Monday, December 24, 2018

This Christmas is not the same

It's Christmas Eve as I write this and I'm in an unusual frame of mind. I can best describe my mood as peaceful and grateful but with an undercurrent of unease permeating my emotional landscape.

I'm not a traditional kind of Christian. Over the last 20 years or so, I've morphed into what might be best described as an ethical Christian. Don't buy into the heaven and hell stuff but believe strongly that the teachings and life of Jesus are a shining and unique example of how people should live.

The meaning of Christmas and the feelings it brings for many of us are still a very big deal for me. It gives me a real feeling of hope for weeks leading up the Christmas Day itself. I typically walk around feeling that peace and goodwill to men sentiment pretty strongly, with carols playing in my head all the while.

But this year, it's different.

This year,  there is a dark, ominous cloud hanging over those tidings of great joy.

It seems so foreboding that as we celebrate the coming of God's divine life living among us, our National life is being sullied and our collective peace has been torn apart by a hateful and dangerous demagogue.

The peace and goodwill part of the Christmas message rings hollow with a hateful and ego-driven man whose creed in life is to hit back ten times harder if offended or slighted purporting to lead our country.

A man who lashes out with fury and vitriol at any perceived offense or even when someone simply fails to sufficiently stoke his ego or sing his praises.

Reading of daily outbursts of that sort at this formerly-glorious time of year does tend to spoil the happy remembrances of the angels' song. I'm not hearing that hope-filled message of the Christ-child coming to earth, being born of a simple, humble maiden.

The angels, shepherds, oxen and lamb keep the sacred, awe-filled vigil as... as the rage-filled, spiteful, revenge-obsessed man-baby plots to sew more chaos throughout his kingdom and to silence and humiliate the critics, the non-believers who recoil from his twisted message or dare to resist his reign of vitriol and hate.

The story of the divine child in the manger is crowded out by the advent of this modern-day Herod who forces the infant to prematurely flee to Egypt, with Mary and Joseph cutting short their sojourn in the sacred stable, riding away on the ox that witnessed the Holy Nativity.

In my heart-of-hearts, I can't see the Divine One swaddled and laying peacefully in that humble altar of wood and straw; I can't hear the Christmas message of the word-made-flesh; I cannot feel the dawning of a new era of peace, hope and reconciliation.

I can only feel the hot breath of hate, the elevation of cruelty to the highest stratum of heaven and the gathering of the sinister storm which will pull the curtains from the temple, exile the children of promise and sully every teaching, every precept of goodwill, righteousness and reconciliation.

This Christmas is different. This Christmas is filled with a sense of fear and foreboding. This Christmas is sullied by selfishness and scorn; despoiled by a new advent of greed and cruelty.

This year the hopeful message of Christmas is drowned out by the droning of a baleful message of division, heartlessness and hate.

Child of the manger, deliver us from this darkness and despair!  Grant a new dawn of hope among all people of goodwill, all who still listen to hear the angels' song!

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2018 Benjamin Basile

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mueller memo detailing Flynn's lies--a follow up

I wanted to post with a quick follow up to yesterday's piece.

When the time came for Flynn to be sentenced earlier today, his legal team begged Judge Sullivan to push everything back 90 days.

The Judge had expressed outrage about what Flynn had done, after the full extent of his misdeeds had been revealed. To get up-to-date, see yesterday's post or search "Flynn sentencing".

In light of Judge Sullivan's anger, Mr Flynn's attorneys wisely begged for more time. I'd call it a cooling off period, of sorts as they knew that Gen Flynn was at dire risk at that moment of being hit with a much stiffer sentence than he had faced before the contents of the government's FD-302 memo came to light.

So the report on Flynn's punishment is that there's no report!

Not today, at any rate.

Watch this space...

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Don't feel like searching? Here's a link to a story that sums up today's court proceedings.

Mueller memo detailing Flynn's lies is released

Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is about to be sentenced. As many of you know, Judge Emmet Sullivan will be imposing Flynn's sentence this week and had ordered the Feds to show their work, so to speak.

Flynn's attorneys had intimated that the FBI and prosecutors had essentially tricked Flynn into cutting his own throat by not explicitly informing him that bad things would happen if he lied to them.

Judge Sullivan is quite possibly the Federal judge most likely to bristle at the very thought of prosecutorial overreach. So it's certainly no surprise and there's been a ton of speculation about what would be in the docs once their contents were revealed in his courtroom.

Well, yesterday, Monday, December 17th, Mueller's team finally had a chance to show their hand. The release of their memo detailing Mike Flynn's deceptions in his January 2017 FBI interview has undercut Flynn's legal team's half-whispered claims that the bureau was biased against their client.

This story from The Chicago Tribune is very thorough and lays out clearly the details of this latest development in the proceedings against Flynn. 

Indie journo Marcy Wheeler dives a little deeper into precisely how Monday's memo--which is called an FD-302--lays bare this deception by Flynn's legal team. Their claims of alleged FBI bias against Flynn ring hollow once you know the back story.

I'm not sure you can blame Flynn's attorneys for trying to bamboozle the court now that Judge Sullivan is ready to sentence their hapless client.

But the gambit didn't work. And Mike Flynn is about to become the latest Trump underling to go down for being complicit in the boss's treasonous crimes.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile