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Continuing to add to the national debt is the real inhumanity of Trump's budget plan, Finley writes
Australia normally doesn't need an excuse to join in wars with the Americans. But North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has just given us the best one there is: survival. Self defence is the most basic sovereign obligation a nation has.
Officials at the University of California at Berkeley canceled conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s April 27 event on Tuesday, citing security concerns and Coulter’s safety.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said police have “very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to” Coulter, according to an Associated Press report.
Now, students at the notoriously left-leaning college are fighting back. In a letter sent Friday, a lawyer representing the UC Berkeley College Republicans, Harmeet Dhillon, said the students she represents are planning to sue the university if it continues to refuse to let Coulter speak. According to the letter, the College Republicans are arguing UC Berkeley’s rejection of the Coulter event is a violation of the young Republicans’ First Amendment rights.
“It is a sad day indeed when the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, is morphing before our eyes into the cemetery of free speech on college campuses,” the letter said, according to a report by the Washington Examiner.
Officials at the college told Coulter they would be willing to reschedule the event to May 2, but Coulter rejected the offer, citing other obligations. On Thursday, Coulter attacked UC Berkeley on Twitter for picking the May 2 date, because the university has no courses scheduled for that week; students will be studying for their final exams.
“In addition to facts: We’ve already spent $ for 4/27 Berkeley spc & I can’t do May 2 …THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!” Coulter wrote.
In addition to facts: We’ve already spent $ for 4/27 Berkeley spc & I can’t do May 2…THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 21, 2017
In February, 150 masked rioters caused damage to property totaling $100,000 during their protest of a scheduled event that featured controversial former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Only one person was arrested by police.
(3:10) Seems to be a done deal. The reactions are rolling in from around Europe and almost nobody in the establishment community is happy… particularly inside of France. So far the French Foreign Minister has called on everyone to vote for Macron so they can stop Marine Le Pen. Fillon has conceded defeat and is also throwing his support behind Macron.
Meanwhile, at Le Pen’s victory party, people are over the moon and don’t seem to think that the tides are against them.
Rapturous applause and wild cheering broke out as Marie Le Pen fans at her northern redoubt of Henin-Beaumont when they learned she had made it through to the second round of the presidential election.
“She’s the only one who has the solutions to change France,” said one young supporter who gave her name as Amélie.
The crowd waved French tricolour flags and banners saying “Marine Présidente” and sang the national anthem and then chanted “On a gagné!” (We’ve won!).
I still say Le Pen has a mile of rough road ahead of her. Plenty of people didn’t like Macron, but if they have to hold their noses and pick one of these two, the socialist tendencies in France run deep. And that’s what Macron is promising to deliver, only a bit heavier on the socialism than the current administration.
But, as I noted in an earlier update, France has problems. Much of that focuses on terrorism and the shaky economic condition of the EU. Le Pen will force Macron to answer for the status quo and he’s probably not going to have any new answers that will satisfy the disaffected. Will that be enough to put Le Pen in office? Color me skeptical, but in our current era of geopolitical unrest you can’t rule anything out.
(2:20) Interesting bit of analysis on the type of attacks which will be coming Macron’s way from Le Pen.
Mujtaba Rahman, head of Europe practice at the Eurasia Group risk consultancy, said that he now expects a “very competitive” race between Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen.
Speaking to The Telegraph he said: “Although there is relief that at least one mainstream candidate has made it into the runoff, Le Pen will now turn the second round into a referendum on the status quo.
“Macron will be forced to defend immigration, the EU and openness, and these are all things French voters have become more suspicious of in recent years. We now expect a very competitive race over the next two weeks.”
That’s about right. Much like a primary in the United States, Le Pen ran the race she had to run to get to a two person showdown. Now she’ll demand Macron defend everything that French voters have been ticked off about. Still an uphill climb for Le Pen in some regards, but I think it’s going to get lively.
(2:10) Well, that was fast. The Telegraph is saying it’s pretty much a lock for Macron in first and Le Pen in second.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) April 23, 2017
That’s still awfully close, though, so let’s wait until we get a larger percentage of the vote counted before closing this down.
Original article follows:
Right around 2 pm eastern today (when this goes live) the polls will be closing in France and we’ll finally have part of the answer to the big questions over the direction France will take from here. (Some stations closed a bit earlier and the counting actually began around 1:30.) It may well have significant ramifications for the entire EU and the future of “globalism” in Europe. The French use paper ballots and they’re not doing official exit polls this year, so the call will be based on partial counts. Of course, if either of the top two slots turns out to be a real nail biter, we could be waiting well into the evening. We’ll update this thread at the top as we learn more.
One thing we do know to a virtual certainty is that we won’t know who the next president will be tonight. In order to avoid a runoff in June, one of the candidates would need to get a majority of the vote today. Even if the polls were literally off by 100% for any of these candidates they would still come up short.
For what it’s worth, the Telegraph has some live updates going on already and they are claiming to have early projections. This is all based on one media outlet from Belgium which supposedly has the early exit polls. They’re saying that Emmanuel Macron has a “slight” lead with the next three candidates “neck and neck” behind him, which is basically useless information at this point. But if that information holds they’ve got Macron leading Le Pen by just over one percent, meaning they would go into the final round.
With only an hour to go until the results of the French Presidential first round are declared, the initial forecasting and some private polling indicators suggest that the run-off will, as the polls predicted, be between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
So will the French make a hard turn to the right with Marine Le Pen and the National Front? Will they go full bore communist with Jean-Luc Mélenchon? Macron would also be a further left option than the French have embraced for a while. Or perhaps they will go with the safety of what’s more familiar to them and put Francois Fillon over the top. Turnout is reported to be slightly higher than normal today, but nothing really outrageous. Fears that a lot of people might choose to sit out the election haven’t materialized, but if two of the more “outside” candidates go to the runoff those concerns will no doubt be repeated yet again over the next couple of months.
The post French election results, round one. It’s Macron and Le Pen appeared first on Hot Air.
Warren: Trump Won Partially Because Of An ‘Ugly Stew of Racism’... It's In My Book That Shows My Ignorance Of American Society
Dual studies released on Monday found a staggering number of homeless children in the United States are victims of human trafficking.
According to the reports—which were conducted by The Field Center for Children’s Policy, the University of Pennsylvania and the Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola University (New Orleans)—nearly 20 percent of the 911 homeless youth interviewed claimed to be victims of human trafficking. Fifteen percent claimed to have been trafficked for sex, and 7.4 percent said they were trafficked for labor.
Of the 911 respondents, who were interviewed in 13 cities across the country between February 2014 and March 2017, 19 percent identified themselves as LGBTQ, and an astounding 33.8 percent of the respondents claiming to have been victims of sex trafficking said they were LGBTQ.
The researchers at Loyola University found in 81 percent of the labor-trafficking cases, the youth involved were forced to deal drugs.
“Too many youth are desperate and alone on the streets. Homelessness makes them vulnerable to traffickers,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan.
According to a press release promoting the studies, “Covenant House operates the largest network of residences and community service centers for homeless youth across the Americas, reaching more than 46,000 youth every year in 30 cities across six countries.”
“We found that youth were seeking what we all seek—shelter, work, security—and that trafficker preyed on those very needs,” said the Modern Slavery Research Project’s Laura Murphy. “When we asked youth what they needed to avoid or escape these situations of forced labor and radical exploitation, they often pointed to the very resources that homeless shelters can and do provide them. What we need is more resources to support those programs and additional training that help service providers identify and assist those who are most at risk.”
According to The Global Slavery Index, there were an estimated 45.8 million people in some form of modern slavery in 2016. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center reported more than 3,500 cases of sex trafficking in the United States in 2016.
“We don’t have to live in a world where desperate kids are bought and sold,” Ryan said. “If we want to reduce the number of youth who are trafficked, we have to end youth homelessness. We can, we must, and we should.”
Writer for liberal magazine tears into Chelsea Clinton in hilarious column: ‘You’re a public hazard’
A writer for liberal magazine Vanity Fair tore into Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, in a recent column lamenting over the mainstream media’s insistence of keeping the former first daughter in the spotlight following her mother’s second presidential heartbreak.
The column comes as countless media outlets continue to push Clinton stories, profiles and photoshoots. Variety magazine even put Clinton on the cover of a recent issue of their publication, while others ask Clinton again and again if she is going to run for political office.
The column, published Friday, is titled, “Please, God, Stop Chelsea Clinton From Whatever She Is Doing.”
“Amid investigations into Russian election interference, perhaps we ought to consider whether the Kremlin, to hurt Democrats, helped put Chelsea Clinton on the cover of Variety. Or maybe superstition explains it. Like tribesmen laying out a sacrifice to placate King Kong, news outlets continue to make offerings to the Clinton gods,” Vanity Fair’s T.A. Franks wrote in the column.
“One wishes to calm these publications,” he added. “Nevertheless, they’ve persisted. At great cost: increased Chelsea exposure is tied closely to political despair and, in especially intense cases, the bulk purchasing of MAGA hats.”
Franks went on to describe Clinton as an intellectual lightweight who’s as bland as oatmeal.
“What comes across with Chelsea, for lack of a gentler word, is self-regard of an unusual intensity. And the effect is stronger on paper. Unkind as it is to say, reading anything by Chelsea Clinton—tweets, interviews, books—is best compared to taking in spoonfuls of plain oatmeal that, periodically, conceal a toenail clipping,” he wrote, noting this gem from Clinton’s 2015 children’s book “It’s Your World.”
Hold up. Chelsea Clinton wrote this in one of her books. pic.twitter.com/xAmZ4WfjCF
— RBe (@RBPundit) April 21, 2017
“At first glance, of course, Chelsea seems to be boasting that at age five she was interpreting the news with the maturity of an adult. But we should consider whether it’s instead a confession that as an adult she still interprets the news with the maturity of—well, let’s just submit that perhaps she thinks what other people tell her to think. Which brings us to Chelsea’s Twitter feed,” Franks said of Clinton’s supposed letter to Reagan.
Franks continued by ripping Clinton for her “blue state opinion” tweets, which she delves out on a daily basis to her 1.6 million Twitter followers, who Franks said have a cult-like obsession with the younger Clinton.
To find fault with the former First Daughter is to invite the wrath of thousands. Love of Chelsea correlates closely with love of Hillary, toward whom her fans have long felt an odd protectiveness, as if she were a stroke survivor regaining the power of speech rather than one of the most influential people in the world. That goes even more for Chelsea, who is often treated less like an independent 37-year-old multi-millionaire and more like the 12-year-old who still deserves to be left alone.
“On the other hand, if you’re posing for magazine covers, granting interviews, doing book tours, placing your name on your parents’ multi-million-dollar foundation, and tweeting out daily to 1.6 million people, then—guess what—you’re a public figure. And if you’ve openly entertained the possibility of running for office if “it was something I felt called to do,” then assurances to the contrary aren’t quite good enough,” Franks added. “You’re a public hazard.”
The magazine politics writer concludes by noting that political dynasties as of late haven’t worked out well, pointing to Jeb Bush, son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother to former President George W. Bush, losing in last year’s Republican presidential primary. He also pointed to Hillary Clinton losing in last year’s presidential election to then-Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“God has decreed that American political dynasties decline sharply in suitability for office with each iteration. Call it the George H.W.-George W.-Jeb rule. Quit after the first iteration. Don’t trot out the second one. And, for the love of God, don’t trot out the third,” Franks explained. “Forgetting that rule harmed the Democratic Party in 2016 and blew up the Republican Party entirely.”
Noting that the Democratic Party has now found some cohesiveness with their anti-Trump sentiment, Franks said that “a Jeb-style destruction” is unlikely for the Democratic Party with one caveat: “But never say never. If anyone could make it happen, Chelsea could,” Franks declared.
A Democratic Party congressman told an 11-year-old girl at a town hall meeting President Donald Trump is more dangerous than terrorists.
At a recent town hall meeting, left-wing Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) spent most of the night appeasing his liberal audience by taking jabs at Republicans and Trump, but his answer to the final question of the night, offered by 11-year-old Eden, has many Trump supporters fuming.
Eden’s question, which was read by a member of DeSaulnier’s staff, asked the congressman about the terrible things she’s heard about Trump.
“My name is Eden, and I’m 11 years old. My mom is worried about my future with President Trump,” read the question, according to a report by the East Bay Times. “On election night, my mom cried. Kids at my school are worrying about being deported. I’ve read and heard awful things about him. Should I be worried about my future? As a kid, what can I do about it?”
“From the mouths of babes,” DeSaulnier replied. “I think you should be concerned. This is dangerous stuff. I’ve said a few times: The most dangerous person in America isn’t a terrorist, it’s the person who’s president of the United States. So, Eden, you’ve got to read, you have to be thoughtful, and you have to be engaged.”
The East Bay Times also reported DeSaulnier said “something similar happened” the previous night. DeSaulnier referred to his own answer as “a little out of body for me. I sort of responded to the way people were responding to me.”
DeSaulnier frequently criticizes Trump. On Wednesday, he attacked Trump for the deportation of a “dreamer.”
“DESPICABLE: A DREAMer, who has called the US home since age 9, was deported despite @POTUS’s promise our students shouldn’t worry,” wrote DeSaulnier on Twitter.
DESPICABLE: A DREAMer, who has called the US home since age 9, was deported despite @POTUS’s promise our students shouldn’t worry.
— Mark DeSaulnier (@RepDeSaulnier) April 19, 2017
(H/T: Fox News Insider)
It feels as if a week doesn’t go by without North Korea’s diminutive dictator, Kim Jong-un, threatening to nuke somebody… usually the United States. In fact, it happens so often that it’s barely worth reporting on it any longer. But following the recent productive meetings between Australian leaders and Vice President Pence, the chubby autocrat has decided to expand the exclusive club of North Korean nuclear targets to include the Land Down Under. (NBC News)
North Korea has launched into a war of words against Australia over the country’s alliance with the U.S., warning the country is within striking range of a nuclear weapon.
A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry accused Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of spouting “a string of rubbish against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)” over the country’s missile testing, adding “Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the U.S. line.”…
“If Australia persists in following the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the U.S. master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK. The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the U.S.”
To her credit, Aussie Foreign Minister Julie Bishop took the usual, reasoned approach of responding by saying that North Korea would do better figuring out a way to feed their starving population than figuring out ways to start a nuclear war. But the incident is yet another reminder of how North Korea seems to be wielding a lot more bluster than actual threat, at least for the time being. And at this point, what’s the benefit of continuing to entertain all of these childish rants?
Yes, it should be a serious matter when one national leader threatens another one in this fashion. But let’s face it… as I said above, he’s always threatening somebody. Just this weekend Kim said he might sink one of our aircraft carriers. That’s a very serious charge as well, but does anyone actually think he’s going to do it?
It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that Kim Jong-un is “crazy.” And I’m not discounting the danger of having a crazy person in control of some nukes. But is he actually crazy enough to not be aware of (or not care about) the reality of what would happen if he made good on any of these threats? If Kim lights off a single nuke anywhere not even his long standing relationship with China is going to save him. North Korea will be obliterated. Yes, he’ll be able to unleash some awful forces for a short time and the most likely result is that Seoul will be devastated and we’ll have a bloody battle on our hands at the DMZ. But before very long at all, Kim’s military capabilities and his government would be completely shattered and expended and the Korean peninsula would be a wasteland.
Similarly, if North Korea attacks our carrier task force, we’re going to be at war. And in that event far more of the world will be on our side than will be against us. I seriously doubt even China would have Kim’s back at that point given all they have to lose in terms of economic ties with the United States. Either way, the final outcome for Kim Jong-un is obliteration.
So I would ask again, how worried are we that he would really pull the trigger? This is almost certainly all bluster to keep his people on alert against the west and supporting him in the face of the “common enemy.” That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue international efforts to force North Korea into giving up their weapons program, but what Kim seems to crave more than anything else is attention. It’s getting to the point where I’d rather see other world leaders responding to these threats (if they bother to do so at all) with some dismissive remark about the petulant little fat dictator, indicating that we’re all bored with his rantings and including a reminder that if he’s actually stupid enough to attack anyone he will be utterly destroyed.
Kim Jong-un might enjoy less support at home if he didn’t constantly have these propaganda battles to display for his people. And without that common enemy, North Korea’s citizens might have more space to consider just how bad off they are. How many of his people are aware that their Dear Leader lives in a fabulous palace, replete with luxury and five star cuisine while shocking numbers of his own people are literally starving to death? (Apparently Dennis Rodman was a guest there and can tell you all about it.) Do most o them even know about Kim’s concentration camps and how many of their fellow citizens are dying there every day?
In the end it remains desirable to see Kim Jong-un removed. But the best option along those lines would be for his own people to take care of the job. I’m not sure what we’d get in terms of a replacement if there was a revolution in North Korea but it could hardly be much worse than what we’ve got now.
The post Now Kim Jong-un is threatening Australia with nuclear hellfire appeared first on Hot Air.
On Saturday evening’s episode of Fox News Channel’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” host Jeanine Pirro slammed “snowflakes” on college campuses who want to stop free speech in the name of protecting people’s feelings and halting the growth of the movement for limited government.
“America is in trouble,” Pirro said in her opening statement. “They are trying to silence you. A monstrous and pervasive movement is putting the First Amendment and your free speech, the most basic and fundamental tenets of our nation, at risk and in danger of extinction. And whether you’re on the left or on the right, free speech is essential to our democracy.”
“As you sit there,” Pirro would later continue, “you are watching a silencing in real time, where people are not allowed to express their opinion if it does not align with the thinking of others. Now, this is not an esoteric or academic discussion about one person or one campus. It’s happening all over, and it’s putting us on a course where we are in danger of becoming a fascist, totalitarian society where there is only one accepted point of view. No other will be tolerated, and it’s time to fight back.”
Pirro then recounted the riots that took place at the University of California at Berkeley in February, which were sparked merely because Milo Yiannopoulos, a former editor at Breitbart, was scheduled to speak on the campus. Rioters caused more than $100,000 in damages, and as Pirro noted in her monologue, only one person ended up being arrested.
Pirro heavily criticized the Berkeley police and local government for their handling of the riots.
“And you know I love cops,” Pirro said. “I defend them. But their excuse for one arrest? They didn’t want to step in with full-scale riot forces because it could have led to bloodshed. Really? Did you guys go to rookie school? Did anyone tell you how to take someone into custody without going into full riot gear? You can’t take a snowflake in a ninja costume?”
“And what’s with these college wimps, who can’t bear to hear a speaker and need a safe space—aka a college playpen—because they’re so traumatized by words?” said Pirro. “Instead of having a hissy fit, you ought to go find a bunker to hide in for the next 50 years, because you aren’t going to make it in the real world. Young people face drugs and gangs and wars and landmines and genocide, and you spoiled brats can’t listen to words? You’re wusses!”
Watch the latest video at &lt;a href=”//video.foxnews.com”&gt;video.foxnews.com&lt;/a&gt;
On Thursday, Ann Coulter announced that despite having been told her scheduled speech at the University of California at Berkeley had been cancelled, she plans to speak near the campus anyway. On Saturday, the students who organized the Coulter event announced they plan to sue the college if it doesn’t provide a venue for Coulter to speak.
Conservative newscaster Bill O’Reilly was let go by his longtime employer Fox News last week. But O’Reilly has already announced plans to come back to the airwaves this week while he potentially searches for a new television network to host his show.
According to O’Reilly’s website, he will be hosting a podcast beginning Monday at 7 p.m. EST. “Monday. The No Spin News Returns,” reads a banner placed front-and-center on O’Reilly’s website.Image source: screenshot
The banner’s reference of “no spin news” is a play-on-words referencing the phrase O’Reilly used for years on his highly successful 8 p.m. show. He began each episode by telling his viewers: “Caution. You are about to enter the no spin zone.”
O’Reilly was let go from Fox last week after a New York Times investigation discovered that O’Reilly had paid five different women who previously worked for him or at Fox a total of $13 million in exchange for not pursuing litigation or talking publicly about their allegations that O’Reilly sexually harassed them.
When it was announced that he would not be returning, O’Reilly was on vacation in Italy, where on the same day he had just met with Pope Francis. O’Reilly was on a two week vacation and rumors swirled about whether or not he would return to the network the minute he last hosted his show.
O’Reilly, who had recently re-upped his contract with Fox, will reportedly receive a $25 million payout from the network for prematurely severing ties with him.
O’Reilly’s longtime Fox show “The O’Reilly Factor” aired Thursday and Friday nights without O’Reilly’s name and was simply called “The Factor.” Fox News hosts Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld anchored the final two episodes. Over the course of the show, it averaged 4 million viewers each night, making it the highest rated cable news television show ever.
O’Reilly’s departure from Fox also juggled the network’s primetime lineup. Fox News host Eric Bolling was given his own weekly show at 5 p.m., while company executives moved Tucker Carlson’s show to 8 p.m. and “The Five” to 9 p.m.
It’s unclear what O’Reilly plans to do beyond his podcast. Many believe he’s still interested in hosting a television show, though O’Reilly has not made any public comments about his future beyond a brief statement after Fox fired him. Potential network suitors include: Newsmax, One America News Network, TheBlaze and Sinclair Broadcasting.Do you think Bill O'Reilly should join a TV network to restart his show? Yes No Change Vote Total Votes: 15869
This morning’s Gospel reading is John 20:19–31:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Earlier this morning, I had a brief but fun conversation on Twitter — yes, that happens there too — about slang terms. John Podhoretz had noted a New York Times article that used young-adult slang and said it reminded him of when the Brady Bunch kids used the word “groovy,” a term I still use to this day. After sharing an anecdote about my granddaughter’s reaction to the use of that word — “now I know how old you really are” — another user remarked that the term never really penetrated into common usage, unlike other terms. “I marvel at how ‘awesome’ has,” Stevan wrote.
Well, I use that term too, and at least that one properly sets my age, as it became popular slang in the early 80s when I was in my early twenties. However, there has always been something that tugs at me when doing so, a regret over the appropriation of the word awesome for what is actually only remarkably good, or sometimes not even remarkably so. Unlike groovy, the word awesome has a better use, an original meaning for which there is no better replacement. Its decline into slang usage as an exaggerated superlative has eclipsed the memory of actual awe.
Merriam-Webster defines awe as “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” So much of what we describe as awesome falls far short of this, so much so that its usage no longer connotes any sense of awe at all. However, we see precisely this reaction from Thomas, even in his initial denials of Christ’s resurrection.
John describes Thomas’ refusal to acknowledge Jesus’ return from the dead despite his continuing to remain in brotherhood with the disciples. This is in itself a curious reaction. Thomas had clearly remained within the circle, even if he was not present at Jesus’ first appearance with them. The disciples had gone into hiding, and not only had they trusted Thomas to know their location, Thomas was willing to risk his own freedom and life by being with them. He clearly loved his brothers in Christ, and yet refused to trust them even when all of them told Thomas about Jesus’ return. He rejected their witness and demanded proof before he would believe.
Why? Perhaps Thomas struggled to acknowledge the truth of Christ’s resurrection because it would have required an embrace of its awe. The other disciples experienced it first and had no choice but to embrace it, and were able to do so in joy; Thomas, however, did not trust in the joy of it, and instead shrank from the dread of its true meaning. Jesus’ triumph over death changes everything. Christ then returns and invites Thomas not just to embrace it emotionally but to put his fingers into the wounds. When Thomas does this, he hails Jesus by His true title: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas finally grasps with his whole heart and reason the true nature of Christ, and is overcome by and embraces the awe of that theophany.
The question for us is whether we still shrink from its awe, as Thomas does in this passage. Do we not believe because we have not seen, or because we’d prefer not to accept its true implications? We see what that entailed for the faithful of that time; Luke writes in our first reading from Acts 2 that “awe came upon everyone” who devoted themselves to the apostolic teachings and the communal life of the early Christian church. It changed how they lived their lives. Having accepted the sacrifice of Christ and His resurrection, they had to choose whether to live their lives by embracing it fully or discarding it entirely. They chose to embrace awe, and the changes it requires.
Peter writes in his first epistle that this involved not just the hundreds who saw Jesus after the crucifixion, but those who believed only through apostolic testimony and the Gospel. “Although you have not seen him,” he writes, “you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” That sense of awe permeated their lives. One does not “rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy” over the mundane goods to which we apply the word awesome these days. They rejoiced in eternal life, bought for us by Jesus Christ, and trusted in His Word and the teachings of the apostles that brought them to life through the Holy Spirit.
Do we embrace that theophanic joy? Or do we shy away from the dread of its truth, as St. Augustine famously did for so long, afraid to commit ourselves to all the deepest meanings of the resurrection and Christ’s sacrifice? I know I do at times; it is easy to identify with Thomas and Augustine too, at times being so immersed in materiality, sin, or despair that ignorance seems preferable to revelation. It’s easier to embrace the stuff we call awesome these days rather than the true awe of the Living God, His only Son, and the Holy Spirit all wishing us to come home to sanctification. Jesus understood that too, giving Thomas His wounds to probe, and reminding us that we can come home even after disbelief and despair, if we choose.
And that is awesome. In every sense of the word.
The front page image is a detail from “The Incredulity of St. Thomas,” a part of the Maesta Altarpiece by Duccio di Buoninsegna, circa 1311 and on display at the Siena Cathedral, Italy.
“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here. For previous Green Room entries, click here.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly delivered on Sunday an urgent warning about the potential threat of a nuclear missile strike from North Korea.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Dana Bash asked whether Kelly felt the “homeland is safe from a North Korean missile or any other coming toward the continental U.S.”
“Clearly, there are countries on the planet that have a lot of nuclear weapons that would overwhelm any defense that we would deploy—Russia, as an example,” Kelly said. “But the minute, I would tell you, Dana, the minute North Korea gets a missile that could reach the United States and put a weapon on that missile, a nuclear weapon, the instant that happens, this country is at grave risk.”
“How far away do you think that is?” asked Bash.
“I think Mr. Trump will be dealing with this in real terms before he starts his second term,” Kelly responded.
It’s unclear exactly what “real terms” means, but it’s clear from Kelly’s statement the Trump administration is gravely concerned about the possibility of a nuclear attack by North Korea once the nation acquires the technology to launch such a strike.
On Thursday, Reuters reported a North Korean government newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, announced, “In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes.”
On April 17, The Blaze reported the deputy United Nations ambassador for North Korea, Kim In Ryong, told the U.N. assembly the United States’ presence in the Korean peninsula has created “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any minute.”
President Donald Trump visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland on Saturday to visit with wounded military servicemen and personally award the Purple Heart to an Army sergeant who recently lost half his leg in Afghanistan.
The Purple Heart medal went to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos, who was wounded in action in Afghanistan on March 17, according to the Associated Press. The Purple Heart is awarded to any military service person wounded or killed in combat.
“When I heard about this I wanted to do it myself,” Trump told Barrientos during the brief ceremony. Barrientos’ wife, Tammi, and first lady Melania Trump were also present at the ceremony.
— ABC News (@ABC) April 22, 2017
The award ceremony came during Trump’s first visit to Walter Reed, which is a frequent stop for presidents who meet with wounded veterans. According to reports, Trump also met privately with an additional dozen or so veterans at the hospital.
Trump arrived at the hospital, only about 10 miles north of Washington, via his presidential motorcade instead of Marine One, which presidents typically take on the short trip to the hospital. The AP reports that Trump took the motorcade so not to disturb tours going on at the White House.
While on his way to the hospital, demonstrators, many who had come to Washington for the “Earth Day” science marches, lined the streets to protest Trump.
We went through a lengthy period where the former chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, provided nearly endless amusement with her frequently unhinged antics. It made for some great television and she provided a convenient foil for Republicans who wanted to demonstrate the unserious nature of some Democratic positions. After the brief, but embarrassing tenure of disgraced interim chair Donna Brazile, I’m sure that the Democrats were hoping for some significantly more “stable” leadership under Tom Perez. That really doesn’t seem to be working out, though. In the latest of his many odd statements, the new boss let all of his soldiers in the field know that if you don’t support abortion on demand then you shouldn’t expect any backing from the national party. (Huffington Post)
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
There’s no mystery as to what’s going on here. Perez landed in hot water with the liberal base during the party’s “unity tour” when he lent his support to a pro-life Democrat running for mayor in Omaha. This new position he’s taking is absolutely a 180 degree about-face from what he was saying only a few days earlier. Strangely enough, when he initially endorsed Heath Mello (the aforementioned candidate) he was making a lot of sense. He came out and said that the job of the DNC was to “help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win.”
Guess what, Tom. You had it right the first time. Whether it’s a Senator, a congressman, a mayor or a member of the local village council, the job of elected officials is to serve the interests of the people in that locality who elected them. Nobody at the state and local level is beholden to either the national Democratic or Republican parties, nor are they sworn to uphold the party platform line for line. This is a lesson that the GOP had to learn the hard way after the purge in the 2008 to 2010 era. The GOP needs their RINOs, particularly the ones in the northeast, if they want to hold on to a majority in the House. The same applies to state legislatures, county commissions and school boards. It’s worth remembering that the New York GOP congressional delegation fell to a grand total of three seats during that period after previously holding more than a dozen. (We’ve been slowly recovering, but it was a rough patch for the party.)
If the Democrats want to weed out every single candidate across the nation who opposes abortion they will be driven further into the wilderness than they are now. Pro-abortion speeches sell really well in the coastal cities where Democrats hold large majorities and raise most of their money, but there’s an awfully large swath of the country in between where that’s not going to win you an election. I get that Perez needs to appease his base during the tumultuous transition they’re currently going through, but if he’s actually interested in doing the job he fought so hard for he needs to start delivering some wins. And you don’t do that by letting the most extreme wing of your party write all of the rules.
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