Christmas at Bastogne

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

In 1944 at Christmas the American and German armies were slugging it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army rammed its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.  The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.  Patton had a prayer written for good weather.  Patton prayed the prayer, along with an extemporaneous one he prayed for good weather on December 23, 1944.  The skies cleared after Patton prayed, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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Santa Roosevelt

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt

One of his worst enemies once said about Theodore Roosevelt that a man would have to hate him a lot not to like him a little.  It was hard not to admire Roosevelt for his courage, his enthusiasm and his obvious good will.  That last aspect of his character is illustrated by the fact that for many years he would go to Cove School at Oyster Bay dressed as Santa Claus, talk to the kids, and give them presents he had purchased out of his own pocket.  When he did it in 1898, after achieving renown leading his Rough Riders in Cuba, the little boys at the school mobbed their Santa hero! 

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4 Responses to Santa Roosevelt

  • Theodore Roosevelt was a real man and a real President. We have not had that for 7 years now.

  • In Cuba, the brigaded regular army officers advised TR to leave his horse and lead his dismounted Rough Riders on foot up San Juan Hill. He rode.
    .
    He overcame asthma and a sickly childhood who, through will-power, made of himself a heroic figure of a man.
    .
    As my Jewish friends would say, “He was a mensch.”

    I said the following when my father passed and it applies to TR. From Hamlet, “He was a man. Take him for all and all. I shall not look upon his like again.

    .
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

  • Can you imagine our current president doing something so big-hearted?
    Maybe once, just for the PR, but I cannot imagine Obama keeping up a
    charitable, generous tradition like this for decades, as TR did.
    .
    The unlikeliness of Obama doing anything so genuine and warm only
    underscores the smallness, the shabbiness of the little man we have for
    president these days.

  • The current White House occupant is doing what he does each December end…playing golf in Hawaii. He is as much an elitist as there has ever been in the White House.

Washington Refuses to be Beaten

Saturday, December 19, AD 2015

 

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Each year, as Christmas is approaching, I think of a Christmas long ago in 1776.  The year in which we declared our independence from Great Britain was a year of military disaster for the United States.  Washington and his troops had been beaten time after time, and as the end of the year approached the Revolution seemed to be dying.  The British controlled New York, the largest city in the colonies and the major port.  New Jersey had been conquered.  The Continental Congress was in flight from Philadelphia, in expectation that the British would next move on that city.  Washington’s army had been reduced to around 5,000 ill-clad and ill-fed poorly trained troops, vastly outnumbered by their British adversaries and their Hessian mercenaries, all well-trained, well equipped, well clad and well fed.  Most of the enlistments of Washington’s troops would be up by the end of the year, and few of them seemed likely to re-enlist.  Defeat seemed all but inevitable to all but Washington.  In this hour of doom, he rallied his troops and launched the Trenton-Princeton campaign, which restored the morale of his Army, liberated much of New Jersey, and put new heart into American patriots everywhere.  Washington had worked a military miracle.

The feat is all the more impressive, in that privately Washington was well-aware of the odds against him, and feared that defeat was probably likely.  We see that in two letters he wrote on December 10 and 17, 1776, to his nephew Lund Washington, who ran Mount Vernon in his absence:

Dear Lund:

    * * * * *

    I wish to Heaven it was in my power to give you a more favorable account of our situation than it is. Our numbers, quite inadequate to the task of opposing that part of the army under the command of General Howe, being reduced by sickness desertion, and political deaths (on or before the first instant, and having no assistance from the militia), were obliged to retire before the enemy, who were perfectly well informed of our situation, till we came to this place, where I have no idea of being able to make a stand, as my numbers, till joined by the Philadelphia militia, did not exceed three thousand men fit for duty. Now we may be about five thousand to oppose Howe’s whole army, that part of it excepted which sailed under the command of Gen. Clinton. I tremble for Philadelphia. Nothing, in my opinion, but Gen. Lee’s speedy arrival, who has been long expected, though still at a distance (with about three thousand men), can save it. We have brought over and destroyed all the boats we could lay our hands on upon the Jersey shore for many miles above and below this place; but it is next to impossible to guard a shore for sixty miles, with less than half the enemy’s numbers; when by force or strategem they may suddenly attempt a passage in many different places. At present they are encamped or quartered along the other shore above and below us (rather this place, for we are obliged to keep a face towards them) for fifteen miles. ***

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13 Responses to Washington Refuses to be Beaten

  • Great piece, Don.

  • It occurs, Sir, that Madeira is the proper wine for Americans to drink at Christmas.

    I kept a few bottles about up until a few years ago, out of deference to President Washington. That is a habit I think I shall revive.

  • I agree Dave, although being a tee-totaler the question is of purely academic interest for me!

  • Taking time to thank God for our reluctant first President of the United States. Unanimously voted into that office. Thanks go to you as well Mr. McClarey for perspective.
    Keeping alive the spirit of hope in times that seem unmanageable. Washington called upon Almighty God numerous times and this God Almighty was none other than the Trinity.

    No. All religions are not equal. All religions will not guarantee life everlasting. God help America.

  • Bar none, George Washington is the greatest man in American History.
    .
    The British believed that 1777 would be “the year of the hangman.” The Continental army had suffered disastrous after disastrous defeat in New York from August though December 1776 and was on the verge of collapse. God Almighty and His servant George Washington held it together. If it hadn’t been for Washington’s brilliant moves against Trenton and Princeton, it may have been all over.
    .
    Truly, “First in war; first in peace; first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
    .
    On a humorous note: the kids were too young to understand when I used to tell them, “George Washington is the father of our country. Boy, did he get around!”
    .
    Philip, Truth. In fact, some religions are banned. Think the Aztec religion of human sacrifice. That is not protected under the First Amendment. Similarly, Islam and the Koran promote (go read it) hatred and violence against non-Muslims. The fact that a predatory belief system is countenanced by the failed regime and the effete, corrupt elites tells us more about them than it does about Islam.

  • T. Shaw.
    I believe what you write.
    Why do the elites want chaos?
    Is it power grabs and disturbance that creates division and within the division opportunity?

    The Koran and history of Islam is a feature we study at our Holy League gathering’s. The conclusions we arrive at is that we have a serious threat to the liberties we’ve taken for granted for so long. The cry from progressives is that anyone who tries to teach others of the threat, and to prepare themselves is in their minds a group of fear monger’s. Uncaring in the plight of refugees.
    Not true. The vetting process is hindered.
    We do care for innocent life, however we care also of the possible loss of our families lives do to terrorist infiltration.

  • Philip,
    .
    It’s beyond Orwellian.
    .
    Americans are afraid because the regime not only refuses to defend them, it feverishly works to kill more Americans. Obama is bringing (and the taxpayer is paying for it) in tens of thousands more covert mass murderers while acting to confiscate our means of defense. Why? Obama hates us.
    .
    Me. I’m very fearful that my enlarged prostate will have me running to the latrine before I can get some. I don’t need no stinking government employee to keep me safe.
    .
    Obama and progressive elites hate America, Americans, and the uses we make of our property an freedoms equally as much as do devout Muslims.
    .
    Muslims (often funded by Sunni Wahhabi petrodollars and the American taxpayer) divide the World between them and us; dar al-Islam against dar al-harb. It’s motivated almost 14 centuries of desultory invasions, mass murders, and wars. Muslims are expected to bring Allah’s word and will to all of humanity, by force if necessary, and attempts by dar al-harb (the house of war) to resist back must be met with fatal force.
    .
    There are three classes of citizens in dar al-Islam: First Class – Muslim men; Second Class (treated like chattel) – Muslim women; Third Class (treated like dirt) everyone else.

  • UN resolution 2117 dusted!
    In a 53 – 46 Senate Vote the UN arms trade treaty was voted down….thanks be to God.
    This resolution had 21 points.
    Number 11 calls for Member States to support collection of weapons and disarmament in all UN countries.

    46 out of 100 US Senator’s were willing to give away our Constitutional rights to a foreign power. Forty six. Disgraceful!

  • That is good news, Philip. It means one fewer unconstitutional gun restriction of which I will be in violation.
    .
    Re: the idiot progressives’ (I repeat myself, again) asinine gun laws, after the Sandy Hook massacre (It wasn’t me!) CT and NY passed laws requiring registration, or turn in, of so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines. In CT, approximately 50,000, of an estimated 400,000, were registered, or whatever. CT did nothing. What could it do? In NY, many county sheriffs publicly stated they would not enforce the law. And, guess what: the NY S.A.F.E. law prohibits public reporting of compliance. It’s beneath Orwellian. So much for the idiots’ common sense gun control laws.
    .
    The idiocracy near approaches: 46 senators need to go.
    .

  • T. Shaw.
    “46 Senators need to go.”
    Amen!

  • PHILIP and T Shaw- you can’t hear it but i am wildly applauding your exchange!
    bravi gentlemen …

  • 46 Senators need to go

    Only 46? Seems to me we ought to turn out the whole lot of ’em, just to be sure.

  • 46 senators need to go.
    –T. Shaw

    They don’t feel the need. I’m curious, please reveal what you will do to make even one of them feel the need.

Video Clip Worth Watching: Battle of the Bulge Sermon

Wednesday, December 16, AD 2015

A film clip from Battleground (1949), a rousing tribute to the heroic stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, which helped turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge. Seventy-one years ago on December 16, 1944 the Germans launched their last desperate offensive to turn defeat into victory.   The sermon helps explain to the men why they are there, and why the sacrifices they were being called upon to make were important and necessary.

We should always be mindful of the men and women in our military who are far from their families today,  destined to celebrate Christmas often in dangerous situations.  May God bless them and keep them, and may we always remember the sacrifices they make for us.

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2 Responses to Video Clip Worth Watching: Battle of the Bulge Sermon

  • “Yes this trip was necessary.”

    Here agian you hit upon a good topic.
    Respect for our troops and the reminder that tyranny must be stopped, especially if it’s within our boarders, within our government.
    Sacrifices made and to be made.

  • “super idea” today is politically-used/abused “climate change,” “right to health care,” and “right to reporductive freedome,” and “gun control” ; “fascists” are statist/elitist Democrats/Totalitarians; Hitler is . . .figure it out. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

One Response to Christmas Star

  • The cathedral in Cartargo, Costa Rica, has a rather similar painting in a side chapel which dates from the same time. It is obviously a U.S. soldier. He is not squatting and facing the star (frankly, I don’t remember if there is a prominent star, but I think there was). Rather, he is on his knees and facing the viewer, though not square on, with a small hill running up behind him. His hands are folded in prayer. There are white clouds in the distance blocking some of the stars, and in the clouds can be seen the images of Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, among others. My driver was a bit proud of the painting.

The Plot to Overthrow Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, AD 2014

 

How wonderfully daffy the golden age of Radio tended to be.  A broadcast on December 19, 1944 of the show This Is My Best:  Norman Corwin’s comedic poem The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, a hilarious look at a plot by Hell to stop Christmas, with Orson Welles starring as Nero.  Amazing the entertainment heights that could be reached without car chases, explosions, profanity, bathroom jokes and sex.

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Christmas 1944: Battle of the Bulge

Tuesday, December 23, AD 2014

In 1944, seventy years ago, at Christmas the American and German armies were fighting it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army fought its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.  The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.  Patton had a prayer written for good weather.  Patton prayed the prayer, the scene from the movie Patton depicting this may be viewed below.

 

The skies cleared after Patton prayed the weather prayer, and a personal prayer he said on December 23, 1944, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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5 Responses to Christmas 1944: Battle of the Bulge

  • Our son is an infantry company commander in the 101. He’s in the states this Christmas. The September 2014 deployment was reduced to only one company per battalion – not his. The Warden and I will travel to visit him after 1 January.

    .
    That chaplian/sermon scene from the outstanding movie “Battle Ground” is one of the best, short explanations for why we fight.
    .

    Another fine 101 war movie is “Hamburger Hill.” A close friend fought with the 502 (not at HB Hill) in VN.
    .

    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” Chapter heading from The Doughboys by Laurence Stallings.

  • God bless you and your son, Mr. Shaw. May all of you have a Merry Christmas and happy new year.

  • One of the many interesting things about McAuliffe was that he abhorred profanity and never engaged in it. “Nuts” was about the strongest thing he could have exclaimed in that situation.

  • And I’ve always gotten a kick out of the initial German bafflement at McAuliffe’s reply:

    “Was ist ‘Nuts’?”

  • To Dale Price: The funniest moment (of a very grim few days) also had to have been the subsequent discomfort of the German staff officer who had to explain to Panzer Commander Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz what “Nuts!” meant to the highly decorated, non-nonsense veteran of WWI & WWII. Of course Von Luttwitz was highly furious when he found out.

    Another typically sardonically funny American response was Army Armored Commander Col. William L. Roberts, unfazed by the disastrous rout of 8th Corps the previous day, who immediately rounded up several hundred of the surviving personnel and formed—what would you expect him to call it—Team SNAFU as a blocking force. “Situation Normal,..”

Union Christmas Dinner

Sunday, December 21, AD 2014

Published on December 31, 1864, and drawn by Thomas Nast,  the above picture has Lincoln inviting the starving Confederate states to join the Christmas dinner of the Union States.  The print brings  to mind the phrase that  Lincoln would make immortal in his Second Inaugural in a few short months:  “With malice towards none, with charity for all”.  Not a bad sentiment to recall at Christmas time, or any time.

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24 Responses to Union Christmas Dinner

  • It is good to see a Thomas Nast drawing! On a drive into the countryside in late fall in the early 70’s, a stop at a roadside shop introduced me to his art. There were old Christmas decorations which included charming lightweight cardboard cutouts of a detailed Santa Claus in various settings. Mostly reds and shades of yellow with the black shaded outlines and, even though there was no green color, I had to buy one of each for just cents to afford a closer look. They’ve long ago disappeared, sort of like evidence of Lincoln’s phrase in news of today.

  • May I suggest the book “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas DiLorenzo

  • You may suggest it Scott but the crank DiLorenzo knows as much about Lincoln as a pig does about penance.

  • Pat.
    Did he draw/sketch the temperance series? The ill effects of drinking to much. (Spirits)
    I recall a series of sketches in my brother-in-law’s cabin, and the work resembles this one.

  • Philip, I don’t know. Now, with more time to do so, I may find out.

  • Pat and Philip: I have seen some of Thomas Nast’s cartoons and they were horribly anti-Catholic. I do not embrace his work any more, even his popular concept of Saint Nick. Thomas Nast’s cartoons are Nast y.

  • Well, Lincoln’s nice rhetoric about “malice” doesn’t change the fact that he invaded a state, Virginia, which had not lifted a finger against a fellow state or the federal government; he despotically interfered with the governance of Maryland by imprisoning legislators there; he suppressed free speech by imprisoning political and press opponents; and he unconstitutionally waged a war against states with the stated purpose of overthrowing slavery, an war object that has no support in the constitution.
    But I’m glad Nast imagined him as a benevolent master inviting his wayward servants home to the federal plantation.

  • Lincoln invaded no states Tom. He suppressed insurrections in those states against the Federal Government which the Constitution and the Insurrection Act of 1807 clearly gave him the power to do. The powers that be in Virginia were unwilling to see a finger lifted in defense of the Union and joined the Confederacy as a result. Ironically they denounced as traitors the West Virginians who stayed loyal to the Union throughout the War.

    As for Maryland, the western part of the State was always pro-Union. During the Antietam campaign the Army of Northern Virginia was disappointed that they received few enlistments from Marylanders. About 25,000 Marylanders fought for the Confederacy while 60,000 fought for the Union. There was never a chance that Maryland was going to join the Confederacy.

    Neither the Confederate nor the Union governments were shy about using force against dissidents during the War. When national survival is at stake extreme measures will be undertaken, as was the case with the short shrift given to Tories by the Patriots during the American Revolution.

    There was nothing unconstitutional about waging a War to preserve the Union. There was a great deal unconstitutional about trying to dissolve the Union by force of arms under the pretext of some made up right of the States to unilaterally secede.

  • You all know I don’t know much.
    .
    Didn’t the states vote themselves into the Union? Is there chapter and verse saying States may not vote themselves out of the Union? Something like that happened in 1776, except in 1861 the Southern states were so-called “sovereign states”, not colonies peopled with “second-class” English subjects. Of course, we know the Confederate states could not possibly vote themselves out because more cannons, more bullets, more bayonets: total war.
    .

  • As the Declaration states T. Shaw, there is a right of rebellion under the circumstances noted by Mr. Jefferson. There is no right of secession. As noted by Robert E. Lee prior to the Civil War, it was idle to talk of secession and secession was merely a code word for rebellion. Unlike the colonists in 1776 the Southerners had no grievances that justified a rebellion. Even the “right” of slavery was not under threat by the Federal government. The election of Lincoln caused a huge overreaction in the South and brought about what the slaveholders most feared: the abolition of slavery.

  • Mac,
    .

    They voted themselves in, but they couldn’t vote themselves out is the answer I expected; maybe chapter/verse, if available.
    .

    One reason I’m concerned in 2014 is that I’d love to see a bunch of so-called “blue states” promptly exit.

  • The proper way to dissolve the Union of course would either have been by a Constitutional Convention or a Constitutional Amendment. If a peaceful movement to allow secession had been undertaken, I think it might well have ultimately met with success.

  • Tom wrote:
    “Well, Lincoln’s nice rhetoric about “malice” doesn’t change the fact that he invaded a state, Virginia, which had not lifted a finger against a fellow state or the federal government;”

    David H. Donald (a historian that revisionist like Dilorenzo more often than not misquote) explains on pages 290-300 of his masterwork “Lincoln” how Lincoln sought to avoid war by making a deal with the Virginia secession convention (which was majority unionist) to give up Ft Sumter if convention adjourned without secession vote. Lincoln met with John B. Baldwin in a secret conference on April 4th, but nothing came of the meeting. On April 6, Lincoln sent a State Dept functionary, Robert Chew, to meet with So. Carolina Gov. Francis Pickens and inform him that the federals “would attempt to supply Ft. Sumter with provisions only, and that if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition would be made without further notice.” Within weeks of the attack on Ft. Sumter, Virginia had seceded and Richmond was capital of the confederacy. Attack across the river on Washington was expected daily.

    “he despotically interfered with the governance of Maryland by imprisoning legislators there;”

    The first bloodshed in the war was the 4 soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment killed by rioters, while marching thru Baltimore on April 19th. Marylanders destroyed the railroad bridges linking Baltimore with the north and cut the telegraph lines. General Winfield Scott, a Virginian, wanted to arrest secessionist Maryland politicians prior to their meeting in Fredrick on April 26the. The governor of Maryland was a weak unionist, who collapsed under secession pressure. He asked Lincoln to stop sending troops thru Maryland and suggested mediation of the conflict by the British! When a Baltimore committee descended on his office on April 22nd and demanded that he bring no more troops thru Maryland and make peace with the confederacy on any terms, Lincoln had had enough. “You would have me break my oath and surrender the government without a blow. There is no Washington in that—no Jackson in that—no manhood nor honor in that. Our men are not moles, and can’t dig under the earth, they are not birds, and can’t fly through the air. Go home and tell your people that if they will not attack us, we will not attack them, but if they do attack us, we will return it, and that severely”.

    “ he suppressed free speech by imprisoning political and press opponents;”

    Article 1 section 9 of the Constitution countenances suspension of habeas corpus in event of rebellion. While the right to suspend seems to be vested in the legislative branch, at the time, Congress met only a few months of the year (would that that would be so today). Lincoln assumed the power in the emergency with Congress out of session. Later Congress ratified Lincoln’s actions.
    “and he unconstitutionally waged a war against states with the stated purpose of overthrowing slavery, an war object that has no support in the constitution.”
    Usually revisionist say Lincoln waged the war for the unconstitutional purpose of saving the union and vehemently deny that it was fought to overthrow slavery! Dilorenzo harps on that point continuously. Whatever the case, rebellion is a natural human right (even Lincoln recognizes it!) but only as a last resort and for serious and non-transient reasons (such as listed in our Declaration of Independence). Though our Constitution doesn’t mention a process for a state leaving the Union, I think it would be logical to assume it would be the same or similar to the process for a state entering the union, as detail in Article 4 section 3, by a majority vote of Congress. I wonder why that was never tried?! So had the confederate states wanted to leave constitutionally, they should have sought a vote in congress. Lincoln was bound by his oath of office as president to suppress the rebellion.

    “ But I’m glad Nast imagined him as a benevolent master inviting his wayward servants home to the federal plantation.”

    “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” – Abraham Lincoln
    “Negros are beings of an inferior order, altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they have no rights which the white man is bound to respect.” – Roger Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, writing for the majority in Dred Scott vs Sandford
    “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition” – Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy

    Tom, I beg you, beware such cant until you are more familiar with what real slavery and it’s attendant evil really is and what is envisaged by masters toward their slaves and to what lengths masters will allow their decent instincts to be corrupted in order to justify their holding of their slaves in bondage. Taney, a Catholic Marylanders who freed his own slaves, in the Dred Scott case blatantly disregarded the fact that free blacks had the right to vote from the time of our revolution in 5 New England states, and at times, in New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee. At the time of our constitution was framed, slavery was seen as an evil which in time would pass away. Most of the 13 colonies had already outlaw slavery in their territories. In Washington’s army, 20% of the men in the ranks were black. The framers of our constitution were so ashamed of slavery that in the constitution they couldn’t bring themselves to use the word. By the time of the Civil War, southerners, perhaps influenced by the new writings of Charles Darwin, were defending slavery as a positive good and ordained by God.

  • So Don, glad to see that you don’t deny the charge that Lincoln imprisoned dissenting politicians and pressmen.

    A state withdrawing from the Union is not an insurrection, and I challenge anyone to find any authority for the notion that the Framers understood insurrection to refer to the lawful, peaceful decision of the elected leaders of a state to withdraw from the Union. A compelled Union is no “union” at all but the very type of tyranny that the Framers themselves fought against when Britain sought to preserve *their* glorious Union. When the colonies became free of Britain, they were each Independent, and ceded to the federal government only those express and enumerated powers listed specifically in the constitution. Not one of those powers gave a president the authority to invade a state, much less to extirpate a lawful practice.

  • The Supreme Court, the supposed sole arbiter of the constitution, did not agree that Lincoln’s actions were constitutional.

  • Actually the Supreme Court ruled some of the actions of the Lincoln administration constitutional and some unconstitutional. In regard to the central issues of using force to preserve the Union and abolish slavery, no court ever ruled those actions unconstitutional.

  • “So Don, glad to see that you don’t deny the charge that Lincoln imprisoned dissenting politicians and pressmen.”

    As did Jefferson Davis. Countries fighting for their life do that sort of thing.

    “A state withdrawing from the Union is not an insurrection, and I challenge anyone to find any authority for the notion that the Framers understood insurrection to refer to the lawful, peaceful decision of the elected leaders of a state to withdraw from the Union.”

    The Founding Fathers were silent on the question of secession, except for Madison who was very much against it. As he noted, one party to a contract cannot unilaterally void it, which is precisely what the seceding states attempted to do in regard to the Constitution and the Union.

    “A compelled Union is no “union” at all but the very type of tyranny that the Framers themselves fought against when Britain sought to preserve *their* glorious Union.”

    That contention would have astounded both the Founding Fathers and their defeated, and frequently exiled, Tory adversaries. The Union was originally created in the midst of a civil war among Americans. Both the aftermath of the American Revolution and the Civil War amply demonstrated that no tyranny was created by the victory of the Patriots or by the victory of the Union.

    “Not one of those powers gave a president the authority to invade a state, much less to extirpate a lawful practice.”

    The Constitution granted to the President, through Congress, full authority to act to preserve the Union:

    “Clause 15. To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”

  • Ex Parte Merryman specifically ruled that Lincoln violated the Constitution. Lincoln ignored the ruling, yet another example of his tyrannical behavior during the war.
    A mere tu quoque about what Jeff Davis did or did not do is an illogical response.

    Three states, Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York, specifically allowed for the possibility of withdrawing from the Union in their ratifications of the constitution. Clearly, secession was not viewed as off limits for the men who created the Union, which Union, by the way, did not even exist under the constitution for 13 years after the Revolution. The states clearly pre-exist the Union and therefore are superior to it. They never expressly gave away their independence, only ceding those specific powers enumerated in the constitution.

    Insurrection is lawless uprising against the government–like the Whisky Rebellion, for example. Secession proceeded according to law in each state, each state voting to revoke their original ratification of the constitution. The constitution, being limited solely to enumerated powers, did not specifically forbid this revocation. Therefore it was lawful, the drafters of the constitution having chosen not to include a prohibition against secession (likely because, as the NY, VA, and RI ratifications show, no one questioned the possibility of it).

    Secession is clearly constitutional, unless you believe in a “living” constitution of penumbras and emanations.

  • Lincoln had declared martial law during the Civil War and many of his acts were for the common good of the Union. You will know them by what they do. History has exhonorated Lincoln and proved that Lincoln was a true patriot.

  • Tom: A living Constitution does not contain penumbras and emanations, if interpreted in Justice. The Supreme Court “JUSTICES” are the personification of the perfect JUSTICE of God for who in their right mind needs imperfect JUSTICE or corrupt interpretations of JUSTICE.
    These men are “compensated” for who can pay for Justice? These men have the Ten Commandments in their chamber. What else do they need? God save this Court. (The Court is not compensated to promote atheism)

  • In regard to Merryman, I have looked at it along with various other suppressions of the writ of habeas corpus by Lincoln and Jefferson during the War:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/12/02/ex-parte-merryman/

    Merryman belonged in jail as he had taken up arms against the Union. His case was rendered moot when he was released on parole in 1862.

    “A mere tu quoque about what Jeff Davis did or did not do is an illogical response.”

    It was not a tu quoque. Nations in life and death struggles will infringe civil liberties, and that is what both the Lincoln and Davis administrations did, and the Founding Fathers before them.

    “Three states, Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York, specifically allowed for the possibility of withdrawing from the Union in their ratifications of the constitution.”

    Correct, and such self-proclaimed rights by States have no constitutional weight. Madison addressed secession late in life, and here is what The Father of the Constitution said:

    “I return my thanks for the copy of your late very powerful Speech in the Senate of the United S. It crushes “nullification” and must hasten the abandonment of “Secession”. But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy.”

    “The constitution, being limited solely to enumerated powers, did not specifically forbid this revocation.”

    Actually the states under the Constitution are forbidden to enter into confederations or alliances. The provision is meaningless unless it is presumed that the Union is perpetual. Additionally, the States as States had no existence outside the Union which was created by the Declaration of Independence. Of course only the 13 original colonies and Texas had any form of existence at all outside of the Union. How the other States which were created by the Federal government had any pre-existing right to secede is something that no advocate of secession has ever been able to explain. The creation of the Union was an act of unanimity on the part of all the States. The dissolution of the Union would require at least an amendment to the Constitution to accomplish.

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Patton on Prayer

Thursday, December 18, AD 2014

 

 

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

 

The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill, Chief Chaplain of the Third Army.   Here is his article on the incident written in 1950.

The incident of the now famous Patton Prayer commenced with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the morning of December 8, 1944, when the Third Army Headquarters were located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France: “This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war.” My reply was that I know where to look for such a prayer, that I would locate, and report within the hour. As I hung up the telephone receiver, about eleven in the morning, I looked out on the steadily falling rain, “immoderate” I would call it — the same rain that had plagued Patton’s Army throughout the Moselle and Saar Campaigns from September until now, December 8. The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his immediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on a 5″ x 3″ filing card:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

I pondered the question, What use would General Patton make of the prayer? Surely not for private devotion. If he intended it for circulation to chaplains or others, with Christmas not far removed, it might he proper to type the Army Commander’s Christmas Greetings on the reverse side. This would please the recipient, and anything that pleased the men I knew would please him:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.

This done, I donned my heavy trench coat, crossed the quadrangle of the old French military barracks, and reported to General Patton. He read the prayer copy, returned it to me with a very casual directive, “Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one.” The size of the order amazed me; this was certainly doing something about the weather in a big way. But I said nothing but the usual, “Very well, Sir!” Recovering, I invited his attention to the reverse side containing the Christmas Greeting, with his name and rank typed. “Very good,” he said, with a smile of approval. “If the General would sign the card, it would add a personal touch that I am sure the men would like.” He took his place at his desk, signed the card, returned it to me and then Said: “Chaplain, sit down for a moment; I want to talk to you about this business of prayer.” He rubbed his face in his hands, was silent for a moment, then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As usual, he was dressed stunningly, and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window. The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility . Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line, to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance Came. What was coming now?

“Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army?” was his question. I parried: “Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men?” “By everybody,” he replied. To this I countered: “I am afraid to admit it, but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting, everyone prays, but now with this constant rain — when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen. Prayer out here is difficult. Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done.”

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Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

Sunday, December 14, AD 2014

(I published this last year, and I am going to publish it each year before Christmas.  It evokes sweet memories of Christmases past when my children were young.)

Francis Pharcellus Church was a newspaper man to his marrow.  As a young man he had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and with his brother William he founded the Army and Navy Journal which dedicated itself to reporting news about the military forces of the United States, along with historical pieces on US military history, and opinion pieces about innovations or reforms in the military.  It is still being published today.

After the War he served as lead editorial writer on his brother’s newspapers the New York Sun.  He died in 1906 at 67, leaving behind no children.  Although he lived a full life, he would be all but forgotten today except for one incident.

In 1897 Virginia O’Hanlon was upset.  She was eight years old and some of her friends had been telling her that there was no Santa Claus.  Her father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, suggested that she write to the Sun and see what that newspaper had to say.  Virginia followed her advice and duly wrote the letter.  Mr. Church wrote the reply to the letter which appeared on September 21, 1897 in the New York Sun.

DEAR EDITOR:

I am 8 years old.   Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.   Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’   Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON.

115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

 

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

 

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

 

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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The Messiah on Mott Street

Thursday, December 11, AD 2014

Every now and then, God remembers the tenements.

Buckner, The Messiah on Mott Street

 

 

In my early teen years I was a fan of Rod Serling’s anthology series Night Gallery.  Usually consisting of tales of  horror, on December 15, 1971 something different was broadcast for Christmas.  Edward G. Robinson gives a moving performance of the eternal Jewish longing for the Messiah, and how, whether we realize it or not, we are always in God’s hands.  The episode may be viewed here.

 

Who’s the Messiah? He’s the messenger from God. Any moment he will appear, looming big and black against the sky, striking down our enemies and lifting us up to health and wealth and Heavenly contentment… and fix our digestions, too. And supply me with a new set of teeth.

Abraham Goldman (Edward G. Robinson), The Messiah on Mott Street

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Linus, and Saint Luke, Say It All

Saturday, December 6, AD 2014

As an explanation of why we celebrate Christmas each year, the above video is superb and concise.

The words of Linus are of course taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

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6 Responses to Linus, and Saint Luke, Say It All

  • Thanks for the memories.

    I noticed the ABC logo on the clip. Then I pondered on the Hate Speech tool fashioned by the liberal maladjusted.
    Could Linus be threatened with hate speech? He could in this day and age.

    Sunday nights after dinner mom would break out the ice cream for her sons.
    We would watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom…then Walt Disney feature. The days of four channel’s on the 19″ color TV. Walt Disney was on the side of Light. The Dark side hadn’t conquered his studio yet. The old days.

  • This Christmas special is the best. The next best is the Grinch. Charlie Brown’s Christmas has the passage from St. Luke. Grinch has the Polish Christmas Carol and the Whos who celebrate Christmas without any presents.

    Both have great music, Charlie Brown’s Christmas has the unforgettable piano piece with the kids dancing and Grinch has Boris Karloff singing. Unbeatable.

    Next best is Snow Miser and Heat Miser. I have always loved those songs.

  • Notice how Linus was not worried about offending atheists, agnostics, Islamists, Hindus, or other non-believers? He merely explained what we celebrate without apology – LOVE IT!

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  • This show has been on since 1965. Of course, I was only three and did not start watching it until at least two years later. I am now 52 and have been watching it almost every year; I also have it on DVD. If I live to be 92 I will STILL be watching it.

    As I understand it, Charles Shultz had to fight “tooth and nail” to keep this scene in because even back then it was controversial.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 4, AD 2014

Santa Roosevelt 2

In the actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid downgrade.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1917 interview Ladies Home Journal-Among his ten reasons to go to church every Sunday

 

 

 

Colonel Roosevelt, he hated being called Teddy and preferred being called Colonel, loved Christmas.  Whenever he was at home he would always appear at the local school in his home town as Santa, to dispense gifts he bought to the local kids, a fact highlighted in his local paper after he died:

He was a village institution as the master of ceremonies over the Christmas tree in Christ Episcopal Church, and in the role of Santa Claus at the Cove Neck School, near Sagamore Hill, where all of his children learned the A B C’s. Last Christmas was the first time that Colonel Roosevelt had failed to take charge of these functions since he left the White House, with the exception of the Christmas of 1913, when he was on his way to South America. His son, Captain Archie, took his place last Christmas as the Santa Claus of the Cove Neck School.

Roosevelt was a religious man with a deep love of the Bible and a strong faith in Christ.  It therefore comes as a surprise to learn that Roosevelt initially did not want a Christmas tree in the White House after he became President.

Matt Archbold at National Catholic Register brings us this story about President Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree:

President Theodore Roosevelt, an avowed environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House during his presidency. The president was against real Christmas trees because he feared that Christmas trees would lead to deforestation. Mind you, at the time Christmas trees were very controversial with environmentalists. President William McKinley even reportedly received a letter in 1899 saying Christmas trees were “arboreal infanticide” and “un-American.”

Roosevelt’s action was intended to inspire Americans to just say no to Christmas trees. Clearly his bully pulpit didn’t have the effect he wanted, even on his own children.

In 1902, Roosevelt’s two youngest sons, Archie and Quentin, went outside and cut down a smallish tree right there on the White House grounds, snuck back into the White House, and hid it in a closet. The two boys decorated the tree in secret and even enlisted the help of an electrician on staff at the White House to help decorate it with lights. When Christmas morning came, Archie gathered his family outside the closet, turned on the switch, and opened the door to reveal the tree decorated with gifts for the entire family.

Roosevelt acknowledged the event in a letter in which he wrote:

Yesterday Archie got among his presents a small rifle from me and a pair of riding boots from his mother. He won’t be able to use the rifle until next summer, but he has gone off very happy in the riding boots for a ride on the calico pony Algonquin, the one you rode the other day. Yesterday morning at a quarter of seven all the children were up and dressed and began to hammer at the door of their mother’s and my room, in which their six stockings, all bulging out with queer angles and rotundities, were hanging from the fireplace. So their mother and I got up, shut the window, lit the fire (taking down the stockings of course), put on our wrappers and prepared to admit the children. But first there was a surprise for me, also for their good mother, for Archie had a little birthday tree of his own which he had rigged up with the help of one of the carpenters in a big closet; and we all had to look at the tree and each of us got a present off of it. There was also one present each for Jack the dog, Tom Quartz the kitten, and Algonquin the pony, whom Archie would no more think of neglecting that I would neglect his brothers and sisters. Then all the children came into our bed and there they opened their stockings.

According to the website White House Christmas Cards Teddy was “amused by his boys’ ingenuity” but took him to see his friend and environmental advisor, Gifford Pinchot, to explain to horrors of chopping down Christmas trees. But a funny thing happened.

To his surprise, Pinchot went into a lengthy explanation regarding how sometimes, cutting down some larger trees was in the best interests of forests, as it allowed a larger number of smaller young trees to receive the sunlight they need to flourish. While there is no public record of any other Christmas tree being displayed in the White House during Roosevelt’s presidency, a number of environmental acts and reforestation laws had been passed by the end of his term, and the public controversy over the use of live trees for decorative and traditional use had subsided for the time being.

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2 Responses to Theodore Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree

  • The most popular Xmas trees are Spruce, because of their scent (although they do shed their needles faster than pine)
    Pinchot is right; they are fast-growing and plantations need constant thinning. In Scotland, they are often grown as wind-breaks along the headlands of fields.

  • “In the actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs,(Here, read ‘conscience’) is a community on the rapid downgrade.”

Keeping Wounded Vets Safe From Christmas Cards

Monday, December 30, AD 2013

Obama Deity

 

 

The madness and silliness that is the Obama administration continues apace.  Father Z gives us the details:

From FNC (where there is also video):

Boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., spent most of last Friday making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas. Fourth-grader Gracie Brown was especially proud of her card, hoping it would “make their day because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with.” “I’d like them to know they’ve not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you,” Gracie told Gracie’s card read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.” It also included an American flag. But the bedridden veterans at the VA hospital will never get to see Gracie’s card. Nor will they see the cards made by 51 other students. [Get this…] That’s because the Christmas cards violated VA policy. “It really didn’t occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards,” said Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the academy. [Nor would most normal people think that children’s cards for Christmas were double-plus-ungood in the eyes of the Obama Administration.] She’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations. On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. [I’ll be the vets would have liked that.] Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem. “I told him my students made cards, we’d like to bring them down for the veterans,” Chapman told the television station. “And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.’[VA: GOD NOT ALLOWED.] A VA official quoted the policy which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook: “In order to be respectful of our veterans’ religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.” Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA.” “Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting,” Sasser told me. “Do the Grinches in the administration of the VA really believe our bravest warriors need protection from the heartfelt well wishes of small children saying Merry Christmas?” [No, its the Obama mandarins who cannot bear that any views smacking of religion be permitted in the public square.  This is all of a piece.] Andrea Brown, Gracie’s mom, was dumbfounded by the news. “This wasn’t the country I grew up in, when you couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you couldn’t say ‘God bless you’ or reference any scripture,” she told MyFoxDFW.com. She told the television station the boys and girls were heartbroken that the military personnel would not be able to receive their cards. “They couldn’t believe the people that these people they wanted to honor weren’t going to get the chance to see what they had done,” she said. The cards will not be thrown away — they are being shipped to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio and to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana. Sasser said at some point, “does the VA have no shame?” “Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ wouldn’t even ban little children from wishing our veterans Merry Christmas,” Sasser said.  [But this is Mr. Obama’s VA.]

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35 Responses to Keeping Wounded Vets Safe From Christmas Cards

  • How sad for the veterans.
    How difficult would it be to ask the patients if they would like a card? Also the administration should know what religion to which a patient adheres, because it is on forms in the medical record.

  • Christmas is a National Holiday (paid holiday for federal workers) so it should not be illegal to wish someone a Merry National Holiday. I hope these VA workers realize that they just made lifelong Republicans or Liberatians out of these school kids.

  • This is awful. But I don’t know if I’d blame Obama for this. Not sure how much influence he had over this stupid policy.

  • You make perfect sense Cam.

  • Double whammy.
    The BO administration announced last week a major cut in retirement benefis for Vets. And the hits just keep on coming.

  • The hatred that this administration has for Christianity can never be underestimated. I can certainly understand that.

    I think it’s more cloddishness and cold contempt. And it is less ‘this Administration’ than the permanent government and the social nexus out of which the personnel of Democratic administrations are drawn.

  • The Republicans may be hypocrites, but the Democrats are as evil today as they were when they supported slavery in the 19th century.

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  • It’s amazing that the country could change so drastically in a person’s lifetime!

  • Jon.
    I agree.
    The MSM acts as a united propaganda mechanism which sold the bill of goods to a hungry “bail me out too” populace.
    This firestorm reminds me of what the Brits called the “Blitz.”
    Interestingly Obama chose a site in Germany that Hitler had used to “enlighten the masses.”
    I will verify the statement when I get a moment. On my way home at this time. (going from memory here.)

  • The brainwashing paid off. This is where the country is at if we are to believe the polls on social issues. It is no longer a matter of an elitist agenda being enforced. With the last generation we now represent those very ideas as a country.

  • Actually Obama has the lowest popularity, according to the latest polls, at the end of his fifth year than any President since Nixon, a majority of the people favor criminalizing abortion after the first trimester and in most polls a majority still oppose gay marriage. The country has not changed as much as the left hopes and conservatives fear. The ObamaCare debacle gives conservatives an excellent shot of winning strongly in 2014. On the state level conservatives have never been stronger.

  • The pollsters and manipulator a are doing their best to make us feel we are the minority and the battle is over. Looks like a vast army arrayed against us. But we are just the kind of people who love those underdog, little train that could, Lepanto stories.
    I know there are competing poll results and perhaps I am cushioned from harsh reality because of where I live but I am hopeful.
    It is scary though because I hear what grand kids are coming home from school with, being made worse by common core. Kids are becoming true believers of the secular narrative

  • How many branches of the United States government are there? Three–Judicial, Legislative and Executive. This government is not solely run by President Barack Obama. There is a website http://www.army.mil/chaplaincorps/ that explains the blending of religion and the military. Religion and military…..how opposite is that? There are over 140 different religions represented in the US military. That probably doesn’t include atheists and free thinkers. The appropriate person at the school should have consulted with the VA prior to preparing the cards. What’s more important…being able to write “Merry Christmas” or write “Thank You for Your Service”? I opt for the latter!

  • All soldiers and officers take their oath MGL “so help me God”. The national motto is “In God We Trust”. The Declaration of Independence tells us that our rights that the military exists to protect come from God. Lincoln hoped that this nation, under God, would have a new birth of freedom. The Pledge of Allegiance states that we are one nation under God. Obama and his squalid band of atheists are seeking to deny our heritage and our history, and this silliness demonstrates the lengths to which they will go denying wounded vets something as simple as a Christmas card from a kid if it mentions, shock!, God. May God forgive Obama and his fellow blind fools and their attempt to erase God from the public square in this nation.

  • I guess it’s hard to gauge the country’s opinions and beliefs. It does seem like the majority supports things like aboriton and “gay marriage,” but admittedly it can be a skewed picture. I do know the last generation is significantly more impressed by liberal social notions than generations before it.

  • From Father Z’s combox:

    MAJ Tony says:

    30 December 2013 at 7:50 am

    Apparently, this isn’t the first time this issue has come up. In fact, it appears to have already been made a “Federal case.” Here’s the current American Legion Commander, Dan Dellinger being quoted on the subject.

    “First of all, VA’s decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that mention Christmas is ludicrous,” Dellinger said today after Texas teacher Susan Chapman was told Monday that her students’ cards would not be delivered to veterans. “Second of all, VA has been down this road before, and recently. VA has been warned through a federal court decree to stop denying freedom of religious expression at its facilities. It’s pretty obvious the Dallas VA did not get that memo.” http://www.legion.org/news/218127/va-christmas-card-ban-defies-law

  • I daresay these hospitalized heroes have a lot more class than the VA administration. They probably would love to receive cards from the kids. If the card really made them feel uncomfortable, they would pass the card to someone else after the kids left. I doubt seriously that many cards would be passed off.

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  • “Religion and military…..how opposite

    There has always been a strong connection between the military and religion if not fighting the “good fight” the military would just be thuggery.

  • Obama didn’t have direct authority over this policy or tha application of this policy in this local VA but there are so many people who admire him, who want to identify with his ideas, making themselves apparatchiks. He set the tone for the IRS, dept of education, dept of agriculture, justice dept. and on and on. He sets the tone as the military is winnowed.

  • “Religion and military…..how opposite is that?” Self defense. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Just War Theory. St. Michael the Archangel, St. Joan of Arc…

  • “How sad for the veterans. How difficult would it be to ask the patients if they would like a card?’
    The policy violates the free will of every one involved, the teacher, the children and the vets, but mostly the taxpayers who support the vets.

  • ““First of all, VA’s decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that mention Christmas is ludicrous,””
    “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” our First Constitutional Amendment about Freedom of Religion. These vets being deprived of the mail and cards ought to sue for First Amendment infringement. No peaceable assembly here.

  • Whether or not Obumbler authorized this action is irrelevant. Somebody who thinks like Obumbler did make this decision.

    Obumbler need not worry much about opinion polls. He has his White House bedroom, Air Force One and free vacations whenever he chooses for another three years. Those who support him enthusiastically will never abandon him, if only because they hate the Republican Party with a white hot fury.

    This nation elected him twice and we as a nation deserve every bit of misery we have for electing him.

  • “This nation elected him twice and we as a nation deserve every bit of misery we have for electing him.”
    The worst is yet to come through death panels, rationing of healthcare and the subverting of First Amendment civil rights. America is the only nation on the face of the earth with a constitution that requires the acknowledgement of free will of the individual substance of a rational nature, the human being, from the beginning of life through natural death, suicide being the same violation of the right to life as homicide. The soul of man cannot be denied.

  • Alternatively, the policy may be anti-religious in effect but not intent. Might it be a better example of “zero tolerance?” More often these days we see policies that shield managers and administrators from having to make decisions. This tendency plays itself out most frequently in school policy but is becoming common in the employment context too. Perhaps we are seeing the stupidity of shielding the VA from having to determine appropriateness by instituting a blanket policy.

  • Everybody blames President Obama for these kinds of incidents and while it is true that he, ultimately, is responsible for what happens on his watch, I can’t help wondering about his many advisors. One would think that SOMEONE in his administration would take him aside and say, “Mr. President, do you really think it is wise to prohibit school children who are planning to visit a VA facility from distributing Christmas cards to the veterans living there?” Apparently there is no one and equally apparent is the fact that we have the most anti religious presidency in the history of our country and supported by a judiciary that has repeatedly trampled on the Constitution! I truly fear for our country.

  • “In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.”
    Fox News sheeple get overly excited about the dumbest things. You want this to be true so you can hate President Obama even more. Such great christians.

  • “Fox News sheeple get overly excited about the dumbest things. You want this to be true so you can hate President Obama even more. Such great christians.”

    Oh, unsound mind and body, the Obama administration is so frightened of Christianity that wounded vets must not be exposed to it, even by kids handing them Christmas cards. You also do not read very carefully, otherwise you would have come across the comment that the VA is already under a consent decree to stop doing this type of unconstitutional discrimination against religious speech:
    http://www.legion.org/news/218127/va-christmas-card-ban-defies-law

    http://www.libertyinstitute.org/document.doc?id=123

    Stop mindlessly parroting leftist talking points and start using the brains God gave you.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve done my share of reading about the past two world wars and I’ve yet to come across even one card falling in this catagory featuring any reference to Kaiser, Fuhrer, Duce or Empeoror. And I’m sure nobody working within the Obama Admin would tolerate this abuse. I’m not going to deny the existence of some pro-Obama clique demonstrating its over-exuberance thinking they were doing their hero some favors. Besides, whoever is really behind this nonsense, has a horrible notion of anything artistic and did his hero no justice either. Let them deal with their own embarrassment so we can focus on applying practical measures to boost our wounded servicemen and women’s morale and chances of starting new lives.

  • “And I’m sure nobody working within the Obama Admin would tolerate this abuse.” The Obama Admin. prohibited the Catholic Mass on military bases during the government shutdown.

  • Bears repeating:
    “And I’m sure nobody working within the Obama Admin would tolerate this abuse.” The Obama Admin. prohibited the Catholic Mass on military bases during the government shutdown.

  • Anzlyne.

    AMEN!

  • I’m surprised and not a bit disappointed that no has commented on the Obama graphic at the head of this article. I find it clever, ugly and blasphemous. Probably the President would be delighted to have it framed in his office.
    As for the story – I’m not surprised, it fits the mo(u)ld of this administration!

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Saturday, December 28, AD 2013

Something for a Christmas weekend.   Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Written by Charles Wesley in 1739, the hymn we enjoy today developed and changed over a century with input from many hands.  No hymn I think better exemplifies the sheer joy that the coming of Christ should awake in the hearts of all Christians.

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Larry’s First Christmas in Heaven

Wednesday, December 25, AD 2013

Larry McClarey

But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9

I am choking back tears as I post this.  Some very kind anonymous person left a package on our porch that had a framed copy of a poem in it:

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below

With tiny lights like Heaven’s stars reflecting the snow.

The sight is so spectacular- please wipe away the tear

For I’m spending Christmas with Jesus this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear

But the sound of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here

I have no words to tell you the joys their voices bring

For it’s beyond description to hear the angels sing

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart

But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.

So be happy for me dear ones you know I hold you dear

And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift for my heavenly home above,

I sent you each a memory of my undying love.

After all love is a gift more precious than pure gold. I

t was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other as my Father said to do.

For I can’t count the blessing of love he has for each of you.

So have a merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.

Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

 The poem was written by Wanda Bencke.  Her 13 year old  daughter Lysandra Kay Bencke had cerebral palsy.  She had a seizure and went into a coma on Christmas Day, 1997, and died five days later.  During those awful five days her mother wrote the poem.

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37 Responses to Larry’s First Christmas in Heaven

  • You are right.
    They are where we wish them to be.
    What a first Christmas for them.
    What Joy.
    Please know their Joy is what they want for you.
    Not sorrow Donald, but complete JOY.
    My Dad and your cherished son know more than we could ever know in 160 years of formal education and experience…they know the embrace…and they want us to know it too.
    Bless you dear soul.
    Peace and Merry Christmas.

  • Thank you.
    The ability to glimpse into the most profound insights and commentary from an educated and illuminated source is a humbling and fascinating experience for me.
    I know I try the patience of your loyal contributors but it is not in contempt. The TAC is a chance for me to ponder the depth of experience and knowledge that I would otherwise never gain insight to.
    So pleasr accept my thanks and forgive me of my poor grammar.
    I do hope that my perspectives can add in some small way to the betterment of the whole. Hope, not assuming that it is.

  • It is good to be reminded that the church, militant and triumphant, are one in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have before us a ‘great cloud of witnesses.’ Merry Christmas, Donald!

  • Bless you dear soul. Peace and Merry Christmas…Philip

  • Mary…thanks. Your one of many that I mentioned in my earlier post…one that swims in the deep end. 🙂

  • Epistula ad Romanos 8:38-39

    Certus sum enim quia neque mors neque vita neque angeli neque principatus neque instantia neque futura neque virtutes neque altitudo neque profundum neque alia quaelibet creatura poterit nos separare a caritate Dei, quae est in Christo Iesu Domino nostro.

    For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    —–

    It is the hope of salvation, Donald, that one day you will be enjoying that Beatific Vision with your son.

  • “It is the hope of salvation, Donald, that one day you will be enjoying that Beatific Vision with your son.”

    That is my chief remaining desire Paul.

  • Donald, in your love for your own beloved son, Larry, we now have a “hint” of the Father’s love for His only-begotten, Beloved Son, and through that love, His love for each of us.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers

  • Thank you Botolph. That is greatly appreciated.

  • Donald,
    Don’t choke back the tears, they are the safety valve to the heart.
    You and those dear to you are remembered in prayer by many.

    Pingback ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwBIUC0deLE
    http://www.tcfatlanta.org/HolidayPoems.html#Holidays%20in
    Peace.

  • Donald, I share your sadness and your joy. Peace be with you. ~Bill

  • “Don’t choke back the tears, they are the safety valve to the heart.
    You and those dear to you are remembered in prayer by many.”

    Sound advice Maureen. I thank you for that and for your prayers.

  • “Donald, I share your sadness and your joy. Peace be with you. ~Bill”

    Thank you Bill.

  • Thank you for posting this poem. God bless you and your family.

  • Thank you DJ. God bless you and your family.

  • Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not here; I did not die. (Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932)

    My prayers have been offered for you and your family.

  • Good Heavens, Donald. I have been absent from this blog for quite a while and did not know about Larry’s passing. My deepest condolences.

    I shall say a prayer for Larry and your family tonight.

  • “I shall say a prayer for Larry and your family tonight.”
    Bless you Donna!

  • Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. Larry and your family remain in my prayers. A blessed Christmas to you all — because Christmas isn’t over yet.

  • Quite right Elaine, and thank you.

  • Thank you for posting the beautiful poem and the comments. Very uplifting and needed as we remember deceased loved ones also at this Season.
    At our Christmas Dinner table we had two guests who each had lost a child, one as a teen and the other as a young adult. The mother who lost her teenage daughter had earlier confided in me that her goal in life was to be reunited with her daughter in heaven. She was concerned because a priest’s description of heaven said that it would not be like that. As a lay person I had no answer for her: however, I will print out Wanda’s Bencke’s poem for my friends.
    “Don’t choke back the tears, they are the safety valve to the heart.” – I think many a cardiologist would agree.
    To the McClarey family and all the readers of this blog, my prayers for joy and peace for the Christmas Octave.

  • “She was concerned because a priest’s description of heaven said that it would not be like that.”
    The priest is an idiot. The idea that we would not be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven strikes me as a very peculiar notion of Heaven indeed. Our God who became part of a human family would not create such a joyless Heaven.

    Thank you for your very kind prayers CAM. I pray that you and your family, and your guests who lost kids, may have a joyous year in 2014.

  • CAM.
    #1821 in the C.C.C. ; We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will.

    The Church Triumphant is made up of “family.”

    On this feast of the Holy Family…take heart brother Cam and proclaim with confidence…The banquet table will be surrounded with cherished holy souls that loved and served the Lord.

    Peace be to you and yours.

  • Did not Jesus himself say to the good thief; Amen I say to you, this day you shall be with me in Paradise.(?)
    🙂

  • “Not be like that”?????? Buy that priest a copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia. To wit:
    “The communion of saints is the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head, and in a constant interchange of supernatural offices. The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption
    (1 Corinthians 1:2”
    For me, there is no question but that we shall share Heaven with our loved ones and all the saints. The only real question is whether there will be at least beer in Purgatory. 😉

  • Many a holy monk was “inspired” to make a tasty concoction.
    Beer in purgatory???
    Great Wine in heaven…yes…that we can be sure of. Is.25 6-10 I believe. Choice wines on his Holy Mtn.

  • “The only real question is whether there will be at least beer in Purgatory.”

    Will Walsh.
    I share your sentiment, being a beer conoisseur from way back. The problem is, that when it gets poured into the glass, the glass will have no bottom, so it will never fill – and even if it does, it will taste like horse urine.

    Sorry buddy, you’ll have to wait to get to heaven to enjoy the perfect nectar of the hop. 🙂

  • “The banquet table will be surrounded with cherished holy souls who loved and served the Lord.” When Jesus becomes present on the altar during every Mass, there too, will be your son, Larry, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  • I feel Larry’s presence occasionally at Mass. He would always sit, kneel and stand by me at Mass in life, and I suspect he is often still doing so in death.

  • “I feel Larry’s presence occasionally at Mass. He would always sit, kneel and stand by me at Mass in life, and I suspect he is often still doing so in death.”
    Larry loves you.

  • To Philip, William Walsh, Don and others: Thank you for the references and comments. Though my friend speaks fluent “American”, her first language is a European one. Seeing the words in print will giver her peace of mind.

  • CAM.
    Your welcome 🙂

  • Cam,
    Pleased are we to be instruments of His peace, unawares. 🙂
    Bill

One Solitary Life

Wednesday, December 25, AD 2013

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

  Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that one solitary life

From One Solitary Life

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H. G. Wells

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4 Responses to One Solitary Life