SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Friday, March 24, 2017

THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS




SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Today's gospel reading is particularly crucial for all Christians because, while the values put forth in the Bible are numerous, Jesus clearly and unequivocably sets before us the pivotal ideas around which our lives should revolve.

Gospel reading for today:
Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, 
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as  yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Several people have expressed to me, and I have seen it written many times on social media and elsewhere, that the poor should be helped, but in a limited way. Many conditions are placed upon even the smallest amount offered to the poor, and some people express resentment when even a tiny amount of money is offered to the indigent from public monies.

One woman echoed the general feeling among the comfortable and well fed when she said, "Oh, I believe we should help the poor, but they don't deserve to benefit to the same degree that I do." Many people feel this way, but it isn't Christian.

Jesus asks us to love one another as much as we love ourselves. It's very clear in this passage, and there is no skirting around it.

Loving everyone as much as we love ourselves is a challenge to the natural selfishness that we all experience, at least part of the time. It forces us to loosen our attachment to false ideas of status. It pries open the hand that is grasping personal resources, and it presents an egalitarian worldview.

We cannot look down upon someone that we love as much as we love ourselves. We cannot wish them ill or wish that they remained in poverty. We cannot act in any manner that would take the food from their mouths or injure them in any way. In fact, it obviously advocates for the positive good of every person.

In another part of the Bible, we are taught that loving someone does not mean wishing them well and then moving along. It isn't enough to say, "oh, I love you so much, I wish you had the same good food that I eat, the same comfortable housing that I possess, and the same clothing that I wear." It isn't solely an intellectual orientation.

Today's Gospel reading is a really good one for Lent, when almsgiving is emphasized, but it certainly isn't limited to that aspect. It has global implications that require a revolution in our thinking and behavior. It requires a humble attitude toward our fellow man. This humble attitude is a riot against arrogance. It isn't an easy thing. 

For myself, I plan on meditating on its significance and how I might apply it in a better way. I highly recommend it.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING




I didn't have a choice as to whether or not I wanted to become a smoker. Our mother smoked like a chimney, and she was disabled most of her life with MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and some garden variety crazy. We were cooped up in the house with her, all the doors and windows closed, while she puffed away. By the time I actually lit a cigarette and put it to my lips at age 13, I smoked like I'd done it my whole life because, indeed, I had.

I struggled with the habit, quitting and starting, on and off, until 10 years ago, when I decided I'd had enough. I found it surprisingly difficult to quit, and experienced some degree of physical withdrawals. By this time, I had also become poor, and smoking had become expensive. I was spending at least fifty dollars a week, more than two thousand, six hundred dollars a year. Still, I struggled, stopping and starting many times.

Ignoring the criticisms of those around me who couldn't imagine why anyone of even average intelligence would smoke, I continued to dance with the ciggies until I hit upon a gradual approach that was far less expensive than scary (to me) chemical patches to wear on the skin. Ten years ago, I used this approach and, although I have many times flirted with the idea of cigarettes, I never came close to actually picking up the habit again.

The two-prong formula is this:

(1) GRADUAL REDUCTION: If you typically smoke 20 cigarettes a day, which is a full pack of cigarettes, then cut down to 19 cigarettes a day for an entire week. The next week, smoke 18 cigarettes a day, and so forth. About the time you are down to 3 to 5 cigarettes a day, the taste of it will turn you off, and you'll dump the habit. Some people may linger at the lower amount, rationalizing that just a few cigarettes a day won't hurt you. You run the risk of ramping back up to your maximum amount during a stress-filled week, and you'll have to start all over again.

I facilitated this process by organizing my cigarettes every morning, removing the appropriate number of cigarettes from the pack I would smoke that day.

(2) INCENTIVICATION: Put aside the money that you save every month and spend it on something solid, but fun...maybe even frivolous. After all, the cigarettes can hardly be deemed to be HELPING you, in any real sense, and if you bring something positive into your life that is tangible, it will serve as a reminder and an incentive to stick to your decision to quit smoking. It draws you away from the bad and toward the good.

Eventually, when you have eliminated the cigarettes, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on these incentives, but leave a token in the budget, as a reward for your achievement and a reminder not to pick up a cigarette again.

Unlike the $2,600 a year I previously spent on cigarettes, I now spend between $100 and $200 a year on tangible, fun things. Half of it is spent in the summer. The other half in winter. I may buy a rosary, some art supplies, a religious medal, or some research books. It depends on what is going on that year, as far as the projects I've decided upon. I do not recommend you spend this money on someone else. Part of the reason I recommend this portion of my method is to build solid reminders into your environment that will remind you that you have exchanged a bad habit that was hurting you into something that is contributing to your life in a healthy, positive way.

My beautiful prayer corners have been purchased from cigarette money, for the most part:





I hope this article helps you develop a method that will work for you. It involves more self-discipline than slapping a patch on your arm, but this daily practice of self-discipline will help you build more determination and strength: determination and strength that you will need on those rough days when you imagine that a cigarette would taste really really good.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose
Copyright (c) 2017
All rights reserved

Friday, March 10, 2017

WHY AM I WRITING ABOUT POLITICS?

Flynn sitting next to Putin


I've never been focused on politics. Typically, I would vote after some degree of study of the issues (or not), and that would be it. I rarely paid much attention after that.

Why the change? There are things happening in our government that are dangerous to our entire system of democracy and, if left to continue, will result in grave and perhaps permanent destruction of our entire way of life and the forced abandonment of everything we hold dear. What is happening now is not "business as usual."

Every American who cares about their country should get up to speed about what is happening and then lobby their representatives in Congress to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and get all the facts on the record before it is too late.

We are under attack by Russia: a foreign power that has always been very frank in its hatred of the American democratic system. Russia is not our friend. It consistently works to destroy our democracy by discrediting it, using misinformation, disinformation, and the leakage of state secrets that is calculated to destroy the faith of the American people in our government and the reputation of America in other countries around the world. There is evidence that Donald Trump, his family, his associates and his close campaign people have aided and abetted the Russians in exchange for Russia hacking Hilary Clinton. 17 independent intelligence agencies have confirmed the continual contact of Trump campaign associates with the Russians during the Trump campaign, in this country and other countries around the world, where meetings were held between the parties.

Although Trump has made the unfounded claim that his "wires were tapped," by President Obama, he is confused again. The Russians communications are always being monitored, just like Russia monitors ours. That's how the spy game works. Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, got caught on tape incidentally when they made contact with the Russians (or vice versa.) This is one of the methods by which the intelligence community has confirmed the communication between the Trump campaign and the Russians, as well as Russia's hijacking of Hilary's campaign.

Donald Trump and his family have multiple ties to Russia and to post-Soviet Union countries and oligarchs that are among the most corrupt in the world. He is known to have business dealings in that part of the world, and, while many of the details are obscured, what we do know is alarming.

Donald Trump's cabinet is likewise full of people with ties to Russia, including his commerce secretary that sits on the board of a Russian bank that launders the money of Russian oligarchs whose income from their government jobs is about $12,000 a year but who are millionaires and billionaires, thanks to the ill gotten gains of criminal enterprises. (It is illegal for American businesses to work with foreign criminals such as this, by the way.)

Every day there is more evidence that the Trump campaign obtained a softening of the language of the Republican Party platform against Russia in exchange for Russia's interference with Hilary Clinton [who Putin hates] and that this was at least one of the reasons why (1) Donald Trump won the election despite losing the popular vote; (2) Russia did not retaliate when the U.S. kicked out 35 of its officials out of our country during the Trump campaign; and (3) Donald Trump continually made pro-Putin, pro-Russia and pro-Wikileaks comments in his speeches and interviews during the campaign. Republican Committee officials have confirmed that the official language of the Republican platform against Russia was softened because of the insistence of the Trump campaign.

At least two of Donald Trump's close people lied under oath about their contacts with the Russian ambassador: Flynn, who is famously gone, and Jeff Sessions, Trump's new Attorney General, whose meeting with the Russian ambassador occurred just days after the news broke in the press that the Trump campaign had continual communication with the Russians. It was an explosive revelation that had everyone on The Hill buzzing, yet Sessions went ahead and met with the ambassador. He now says it was in relation to his duties on a committee, yet none of the other committee members had EVER met with the Russians, nor was it appropriate for that committee to meet with the Russians.

It is impossible to see the extent of Donald Trump's business dealings with Russia, Russian oligarchs, and other corrupt governments because he refuses to provide his tax returns, despite promising to give them, should he ever gain the nomination for president. These tax returns MUST be seen and can be seen if subpoena'd during an investigation.

There are at least three current investigations into Donald Trump and his affiliates, but these investigations on "The Hill" are not independent bi-partisan affairs. The Republicans are investigating themselves, in essence, while Democrats and some Republicans are continually and firmly lobbying for an independent prosecutor, such as when Bill Clinton was impeached. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a sexual affair with a junior staffer, which is why, although impeached, he was not thrown out of office. Donald Trump's cooperation with the Russians is far more serious, a fact which should be obvious to anyone.

Trump is ALREADY in violation of the emoluments clause but refuses to divest himself of the businesses from which he is benefiting as a result of his ascendancy to the office of president, and no one is forcing him to do so. What he TELLS his supporters is that he doesn't HAVE to adhere to this clause, but he is lying to his base, who are glad to believe him. He DOES have to adhere to that law, but Republicans have complete power on The Hill and are not forcing the issue.

One of Trump's foreign advisers is a man named Konstantin Kilmnik, and he used to work with disgraced ex-Trump staffer, Paul Manafort. Kilmnik admits that he was part of Russian military intelligence, the GRU. He had originally come to the U.S. to put pressure on his Trump associates for the softening of that language in the Republican Party platform.

Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign. The meeting was held in Trump Tower, and no one believes that Trump himself did not know about it. Trump was living in Trump Tower at the time.

I have seen many videos of Donald Trump bragging about his business interests in Russia. Later videos have him swearing that he has NEVER had dealings with Russia. His son was known to say, however, that most of the money "pouring" into the Trump coffers was from Russia.

The New York Times has been printing some excellent articles about the many details of the Russian connection and other matters having to do with the strange presidency of Donald Trump. Their investigative journalism has hit a nerve, and Trump has redoubled his efforts to put a damper on the press, in general, calling the most respectable news outlets, such as CNN, "fake news."

Aside from attempting to ruin the reputation of the press so he can hide the illegal activities of the Trump machine, this is the first device that every dictator has ever used in an effort to overturn a governmental system and keep it under control. Communist Countries such as North Korea and China do not have a free press, and even the internet is closely guarded, with many websites unavailable to the populace. A free press, "the fourth estate" in America, is the hallmark of a free country, but we are moving in the opposite direction.

Hitler called the press "lugenpresse," ("lying press") and, while eliminating legitimate journalistic outlets, substituted his OWN version of reality with a propaganda machine in print, posters and movie clips.  By the time he invaded Poland and Austria, the population was welcoming him and throwing flowers on the solders and the tanks rumbling through the streets.

I was shocked to see the press physically pushed out of a "photo op" of the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who refuses to give the expected press briefings, will not answer any questions from the press, and who has said he will not allow the press on his plane when he travels to foreign countries. The press has always accompanied the Secretary of State. The purpose of this is to keep Americans apprised of what is happening in our government. The press are the eyes and ears of each American, and it is foolish to be swayed by Trump's castigation of the press. The more that Americans are pushed away from the President and his cabinet, the less we know about what is really going on up there.

Rex Tillerson is another Trump appointee with ties to Russia. He has no government experience and his whole working life was with Exon. Exon has 68 million acres of land in Russia that they cannot drill because of the sanctions. Are you seeing the theme? Russia Russia Russia Russia.

The day that Tillerson became Secretary of State, the 4 most experienced, most knowledgeable personnel in the State Department left. At least 3 of them had been in that department for more than 40 years. They weren't political appointments. They were career officials who had seen many different presidents. To date, they have not been replaced. The people who could help Tillerson (and Trump) learn to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of government are gone. Thank you for your service. Trump plans to cut that department by 37%, he is so ignorant of the crucial nature of its duties.

The secondary issue of grave concern is the mental status of the president, who gets his news from Breitbart and "Fox and Friends," as well as other conspiracy theorists on the radio. He doesn't use a computer, as it has been reported that he doesn't know how to operate one. He is an old man who has stayed "old school" and is out of the loop when it comes to the information age.

Instead of relying upon his intelligence sources at the White House, he has routinely begged off from the meetings, assigning that "duty" to other people, and has been making snide comments about the American intelligence community in public, ever since the dossier about his supposed vulgar activities in Russia was made public. Any time something unflattering appears in a public forum, in print or television, he attacks it publicly and tries to discredit it. His multiple disparaging remarks about American intelligence agencies, insulted the very people from whom he needs the most help at this critical juncture in his presidency, but he probably suspects that they know things about him that he doesn't want made public, so he discredits them with the American people.

"The dossier": During an early intelligence briefing, Trump was presented with a dossier that had an attachment that was not corroborated. It was attached because it had been given to intelligence sources, and the intelligence people reported its existence as part of their duty to inform, not as a confirmed document. They didn't create it. They just received it. While some aspects of the attachment seemed calculated to make Trump look foolish by detailing embarrassing details of a supposed encounter between Trump and Russian prostitutes in a hotel in Russia, a surprising number of other claims are now beginning to emerge as based in fact.

Trump has the gold standard in intelligence available to him, but he refuses to avail himself of it. Instead, he gets overheated about the wacky conspiracy news and sends out unsubstantiated tweets, such as the recent accusation that President Obama had his "wires tapped." There is no evidence of such a thing, which is not possible anyway. Presidents don't order wire taps. It isn't in their baileywick, but Trump is so woefully ignorant about how the government works that he actually believes this poppycock.

All he had to do was call in Comey of the FBI and ask him if an order for a wire tap was signed by a judge, but he hasn't communicated with him.

Trump is surrounded by the government he doesn't trust, the government that Steve Bannon, his right hand man, had previously said he wanted to destroy. Whenever he can get away to his country club, Trump escapes for the weekend to Mar-a-lago, jaunts which have cost the taxpayers more in one month than Obama spent per YEAR in travel costs. Since Trump's family is so welded to him that he had to give them all jobs, the secret service has to protect all of them, costing the taxpayers millions. (This is another common feature of totalitarian governments, by the way. They all move their families into the palaces and give them "jobs.")

Now that Trump has become the president, he seems unable to drop the adversarial stance he took while he was campaigning. His lack of trust is so pervasive that the White House is a ghost town. At least 500 positions have not been filled. There aren't even any names being presented as candidates. He won't hire anyone whose loyalty is at all in question and, with the continual leaks from the White House, his trust factor has got to be in the tank right about now.

Another feature of Donald Trump's troubling behavior is his continual lying - lying that is easily disproved. It continued full throttle, as soon as he hit the oval office. First it was the dispute about how many people attended the inauguration, then it was his claim that 3 to 5 million people "voted illegally" for Hilary Clinton (which explains, in his mind, why he did not get the popular vote.) He claimed he had the biggest victory, the most votes "ever," when, in fact, many of his predescesors far outstripped his meager electoral college results. He has told so many lies, I would need to write another 3 pages to accommodate them.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump is crazy and dangerous. The fate of our democracy hangs in the balance.

There are at least THREE major investigations being conducted on The Hill, but they are all being conducted by Republicans who are so thrilled to be completely in charge of the government that they cannot be relied upon to submit a non-biased result. Calls for an independent nonpartisan independent prosecutor to look into the Russian connections, the lies of Jeff Sessions, and the insane tweets of the President are becoming more insistent, even in the case of some Republicans who just can't fake it any more. Their president is a basket case, and illegal activities have gone on and may still be going on. The White House is empty, and the President is treating it like an ordinary company office, retreating to a country club nearly every weekend while North Korea lobs missiles into the sea near Japan.

Meanwhile, Spicer keeps dancing around the questions of the press during the daily briefing. "Do YOU believe that Trump is telling the truth?"

One particularly keen young female reporter asked Spicer, if the president has evidence that Obama ordered Trump to be wire tapped, isn't it a waste of resources to ask for an investigation of the wire taps? Why doesn't he just hand over the evidence he has?" The answer runs in multiple circles.

More details can be found in the newspapers, magazines and television outlets. It would take several pages to explain it, and why reinvent the wheel? Rachel Maddow does a very good job of explaining the timelines and associated facts of the whole Russia thing that is going on now and, although I don't agree with much of her POLITICS, I certainly admire her journalistic abilities, which are substantial. Watch her program for a week, and you will get up to speed. Fill in the gaps with other news programs and the New York Times. My information has been gleaned for this post through a long list of news agencies, newspapers, magazines, online articles. Everything from EWTN to the New York Times.

If any of this sounds unfamiliar to you; if any of this sounds crazy; you'd better get yourself educated about what is happening in America these days. It is NOT "business as usual." It is not your typical political craziness. It's dangerous stuff, and you need to know what is coming so you can write your representative in Washington. When you get up to speed, you are going to want to do it. I guarantee it.

Silver Rose Parnell

Sunday, March 5, 2017

FOR THOSE WHO ARE IGNORANT OF HISTORY

"Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" (1907)
by
Gustav Klimt

I typically steer clear of movies set in Nazi era Germany. I have seen so many of them over the years, that I just can't bear to be reminded once more of that horrible time when the world descended into the madness of primitive impulses and allowed the personification of evil to rise to power and then commit heinous crimes against the Jews and, to a lesser degree, human beings who were designated as "other."

The movie WOMAN IN GOLD was an exception. I chose to watch it last night because it was about the return of artworks stolen by the Nazis. It is based on the true story of Maria Altmann and her attorney Randy Schoenberg who spent years attempting to gain the return of stolen pieces of art, including this wonderful painting. I love art. Gustav Klimt is one of my very favorite artists and THIS particular painting, above, which was renamed WOMAN IN GOLD by post-war Austrians, (perhaps intending to hide its provenance) is one of my favorite paintings.

This painting was a portrait of Maria Altmann's aunt and was one of a household full of precious objects that the Nazis stole from the home of Maria's parents, while the family was forced to sit and watch. The family had arrived in Austria with nothing, but they worked hard and strove to improve their fortunes, and they succeeded. Watching all their hard earned possessions being cataloged and then hauled away by those filthy Nazis must have been gut wrenching. The loss of this particular painting must have been the source of much sorrow by that family, not because it is a masterpiece, but because it was a painting of a beloved family member.

If you are interested in this topic, you may find an article about the return of these paintings at this LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT RETURN OF ART STOLEN BY NAZIS

Something that Helen Mirren says in her portrayal of Maria Altmann really struck me. After fighting with the Austrians for years for the return of the stolen art works, she finally admits to herself and to her attorney that the Austrians had always been like this. After all, when the Nazis triumphantly paraded through town, the non-Jewish Austrians "threw flowers" on them, welcomed them, and later participated with glee in the multiple humiliations and, ultimately, the removal and deaths of their Jewish neighbors.

Here is a video of Austrian residents welcoming the Nazi soldiers to their town at this LINK TO VIDEO OF GERMAN SOLDIERS BEING WELCOMED BY AUSTRIANS..




Currently, we have a wave of antisemitism happening in America in which Jewish places of worship and cemeteries are being vandalized, and multiple bomb threats have been made. Nazi symbols have been spray painted. Frequently, Donald Trump's name is invoked as a badge of license.

It isn't that Donald Trump is an antisemite. I don't believe he is, but Donald Trump, and his rhetoric of hate towards immigrants ("the other") has inflamed the dormant Nazis and similar groups, such as the KKK (which has lent Trump their stamp of approval.)

Trump's brand of hatred and division emboldens all of those people that bear hatred toward anyone different than themselves. The Jews are not the only groups that are currently experiencing a steep uptick in hate crimes. Those who are different from the whites who hold power are being subjected to violence. Just within the last few days, an Indian (not a Muslim) was shot in the arm and told to go back to his country where he came from.


A Sikh, wearing a modern turban
(NOT a Muslim!)

Part of the problem with the people who are inflamed by Donald Trump style rhetoric is that they are ignorant and uneducated about the variety of people that live on this planet. Anyone who wears a turban is wrongly identified as a Muslim (against whom Trump IS encouraging some prejudice.) Actually, Muslims do not typically wear turbans, but ignorant people, fueled by Trump's movements against the Muslims, are targeting anyone who is wearing a Turban! Ridiculous.

Hitler gained power by appealing to the fears of the people. He set up a scape goat to blame (the Jews) and simply fed the flames of hatred that were ignited in the hearts of the people who wanted a change in their country. Without the help of non-Jews, he could not have risen to power.

Hitler used lies as his primary tool, directed the hatred of the people against Jews as the scape goats, suppressed the press and replaced it with his propaganda productions. He used the Austrian people to help him steal a massive amount of wealth from a segment of the population and then killed the owners of that wealth in gruesome, horrific and humiliating fashion. Many Jews tried to leave the country, but were prevented. Hitler couldn't afford to have living witnesses wandering around the world, "telling tales." In order to accomplish his true aims, power and money, he had to kill them, and that is exactly what he did, brutally exterminating millions of people.

Why am I drawing an obvious parallel between Hitler and Trump? That's simple. Trump's speech and behavior mimics that of Hitler to a "tee." "Alternative facts" (lies), scapegoating "the other" (immigrants), suppressing the free press (calling it "the enemy of the American people") and using a wide variety of disinformation and misinformation to confuse the population are all measures Hitler used himself.

Here is an article that reminds us of the history behind the term "enemy of the people" that Trump has been using against the press: READ THE WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE ABOUT "ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE" HERE.

While Trump calls the American press "fake news," Hitler called the press "L├╝genpresse," which means "lying press." During Trump campaign rallies, Trump supporters have yelled this German word, resurrecting the memory of Hitler in the minds of many.

Here are some articles that remind us of Hitler's attack against the press that tried to warn the people against him:

The ugly history of ‘L├╝genpresse,’ a Nazi slur shouted at a Trump rally - Washington Post

Donald Trump Channels Adolf Hitler to Attack the ‘Lying’ Press - PoliticusUSA

Like Donald Trump's phrases of "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN," and "AMERICA FIRST," Hitler made liberal use of similar propaganda.




One of Hitler's propaganda posters reads
TO LOVE DEUTCHLAND (Germany)


Claiming that his executive orders to stop travel between the U.S.A. and certain predominantly Muslim countries "will not be questioned" asserted a dictator's typical stance; that he is the ultimate authority and holder of power and that anyone who questions him will be eliminated. He DID fire some people who questioned him and is so paranoid about surrounding himself only with people who buy into his conspiracy theory, lunatic fringe philosophy that there are more than 500 key positions that have yet to be filled. None of these positions require Senate approval. He simply has to HIRE these and several thousand others, but it is the 500 something that are crucial. Many people WON'T work with him, and we have heard news, now and then, of people who declined Trump's offers of employment.

While the lunative fringe constantly criticized Obama's every move, including the expense of his travel, Donald Trump has cost us more in one month than Obama did in an entire year. For one thing, Trump is living as if the White House is his office, spending almost every weekend at his country club in Florida. All this travel back and forth, for himself and his family, including overseas travel for various family members, has cost us 11.3 MILLION DOLLARS FOR ONE MONTH, and the same people who complained about Obama's spending (12.1 MILLION FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR) are SILENT on Mein Trumph's spending that far exceeds Obama's. Hypocrites! The following are some links that discuss this:

Trump on track to spend exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars on travels By one estimate the president has already rung up as much in travel costs as the Obama and Biden families did in eight years – all at the expense of taxpayers - The Guardian

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Trips So Far May Have Cost Taxpayers Up To $10 Million - Fortune.com

Trump’s first month of travel expenses cost taxpayers just less than what Obama spent in a year

Conservative activists refuse to believe Trump is spending more on travel than Obama

Why the Trumps' Travel Expenses Matter - The Atlantic

The Trump family's lavish lifestyle is costing taxpayers a fortune

Last night I fell asleep in my recliner. I made myself a cup of tea and said to myself, "I'll just have this nice soothing cup of tea and then I'll go to bed." I woke at 10:30 in the morning, with the television still churning out this nauseating daily horror of truly weird news. Trump has tweeted definitively that Obama arranged to have Trump wire tapped. Here is a copy of the tweet:

"How low has President Obama
gone to tapp my phones during
the very sacred election process.
This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad
(or sick) guy!"

His cohorts are demanding that, while Trump's ties to Russia are being investigated, they have to investigate Obama's supposed overstep of his power by ordering wire tapping.

Those who would know have stated categorically that there has never been a wire tapping warrant for Trump or Trump Tower. Trump is so ignorant of the workings of the government that he STILL does not realize that the President is not a King and that there is a system of checks and balances in our government that has frustrated many a president. As it happens, in this case, the President does not have the power to order a wire tapping warrant. Representatives of Obama's team have also confirmed that none of them authorized or ordered any wire tapping against any American citizen. Read the following links:

Trump's baseless wiretap claim - CNN - includes video clip

Earnest: It May 'Come As Some Surprise' To Trump That Prez Can't Order Wiretap - Talking Points Memo

White House calls for probe of Trump's unsubstantiated claims as Obama spy official denies wiretap

White House, still offering no evidence, demands probe of whether Obama abused executive power - Los Angeles Times

Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim - The New York Times

Trump’s charge that he was wiretapped takes presidency into new territory - The Washington Post

No one knows where Trump is getting his ideas because he refuses to tell us his source of information, nor will he provide any evidence of this or any other bat poop crazy assertion he has made, such as the 3 to 5 million people that he says voted illegally in the last election. No proof. He demands that everyone believe him and ACT on his crazy ideas. He has made it clear that it is the job of everyone else to prove that he is wrong, which is backwards, of course.

On the heels of the numerous discoveries of Russian ties to the Trump administration, including lies about meetings with the Russian ambassador, Trump has sent out one of his outrageous tweets, making accusations that are similar to other accusations that he has issued in the past, when the news cycle wasn't flattering to him. Former White House Secretary comments on this:

Former WH Press Secretary On Trump: 'The Bigger The Scandal, The More Outrageous The Tweet' - VIDEO included

Meanwhile, Mein Trumph's sycophants believe whatever he says and repeat it back to other people. I've seen it on social media. Crazy, unproven, illogical and highly improbable ideas that violate every FACT that I know are being broadcast by people who are pitifully ignorant and, evidently, too lazy to read a book or a newspaper or a legitimate source of solid information. Either that, or they simply wish to believe what Mein Trumph tells them because it dovetails with their own internal bigotry. Fringy, conspiracy theory rags that are created, whole cloth, out of an ideological world view rather than facts about things that HAPPEN, continually fan the flames. This is exactly what happened when Hitler came to power.

My gut instinct is that Trumps charges are fantasies created by a sick and aging mind that cannot tell the difference between paranoid imaginings and truth. Someone or some people are feeding off his mental illness and are using him as the figurehead for a movement to dismantle our democratic system and put something else in its place. We have already seen the beginnings of this in the nomination of people to department posts whose history has been one of hostility toward those departments and agencies. I've dealt with this in other posts.

I am old, disabled and poor. I can do nothing about the coming catastrophe except to try and alert people to the danger of what will happen if we do not put a stop to this insanity. There is a man in the White House who has no business being there. He's brought the lunatic asylum with him and installed them in positions of power over agencies they've fought against their whole adult lives.

At the very LEAST, I would hope that people will be incited to educate themselves about our government, our history, and how the American democracy works; not in a GENERAL way, but the specific, tedious facts. Most of what Trump says is disproved by history and the facts around the workings of our system. Don't throw flowers on this monster. Arm yourselves with knowledge.

As an interesting side note, I tried to

God save us all.

Silver Rose Parnell

Thursday, March 2, 2017

FATIMA, RUSSIA, AND DONALD TRUMP

Jeff Sessions, swearing to tell the truth


Just when I thought I could settle into the routine of my daily life, a fresh horror presents itself that, frankly, needs the attention of every American.

Last night the news broke. Jefferson Sessions, in his Senate hearings, emphatically claimed that he never met with any Russians during the Trump campaign. It turns out he lied. He met twice with the Ambassador of Russia. One meeting was public. The next was a private meeting, in Sessions' office.

Sessions now claims he didn't lie because he met with the Ambassador in his capacity as a senator, but that is not what he said in his hearing. He said he had NO meetings when he answered questions from Senator Franken.

There is a reason why our Lady asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. There are some who are claiming that this consecration didn't happen in the proper way and therefore didn't meet the instructions of our Blessed Mother. I can't make a comment about that. I don't presume to know her mind. I DO know that the Fatima "miracle of the sun" was witnessed by more than 70,000 people, including newspaper reporters, that there are photographs of the people and the sun that appeared in the newspapers, and that this miracle was forewarned for the specific date and time that it was going to happen. This is one series of apparitions that simply cannot be discounted and explained away.



It has been almost exactly 100 years since the first apparitions at Fatima to the three children, and we find ourselves up to our elbows in scandal about Russian interference with American democracy, and a president and his staff who can't seem to tell the truth when it really counts. The Russian elephant in the room is getting bigger and bigger, and I keep thinking about our Lady's concern about Russia and the peculiar timing.

I watched tonight various clips of Donald Trump, over the years. First, he is bragging about his relationship with Putin, then he claims he never met the man. There were many clips, and in each one he makes a different claim. Currently, he is claiming he's never met the man. Who knows the truth? Only the Lord...and 17 different intelligence agencies.

Politicians, in general, have the reputation for lying, with a few notable exceptions that prove the rule. We have become used to it, except that the type, nature and topic of the lies coming out of this White House are blaringly hot, pants-on-fire alarming.

Something which did not make a big splash in the news, but which I find equally stunning, is that Wilbur Ross, the new Secretary of Commerce, is part owner of CYPRESS BANK, where Russian mafia launders its money, and where Putin and other Russian Oligarchs funnel money back and forth with America.



At this point, Donald Trump has a cabinet that is stuffed with billionaires who either have explicit financial ties with Russia, or who have spent their lives working against the very departments over which they have been put in charge! Betsy de Vos, another Trust Fund baby like Donald Trump, has spent her whole adult life funding a movement to eliminate the Department of Education, of which she is now in charge. The new head of the EPA has spent his whole working career as CEO of EXON, which has 68 million acres of land in Russia that they cannot drill until the sanctions are lifted. Oh...and he has also sued the EPA multiple times in an effort to get the regulations lifted. Trump's right hand man, Steve Bannon, another person with no government experience, has been quoted in the past as saying that his aim is to destroy the entire government edifice in America and that he admires Lenin for doing that in HIS country.

Trump's son has previously boasted that Russian money has come "pouring into" the Trump businesses. It is easy to see that, due to Trump's numerous bankruptcies and his well known inability to make a success of any business, that none of the American banks would lend him money. He probably HAD to go to Russia, and now they have him over a barrel.  Just speculating here, but it is a likely scenario. Did the Commerce Secretary get that job as partial payment for loaning Trump money from CYPRESS BANK?

What is NOT speculation is that 17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia DID hack into our computer systems in an effort to defeat Hilary Clinton. The news reached the Obama White House, and Obama and his team made sure that this information was documented in such a way that the incoming Trump team could not make it disappear. During that time, when everyone on the Hill knew that contact with Russia was a problem, Jeff Sessions met with the Ambassador to Russia...and didn't remember it...but said he definitely did not discuss campaign matters...or something.

How much more information do you need to see into the future plans of Trump and his gang? This is the plan, as I see it: Destabilize the government to loosen all protections for America in order to accomplish some sort of deal with Russia that is going to financially benefit the billionaires, the banks they own, and the oil and gas companies with which they have ties. Trump has never been a charitable guy. In fact, he has, on several occasions, figured out how to get credit for OTHER people's charitable contributions, while putting none of his own money on the line.  So, why did Trump want to become president at age 70? Did he have a vision? Did an angel visit him and tell him to do it? Or is he just pursuing the next big deal?

Remember - just about all his businesses went into bankruptcy, and the only reason he had any money to begin with was because he INHERITED it. He isn't a "successful businessman" and never has been. Like everything else in Trump's life, it is all a lie. His income source in these later years is almost exclusively from adding his name to the work of OTHER people - other people's buildings and golf courses and country clubs. Even now, he is taking credit for the achievements of the LAST president, whose policies have resulted in an unemployment rate sinking from 10.5 percent to about 4.5 percent.

My writing skills do not veer in the direction of journalism. I advise you to do what I have done. Read everything you can get your hands on, watch EVERY news channel, and then PRAY and FAST. The fate of our country, the fate of American democracy, is at stake. I am not overstating the case. I am not an alarmist. I typically do not care much about politics, except to the degree that political decisions hurt the poor. If left unchecked, this flow of events will lead to much more than just an increase in the number of poor people in our country.

I can see that America will look like Russia before long if we don't put the brakes on. I don't want to be right about this. Please pray and fast for freedom from Russian aggression and American cooperation with it.

Silver Rose