Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Book Report: Seth Abramson's "Proof of Collusion"

The good news is that America will survive.

The bad news...

...we are being governed by a criminal conspiracy compromised by a foreign adversary, Putin's Russia.

Abramson's book is unique in historical journalism. He is not an investigative reporter as were Woodward and Bernstein. Well, both of those guys are still around, but not like they were in the days of Nixon. Abramson provides in disturbing detail a narrative from the public record of the crimes of #Individual1 (donald j. trump) and his associates. Most importantly, and as Rober Mueller has now concurred in court filings, the quid pro quo is revealed that the trump family and presidential campaign conspired with Putin's Russia to elect #Individual1 and with the promise of financial rewards in Russian real estate deals in exchange for the removal of sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine and interference in U.S. elections.

The book is disturbing and hard to accept, except that Abramson has been proven correct in his predictions and reporting to date. Abramson's book is basically a narrative of the long Twitter threads he has been providing over the past couple of years analyzing the alleged crimes of #Individual1. There is some cosmic justice that a well-researched and reasoned Twitter feed will help bring down a president who has a dynamic and occasionally damning presence on Twitter. This modern political world is blessed and cursed by new technologies.

I could only read this book after the revelations in court last week confirming the criminal conspiracy far exceeding the Watergate break-in and cover-up. And there's some satisfaction in writing this on the day #Individual1's personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison even though fully cooperating with the investigations (Mueller had recommended lighter sentencing, the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York recommended a bit harsher treatment in the financial investigations and prosecutions ongoing there).

Amazingly as he was sentenced, Cohen said he was finally "free."

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Eve 1841, Llanfoist, Wales

It isn't much, but another missionary journal from my 4th Great-Grandmother, Elinor Vaughan's era in Llanfoist tells us:
“My next appointment was at Llanfoist where I found a steady and attentive congregation. This is a dark and sootey place owing to the vast amount of coal and iron works here.” 

James Palmer Reminiscences, circa 1884-1898 LDS CHL MS 1752_f0001_00071. 

This source must be based on a contemporaneous journal as there are dates that would not be remembered unless recorded somehow. James Palmer occasionally traveled with Elder John Needham who baptized Elinor Jenkins Vaughan on 17 December 1841, just one week before the Christmas Eve meeting in Llanfoist. Elder Palmer also helped establish the Branch at Llanthony in the Black Mountains and was the first missionary to preach in Abersychan in June 1841, apparently without much success.

Elder Palmer is credited with the first recorded baptism in South Wales. His Reminiscences records that on either the 23rd or 30th of November, 1840, he baptized John Preece and William Williams in the River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire. It just so happens that I took pics there on my visit last Good Friday, not knowing about this history (even though it's recorded in Truth Will Prevail: the Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles 1837-1987 (University Press, Cambridge, UK 1987), p. 240, as well as the Reminiscences at p. 13.)

The River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales. First baptisms in South Wales near here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Worse than Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold in Continental Army Uniform

It could be argued that Benedict Arnold was simply loyal to King George III as the king still claimed sovereignty over the American Colonies and had sent an occupying army to suppress a colonial rising. And fortunately, General Arnold's plan to deliver the fort at West Point on the Hudson was foiled by exposure of the plot.

I suppose one could also argue that Individual 1 is merely loyal to his highest interest, his own view of a great America with him at its head. It all revolves around him and it's all in his head under that mass of highly controlled hair cover which must take so much work it helps explains why the rest of his appearance is so slovenly.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Shoes are Dropping like Cats and Dogs or Something

This is the message I sent to Utah Senator Mike Lee's office early this morning:
Dear staffer reading this. Please consider sharing this idea with Sen. Lee. He has the chance to step up and be a big leader and advocate for the MAJORITY of Utahns. Mueller is about to drop some more shoes in the investigation that show Trump and his admin compromised by Russia in financial and political dealings. Trump is not popular in Utah even among Republicans and Trump support is dropping. It's going to get worse. We need a Statesman to come forward who will help save country and the Republican party from the constitutional crisis of a criminally compromised executive with an adverse foreign power - Putin's Russia. Please get the Senator to step up and be that Statesman. Work with your new freshman Senator, Romney, and get him going on this. It shouldn't take much prodding. Get him to take it on as a project like saving the SLC Olympics. But Lee can take the lead here and be a big hero. Your party is in trouble (I'm a Dem myself). And our Nation is in peril. Please have the Senator step up and deal with trump's apparent crimes here. Many thanks. Please do not respond to me.
#Individual1 is going down soon. Mueller has the goods. The startling revelations in his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen's, strangely additional guilty plea of last Friday are a marker laid down by the Special Counsel that he has the evidence on the whole criminal conspiracy of #Individual1, his family enterprises, his administration, and Putin's Russia.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Thanksgiving Prayer from Henry Vaughan

These lines from my distant cousin, the Silurist Poet Henry Vaughan, match my sentiments on a Thanksgiving Day morning. From his poem, The Bee:
The truth, which once was plainly taught,With thorns and briars now is fraught.Some part is with bold fables spotted,Some by strange comments wildly blotted;And Discord—old Corruption's crest—With blood and blame hath stain'd the rest.So snow, which in its first descentsA whiteness, like pure Heav'n, presents,When touch'd by man is quickly soil'd,And after, trodden down and spoil'd.
O lead me, where I may be freeIn truth and spirit to serve Thee!Where undisturb'd I may converseWith Thy great Self; and there rehearseThy gifts with thanks; and from Thy store,Who art all blessings, beg much more.
Give me the wisdom of the bee,And her unwearied industry!That from the wild gourds of these days,I may extract health, and Thy praise,Who canst turn darkness into light,And in my weakness show Thy might.

Welsh Black Bee

Monday, November 12, 2018


Last March, I was privileged to visit Hereford Cathedral when the weeping window of poppies was on display in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I. It was raining.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Prayer for Election Day

Dear Father of All,

We thank Thee for the blessings of living in a land of liberty where are free to govern ourselves for the good of all.

We pray that we can elect honest and wise people to assist us in our self-governance, that the purpose of the Constitution may be established that man not be in bondage one to another.

We are grateful for the inspired Constitution to protect us in our rights to worship Thee and to join with others in free assembly of all varieties for doing good and for open discussion of ideas and petitions to our government.

We are grateful for the results of a tragic Civil War for a more perfect Union that allowed our forebearers to prohibit slavery and establish that all people of the United States share the same rights of equality and fair treatment regardless of their station and conditions of life.