Saturday, April 15, 2017

This American Life: Were The Chechen Bombings False Flag Attacks Orchestrated By Putin?

Image result for false flag
Did Putin Orchestrate "The Chechen Terror Attacks" To Consolidate His Own Power?
This American Life

(Alan: Please note that the following post remains unedited but since I am now leaving to celebrate Easter Vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina, I consider more important to upload this post in its current form for those readers who are pondering the Easter Mystery.) 

Dear R,

I have long marveled at how quickly (and easily) we "make up" our minds about "issues" and "personalities" when we know almost nothing of the motivations behind our own behavior. 

"Celebrities," by virtue of their celebrity - are masters of "image-making"their hired hands professional propagandists well-versed in the art of "manufacturing consent."

Manufactured Consent

Here are two pertinent Merton passages.

"You are fed up with words and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes.  I am also, to tell the truth, nauseated by ideals and with causes.  This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean.  It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it.  And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make meaning be there again by magic..."

"Do not depend on the hope of results.  When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect.  As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real.  In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything."  

Even if we believe that the following cartoon represents everyone's political situation, I still believe in Liberal Democracy, the system of governance with its roots in The European Enlightenment.

Image result for lesser of two evils

I do not believe in plutocracy, theocracy or kleptocracy.

I think I can hold my own with anyone in my criticism of Uncle Sam and the vapidity of what usually passes for patriotism.

Even so, I think that the formal structure of America's liberal democracy -- -- is immeasurably preferable to the plutocracy of Trump, the theocracy of Saudi Arabia and kleptocracy of Putin's Russia.

I also think that "we don't know what we've got til it's gone."

And it is going fast.

Trump Will Go Full-Throttle Fascist Following The First Major Terror Attack.
Putin Knows This. (He Also Knows How To Hack The United States.)

These are my beliefs.

I think they are reasonably well-informed.

I also realize that -- at bedrock -- we all make acts of faith and that the presumption of absolute knowledge is, somewhat ironically, destructive of faith.

I am not looking for perfection and harbor a core belief that the pursuit of perfection lends itself to psycho-, social and political pathology.

Progress, not perfection.

Religion and Perfectionism

Please listen to the "Prologue" and "Act One" of today's "This American Life." If you do, I think you will want to hear the rest.

Did Putin Orchestrate "The Chechnyan Terror Attacks" To Consolidate His Own Power?
This American Life

Compendium Of Best Pax Posts About The Relationship Between Trump And Putin
Compendium Of Pax Posts About Russian Electoral Manipulation

Near the beginning of "Orthodoxy" Chesterton says that human life is a shipwreck and that our duty is to dive into that wreck in order to salvage what is helpful, beautiful and true. 

Pax On Both Houses: Compendium Of G.K. Chesterton Posts

As mentioned in my last letter I believe that we are all guilty all the time. The dawn of human consciousness so divided the human psyche that "The Original Division" -- the knowledge of the fruits of the Tree of Good and Evil -- was the species original sin. 

And with that original sin came the interminably long, slow stain of the world. 


Tonight, in the Easter vigil mass, we will celebrate "The Exsultet," that inimitably boisterous clamor which makes sure -- in the most important celebration of the liturgical year -- that every Christian realizes that original sin was "A Happy Sin" -- a "felix culpa" -- for without that original sin we would have remained unconscious, and in our comfortable unconsciousness as intellectually, morally and emotional inert as a ruminant animal grazing in pasture.

Idyllic in its own way but "eh..."

Blessedly, great good can come from evil -- actually needs evil as its predicare -- a circumstance occupying the "tail" of the same coin whose "head" insures that "imposition of The Best" results in evil.

Consider the Easter Exsultet - - traditionally sung by the vigil mass celebrant whose full-throated clamor competes with acolytes instructed to ring their bells as cacophonously as possible.

In this remarkable prayer -- this sonic duel -- the following passage cuts to the quick of the human condition, and (for me) expresses the most satisfying of all theodicies: how evil -- even great evil -- can elicit good - even great good. The summum bonum

"This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!"

Smarmy Christians will do their best to deny the existential relationship between good and evil but they can be no more successful than those who would deny that Yeshua's slaughter opened The Full Conduit of Grace.


Here is a beautifully sung version of the Easter Exsultet as translated in the new Missal: 

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