Tag Archives: Military

Day Off at the hermitage: the most protected air space in the world

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I had just arrived at the hermitage on my day off this past week when a storm of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks came thundering over, seemingly causing earthquakes. This is the usual experience as this exact spot is where one might set up a chair and watch an airshow of all that which is old and new and experimental of anything directly or remotely related to the military or our intelligence services, well, if the thick forest canopy didn’t block one’s view.

AH 64

One might also see some version of Boeing’s Attack Helicopter 64 Apache:

AH 64-

Or a Bell Attack Helicopter 1W Super Cobra:

super cobra ah 1W attack-

Or, if you’re lucky, you might even see General Atomics’ Gray Eagle derivative of their MQ-1 Predator attack drone:

General Atomics Drone Gray Eagle

Sadly, a Boeing CH-47 Chinook crashed out some years ago near to the hermitage:

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Outside of these guys, planes or all sorts also use this flight path, including Boeing’s FA 18 of whatever version:

Boeing FA 18

Just because the hermitage is on the most remote ridge of the Smoky Mountains doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have what is perhaps by far the most protected airspace in the world. As I understand it, there are, above, fully nine levels of military experimental airspace. Almost an Area 51.

But that’s NOT why it’s the most protected air space. Instead, the angels are there.

 

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Tree felling: Blackest of Black Ops

tree felling

This tree, estimated to top out at a whopping 150 feet, as a double, was threatening both our social hall and classrooms-church buildings. I employed this most capable off-the-charts-skill-sets black ops guy while he was stateside for communications with the State Department for some days not only because he had all the equipment and know how and insurance, but because of who he employs and the conditions he sets for employment.

He gets young men coming from impossibly horrifically broken families and puts them to work to get them away from bad influences and requires that they are always enrolled in a class or classes to get their GEDs. As a result of his fatherly influence in their lives, they are awesome young men.

We spoke quite a bit about situational awareness, and, I must say, this bit about bettering those around him is the best way to go about situational awareness. It’s like a teacher engaging the most troublesome of troublemakers, making them leaders of their classes. Very cool, all of that, very cool indeed.

And then, off he goes in the blackest of black ops land, you know, the darkest of existential peripheries. I am honored to have met this guy. An inspiration. I think it’s good for priests to have lots of laity that they learn from in all sorts of ways.

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To the beach! (Not with McCarrick)

Anzio. For sand. WWII thing. In honor of a friend’s dad. Anyone been there? Any advice? My Thursday’s free on the voyage and I’ve been promising for a long time.

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Monkeys at GTMO & my little parish

Seems not even one day can go by without some contact from some intelligence service or agency or contractor or whathaveyou. Yesterday, there were a number of encounters, but the most memorable was yet another logistics guy, you know, delivery guy, you know, of detainees. Over the last while I think I’ve gotten to know really a lot of these guys spanning the last number of decades. Why is that? They’re all the same when they’re legit. I’ve seen this in a best friend. I’ve seen it in those I know are legit… super smart, reasonable, balanced, calm, able to take things in, fearful of nothing, able to do anything physically, super smart, able to give an incisive critique, loyal, patriotic, one who would lay down his life for you in a second, one who can’t tolerate stupid on a team where smarts in everyone count in order to stay alive, not boasting, but rather humble, but totally able to smack anyone down by getting those others to push themselves for betterment to their utmost and then beyond that… Did I say super smart?

He’ll be going to work for me during the next couple of weeks on an especially dangerous project – only because it’s what he loves to do in down time for recreation and only because this job was recommended by a friend – not anything necessarily to do with intelligence mind you, but it will admittedly for him put all his skills to the test. Not everyone can be a monkey, or take care of monkeys for their own best interests. It’s something I used to do in the seminary which needed an extreme sports person, one who was willing to take risks.

Interestingly, he mentioned the monkey-cage thing in Zero Dark Thirty down in GTMO, and then made some incisive comments on the accuracy of the film. I made some hypotheses about the personages depicted by various characters. He did his best not to say anything, and he didn’t, but this totally caught him off guard. It was the nanosecond look in the eyes which told the entire story when I mentioned the present employment of one personage depicted by one character and then the present demise of another personage depicted by another character. ;-)

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Saluting the best of the American Military Patriotism in Joyce Kilmer

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On Monday of this week a great meal at The Hub was had with the higher ups among the caretakers of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest up in the back ridges of the parish. Personalized commemorative photos were handed out. The more one learns about Joyce Kilmer, the more enthralled one becomes. Besides the ol’ Wikipedia, here’s some bits and pieces which might hold your attention:

The next project for me is to walk the “Upper Loop”. I did the lower, and was told that I hadn’t yet seen the forest. So, O.K. I’m getting psyched up for this nature extravaganza.

Joyce Kilmer, just so you know, in putting us before the creation of the Creator, puts us before the Creator of creation. Clever, that. I love that.

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DOD-DARPA gaming gray-zones to be more black and white with red blood

DARPA DOD Situational Awareness

Multiple terrorist events are to be noticed in the city depicted above. Did you notice the yin-yang graphic providing foundation for situational awareness? That’s all about repeated baiting.

After taking care of some things in northeast Atlanta on my day off a few days ago, I hiked it over to nearby FBI Atlanta where, at the security building, a printout on yours truly was placed in front of me. I had wanted to discuss some options for a perpetual / interdepartmental program Main State placed me on (and in which I was further entrenched by the FBI four years later) in the early and mid-1990s. But the printout placed in front of me indicated another and more recent program altogether. I guess the agent was wondering which program it was that I wanted to talk about. That took me off guard as I didn’t know until now that I was on more than one program.

The guy was terribly exaggerated in looking at the printout, looking at me, looking at the printout, looking at me, looking at the printout, looking at me, and then putting it down on the otherwise entirely empty counter and shoving it toward me while he asked me a few questions. If he wanted me to see at least the title on the top of the page through the dark window of that security building, that was a mistake, or on purpose, either to show me how stupid it was for me to show up at the FBI when the program is spearheaded by another agency altogether, or because he was told to do that (and that indicates something else altogether, something for another post).

The summary report shoved in front of me was about another and quite recent program having provenance with “DOD/DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is largely constituted by civilian scientists and mathematicians, by physics and chemistry nerds, by manipulators of everything internet (which they helped to invent btw). DARPA is spread out in multiple research centers, playgrounds, if you will, in which imagination rules the day. Budget is simply not a concern. That would be one of the coolest places in the world to work under those conditions, wouldn’t you agree? For many years of my life I was in those circumstances. It was exhilarating. But, here’s the deal: there’s always someone who thinks they’ve found salvation by way of self-congratulation for the little project they’ve been able to get approved just because, for instance, he or she is an ultra-super-genius mathematician. And then things get dangerous.

The next day I spoke with a top DOD guy who is quite familiar with DARPA, as he would acquire the results of some of their projects for integration into some of his own major military projects he was working up with our military manufacturers. He knows a bit of my history and was much perplexed as to why DARPA could possibly be interested in yours truly. That was my reaction exactly. Until I saw this while scrolling through DARPA’s news items, now on page two as of this writing, as this was announced back in March of this year (2018). Perusing that little announcement, lots of pieces fell into place regarding incidents in relatively recent times, particularly after that date. Let’s take a quick look at that short publicly consumable document on that particular project. Be sure that anything publicly consumable doesn’t tell the whole story. But, we have what we have. It’s all baiting. As far as my own involvement in all this, I guess I would be a guinea pig upon whom to test some baiting. I don’t like it. Being a beta-target has its risks and misunderstandings. Whatever about me, it also puts those around me at risk. I’m not a willing participant. I note that the guy who stole my identity decades ago has been telling me for the past number of months that I’m on another program besides the one occasioned by him. I thought he was off his rocker. But he was spot on, describing what is happening in detail. So, here we are. So, it’s also a chance to make an evaluation from a disadvantaged, merely baited position. Here’s the short document with my emphases and [comments]:

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Making Gray-Zone Activity more Black and White

New program aims to lift the fog obscuring an adversary’s intentions in slow, simmering non-traditional conflicts – outreach@darpa.mil 3/14/2018

An emergent type of conflict in recent years has been coined “gray zone,” because it sits in a nebulous area between peace and conventional warfare. Gray-zone action is not openly declared or defined, it’s slower, and is prosecuted more subtly—using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence [thus not exclusive of violence to achieve also destruction of religious sites or people(s), not exclusive of violence to achieve also the brainwashing of religious people or changes in religious practice and doctrine. While all that refers to malevolent actors, the response is to be on the same level:]. The lack of clarity of intent—the grayness—makes it challenging to detect, characterize, and counter an enemy fighting this way.

To better understand and respond to an adversary’s gray-zone engagement [meaning we are engaged and respond to that engagement in that same gray-zone with or without violence; see “theater-level operations” below], DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office today announced a new program called COMPASS, which stands for Collection and Monitoring [including humint guys=baiters to better define targets whose particularities on any given day after he’s been studied are available through metadata evaluations and actionable parameters the field] via Planning for Active Situational Scenarios [which is where in-the-field-violence can enter the equation]. The program aims to develop software that would help clarify enemy intent by gauging an adversary’s responses to various stimuli. [=baiting typical of counterintelligence reduced to spreadsheet style metadata.] COMPASS will leverage advanced artificial intelligence technologies, game theory, and modeling and estimation [all of which is utterly dependent on arbitrarily established standards of philosophy, theology, economic anthropologies, etc. This is the elephant in the room. It throws out the Constitution and replaces it with theories used by adversaries. Law is thrown out. Natural law is thrown out. It’s all just the yin-yang action and reaction, indeed being controlled by the adversary in this way as it is he who leads, who invites being baited, you know, in particular ways] to both identify stimuli [through contrived, arbitrary, thought to be leading baiting incidents] that yield the most information about an adversary’s intentions [“the ol’ mafia-esque extortion: “We know where your family lives” (it always comes down to that, as I’m told, very quickly)], and provide decision makers high-fidelity intelligence on how to respond [unless the one so baited is himself baiting his baiters since the beginning, taking any number of sides and tactics to see who’s who with what intentions] – with positive and negative tradeoffs for each course of action [people being taken out is always the “positive” result as it gives “decision makers” stuff to do, an encouragement for which can always be obtained in this fashion, the negative tradeoff simply being the bother one has to go through in explaining the reason why an action had to be taken must remain classified information].

“The ultimate goal of the program is to provide theater-level operations and planning staffs with robust analytics and decision-support tools that reduce ambiguity of adversarial actors and their objectives,” [adversarial for who, the Southern Poverty Law Center, who hold citizens in good standing to be suspected terrorists and have been joined in that opinion by the FBI for very many years now?] said Fotis Barlos, DARPA program manager. [Thus, the guy sitting behind his computer screen with a joy-stick, who is from there flying an otherwise unmanned drone and is dropping bombs on a village on the other side of the world will feel nice about himself because his target’s teenagers all play with the target’s computer all on the target’s profile and are just baiting their friends who are having fun baiting them and no one is a terrorist. Have we really given up on humint?] “As we see increasingly more sophistication in gray-zone activity around the world, we need to leverage advanced AI and other technologies to help commanders make more effective decisions to thwart an enemy’s complex, multi-layered disruptive activity.” [The response to that which is “using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence” is a response which is also “using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence”. This makes everything descend into chaos. Everyone gets better at being gray. And, by the way, baiting is also entrapment. Thus, if you put enough pressure on someone, they will react. Thus, the Mafia will break your mother’s arm for not paying her usual installment for protection, and you, the son, will express your disgruntlement publicly, the response to which is a bullet between the eyes for you, which offers a “good example” to anyone else thinking about not paying their installment for protection. And you get more people paying protection. This is called empire building. In the past number of months I’ve been baited in all sorts of ways regarding terrorist activities, and with plenty of “insurance policies” for extortion, even though I have a history throughout my life of stopping any number of terrorist incidents. This is a distraction, I think, from something going on with the duty roster at Main State. I’ve been trying to report that. This is way to stop that reporting. Anyway…]

Current military decision-making follows a well-understood and effective OODA loop—Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. [Yes. That’s rather pedantic.] This is how planning is done in various geographic areas around the world, which works for traditional kinetic scenarios, Barlos said. This process, however, is not effective in gray zone warfare. Signals in the environment are typically not rich enough to draw any conclusions, and, just as often, adversaries could implant these signals to induce ambiguity. [Tradecraft is, however recognizable if you don’t blind yourself with self-congratulatory game theory. The entire methodology must remain open to new conditions. That’s how we caught UBL. Phone calls were made on behalf of UBL, but always from a different pay phone. But no one does that. That was tradecraft so persnickety that it revealed the malicious actor. But no program would have seen that as the “programmer” back in the day configured analysis according to pre-9-11 thinking that UBL and his supporters were all in a cave. The one person only who thought outside of the program is the one who caught him. So, what does that say about this?] COMPASS aims to add a dynamic, adaptive element [not really, as the active baiting that is feeding algorithms is using increasingly ossified algorithms, right? Right?] to the OODA loop for complex, gray-zone environments. [This is someone overexcited for finding what they think the Holy Grail for them happens to be. I see this all the time in academics.]

The COMPASS program will leverage game theory for developing simulations to test and understand various potential actions and possible reactions by an adversary employing gray-zone activity. [For those not in the know, “game theory” forces life itself into an ideology of action and reaction, whose metadata can feed into imagined equations: “Everything is math” is the exclamation of promoters, “everything.” Game theory has been used by economists and some rather cynical investors for many decades. Some think, seriously, that game theory is what runs the world, absolutely, no question, everything, all based on greed, a reverse of Karl Marx but not different from him in the end. And this is where it all falls apart. Human beings, terrorists or not, have currents running deeper than all the yin-yang gaming theory. To deny this is to miss out on the experience and POV of literally trillions of people throughout the millennia] Barlos quickly noted, however, that the program is not about developing new sensory technologies, virtual reality systems or other advanced hardware. The program focuses rather on advanced software that would quickly present options to decision makers by assimilating a large amount of intelligence collected using existing, state of the art systems (such as standard video exploitation, or textual analysis tools [and humint]) related to rapidly changing scenarios.

“We’re looking at the problem from two perspectives: Trying to determine what the adversary is trying to do, his intent; and once we understand that or have a better understanding of it, then identify how he’s going to carry out his plans—what the timing will be, and what actors will be used,” Barlos said. “The first is the what, and second is the where, when, and how. [Bill Binney at the NSA diversely came up with predictions like this twenty years ago.]

“But in order to decide which of those actions is important you need to analyze the data, and you need to understand what different implications are and build a model of what you think the adversary will do,” he said. “That’s where game theory comes in. If I do this [baiting], what will the adversary do? If I do that [baiting], what might he do? So it is using artificial intelligence in a repeated game theory process to try to decide what the most effective action is based on what the adversary cares about.” [“cares about” isn’t just ideology, but also the “insurance” extortion scenarios, always. Also, again, what if the baiter is baiting you to bait in particular ways, while meanwhile he is doing something different entirely? Sitting behind a screen is one of the best ways to ensure terrorism. People aren’t so stupid as all that.]

The COMPASS program seeks experts in AI, machine learning, game theory, modeling and simulation, control systems, estimation and other related fields [I hope “other” means humint]. A Proposers Day is scheduled for March 30, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia. Registration instructions and more details are available on […]

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My further commentary: The problem with all this is that the emphasis is entirely on the adversary, with nothing on the arbitrary input of the programmer. It canonizes any result recommending whatever it is that sells to “decision makers” because it is all backed up with… oooo!… mathematics. What does the programmer think philosophically, religiously, economically, socially…? Any action of violence, brainwashing, whatever, is going to be based on a few programmers in DARPA. Really? Wow. Also, the humint side of things doesn’t work if the target can figure out what you’re doing before you even start. Anyway, more on “deep currents” and how to deal with them in another post.

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1998 US Embassy bombings: Nairobi, Dar es Salaam (FBI CIA DARPA)

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embassy dar es salaam

Ten minutes apart in two countries. Numbers killed differ officially, somewhere between 100+ and 303 people. Many thousands wounded. It was catastrophic. Two truck bombs. All other embassies everywhere scared to death. And, of course, this wasn’t only an attack on the United States, but also, very directly, on the peoples and the viability of the countries of Kenya and Tanzania. These bombings were UBL’s first big projects for al-Qaeda.

Two years previously, at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, “Rick” was the guy behind the window who, in express coordination with Main State and without me asking, provided me with a false passport because of a situation with a certain guy who had taken my identity. “Rick” became the FBI’s Chief investigator for U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam two years later. “Rick” isn’t sloppy in his work.

When, in late 1998, after these bombings, I went to report something at the Embassy in Rome, I was escorted to a back office upstairs and seated with a certain agent who entirely ignored whatever I had to report, expressly rejecting even being shown what I had brought with me as proof of gun transfers to straw purchases of Mexican cartels as wrought by the guy who stole my identity. But then she proceeded to reprimand me severely for not taking the false passport two years previously. Obviously this was front and center in their minds two years later, even not long after the embassy bombings. She was still incredulous at my stupidity: “Don’t you know who that was who gave you that passport? He became the Chief Investigator for the Embassy bombings. And you didn’t do what he said with what he offered you. Just to let you know,” she continued, “that week we were having a seminar on why never ever to give out a false passport, and in the midst of that, he did, to you. So, what do you think that means? Do you think you should have taken it?”

Rhetorical questions. I was duly smacked down. I just didn’t know what to do two years before, it being that I had only been ordained some four years and couldn’t fathom why I, a citizen in good standing, should disappear from the face of the earth with yet another “identity” in play even while the guy who stole me identity should be protected by the FBI and the State Department. It only more recently dawned on me that he’s working for them. I’m a bit slow on the uptake. This is a perpetual interdepartmental program since 1992 (at least as dated to the letter from the Ambassador at Main State), if not since the late 1970s.

Why mention this again? Because of what happened at Atlanta FBI the other day:

When I told FBI Atlanta that I just wanted to have a chat about some options of the perpetual program I’m on (which the FBI later further entrenched me in), that program going back many decades, they thought I meant something much more recent that popped up when they looked up my name, a program with DARPA. I didn’t know about that one. I have much to say about that, about being game for gaming gamers, assassins. But, I digress. That’s for another post. What I’m concerned about especially is the duty roster at Main State and how that affects the viability of our counterterrorism efforts. Concerns I raised now a year ago are as fresh as if I’d make them today. The DARPA, more recent than all of that, is a distraction. How ironic. Stay tuned for some irony.

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FBI Atlanta: “Hey priest, it’s DARPA.”

Continuing my “Day-Off story, by coincidence I arrived to the side-parking lot outside the perimeter of FBI Atlanta at the same time as a CTU guy from Virginia, who didn’t go through the main gate but instead parked in one of the free remaining spaces outside. I parked next to him. He walked me to the security building, except when I went back to my car to get I think it was my passport. He went back to his car and rummaged around next to me until I was on my way again to the security building. He went inside handing off a piece of paper. I went to the window outside, out front as instructed. I struggled to see anyone as the window is almost completely blacked out and even the voices are so muffled that almost zero communication can go on.

The two agents had one piece of paper visible on the entire length of the long counter between them and me. They were looking at that, looking at me, looking at that, looking at me, looking at that, looking at me, shoving it on the counter right under my nose, though upside down. I guess they were beckoning me to, you know, accidentally have a look. It was a one-page summary report, you know, the kind you fill out with the “tab” key on your computer keyboard so as to jump from one bordered-field-box to the next, entering the least info possible, the origin, the date, the name of the author, a slightly larger box for comments at the bottom. I did get a look at the name of the author (which I needn’t give) and the provenance of the printout. The provenance of the report is what took me totally off guard. The provenance of that report was the absolutely last thing I would have thought to see that morning just there at the FBI.

To be continued. Time to start gaming the gaming game.

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Shadow-dog commands. No fingers crossed behind my back.

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I’m guessing that if a priest takes a day off it has to be put in scare quotes: “Day-Off”. First on the agenda for me the other day on the “Day-Off”, at about 3:00 AM, was to edit the article written by Father Gordon J. MacRae (About) over on TheseStoneWalls entitled “Assassin’s Deed” (what a fright!), which, this time, included at a zillion pictures. Father Gordon says that editing counts for visiting those in prison. Never an easier visit.

At the very end of the day, some 18 hours later, when I got back to the rectory, I noticed the top picture of this post which came in an envelope from Father Gordon along with his post for next week. Hahaha. This is, of course, what Father Gordon thinks of all my carry on about our intelligence services. Hahaha. Of course, I laughed out loud because, of course, he’s spot on. But, I digress.

Yesterday, a comment came in for moderation which included this appraisal:

“One thing love about you is how much you love being a priest. In another era your affinity for “spies” might have made you a great underground Jesuit somewhere where it was illegal to be a Catholic priest.”

“Another era…” Hmm… Let’s continue on the “day off.”

About 7:00 AM Sassy the Subaru was put in gear for an easy downhill ride to northeast Atlanta. If you’re ever passing through northeast Georgia, I recommend taking Hwy 19 with its frighteningly tight curves. It’s Georgia’s answer to the Tail of the Dragon up from my parish. Anyway, I had to complete the purchase of some specialized tactical items that had been on back order for some months and the order some other items that needed the know-how of a supervisor to put it through. What happened next on my “day-off” at FBI Atlanta certainly raised my eyebrows. But that’s best put in another post…

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Listen up, CIA! Dedicatio par aevum Heroic history: Joyce Kilmer Centennial

CIA MEMORIAL LANGLEY

Today’s the 100th anniversary of death by sniper of forward field intelligence officer Joyce Kilmer. He’s personally the heroic example of what would become the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which would itself turn into the Central Intelligence Agency.

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We had a memorial today, July 30, 2018, in the absolutely gorgeous National Forest dedicated to the memory of the great military operative Joyce Kilmer. Joyce, mind you, was a literary giant, compared even to G.K. Chesterton, certainly for his poetry. Look him up in Wikipedia. You won’t be disappointed.

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Descendants of Joyce Kilmer were there. The VFW was there in force, including the State and National Commanders. There were bagpipes, the bugle for Taps, the 21 gun salute.

I also had a part to play, offering a few religious words about heroism. I then had the great privilege of reciting the entire Rouge Bouquet included below.

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JOYCE KILMER: Memorial – Rev. George David Byers
July 30, 2018 – Centenary Memorial Service – Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Since Joyce Kilmer was a devout Catholic and since I’m the Catholic pastor of the local parish, I’ve been invited to say a few words to attempt to go the heart of who Joyce Kilmer is as a hero. Joyce’s Rouge Bouquet will then be read before a short prayer, followed by rendering honors and the Taps.

Joyce Kilmer was enthusiastically respected in all good friendship by his brothers in arms back in the day, a lively respect which continues today as we are now witnessing one hundred years later. Anyone who is profoundly immersed in their own times remains at one with us in all times. Joyce Kilmer is a hero because he leads us back to ourselves and who we are before God. Joyce’s poetical intervention about, say, any tree being awesome because of being just another tree, but made by God is an analogy bringing us into the lived reality of who any one of us is to be as a hero.

Like so many others in our topsy turvy society with wars and rumors of wars, in our day as people did in Joyce’s day, I have searched for heroism if not in all the wrong places then surely in all the wrong ways. Growing up in a military family, my father having been trained up at Parris Island as a Marine Fighter Attack Pilot in Guam, the Philippines, Japan, China and Korea, having been commander of the famed Checkerboard Squadron, I have bragged about him as my hero, perhaps making him too extra special. Joyce Kilmer knew there was a danger to making one tree more special than all the others, a danger of not seeing that we are all made by God, the danger of thinking that this other fellow is a hero so I don’t have to be one. That’s not the kind of respect a real hero wants.

At the same time I would go out of my way to greet any veteran I might see at a gas station or a supermarket or at church. I’ve learned NOT to say, “Thank you for your service,” as I would often get a half-hearted, or sad, or almost cynical if polite acknowledgment in return. To say “Thank you for your service” almost seems ungrateful to the very veteran before whom one stands, being thankful perhaps only for his or her service in unrepeatable circumstances so very far away, a fog of war that any veteran struggles to recount to anyone, a service which, therefore, is in danger of being forgotten if heroism is merely about things done, if heroism is just that specialized, that distant, that out of reach, my usual mistake of “he’s the hero so I don’t have to be one.”

To veterans then, I’ve learned NOT to say “Thank you for your service,” but simply, “Thank you.” The acknowledgment is immediate, sincere, one of appreciated solidarity. And yet, even in this thanksgiving there can still be something missing about the heroism Joyce Kilmer lived out, the heroism which won him the enthusiastic respect in all good friendship of his brothers in arms and of our own respect today.

An Army friend of mine who was taken up as a field agent of the CIA much along the lines of Joyce becoming a kind of distant forerunner of the best of our CIA operatives, reprimanded me, saying that I had much to learn about thanking any veteran. He said that a hero isn’t someone you thank so much as strive to imitate with intensity of service at whatever cost. That’s it, thought I foolishly. Striving to imitate intensity of service is a real compliment, a real thanksgiving, and goes a long way and is what any veteran would like to see from anyone. But it still isn’t the full story and is certainly not quite yet an appreciation of the kind of heroism lived out by Joyce Kilmer.

We’ve all heard veterans of foreign wars like Marcus Luttrell or Robert O’Neill say it; we’ve all heard our friends in Law Enforcement and Firefighting say it; I’m certain that most who are here today have said it, as heroes: “I’ve done nothing special.” And then they add what our Lord said we will all say should we make it into the gates of heaven: “I’ve only done what I had to do.” There are those who think that this is what humility is all about, misunderstanding this as some sort of self-deprecation. But they miss the point. This isn’t false humility to say “I’ve done nothing special.” It is to say in Joyce Kilmer’s analogy, that any tree is awesome among any other trees, each having been made by God, so that each tree, each person is to do what they have to do, what they’ve been given to do, what they’ve been called to do in whatever impossibly unrepeatable circumstances they happen to be in. We’re all called to be heroes.

What was so attractive about Joyce Kilmer to his brothers in arms and to us today is that he knew he had what we can all have by way of God: we can all have a love that is stronger than death, a love stronger than death. “Let me have the most dangerous assignment!” said Joyce Kilmer again and again. A love stronger than death given by God. That’s what we recognize as what we are all to have, a love stronger than death given by God; this is who we are all to be, one who lives out what we have to do, what we’ve been given to do, what we’ve been called to do in all our impossibly unrepeatable circumstances. What makes the hero is that which all can have, this God given love which is stronger than death. “Let me have the most dangerous assignment!”

So said the eternal Word of God the Father: let me have the most dangerous assignment; let me stand in their place, the innocent for the guilty, so that I might have the right in my own justice to have mercy on them. And we know what happened next: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life,” eternal life, a love stronger than death, the eternal Son of God, our warrior of goodness conquering evil because giving us of his love that is stronger than death so that we might also say: “Let me have the most dangerous assignment!” Jesus is the One hero, and we are all heroes in him, recognizing before this love that is stronger than death that is offered to us all, that we then do, in thanksgiving, what we have to do, what we’ve been given to do, what we’ve been called to do in all our own unrepeatable circumstances, as in Joyce’s day, so in our own. The thanksgiving that our hero veterans want to have is that we all become heroes.

My own prayer this day is that those who visit this forest, coming into contact with the eternal Creator of creation, might find out about the heroism of Joyce Kilmer, the heroism we can all have with that God-given love that is stronger than death, that love which is eternal. Only God can make a tree. Only God can make a hero. We thank God for all our heroes, begging that we might strive to imitate intensity of generosity by living out in our everyday circumstances, with enthusiasm, that love which is stronger than death. Thank you, Joyce. Thanks to all our veterans. Thanks to all our heroes. Thanks to Jesus for giving us a love stronger than death.

The Rouge Bouquet

In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave to-day,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugle sing: “Go to sleep! Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed
and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last, Go to sleep!”
There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
And touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons;
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say: “Farewell! Farewell!
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear, Shield us here. Farewell!”

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From the Catholic funerary rites:

Saints of God, come to their aid! Come to meet them angels of the Lord!
Receive their souls and present them to God the Most High.
May Christ, Who called you, take you to Himself; may angels lead you to Abraham’s side.
Receive their souls and present them to God the Most High.
Let us pray: We commend our brothers and sisters to you, Lord. Now that they have passed from this life, may they live on in Your presence. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Render honors…

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“Fr George, you can make a car bomb, a suicide vest, take out a building…”

suicide bomber land day 2001

And so it continues. People with ineffable military experience, with CVs including any number of alphabet agencies and institutes, offices and bureaus and divisions, come up to me to somehow bait me on whatever stupidity, such as, now most recently, bomb making. With their help I too, like them, can get as much C-4 as I want [technical advice on how to use it in what amounts], or otherwise spend a few dollars (literally just a few dollars) to prep up the necessary for a suicide vest [in such and such a way: technical advice] or otherwise hand-carried WMDs [technical, chemical advice], that would involve me, or be employed more remotely for, say, a car bomb because you know – Hey! – car bombs! Maybe I could go to [named building] it was suggested, and take it out by [technical, architectural advice here].

The old second person grammatical mistake – “You could…” replacing the impersonal third person – “One could…” – was no mistake in all this. After all, I am told, I have the perfect cover: a “priest”. I never said a word in all this. No questions. No notes. It was presented to me without me asking, presumably with incorrect and insufficient details. People like this can be honest, have integrity, and are baiting, not really knowing the full story, knowing that the full story cannot be known. Fine. Or they can do all this to get themselves more useful idiots. Here’s the deal: one cannot but make some small mistake. Meanwhile, bad stuff happens.

death gaza boy 2

I have to wonder how many people have been manipulated into doing whatever. In the most recent encounter I was told that the assignment he had in France was to bait people, manipulate people, have people do things without them knowing that they were doing his will, the will of those who assigned him to France to have such things accomplished, things that they would never have done on their own but were baited into doing. I have to wonder how many people have to die.

terrorist suicide bomberSee this kid in the picture of this paragraph? I stopped him for like ten years, but then he went ahead and did it – the suicide bombing thing – manipulated by others, including his own father, 21 dead (plus himself), and well over a hundred wounded (horrific life changing maiming etc), mostly Russian Jewish girls who had just arrived in Israel and had nothing to do with any violence with Palestinians. When will the manipulation stop?

Anyway, this most recent bomb guy, manipulator guy, did in fact make a mistake, two in fact. Purposed? Baiting? Dunno. This kind of thing goes on all the time. It’s all a “he said” “she said” kind of scenario. In fact, he told me that, and this isn’t the first time he said this: I could go ahead and say whatever and the simple question will be asked: Do you have proof? In a world of multiple levels of physical deniability? “Proof.” So, people continue to die. Violence is the way things are and will continue to be.

Jesus knows all about it. He used it for His own victory of laying down His own life for ours, the innocent for the guilty. That’s the one thing important. That’s the one thing these guys don’t include in their calculation. Really smart guys. They think they’ve got you with all their “insurance policy” extortion. But they’re perfectly lacking in wisdom. They only hurt themselves. Jesus continues to win. Love cuts through the deception of power for the sake of power. Why is that? Because in God, love is truth is power is goodness is kindness.

death gaza boy 1

If you think I’m letting violence just pass me by like I don’t care. Think again. Certain steps can be taken. This post is one of them. But there are more steps. I don’t think that I’ll be able to stop much of any violence. But – Hey! – like the Master, so the disciple. Jesus didn’t ask us to be successful in all ways, just in being faithful to His love and truth and goodness and kindness, that which these guys don’t fear, that which will overpower these guys when Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

I’ll be writing, please God, about his mistakes in posts to come. Stay tuned.

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Last time I read a Tom Clancy novel…

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“Uneven pacing…” Sounds like my life… Thank you for this. My last and only other was Sum of All Fears. It reminds me I have to write up the memorial for the Joyce Kilmer centenary memorial service on July 30 up in the Forest named after him. He was in the famed Rainbow Division. More on that later. I’m actually excited about reading Rainbow Six. The last time I read a Tom Clancy novel I wrote my own (which I only half put up). This may get me reinvigorated. With all the other stuff going on, I may be able to add some further intrigue, and a sequel, as if there wasn’t enough intrigue and me already not having an unpublished thought. ;-)

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Update: Why Rosenstein’s indictment betrays the intelligence community

spy vs spyUPDATE: Well, well. That only took a day for the White House to agree. The trouble is, they shouldn’t have had to think this through. This should have been known. Rosenstein is up to what? /////

When asked about Rosenstein’s indictment of twelve Russian GRU spies, Putin, of course, with a chuckle, invited Mueller and his investigators to come to Moscow to question them, adding, of course, with a chuckle, and entirely predictably, that his own investigators would then come to these USA to interrogate our own spies. Sounds fair, but what’s the upshot and why is this betrayal of the intelligence community? Because extensive proof would be wanted. We would have to reveal connections, contacts, assets, methods, capabilities, ways and means of all kinds. At any rate, that’s impossible on both sides, not just because neither side would want to do this, but because neither side could. The levels of impossible to overcome levels of physical deniability built into all programs, all actions, all deliveries of any kind of communications will stop any investigation in its tracks, even if everyone would sincerely want to cooperate. I mean, if you think you know something, a discovery, it’s only because it is desired by your opposition that you think this way.

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Day-Off: Assassins and Peripheries: Brothers of BVM of Mount Carmel

assassin hitman john wick under the gun

Sorry to be pedantic, but not even one person in this picture has proper trigger finger placement. They would all miss, even at that distance, shooting each other instead. How do I know that? ;-)

I’m a priest, and some think that it is odd, even untoward of me, even evil and bad of me, even making me suspect, if I step into the dark world of professional assassins and black ops operators, so that these few who criticize would resent my taking a day-off with some friends of mine. Why?

Have these critics been watching John Wick flicks and they think that that is what it’s all about? I didn’t even know who that fictional strained character was until someone [a fellow priest] expressed surprise at my total lack of cultural awareness when the name John Wick came up in conversation, and until I saw some scenes portrayed on youtube. The actor seems to have some street cred in that he actually trained to do what he puts out. Anyway…

Pope Francis told us, his Missionaries of Mercy, that we are to go into the darkest of existential peripheries (not that these are the darkest of anything). Ever prompt in my obedience to the Holy Father and wanting to be a good son of the Church, and certainly not wanting to do anything in half measures, I often head off into this world of “nothing is as it seems” – even beyond the borders of mere peripheries, in which the efficiency of death dealing betrays the falsity of apparently somersaulting loyalties.

A prostitute (now an activist invigorating laws against prostitution and getting girls off the street, who I introduced to now Saint John Paul II at Castel Gandolfo) once told me that, when she was still a “working girl”, a clergyman came into her working room while taking off his collar and putting this in his back pocket, as if this would make it all not matter. Later, as an activist, she met that guy in public and she asked him why he did what he did, and he answered that he didn’t think it mattered because people like her never convert anyway. You know, just like you can’t do anything for professional assassins and black ops operators… right? (I don’t mean to lump them all together so as to imply some sort of moral equivalence which is not there, but others do lump them all together, and that’s not right).

On my “day off” just the other day, the conversation of very many hours ranged widely. This was with the blackest of black op operators with the Military and The Company:

  • We discussed how some individuals are sloppy in their work of assassination, including some recent visitors to the parish who are known to me and how their mistakes are making for conclusions that are actually based on double-reversed baiting in that crazy and frenzied world of “nothing is as it seems.” He was quite disgusted with the state of affairs of field work with […].
  • We discussed, at length, the ill-forged empire building so despised by Bill Binney and a term which this guy brought up on his own. The technical phrase “empire building” has been thrown around with well founded cynicism for decades, and refers to preferring the most expensive solution so as to build more buildings, hire more people, buy more toys and more elaborate ways and means, ensuring one’s relevance to one’s own position of power, but has nothing whatsoever to do with national security, but in fact manipulates a lack of security (with purposed catastrophic consequences) toward the end of empire building. There are assassins, of course, who do nothing more than protect empire building. That’s too bad. And if that’s not in and beyond the darkest of existential peripheries I don’t know what is. Ah, but then there’s this:
  • We discussed analogous situations in the Church, where, for some, it’s only about power. Indeed. I’ve seen really a lot of that. Wherever people are to be found with a fallen human nature, there is where you will find at least a temptation to power for the sake of power cut off from service, cut off from love, cut off from truth, and therefore only an apparent power. A mirage having catastrophic consequences.
  • We discussed humility. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. A lack of humility is all so typical. Fallen human nature is so predictable. We could read it like a book, even if as a sliced palimpsest in purposed Kryptos, if we were but humble in being redeemed, seeing firstly in ourselves the lack we think we may find in others. But who has that humility? No one. Except by the freely given gift of our Redeemer. Humility is of absolutely essential importance. Power corrupts when there is pride which blinds.
  • We discussed a panorama of fires started by firemen, so to speak, involving wars and destructions of societies (I discovered more just how naive I am), all for the sake of coming up with a supposed need for empire building. This hit home, I must say, as I have had questions for many decades about various entirely anomalous and inexplicable, impossible situations that I saw firsthand in various countries, and now I know the rest of the story. How many have to die for empire building? I have friends who have suffered greatly until this day because of empire building. How very naive I have been. This priest learns from those who others overlook.
  • We discussed, mind you, the heights and depths and width and breadth, so to speak – respecting the Mystery, of course – of the Most Holy Trinity, that eternal dance of love, so to speak, and the living truth and love of Jesus walking among us, and the wherewithal therefore of us walking in God’s presence even in this world even as we step into the darkest of dark places. I let him bring the discussion around to the Most Holy Trinity. That’s all his description. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Do you think it’s impossible for certain people to know God? Pffft. Take a day-off!

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Then, of course, the conversation turned to guns, which are, for me, more of a recreation than anything else, though a proper self-defense is indeed proper and sometimes needed, even by me. Pictured above is this gentleman’s mid-1980s Sig P226 variant. It’s what he’s used since it came out, you know, for work. I walked away with the gun of this best shot in the world (at least for a while, at least among our operators of all branches and groups of the military and our intelligence crowd here and abroad), you know, just to compare it with my Glock on the next day off. I will give it back, perhaps by means of a third person. I did get a few rounds out the other day just before nightfall. Yikes. I was instantly 1000% more accurate. Like coming home.

Anyway, I described to him what I enjoy doing with timed courses, SEAL, FBI, FAM… and he shook his head in disbelief, impatience. He said that each timed stage should be about 60% faster than what those courses dictate. He told me how to take the next step beyond these mere courses and how not to miss with multiple moving entirely way too small targets. Extremely counter-intuitive. I’ve seen a couple of others do this. It works. But I digress. That would all be a second step in gunslingery, with me stuck in the first. But there’s a third stage, more physiological/psychological. But I digress again.

I stopped writing here, yesterday, as it was then time to bring one of my elderly, poor and without family shut-ins to see her doctor, some hours away in these back mountains. It’s the Missionary of Mercy thing to do on my “day-on.” When we got back, she gave me a chair to fix, as it had collapsed on her.

Now, having spruced up the above writing with some pictures, it will go out on the blog. But my question for you is this:

  • Have you ever written anyone off?

If you have a talk with that very person about Jesus and humility, you might be surprised. You might learn something from them. I’m learning all the time.

Post-script: Oh. I almost forgot. The title to this post has something about the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We recall – don’t we? – that these fierce crusaders, the special op operators of their day, overflowing with experiences of kills, after their duties of crusading were accomplished, went to Mount Carmel to do prayer warfare. But, mind you, this was for six months of the year in their little hermitages (I’ve been in them) and their common church (I have a piece of the cross that went over the entrance that the Discalced Carmelites let me have when I showed it to them). But, mind you, the other six months these “hermits” went down the mountain and throughout the greater Israel to preach up a storm, crusading again, this time with the sword of the Word of God. Don’t think for a second that they were somehow not on speaking terms with their friends of the crusades, their fellow “operators”, who had stayed on to watch over the re-establishment of civilization in the Holy Land, or that they somehow underestimated anyone’s capacity to walk in the presence of our Lord. The Brothers of the BVM didn’t underestimate our Lord’s work with anyone. Again, the question, do I? Do you? Yikes!

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Strzok’s future tense insurance policy

strzok insurance policy

Peter Strzok sent a *text* about Trump to Lisa Page concerning how a meeting in Andy McCabe’s office played out. Lisa wants to know why Strzok embarrassed her in front on Andy, dissing her short-sighted plan in favor of his own, which includes an “insurance policy.” So, Strzok says to her:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

A life insurance policy isn’t put into effect until death comes about. In the analogy, the election of Trump is the death. So, to be pedantic, what happened in the meeting based on this text is as follows:

  • Lisa Page presented a plan merely to make sure that Trump would not get elected. That’s bad enough, but that’s all she has.
  • Peter Strzok has another plan, an insurance policy, which he had presented, stomping down Lisa’s lesser plan. Strzok’s own plan, his insurance policy, is to do something that will remove Trump should he in fact get elected. This is the object back-referenced with “It’s.”

The effective date of Strzok’s insurance policy coming into play does NOT refer to a pre-election time period, but only from the announcement moving forward that Trump has won the election.

And now Strzok is being backed into a corner. People do bad stuff when they are backed into corners. He could put his insurance policy into play at any time. I’m guessing that he doesn’t want to wait much longer. They are so sure of themselves that they can still make it happen. Way overconfident. People make mistakes when they are overconfident. And they have made a mistake.

Just a note to some “friends”: Extortion speaks to the players, to the motives, to those involved. It puts just a bit too much of an edge on things. It’s a mistake.

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Adoration, Rosaries… MOAB!

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Sundays are busy:

  • 6:00-7:00 AM – Adoration at Holy Redeemer in Cherokee County. This includes the Rosary or a chaplet, Lauds from the Liturgy of the Hours, lots of singing and other devotions. Full Benediction. While adorers are leading those prayers, I’m hearing confessions which are very well attended.
  • 7:00-7:30 AM – race up to Prince of Peace in Graham County
  • 7:30-8:00 AM – set up the church for Adoration and Mass. The above picture is from yesterday in Robinsville. Adoration includes Rosary. Again, I’m available for confessions during this time.
  • 8:30 AM – simple reposition and then Mass
  • 10:00 AM – race back to Holy Redeemer in Cherokee County
  • 10:30 AM – Confessions while the Rosary is led by others in church
  • 11:00 AM – Mass
  • 12:15 PM – Social in the social hall
  • 2:00 PM – Quarterly Finance Council meeting
  • 3:30 PM – Communion Calls (@ 100 miles across four counties) ending 8:30 PM. All the stops were super-inspiring for me, watching Jesus at work. Absolutely beautiful. I love being a priest. I love being with the sick and shut-ins and the dying.
  • 8:30 PM – Feed eager Laudie-dog and enthusiastic Shadow-dog, and, finally, me.
  • 9:00 PM – Go through some emails, and missed phone calls and social media.
  • Zero-Dark-Who-Knows – zonked out: Oh angel of God, my guardian dear…

Meanwhile, people you meet in this tiniest of all parishes in the middle of nowhere are always amazing. After Mass in Robinsville I met the guy who, hundreds of miles and four hours away from home, now on a yearly camping trip in these parts… a guy who, after a lifetime in the Military, went to work on designing MOAB or GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (the “Mother Of All Bombs”). He’s a devout Catholic, very active in the apostolate, as is his wife. He spoke of the “kill-zone” being a 25 mile radius. I said it would be better to call it a “stop the threat” zone (using concealed carry terminology). He laughed at that immediately – which tells me something – and admitted that that was not his language, but that of his physicists. Here’s one of his nerdy scientists talking us through a test explosion.

How to say it? “Unconventional-Conventional”? All war is hell. No one “likes war.” But, because of unjust aggression, there it is. If something like the MOAB gets us a step away from nuclear bombs that’s a step in the right direction. You can avoid:

  • Nuclear radiation for the unforeseeable future in affected areas
  • Nuclear winter
  • Nuclear famine
  • Billions of people dying for consequences of even regional conflicts

But besides all that, carpet bombing populations is immoral. That’s true. But this isn’t true of a MOAB if it’s not used on a population center. I would never say that this guy wants his MOAB dropped on population centers. No. We did use the MOAB once for real, and it was used in the middle of nowhere, taking out 36 militants.

But, of course, it could happen. That’s true. The U.S. dropped nukes on the only two solidly Catholic population centers in Japan. And, yes, I’ve been having this discussion with those involved in one way or the other off an on for decades, since the early 1980s. It’s simply not true that killing so many innocent people just to make an intellectual point about power is ever a good thing even if the consequences are good, such as stopping a war. You can always find another way. Tell people to look at their military base in the middle of nowhere and explode it while they are looking. That’s more than enough.

Any tool could be used the wrong way. That’s not the tool’s fault. A butter knife is a good thing, but it can be used the wrong way. A car is a good thing, but it can be used the wrong way. So…

Meanwhile, in the midst of designing such bombs, there is time for prayer, is there not? Yes, there is. Adoration. Rosaries. Even in this tiniest of all parishes. Prayer is, after all, the greatest of all weapons beating down any need for a defensive war in which one might have the need to make a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by making use of such a thing. Again, all war is hell, but Jesus has faced and conquered all of hell. You might say that the love of God shouldn’t make up part of an analogy with weapons of war. But Satan thinks of prayer and the love of God in exactly that way. It is always the love of God, but for those who reject love, it is more devastating than any kind of bomb whatsoever. For Satan, God’s love is hell. For humans on this earth, it’s a chance for conversion from darkness to light.

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Double Rainbow

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The above double rainbow was seen after Mass yesterday evening over the rectory (the house with the sunshine shining on it). The sunshine you see on the far side of the street leads up to the Veterans Memorial.

For a long time, Father Gordon MacRae is trying to get me to read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six apparently on the exploits of a counterterrorism unit. The problem is that I’m the most un-well-read priest in the world. I read one other book by Tom, The Sum of All Fears, perhaps exactly twenty years ago, which is about the only novel I’ve ever read in my life. The problem is to actually order it.

Meanwhile, the time draws near for the centennial memorial of Joyce Kilmer here at his memorial forest at Slick Rock in the western reaches of Graham County in the Smoky Mountains. In my opinion, Joyce should have a star on the memorial wall of the CIA for his own activities which brought him to his death. The CIA and even its forerunner were not yet founded, but there’s a pretty direct line. Another reason why the CIA has been dubbed the Catholic Intelligence Agency. Joyce was a member of the famed Rainbow Division, actually The Fighting 69th.

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SR-71 Blackbird ‘Speed Check’

This is Major Brian Shul, USAF (Ret.). I gotta thank him for this story. It makes me recall my own dad, who also had lots of fun flying what was, in his day, back in the day, by far the fastest plane on earth. Hah. Lol. I love it. I bet he did this exact same thing, not on the West coast, but rather on the Eastern Seaboard teaching the guys to fly there. We’re getting closer to getting dad’s citations for his DFCs. Colonel “J” just had me sign some “standing” papers. :-)

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I fought for you

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Homily 2018 05 28 – Memorial Day

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Before Mass at Noon we all marched outside and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, as is the custom on this Memorial Day, we raised the flag which had been at half mast in honor of the fallen heroes, and then quickly raised at Noon to honor their achievements for the country and the world. I was sopping wet under the vestments, as I had just been to the cemetery. It was raining. But, you’ll hear about that. And about this 16 year old…

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That kind of brings it home. You’ll hear about that…

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