Saturday, January 16, 2021

DANGEROUS DISTRUST OF ELECTORAL PROCESS



Yes, I did call for President Trump to resign two weeks ago. However, it may surprise readers to know that if I could go back to 2016, I would vote for him again; 2020 too. Despite his behavior since losing reelection, I see his presidency as a net positive. Impeaching him now is farcical given that he’s leaving office anyway but the Dems want to prevent him from ever running again because they’re afraid of him.

Biden brags about getting Ukraine prosecutor fired


This latest impeachment for inciting violence may have grounds, unlike the 2020 effort which charged Trump with asking Ukrainians to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s influence-peddling. Pelosi ignored then-vice-president Biden on videotape threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine to stop a Ukrainian investigation into Hunter Biden. Mainstream media allies cooperated on both fronts.



Ever since Trump got the Republican nomination in the summer of 2016, mainstream media has amplified every Democrat effort to impugn him. First they magnified the Clinton campaign’s fabricated Steele Dossier and dubious Trump/Russian collusion story. They ignored Obama’s use of intelligence agencies to spy on Trump’s campaign before the 2016 election and then afterward on his transition team. They cheerleaded the dubious Mueller Investigations into General Flynn and President Trump, neither of which found anything to prosecute and only succeeded in bankrupting Flynn, destroying his reputation, and crippling Trump’s presidency.



Conservatives did a slow burn watching all this and 90% negative media coverage of Trump’s presidency despite its long string of successes: Trump isolated Iran and its terrorism. He killed Iran General Soleimani, ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and al-Qaeda leader Qasim al-Rimi, among others. He forged the Abraham Accords between Israel and Arab leaders. He spurred economic growth that Obama claimed would be impossible. He reduced illegal immigration and built over 400 miles of new border wall. He hammered out favorable trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, the EU, and China. He appointed hundreds of pro-life judges and three originalist Supreme Court justices.



He eliminated the Obamacare individual mandate, reformed the VA, withdrew from the Paris Accord and the Iran nuclear agreement, got NATO Countries to pay their fair share, cut restrictions on oil drilling and coal exports, fast-tracked and funded a COVID vaccine, brought unemployment to record lows, raised median household income to record level, brought home troops from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, reformed the criminal justice system, and created the Space Force. Trump may be the most controversial president ever, but he’s also one of the most accomplished, especially considering he did all that in four years.



After losing on November 3rd, however, Trump claimed election fraud. Mainstream media said there was no evidence. Millions of Trump voters however, watched as Trump was winning that evening when swing states abruptly stopped counting votes, sent observers home, and resumed counting. By morning they were reporting that Trump was losing. Pennsylvania extended its deadline for counting votes without constitutional authority, after which the votes swung to Biden.



Is that evidence of election fraud or coincidence? Millions of Trump voters believe it was cheating. Mainstream media denied it all and called the election for Trump. Hundreds of observers made sworn depositions of voter fraud. That is evidence. Only two eyewitnesses, for example, are needed for a murder conviction and sometimes only one, but mainstream media continued claiming there was no evidence. There’s also video of ballot stuffing in Georgia. Law suits alleging fraud were dismissed on procedural grounds like lack of standing. There is plenty of evidence for election fraud largely perpetrated by Democrats, though probably not enough to overturn the result.



Our Founders gave us freedom of speech for many reasons, but one was for irate citizens to blow off steam by expressing their anger verbally and in writing. Here in 2021, people don’t use 18th century broadsheets; they use Facebook, Twitter, and Google.



Those outlets are owned and run by leftists who have been censoring news and posts with which they disagree, especially about election fraud. Because they’re private companies, they probably aren’t violating the 1st Amendment, but they’ve assumed enormous political power and they’re using it against conservatives, so far under the legal protection of Section 230.



We now have a huge percentage of our electorate that no longer trusts the electoral process. One could debate whether that mistrust is justified or not, but there’s little dispute that it exists. That is a huge threat to our republic that should give all of us the shivers.



Trump has been accused of narcissism even by supporters. What they at first saw as a character flaw was turning into an unraveling after his election loss, and it accelerated week-to-week. By January 6th it had completely blinded him to the political reality that Biden’s election would not be overturned. His unwillingness to accept that is embarrassing for all who voted for him. I will not vote for him in any 2024 primary and I hope he doesn't get the Republican nomination again. Right now I'm looking at Nikki Haley.



Thursday, January 07, 2021

RESIGN, MR. TRUMP



Seth Lipsky, editor and publisher of the New York Sun, had the best response to what President Trump did yesterday: he should resign and turn the office over to Vice President Mike Pence for the remainder of his term. That presupposes there’s any honor in Mr. Trump to salvage. Maybe there isn’t. Maybe there never was. It would be a mea culpa and would require humility as well as honor. Never have I observed any semblance of humility in him, but perhaps he could summon some as his final presidential action.


Lipsky twice endorsed Mr. Trump for president, in 2016 and again in 2020, and said it was heartbreaking to write that editorial. As I echo his recommendation however, I do not feel any heartache. I voted twice for Trump, but without enthusiasm. I couldn’t vote for Hillary or Biden so I voted against each of them, and that meant voting for Trump. Never did I feel any affection for him. He simply didn’t engender that.


Weeks before Wednesday’s events I was appalled at what Trump said when he encouraged his followers to come to the Capitol and protest the election on January 6th. “Be there, will be wild,” he said. He claimed a report by his assistant would be “more than sufficient” to swing the election over to him. He didn’t seem to realize how volatile divisions in America had become, or if he did realize it, he didn’t care enough. He couldn’t or wouldn’t see beyond himself, so pervasive was his narcissism.



Hundreds of thousands came. Crowd estimates vary, but perhaps as many as 500,000, and Trump spoke to them for over an hour about (real? alleged? imagined?) election abuses before they marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.



Early on, he started firing them up.


At 02:44 he said: “We have hundreds of thousands of people here, and I just want them to be recognized by the fake news media. Turn your cameras please and show what’s really happening out here because these people are not going to take it any longer. They’re not going to take it any longer.”


At 06:08 he said: “We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen. Not going to let it happen.” 


At 07:11 the crowd began chanting: “Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!”


At 16:25 he said: “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you.”


But Trump didn’t go there with him. He stayed behind in the White House. If he had, perhaps he could have prevented what happened.


He continued, saying: “We’re going to walk down… [incoherent] …We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”



At 23:21 he referred to Tuesday’s’ Georgia election defeats saying: “…it’s much more important today than it was 24 hours ago. Because I spoke to David Perdue, what a great person, and Kelly Loeffler, two great people, but it was a setup. And I said, ‘We have no back line anymore.’ The only back line, the only line of demarcation, the only line that we have is the veto of the president of the United States.”



After more than an hour of listening to Trump, the crowd marched to the Capitol — without him — and we all watched what happened. The conservative movement was severely damaged by what many in that fired-up crowd did. At this writing, some conservative pundits are claiming that Antifa agitators donned MAGA hats, broke windows at the Capitol, and entered the building. Evidence for that so far is thin. One guy dressed up like a Viking or a Sioux Indian chief, had been photographed at Antifa riots last summer and again Wednesday among the crowd at the Capitol.



While it’s true that leftist riots perpetrated by Antifa and BLM over the summer were far worse than what happened at the Capitol, and it’s true those riots were not condemned by Democrats, that doesn’t excuse what happened Wednesday. Even if there were disguised Antifa rioters in the mob, they were outnumbered by Trump supporters from the rally at the White House. Terrible damage has been done to our cause. We can expect Democrats and the leftist media will exploit it for all it’s worth in the weeks, months, and years to come.



Trump owns what happened. His behavior was disgraceful and he should resign immediately. Will he though?


I doubt it.



Tuesday, January 05, 2021

THE FEAR IS WORSE THAN THE VIRUS



It’s not the problem; it’s how you react to it. So goes the aphorism and 2020 exemplifies it. All the sum-ups of the year past proclaimed that Covid-19 made it the worst year of the century, and maybe it was. If so, it wasn’t because of the virus; it was government reaction to it — shutting down virtually everything. Many now believe those shutdowns have caused more suffering and death than the virus has.

By the end of last year, evidence to support that contention multiplied, but not enough for big government or its mainstream media spokespeople to acknowledge it. Instead, they’ve doubled down on fear hype. Recent widespread testing indicates that perhaps half the population has already been infected and has immunity. While more deadly than the seasonal flu, chances of dying from Covid are extremely low. In September, the CDC reported that the under-69 population of those infected had more than a 99.5% chance of surviving it. So why the continued shutdowns? 


And, why do teachers’s unions insist that schools remain closed when the CDC reports that children aged 0-19 survive Covid at a rate of 99.997%? Surely it’s not to protect them. Why do blue-state governors and superintendents acquiesce? Teachers’s unions are among the party’s biggest contributors. After Tuesday’s Georgia elections, Democrats could control the entire federal government, but is our country uniting behind them? A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll demonstrates that although most Americans accept that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, 39% think the election was rigged. That points to a seriously divided country.



Is this division a recent phenomenon? Many of us first became aware of roiling discontent within the electorate when the Tea Party emerged ten years ago. Most agree it was a grassroots conservative movement, but I can recall what happened when a large contingent of Tea Party activists first made their presence known at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Republicans were wary because it had no leaders and wasn’t part of the Republican power structure. CPAC’s 3-day conference program that year didn’t even mention the Tea Party.



I remember walking into the hotel lobby in Washington and the first thing I noticed was a man dressed as an original 1773 Massachusetts patriot complete with tricorne hat and waving a yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. However no one mentioned the Tea Party in any of the sessions I attended. It was as if it didn’t exist. And Democrats were not going to welcome them either, given the Tea Party first coalesced following the narrow passage of government-expanding Obamacare in 2009 with not a single Republican vote.



Here was an amorphous throng of citizens dead-set against big government — and shunned by both major parties. Mitt Romney ignored the Tea Party in his 2012 presidential run and lost. Looking back now, we should not have been surprised that an outsider with zero political experience and promising to “drain the swamp” won the presidency in 2016. If it weren’t for his narcissism he would likely have won a second term. Instead, he was toppled by an aged career politician who stayed in his basement throughout the campaign in fear of either Covid or making a gaffe, or both.



After the first two weeks in early 2020, many Americans opposed government’s massive response to Covid. Shutting down the economy and triggering a near depression, it then created trillions of dollars out of thin air and distributed them to citizens, businesses, as well as various institutions and organizations large and small. Federal debt, already out of control, went into the stratosphere. Governors, most of them in blue states, extended shutdowns again and again, and now into 2021. All but 13 states have ordered their citizens to wear masks everywhere.



When gubernatorial authority to shut down states is challenged in court, judges have so far ruled it unconstitutional — even though states do have authority to deal with infectious disease. Anthony Fauci objects to that though, claiming that federalism is undermining the U.S. response he coordinates. Evidence that shutdowns at any level are effective in controlling spread is thin.



 According to an article in Just The News, when states report Covid statistics, nearly all conflate patients hospitalized “with Covid” and “due to Covid.” As more people are tested and found to have antibodies, it’s inevitable that more hospitalized patients will too. Hospitals are not being overfilled with patients “due to Covid” as media and government repeatedly proclaim, but “with Covid.” That’s an extremely important distinction that few Americans recognize.



Covid is a problem, yes, but it’s much worse when government and media stoke Covid fear to justify seizure of power over the day-to-day lives of Americans — and further dividing our country. Two centuries ago, President Andrew Jackson advised Americans: “Never take counsel of your fears,” yet that’s exactly what we’re doing.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

MY MOTHER

We buried her Tuesday.

Mary Haggerty with two of her brothers 1925

She was called Mary. So was her mother. It was a common name for girls a hundred years ago when people venerated the Holy Family and named their children accordingly. Mary Elizabeth Haggerty, was born the youngest of four in September, 1924 with three older brothers, one named Joseph. They were protective of her. That’s what boys did in those days. They’ve all passed on and now so has Mary. Few have ever touched as many people as meaningfully, as profoundly, as she did over her ninety-six-year lifetime.

Mary Haggerty 1942


She became Mary McLaughlin in 1942. Her boyfriend, Mac, came back to Boston briefly on leave from the US Navy. She said later that she didn’t really want to elope with him but he was persistent and she gave in. Mac recognized what a gem Mary Haggerty was and he didn’t want to lose her. She was exceedingly pretty and he knew other men would do their best to win her.


Mac


 Elopements like Mary’s were common during World War II, and Mac sailed off a day later. As Mrs. McLaughlin, she moved several times to various port cities on the east and west coasts —wherever Mac’s ship was sent. She’d find a secretarial job and a room. When his ship was deployed to England she waited for him. After D-Day when his ship was deployed to the Pacific, she waited for him in San Francisco. She had her first child in 1946 and seven more after that until 1963. It was the baby boom.


Mary McLaughlin with her first child 1946


 Mary had been a single girl for eighteen years. She was a wife for thirty-five years before Mac died in 1977. She was a widow for forty-three years. She was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother for fifty-four years. Her eight children called her Ma. Her twenty-nine grandchildren called her Ma and so did all their spouses. Her forty-two great-grandchildren called her Ma, and eventually that’s how she thought of herself: as Ma.


Mary with some of her family 2014


 As matriarch for an extended family of more than eighty people, she endeavored to pass along the faith she had inherited, and did so by embodying it. Shortly after being widowed, she used Mac's life insurance to buy an old farmhouse in Lovell and fix it up. She recalled many happy summer days in the country with her own grandmother and wanted the same for her grandchildren. For thirty-two years, she provided those memories before finally going into assisted living five years ago at ninety-one.


In assisted living 2016


In the year 2000, Ma invited her children to accompany her on a trip to the Holy Land. All were deeply affected by the experience of walking the paths Jesus Himself walked two thousand years before. Whenever they heard gospel readings after that, they could remember being in each of the places where His preaching and His miracles actually took place.

 

With five of her children 2014


As Ma went into hospice at ninety-six, her extended family opened a forum on Whats App where her many offspring posted remembrances of what she left them: her love and her faith in God, both of which she lived out seamlessly. One said:

 

“Ma we owe everything we have to you, the way we conduct ourselves, treat other human beings and our belief in god is all owed to you. Through your pure kindness, hard work and patience you’ve made us all good human beings who will teach our kids and grandkids forever after you meet God.”


With a few family members


 Another said:

 

“It’s amazing to reflect on all you have taught me and our family about love. You taught us all with your whole life — by the way you lived, by the conversations you had, and in all of your relationships with us. You taught us in big and small ways. These have impacted my life in important ways at various times. I know they will continue to do so long after today.”


Mary Haggerty in the middle around 1930


 Another said:

“When we would visit, I remember Ma would let us kids into her bed early in the morning. With her eyes closed we would say prayers, then she would tell us stories. They always started with a blueberry patch. When my children wanted to read the same book for the thirty-fifth time, I closed my eyes and started into the same blueberry patch stories. Love you Ma.”


Ma's 90th 2014


 Another said:

“As a kid when I asked you why you moved to Maine, you spoke of making memories for your grandchildren similar to your own childhood — of a grandmother in the woods. I think you achieved that goal and more. You certainly made an imprint on all of us, Ma. While I wish those woods were a little closer to Massachusetts, I’ll never forget all the time spent with you up there! Though I’m on the tail end of the grandkid lineup (somewhere in the 30s I believe), I felt no less special. I think you made everyone feel that way. You have a unique gift to draw others in and make them feel genuinely loved. Your sincere love for others, simple joy, and obvious faith are what I’ll always admire most about you.”


Some of the photos on Ma's refrigerator


 All the grandchildren commented on the refrigerator in Ma’s kitchen which was completely covered on two sides with wallet-sized, school pictures of them and their many cousins. Several also mentioned the giant freezer in the basement. Mary and Mac had each grown up poor during the Great Depression and threw nothing away that wasn’t thoroughly worn out. Mac sometimes went hungry as a child so, after they married and children came, they purchased a huge chest freezer. Mac kept it full bygoing food-shopping every Saturday. He negotiated with bakery managers to buy day-old bread — fifty loaves at a time — for a nickel each. He made sure his children would never know hunger as he did. After Mac died, Ma brought that freezer with her up to Maine.


With brother Joe Haggerty in Galway, Ireland 2009


 One grandchild said: “I still think of you when I smell bacon, as that’s usually the smell that woke me up in the morning in the Blue Room. I remember drinking orange juice from your recycled juice glasses and making sandwiches to take to Kezar [Lake] made out of bread that was in your freezer (probably) longer than I’d been alive. I, too, remember crawling into your bed and praying along to the radio rosary. I’ll admit I thought the rosary was painfully boring, but I loved snuggling in close with you in your warm bed. And now, many of my daily rosaries are offered for you!”


Christmas dinner at my house


 All who loved Ma worried that, during Covid, she might have to die alone. Her daughters looked for a hospice that would allow loved ones to visit, and finally found one nine days before she passed. As the testimonies poured in on What’s App, they were read to her. She heard the above tributes and many others like them as she waited for Jesus to call her home. Two of her daughters were holding her hands and praying with her as she passed on to eternal life. For that, we’re all grateful.


With her brother Joe around 1940


 Few are as prepared for death as Ma was, and for the past few years she wondered aloud why she was living so long. During that time she told some of her children what was most important to her besides her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. First of those things was her church work, like serving on the building committee for the Elizabeth Ann Seton Church; serving as secretary for the Church Council; volunteering at the Dinner Bell (the local soup kitchen); working at the Lighthouse Pregnancy Crisis Center whose mission was to provide practical, life-affirming, alternatives to abortion; and serving as Eucharistic Minister and taking it to shut-ins. 


With one of her 42 great-grandchildren


 For decades she was very active with the Pro-Life Movement at many levels, believing strongly that: “We have to promote the dignity of the human person and the Sanctity of Human Life.” Born a Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrat as so many of her generation in Massachusetts were, she had to leave the Democrat Party when it became the party of abortion. She became a Reagan Democrat, and eventually a Republican. The Party had changed, not her. For years she haunted pro-abortion Democrats like Congressman, then Senator, then Presidential candidate, Paul Tsongas. Then she haunted his counterparts in Maine. Ma never relented in her fight against abortion. 



Nearly all families are touched by alcoholism, but especially the Irish. All her ancestors came from there and do did Mac’s. She understood what damage alcoholism did to families and she became active in Al Anon, a program for anyone who loves an alcoholic. She sponsored many in both Massachusetts and Maine and started an Alateen program in Fryeburg. Through these organizations she touched hundreds of others in whatever community she lived.



Being as involved as she was in so many activities meant a lot of driving on rural roads in western Maine. Ma liked to get where she was going quickly and was often pulled over for speeding, even into her eighties. “I’d roll down the window and smile sweetly at them with my white, old lady hair and they’d let me go,” she said. More than one grandchild remembered being with her when she went too fast for the slippery conditions and she’d yell, “Hold on kids!” as she went into the ditch. She damaged her cars a few times but no one ever got hurt. It was like she had divine protection.



Two great-granddaughters were named for Ma and there are just too many moving grandchildren posts to list here, but one more:

 

“I was just thinking about all the special memories I have of you as I was holding Danny and putting him down for a nap. Many are of your house in Maine and all the great times we had there- I loved your fridge full of pictures! That’s what I thought of first. It was always fun to find yourself and see all your cousins (and there are a lot of them)! The best was climbing out the kitchen window to the sun porch- that was a pretty big deal to a kid. The fire wood chute was also exciting! Could I fit down it? I wished we had one in our house. I remember your aloe plant in the upstairs hall and how we would use it for sunburns. I remember crawling into bed with you in the early morning and I thought your mattress was soooo comfy! I enjoyed playing card games with you in the dining room. I remember all your braided rugs. The creaky stairs. It was fun picking carrots from your garden and finding glass bottles in the woods for your collection. Swimming, hiking, and being with cousins was the best! Watching tv with you as you crocheted on your chair. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed our phone conversations and I’m going to miss them a lot. You have such wisdom and faith and I’ve learned so much from you. “You sound so happy!” — that’s what you would always say when we spoke. It’s been so nice sharing stories about the kids with you. How did you ever remember all the grandkids’ names?  Probably because you prayed for them all every night. I told you last week Luke didn’t realize (because he’s so absent minded) that he put his clean underwear right over the dirty ones and you laughed and laughed! It was the best. I hadn’t heard you laugh like that in a while!”



A daughter who was with Ma near the end reported several things she said. Among them were:

 

I need Jesus.

I need the Eucharist.

I need to see my children.

I'm so happy.

I love seeing your face.

I feel the love.

Jesus I love you above all things.

 

And one of the prayers her daughter said with Ma during her last days included a quote from 17th century scientist and mathematician Blaise Pascal:



“Reflect on death in Jesus Christ, not without Him. Without Jesus Christ death would be dreadful, alarming, a terror of nature. In Jesus Christ it is fair and lovely, it is good and holy, it is the joy of the saints.”