate, among other problematic moral issues.

I do think there is a legitimate struggle with Catholic and other Christian voters who do not plan to vote for Hillary, but who also cannot move all the way to the idea of voting for Trump.    While I’ve argued here that no matter how much it may stink, we have no other reasonable option.    It might be different if there were a viable third party candidate who extols the virtue we all seek in our public servants from  a Christian worldview.    That candidate does not exist, at least not in any of the four top candidates who are picked up by the polls.    And if you aren’t even registering, the you realistically do not exist and casting a vote there is no different than a no-vote.

So, ignoring the Christians (I exhibited great restraint not putting quotes around that, but still couldn’t not mention that I had great restraint, so I guess it’s only a bit of restraint) who are voting Hillary, we have those who are voting Trump, not voting at all, or voting for a Third party candidate.    I’ve heard some people say they are voting Gary Johnson “just to send a message.”   Egad.   This is stupid if you are a social conservative.   Because the only message that says is that you want social issues removed as issues from the GOP platform.   People need to think a little bit about the message they are actually sending before they do it.

Things get trickier when you move to Catholic politicians who actually are Catholic.  Take Paul Ryan.    As a bit of an aside, one of the things that really bothers me is how personal everyone seems to take things that politicians say, do, and how they vote.    Paul Ryan is a good man.   He is a man of faith, and he is a man of character.   Now, he ticks me off sometimes because I think he tries to find a viable political solution while maintaining certain principles, and I think he’s doing what he thinks is right.   But I don’t always agree with him that he’s right.   In fact, there are many times I don’t agree with him.    But is he the kind of person I want in Congress?   Absolutely.

Paul Ryan is a man of legit faith, in my opinion.   We Christians should not demonize him over budgetary policy and tax policy.   We Christians should push back with issue-oriented arguments, but still muster respect for him.   As Speaker of the House, he has a lot of responsibility, and I trust that he does things that he believes are in the best interests of the country.   I don’t always agree that it actually is, and I am sick of compromise in many areas.    And I’l get angry with him from a logistical level.   But I don’t hate the man, and neither should anyone else.

Most recently, Paul Ryan has attempted to walk the tightrope between not supporting Trump while not unendorsing Trump.   I think if we look at this from the Christian perspective, we can be honest and understand the desire to do this.   Despite my continued call to vote for Trump, it is not because of anything particularly favorable towards the man.   It is entirely due to the worse alternative, and the fact that I must judge my choice at this point not on character but on a presumption that the probability he will do certain things I align with far outweighs the probability that the other will do anything at all that I align with.   And, in my opinion, a man like Paul Ryan should have the clarity of mind to say exactly that.    I understand not wanting to campaign with Trump.    But most certainly he is smart enough to find a way to make this situation work.

Politically speaking, it is my belief that his attempt to navigate this situation is, at best, not helpful to his cause (which is keeping the House Republican) and is at worst an unmitigated disaster.    There are very few people who are going to vote for down line GOP candidates because Paul Ryan has told people to distance themselves from Trump.   It’s just not a realistic expectation.    However, there is a great possibility that anyone who distances themselves from Trump will get a bunch of “kiss my you-know-what’s” from his ardent supporters and jeopardize their races.    Paul Ryan’s move here, which may have been both principled and a political strategy, is simply a horrible mistake and could prove costly.

If it’s costly, I suppose they’ll blame Trump.   It’s not as though Trump is helping matters and he could certainly handle this better.   But Ryan had to know going in that Trump doesn’t care who he chastises.   This may be an immature response, but it is not unexpected, which still places the ultimate culpability on Ryan for kicking the dog in the first place.

I empathize with Ryan.   I am sure it is difficult being asked to not only support verbally, but to also campaign with someone who you find distasteful.   It is a moral dilemma.    But there had to be a better way of navigating this.   That horse has left the barn, which is regrettable.

 

The Hypocrisy of Feigned Shock

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It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the problematic moral issues completely flooding the Presidential campaign.   And with each issue, there are multiple facets to what is being discussed.    It is not only about the shocking sin of the day, and who did it, it’s also about who’s casting the stones and who is “shocked and disturbed” by the new revelation of the day.

Today I’d like to address a different aspect of the lewd Trump/Bush tape from 2005 that was unveiled to the world last Friday.   You know, because we need to be fully informed on every piece of dirt on everyone.

While there is rightful disgust at the words of Trump on the recently released video, let’s also contemplate the fact that this information was known and purposefully held for maximum political benefit.  The self-righteous indignation from those complicit in NOT making this available a year or more ago is pathetic.  These people wanted Trump to win the Republican nod, not for good of country or process, but for their own gain.   If they truly believe he is dangerous and would bring harm as President, then they had a duty to inform well before a month before the election.

Secondly, this was clearly held until the Wikileaks drop, which is damning to Hillary on her dishonesty regarding private versus public beliefs and illegal coordination between her campaign and Super PACs.

And we all play along and allow the manipulation.   It’s all a game.   Hillary doesn’t care one iota about what’s best for the country, or you, or me.  She cares about Hillary.

And Trump is demeaning and obnoxious.  Agreed.  I’m still mad at my fellow Republicans for making him the guy I need to compare to Hillary (who is demonstrating how horrible of a candidate she is by not running away with this).  But enough of the hand-wringing sanctimonious BS.

We get the leaders we deserve.  And quite frankly,  we deserve it.

New Release: Election 2016 (Rated R)

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OK, in honor of the politics of 2016, I’ll start my entry today in a crass manner:  Anyone who has previously questioned whether or not our entire culture is a floater in the toilet has since just thrown up their hands and accepted it by now.

I find it difficult to believe anyone witnessing the debacle of today’s politics and the morally bankrupt candidates we’ve selected to run for the highest office in the land to be emblematic of anything other than a complete reduction of all standards to the basest of levels.

So, I won’t really get into the contents of the Trump Video from 2005, and whether or not he’s said other disturbing things during the off-TV moments of The Apprentice.   I mean, if we’re all being honest, does it actually really surprise anyone?   It’s shocking and disgusting, but is there really anyone out there that didn’t already know the guy we’re talking about wasn’t an f-bomb dropper and more than willing to engage in the crudest of what has now been labeled “locker room talk?”   (And, unfortunately having been a jock in my younger years, I can attest to the fact that he’s not wrong.   Yes, the words are about what is legally assault, which is horrible, and is still plenty of what you might hear in a locker room on any given day.   It’s not excusing it and it doesn’t speak well of anyone speaking that way, but it is reality.)

I won’t list the litany of counter-examples of Hillary being a completely disgusting human being in her own right, by dropping every curse word in the book at those charged to protect her, in talking about the American flag, in talking about mentally disabled children.   Again, if anyone is really honest does any of this really surprise us?   It’s always shocking to actually read and hear, but we long accepted that our two nominees are morally bankrupt human beings.

Mainly, the whole thing is just sad.   As a coworker of mine phrased it, “I think we all can agree that this whole thing is just one big garbage fire.”   He will vote Hillary.   I will vote Trump.   But on that statement, we have agreement.    And neither of us will vote for our selected candidates because we like them.    We just dislike the other one more.

I have written of my intent to vote Trump, and I have stated that, in my opinion, it is the clear moral choice to vote Trump.   I do not retract these words, I still feel strongly about that, and I will have no issue with voting Trump.    None of that means I like the man, and none of that means that I don’t wish I had another reasonable option.    The fact is, there is no viable alternative for me.   Even if I embraced the fantasy that voting for the next best viable option (Gary Johnson) I cannot do it anyway, because on the issues where I am hopeful that Trump will actually handle correctly Gary Johnson is as bad – if not worse – than Hillary.   Even the fourth best option, Jill Stein, is left of left on moral and cultural issues.    In order to find any person that remotely appeases my conscience I need to find someone that 99.99% of the population has not even heard of.   And that means it is an utterly wasted vote.   No, I need to settle on Trump.    I don’t think I even need to point out why it can never be Hillary, but briefly stated:  she’s every bit as morally bankrupt (and I even think more so) than Trump is.   And even if some disagree with me on that, it’s like arguing whether the mold on the side of the cheese is more edible than the mold on the top of the cheese.   So, we’ve long moved past the character issue as something us Christians can rely on.   I don’t say this glibly.   It really sucks to not be able to respect either candidate in any way.    But that’s the reality we’re in.     So, I simply need to find any light I can to separate the two of them.    And in the end, there was one question at the second debate that provides that separation.  When questioned on the Supreme Court Appointments, Clinton proudly said she would appoint justices that upheld Roe vs. Wade,  Marriage Equality, and a litany of other litmus tests.    She even claimed Trump would appoint justices that would not uphold these rulings (which she presented negatively).   Trump did not argue with her, and instead doubled down on appointing justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

Now, many have claimed that Trump is liberal on social issues and is not a “real” pro-lifer.  And it’s true he doesn’t often openly address the issue if not asked about it.   He has responded in a pro-life manner when asked, and I agree that it’s a bit iffy just how committed to the cause he personally is.    But here’s the thing:   even if the impetus for appointing justices in the mold of Scalia are because of 2nd Amendment Rights, Freedom of Speech, etc.  then the byproduct of that is that those justices are FAR MORE likely to also favor freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and challenge Roe vs. Wade, among other things.    They will be FAR MORE willing to rule in favor of state’s rights than to allow federal government infringement when unnecessary.

If there is no other issue that separates them, this is still a clear moral choice.   Perhaps not with respect to the person, but with respect to how that person will govern.

As I have stated elsewhere, “I know with certainty the evil the one will do.   I hope with uncertainty the good that the other will do.   And to me, that makes it an obvious choice.”

Really, I can’t say it enough:  This election sucks.

If Charlie Johnson is correct about things to come, the whole thing actually doesn’t even matter.   But I still feel called to fight and care anyway.   Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it, but I think it behooves us all to fight the fight until there is no more fight to win or lose, either way.

Us Catholics – and all Christians – seem to be in a bit of a tight spot be being forced to support a guy who has said the things he’s said.   I don’t think we need to feel that way if we keep our wits about us.   There really can be nobody of any repute that can call us hypocritical of voting for Trump.   Anyone who claims that is being disingenuous.   I think the balancing act we need to work out is making it clear why we “support” him, and also making it clear why we’re not necessarily thrilled with it.   There is no reason to defend his wrongdoings, and yet we can also support his election based on everything I wrote about here.  Also, it’s important to note that regardless of what happens, we ultimately must accept that God’s plan is playing itself out.   God’s plan may seem either obvious or utterly ridiculous, but we really have nobody to blame but ourselves for Him doing what He needs to do.   Had we stood up against the cultural rot we’re soaking in long ago, we wouldn’t have the choice between these two candidates, who are not just flawed but grossly so.

One wonders, though…  if THIS is the Year of Mercy, what in the world is in store for us when the year ends on November 20?    Egad.

My Debate Wish List

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I guess it would be too much to ask that either Trump or Clinton lead off the debate with a Rosary.   Or a salute to Our Lady of Guadalupe.   So, I guess I’ll need to keep my wish list to things more temporally satisfying.

Before I even start, I’ll tip my hand.   I cannot in any case ever, ever, ever see myself voting for Hillary Clinton.   Never ever.   Ever.   There is zero common ground I have with her on issues of morality, but then extending beyond that we have no common ground on any of the other temporal matters at hand, either.   I find her entirely and utterly despicable.   Or, to use her word, deplorable.   I won’t say she’s unredeemable (another of her words, which is not actually a word) because God can do anything, and in fact Christ redeemed us all if only we accept that redemption.    But she labeled a number of Americans with that word as well, which further speaks to her character.

Having tipped my hand, I suppose I need to do what everyone else feels compelled to do, and to make it clear that I don’t really like Trump either.    I find it somewhat fascinating that people always feel the need to be apologetic and squeamish about supporting a candidate.   I am neither apologetic, nor am I squeamish.  I have a choice to make here, and I’ll make it, and I won’t apologize for it.   If I am perturbed by anyone, it’s the other voters who ultimately gave me this choice.    I did not vote for Trump in the Primary, and he was never my favorite or even close to it.

But I can’t change that, so I can either throw a tantrum and not vote, under the delusion that he’s as bad as Hillary, or I can vote third party under the delusion that either of those nutjobs are any better (OK, I suppose that wasn’t charitable.   This is a Catholic blog and I suppose I should be more careful.   On the other hand, I’m not supposed to lie, so I’m in a conundrum.   So I’ll keep the comment and you can feel free to judge me.).  Or I can suck it up and be an adult and recognize that I have only one choice to make.   And since I’m forced to choose between these two, I choose one and will not apologize in any way for it.    It doesn’t mean I’ll defend him on everything, it means that I think he’s imperfect but still a lot better than the alternative.

And so, there it is.   Full disclosure on my feelings.

So, with that, here is my wish list:

  1. In Trump’s opening remarks, he paints the backdrop for the entire debate.   That while Clinton spent the last week resting and rehearsing every detail and every scenario, and turning herself into a robotic and programmed policy wonk who is incapable of authenticity, he spent the last week traveling around and meeting with every day Americans.    That he didn’t rehearse at all, except to talk about some things that might come up in the debate.   That he didn’t have stand-in Hillary practice.   So, in the next 90 minutes, the American people are going to hear my real, unrehearsed, authentic thoughts.   It may not be finely tuned and rehearsed, and he may not have decided to memorize and encyclopedia’s worth of details on every issue under the sun.   As President, he will have trusted advisers to provide all the details, while his job is to stay big picture and provide direction.     And so on.    Basically, he needs to set the entire debate up in his favor so that every time she throws out statistics and facts and policy, he can engage where comfortable but always have a default response of “you did a nice job of memorizing in the last week there.”    This will use her strength against her and sow doubt.    He doesn’t need to beat her on facts and figures if he can create a sense that whenever she goes there it’s just not authentic and not what the voters care about.     He may or may not win that argument with the high-brow intellectuals, but he will win it with typical Americans who have proven that they simply don’t care about all these details.   They are no watching the debate to find out who knows more about the issues.   They just aren’t.   That is a bit sad, but true.    It caused me angst during the Republican debates.    Trump clearly doesn’t know as much about policy as many others on stage.   And yet, he won the nomination.    Trump just needs to find a way to equalize that advantage so that he keeps people unimpressed by the know-how, and makes it about stature and personality.
  2. I want to see a 5-minute coughing fit from Hillary about 45 minutes in.    Maybe prompting Trump to offer her a glass of water.    I am not wishing for a major medical event, let me be clear.   I just want coughing.   It would provide entertainment value, it would be incredibly embarrassing for her, and quite frankly I think something as goofy as that with 100 million people watching would simply be her death knell.   Politically speaking.    I suppose this isn’t particularly charitable of me either.
  3. I want to see Trump wear a tie-pin that clearly says “Les Deplorables.”
  4. I want to hear Hillary Clinton say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.

To be perfectly honest, I think we’re just living in sad times where, as a friend of mine said, this whole thing is just one big garbage fire.    I think I’m well past the point of hopefulness that the process, at least this year, actually is redeemable.

So, I can choose to stew in bitter disgust, or I can at least try to enjoy it.   Admittedly, it’s kind of like enjoying the view of the ocean while on the deck of the Titanic.

 

Quick Note

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This doesn’t really have to do with anything, really.   Just wanted to say that anyone at all who believes Donald Trump was openly advocating for the assassination of Hillary Clinton is an unhinged, unthinking idiot.

Even if some morons took it that way, or his point that the voting block of gun owners can lead the way to defeating Clinton in November was made clumsily, to make that extrapolation just means you have no wits about you.

Period.

That is all.

Charlie Johnston

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A few days ago I once again revisited the idea of Catholic Prophecy.    If you did not read that post before reading this one, please do, so as to put everything in appropriate context as I move on to discussing Charlie Johnston.   In that post I also encourage you to read and review in Charlie’s own words what he claims to have experienced, and what his stated mission is.

I am mentioning him here because of all the current, modern-day “prophets” he has a very unique approach to it all.   His approach, I believe, allows someone to follow him and listen to what he has to say, even if skeptical, and having one’s faith and approach to things edified.   And I think this statement holds true regardless of whether or not you choose to believe the more remarkable claims he makes with respect to his personal experiences (visions, encounters with Angels, Mary, and Jesus, etc.).

So, allow me to explain.

One of my biggest issues I have, as I’ve already mentioned, are persons who claim to have visions or apparitions of the supernatural and proclaim messages to the world.   Nearly every modern day “prophet” follows the same formula:   Some supernatural or divine entity visits or speaks to them and asks them to share a message with the world.   This happens over and over and over and over again with the same or similar message over and over and over and over again.   People listen to or read the messages and cling to every word.   After a while, we get bored with whatever good message is communicated if that message isn’t about some remarkable event that is going to occur.   I could be entirely wrong, but I think that more than one of these people, even if they started off authentically receiving (or believing they were receiving) divine messages may feel the need to sensationalize things in order to placate a widening audience.   This is speculation on my part, but I’m sure it’s happened.

In many cases, I have to believe that – even if innocent – some of these people have entirely experienced a confabulation of the whole thing.   They are in quietude and want to have a conversation with God – all well and good – and in that silence (which they haven’t entirely learned to control properly) they believe they are receiving some sort of message or locution.   But it’s their own mind running wild, but emotionally they feel in tune with God, so it must be Him, right?    What starts off as good internal thoughts from a well-formed person can become a desire to feel that and continue that, and who knows where that can take a person.

I may sound like someone who can’t accept any of this.   That is not true and it’s not my intent.   I am just careful.   And so, it is actually with a bit of an effort against my nature that I find Charlie, overall, authentic.

For those who don’t know him and will be too lazy to fully research him or read my links, I will provide a general summary:   As mentioned above, Charlie claims to have been visited by supernatural or divine entities for most of his life.    He kept it to himself for a long time, and only as he matured did he embrace all of it.   The purpose of the visitations was to provide him visions, insights, and messages for the future which would occur during his lifetime.    However, unlike others, he has not shared every individual message with the world.    He has not even provided a whole lot of details of things he claims to know about, or has known about in the past.    Because the purpose of his visitors was to train him on the bigger, more important things:   why this is happening, a general course of what to expect, and to build up the flock so that they can better grasp the reality of what about to happen and what is, in fact, happening around us.

The entire purpose of Charlie’s ministry is not to predict exactly how, when, where, and why all the corresponding events that make up what is called “The Storm” are (even though he is in tune to many of those things).  The purpose is much more general – get people right with God and each other, and not worry about all these details.   Understand the overall course of The Storm so you’re mentally and spiritually ready for it.    But he also very clearly preaches that no one can effectively prepare for everything that is to come.   We will utterly need to rely on God.   While he welcomes the idea that people make preparations, it’s always in the context of prudence and with an eye towards preparing in such a way not so much for you, but to help others.

Charlie has a different personality than most of the other supposed seers I’ve researched.   He has a sense of humor, comes from the political arena and still follows politics, and is basically just a normal guy who happens to have a remarkable attribute that the rest of us don’t have.    It’s interesting to hear him talk about his visitors so casually, when all the rest of us would likely fail to sleep for a week after receiving a visit from a supernatural friend of any sort.    But this shouldn’t be surprising.   After all, how casually do we Catholics speak of the Eucharist?    We receive it without a huge show, and sometimes in our weaker moments are distracted by other things around us as the very Son of God becomes physically manifest on the altar.    The Eucharist is so remarkable as to be utterly unbelievable by non-Catholics.  And yet, we stroll up and receive Christ as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.     So, unlike us, Charlie has received these visitors his entire life.   It should not be a surprise that over time a natural comfort level and even a sense of the unremarkable comes across in his comments about them.

Whether he’s imagining it all, or whether it’s all real, or somewhere in between, there is no sense that I get from Charlie that there is any deception.   He is very clear on all of us, most of all himself, follows whatever instruction the Church gives.    He is not one of these anti-Francis folks – far from it.   He has called Francis the Pope of the Storm.   On the other hand, this does not keep him from offering opposing opinions with respect to purely temporal matters.

I would encourage anyone to look at Charlie’s posts and start the process of discernment.   To be clear, it is not substitute for Church teaching, Scripture, etc.   But nothing I see opposes any of those things.   Charlie is a full-throated supporter of daily mass, Catholic devotions, Adoration, Eucharistic processions, etc.   He is very stout on life and family issues.    He is fine if you don’t agree with him as long as all discussion on the board is well-intentioned and respectful.   In the end, the very worst that can happen is you don’t buy into all the remarkable stuff, but you’ll still see a good group of people trying to do their best in a world gone mad.

The one part of my skeptical nature on all this that I can’t completely rid myself of is the idea that one needs these visitors to warn of The Storm.   I have for years seen signs of ultimate disaster in our country and our world.   I think to anyone paying attention, it’s not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “when.”   One does not need an angel to point out that a country that turns its back on God, holds up abortion as a blessing, makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, continues to grow in accepting euthanasia, becomes more atheistic, and so on that there will be a point where God turns us over to ourselves.    Now, Charlie claims that in his private writings to his Spiritual Director, he envisioned what we are clearly seeing today long before it became as readily apparent as it is, and he is now taking up the mantle of one who is now making it clear to everyone exactly what it is that is happening and how we need to react.

Charlie is also very open about the fact that over the years he has greatly misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even challenged the wisdom of the messaged he’s received.    This is one reason he doesn’t share them.    He has said that this was all part of the training he needed.   Whenever he went against his direction because he thought he could protect someone from something or another, he saw that worse things happened that originally envisioned.   So he has better learned to not question, and to trust.   And trust is a major theme here.   He promotes a Prayer of Miraculous Trust – say it once for a particular intention and then leave it.  Don’t repeat it again for that specific intention (sort of like Moses hitting the rock more than once).

There are a couple areas where Charlie has been more specific.   I only assume there are particular reasons why these items are necessary to share with us.   One is that our next stable leader will not come from the election process.   It is a bit unclear exactly what that means, but it’s safe to say that if Charlie is correct, then even if elections are held and a new President elected, by the time they would otherwise take office in the normal fashion, things will have changed dramatically so that this doesn’t happen in a way that anyone expects.    Second, there will be a necessary financial collapse.   Third, he has given a timeline of the end of 2017 for what is called the Rescue – where God allows Mary to intervene on our behalf and, in some way, make it clear to everyone on earth what the Truth of Christ is.   Because of this timeline, if Charlie is correct, then whatever is to happen will happen soon, happen swiftly, and will create a situation of such extreme confusion that without the Rescue everything would so utterly devolve so quickly that we would almost certainly destroy ourselves.    Charlie’s sense (I believe this is noncommittal) is that the Rescue will actually occur before there is an incredibly severe loss of life.    Not that millions of lives lost will not be horrible, but he’s not talking about half, a third, a quarter, or even a tenth of the world’s demise.

I could go on, but I believe this covers the general sense of it.   We are under no obligation at all to pay attention to or adhere to private revelation.   So it is not incumbent upon any of us to look into all of this.   But I do think Charlie’s message is helpful and encouraging during this time, and my own personal and unofficial opinion is that it is something that is worthy of looking at.