Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”
Tiedeman states that the police powers under the constitution are strictly limited to enforcing the maxim: "use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another" (1886)Cache
Tiedeman states that the police powers under the constitution are strictly limited to enforcing the maxim: “use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another” (1886)
James Madison argues that the constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the "the true nurse of executive aggrandizement" (1793)Cache
James Madison argues that the constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the “the true nurse of executive aggrandizement” (1793)
|Cache||“The Constitution never envisioned anything like this.”|
|Cache|| In case anyone still out there has any sense of humor…a Saturday flashback from an old post. Warning to Little Red Riding Hood – don’t go to the theatre no one can warn you. Ok. I exaggerated. What she said was: Nancy Pelosi: “The constitution does not say that a person can yell […]|
|Cache||When the House impeaches an official, does the Senate have to act? The Constitution does not directly address this question, but Senate rules do. Matt Glassman: |
But, but, but...
by Blair Stenvick
A case going before the United States Supreme Court on Monday morning could fundamentally change Oregon’s criminal court system—and while most legal experts in Oregon support the potential change, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is urging the Supreme Court to maintain the status quo.
The case, Ramos v. Louisiana, asks the court to consider whether state-level split-jury convictions—that is, criminal convictions that do not require a fully unanimous jury—are constitutional or not. The case concerns Evangelisto Ramos, a man who was convicted of second-degree murder by a 10-2 jury decision in 2016.
A 10-2 jury split was the minimum standard for most criminal convictions in Louisiana, but voters overturned the policy in a statewide ballot measure last year. That left Oregon as the last remaining state in the nation to allow split-jury decisions—which would change if the Supreme Court rules that all split-jury convictions are unconstitutional.
Both Louisiana and Oregon’s split-jury rules had roots in racism and xenophobia; in Louisiana, the policy stemmed from Jim Crow-era law, while Oregon’s law can be traced back to 1930s anti-immigrant sentiment. A recent Pulitzer Prize-winning analysis by Louisiana newspaper The Advocate found that split-jury convictions affect Black defendants much more often than white ones.
Both criminal justice reform advocates like the Oregon Justice Resource Center and mainstream legal groups like the Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA)—two groups that often find themselves on opposite ends of an issue—support overturning Oregon’s split-jury rule.
“[It]t is a hallmark of our justice system that it should be difficult to take someone’s liberty,” wrote an ODAA member in an Oregonian op-ed last year. “That’s exactly why defendants in criminal cases enjoy the presumption of innocence and the prosecutor must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Adding the requirement of unanimity is another important safeguard against both wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.”
Rosenblum is also on the record as opposing split-jury convictions, saying she would support a statewide ballot measure banning them. But when it comes to Ramos in particular, Rosenblum falls on the side of stalling change, going so far as to submit a legal brief to the Supreme Court asking them to rule in favor of Louisiana.
In a statement shared with media in August, Rosenblum said she was concerned that a ruling in favor of Ramos could “require new trials in hundreds, if not thousands, of cases” in Oregon, which could in turn clog Oregon’s court system. She said her brief “in no way undercuts my view that Oregon should require juror unanimity in criminal cases going forward"—rather, she is worried about the potentially retroactive nature of a Ramos decision.
Aliza Kaplan, a law professor at Lewis & Clark and the co-founder of the Oregon Innocence Project, told the Mercury that in her opinion, Rosenblum is “acting like the sky is falling,” and that her estimate of cases that could be re-opened is likely overblown. Rosenblum’s office recently furnished Kaplan with a list of 292 cases that could be re-tried should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Ramos, but when Kaplan analyzed 110 of them, she found just 14 that she said would fit the legal requirements for relitigating.
And even if the ruling would overwhelm state courts, Kaplan said, that isn’t reason enough to oppose it.
“The Constitution should always trump any administrative inconvenience or burden,” she said. “This is about preserving individual rights and liberties.”
There are many moral and racial arguments for doing away with non-unanimous jury convictions. There are also commonsense arguments for keeping split-jury decisions: namely, that they make for a more efficient legal system, because they reduce the risk of having a hung jury. But Monday’s Ramos hearing will likely center around a more technical legal issue.
It is already established law that people are entitled to a unanimous jury at the federal level, thanks to the Sixth Amendment, which is part of the original Bill of Rights. But it is yet to be determined whether that right is extended to the state level through the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “due process,” or fair legal proceedings, to states. This practice—extending federal Bill of Rights protections to states through the 14th Amendment—is known as the “incorporation doctrine.”
The Supreme Court has already made many rulings based on incorporation doctrine—earlier this year, for example, it ruled that a right to not face excessive fines should apply to states, as opposed to only applying at the federal level. If the Supreme Court decides that split-jury verdicts are unconstitutional, it will likely be for that same reason.
Although the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Ramos on Monday morning, it is not required to release its decision until June 2020.
It remains to be seen what the exact effect of a pro-Ramos ruling could have on Oregon’s legal system. But for Kaplan, no cost could outweigh the benefit of abolishing split-jury decisions.
“Too much justice,” she said, “is not really a problem.”
If you were worried about the country turning into one big Handmaid's Tale scenario, you can sleep a little easier tonight. A federal judge blocked the bill from going into effect while it's being challenged. The restrictive law, which would ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus, was supposed to go into effect on January 1st of next year. Abortions would be illegal at around six weeks into pregnancy, a point where many women don't even know they're pregnant. Currently, Georgia allows an abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy, and that's the way it's going to stay for now.
In his ruling, Judge Jones noted that the U.S. supreme court has "repeatedly and unequivocally" held up Roe vs. Wade, and that the Constitution allows a woman to receive an abortion about 24 weeks into her pregnancy. "By banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, HB 481 prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy at a point before viability," District Judge Steve C. Jones said.
The bill also would also count a fetus as a person once the heartbeat was detected, counting the fetus as part of the population of Georgia before they were born. Judge Jones had a problem with this change as well. "HB 481 changes the definition of a natural person in Georgia, but defendants have been unable to point to any guidance for law enforcement or the judiciary on how to implement that change throughout the code," Judge Jones wrote.
The federal judge's ruling comes after an intense debate over the bill. Despite an outcry against HB 481, it was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in May. Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Georgia in June, shortly after the bill was signed. Other attempts at restrictive abortion laws in Arkansas and Mississippi have also been blocked.
The groups that moved to prevent the ban from going into place are celebrating. "To the countless Georgians who spoke out against this ban and were ignored, we promised to keep fighting every step of the way and we have," Staci Fox, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Southeast said in a statement. "To our partners, we promised we were in this together and we are. To Governor Kemp, we promised to see you in court, and we did. But most importantly, to our patients, we promised to protect access to safe, legal abortion and together we have."
The bill still has to go through the courts, and its fate has yet to be determined. But for now, the block on the ban should come as good news for those opposing the restrictive rule.
One of the darkest refrains of the Trump presidency have been the crowds at his rallies chanting "Lock her up" at the mention of Hillary Clinton's name.
The idea that an American president would threaten to imprison a political rival smacks of authoritarian tactics that have no place in a democracy.
These days, the chants seem rather ironic being that Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives for trying to extort the president of Ukraine. If Trump is removed from office, he may face legal consequences for his actions which could mean jail time.
"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert had fun with the idea of Trump being locked up on his show Monday night when his guests were former Secretary of State Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea.
At the start of the interview, Colbert asked Clinton about the impeachment inquiry saying, "Is it time to — dare I say — lock him up?"
Then the crowd began chanting "Lock him up" to Clinton's chagrin and then she motioned with her hand to tamp down the chanting.
When the crowed quieted, Clinton said that the impeachment inquiry is "exactly what should be done."
"I believe strongly that this particular incident has had such a huge impact because we've known for a long time that he [Trump] was a corrupt businessman who cheated people, and we've known that he and his campaign asked for aid from Russia, we've known that," said Clinton.
"But to see him in the office of the president putting his own personal and political interest ahead of the national security of our country just pierced through whatever confusion or denial people had. And, at that point, Speaker Pelosi rightly said this is something we have to investigate and that's what's going on."
Colbert admits that Trump's dealings with Ukraine have changed his opinion on impeachment.
"I was never a big 'let's impeach him' fan," Colbert said. "I thought we should go to the ballot box. But when someone is clearly using the office that they're in to subvert the ballot box. To use by corrupt means influence fro other countries to maintain their office, what good is that ballot box at that point?"
Clinton knows about impeachment. Her husband was impeached in 1998 and, as a young lawyer, she worked on the case against Richard Nixon. She believes that Trump's actions are exactly what the framers of the Constitution were defending against.
"To undermine the oath that he took to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people that's what falls right into the definition of an impeachable offense," she said.
Colbert also asked Clinton's thoughts on current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on the call when President Trump attempted to extort the president of Ukraine.
"How many times when you were Secretary of State did you have to say to Barack Obama 'You can't extort foreign countries'?
"Yeah, that never happened," Clinton laughed.
In November, Seattleites will vote again on the constitution of their City Council. Few cities in the United States, likely, will witness the same level of intensity and acrimony regarding what many outside this particular city will no doubt deem “just a local” issue. Most closely watched will be the elections for Seattle’s District Three, in which Kshama Sawant[Read More...]
The post Kshama Sawant and Seattle: National Reverberations of a Critical Decision appeared first on Countercurrents.
|Cache||Source: csnbbs.com - Monday, October 07, 2019|
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019...ument.html "...But as the term began on Monday, a majority of justices seemed poised to trigger an earthquake that could unsettle hundreds or even thousands of criminal convictions. The court appears prepared to rule that the Constitution require juries to reach unanimous verdicts in both state and federal court, abolishing a legal aberration that subordinates the power of minority jurors. Louisiana and Oregon have long been the only two states that allow nonunanimous verdicts in felony trials. That means juries can reach a verdict by a vote of 10–2 or 11–1. In 2018, Louisiana voters eliminated nonunanimous verdicts moving forward, but individuals charged with a crime that occurred before 2019 can still be convicted by a divided jury. Oregon’s law remains in place despite a recent stab at reform...."
|Cache||We can choose America and our Constitution, or Donald Trump and victory at any cost, but we can't choose both|
|Cache||Today in 1787, James Wilson made his famous “State House Yard Speech” in support of the Constitution in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania was the first true test for the ratification struggle, and Wilson was asked to explain what the Constitution did and respond to some of the criticisms raised against it. There was open hostility toward the […]|
|Cache||Restrictions were imposed when New Delhi on August 5 scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.|
Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio of the Supreme Pontiff Francis "Aperuit illis" (30 September 2019)Cache
BY THE SUPREME PONTIFF
1. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45). This was one of the final acts of the risen Lord before his Ascension. Jesus appeared to the assembled disciples, broke bread with them and opened their minds to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures. To them, amid their fear and bewilderment, he unveiled the meaning of the paschal mystery: that in accordance with the Father’s eternal plan he had to suffer and rise from the dead, in order to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lk 24:26.46-47). He then promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give them strength to be witnesses of this saving mystery (cf. Lk 24:49).
The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Prologue: PL 24,17B).
2. At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I proposed setting aside “a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people” (Misericordia et Misera, 7). Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world. Here, we are reminded of the teaching of Saint Ephrem: “Who is able to understand, Lord, all the richness of even one of your words? There is more that eludes us than what we can understand. We are like the thirsty drinking from a fountain. Your word has as many aspects as the perspectives of those who study it. The Lord has coloured his word with diverse beauties, so that those who study it can contemplate what stirs them. He has hidden in his word all treasures, so that each of us may find a richness in what he or she contemplates” (Commentary on the Diatessaron, 1, 18).
With this Letter, I wish to respond to the many requests I have received from the people of God that the entire Church celebrate, in unity of purpose, a Sunday of the Word of God. It is now common for the Christian community to set aside moments to reflect on the great importance of the word of God for everyday living. The various local Churches have undertaken a wealth of initiatives to make the sacred Scripture more accessible to believers, to increase their gratitude for so great a gift, and to help them to strive daily to embody and bear witness to its teachings.
The Second Vatican Council gave great impulse to the rediscovery of the word of God, thanks to its Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, a document that deserves to be read and appropriated ever anew. The Constitution clearly expounds the nature of sacred Scripture, its transmission from generation to generation (Chapter II), its divine inspiration (Chapter III) embracing the Old and New Testaments (Chapters IV and V), and the importance of Scripture for the life of the Church (Chapter VI). To advance this teaching, Pope Benedict XVI convoked an Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2008 on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”, and then issued the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, whose teaching remains fundamental for our communities. That document emphasizes in particular the performative character of the Word of God, especially in the context of the liturgy, in which its distinctively sacramental character comes to the fore.
It is fitting, then that the life of our people be constantly marked by this decisive relationship with the living word that the Lord never tires of speaking to his Bride, that she may grow in love and faithful witness.
3. Consequently, I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.
The various communities will find their own ways to mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity. It is important, however, that in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word. On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due. Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy. In this regard, renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word, as is already the practice in the case of acolytes or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina.
4. The return of the people of Israel to their homeland after the Babylonian exile was marked by the public reading of the book of the Law. In the book of Nehemiah, the Bible gives us a moving description of that moment. The people assembled in Jerusalem, in the square before the Water Gate, to listen to the Law. They had been scattered in exile, but now they found themselves gathered “as one” around the sacred Scripture (Neh 8:1). The people lent “attentive ears” (Neh 8:3) to the reading of the sacred book, realizing that in its words they would discover the meaning of their lived experience. The reaction to the proclamation of was one of great emotion and tears: “[The Levites] read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep’. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Neh 8:8-10).
These words contain a great teaching. The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words. At times, there can be a tendency to monopolize the sacred text by restricting it to certain circles or to select groups. It cannot be that way. The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people.
5. In this unity born of listening, pastors are primarily responsible for explaining sacred Scripture and helping everyone to understand it. Since it is the people’s book, those called to be ministers of the word must feel an urgent need to make it accessible to their community.
The homily, in particular, has a distinctive function, for it possesses “a quasi-sacramental character” (Evangelii Gaudium, 142). Helping people to enter more deeply into the word of God through simple and suitable language will allow priests themselves to discover the “beauty of the images used by the Lord to encourage the practice of the good” (ibid.). This is a pastoral opportunity that should not be wasted!
For many of our faithful, in fact, this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s word and to see it applied to their daily lives. Consequently, sufficient time must be devoted to the preparation of the homily. A commentary on the sacred readings cannot be improvised. Those of us who are preachers should not give long, pedantic homilies or wander off into unrelated topics. When we take time to pray and meditate on the sacred text, we can speak from the heart and thus reach the hearts of those who hear us, conveying what is essential and capable of bearing fruit. May we never tire of devoting time and prayer to Scripture, so that it may be received “not as a human word but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess 2:13).
Catechists, too, in their ministry of helping people to grow in their faith, ought to feel an urgent need for personal renewal through familiarity with, and study of, the sacred Scriptures. This will help them foster in their hearers a true dialogue with the word of God.
6. Before encountering his disciples, gathered behind closed doors, and opening their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24:44-45), the risen Lord appeared to two of them on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem (cf. Lk 24:13-35). Saint Luke’s account notes that this happened on the very day of his resurrection, a Sunday. The two disciples were discussing the recent events concerning Jesus’ passion and death. Their journey was marked by sorrow and disappointment at his tragic death. They had hoped that he would be the Messiah who would set them free, but they found themselves instead confronted with the scandal of the cross. The risen Lord himself gently draws near and walks with them, yet they do not recognize him (cf. v. 16). Along the way, he questions them, and, seeing that they have not grasped the meaning of his passion and death, he exclaims: “O foolish men, and slow of heart” (v. 25). Then, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures” (v.27). Christ is the first exegete! Not only did the Old Testament foretell what he would accomplish, but he himself wished to be faithful to its words, in order to make manifest the one history of salvation whose fulfilment is found in Christ.
7. The Bible, as sacred Scripture, thus speaks of Christ and proclaims him as the one who had to endure suffering and then enter into his glory (cf. v. 26). Not simply a part, but the whole of Scripture speaks of Christ. Apart from the Scriptures, his death and resurrection cannot be rightly understood. That is why one of the most ancient confessions of faith stressed that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas” (1Cor15:3-5). Since the Scriptures everywhere speak of Christ, they enable us to believe that his death and resurrection are not myth but history, and are central to the faith of his disciples.
A profound bond links sacred Scripture and the faith of believers. Since faith comes from hearing, and what is heard is based on the word of Christ (cf. Rom 10:17), believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord, both in the celebration of the liturgy and in their personal prayer and reflection.
8. The journey that the Risen Lord makes with the disciples of Emmaus ended with a meal. The mysterious wayfarer accepts their insistent request: “Stay with us, for it is almost evening and the day is now far spent” (Lk 24:29). They sit down at table, and Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and offers it to them. At that moment, their eyes are opened, and they recognize him (cf. v. 31).
This scene clearly demonstrates the unbreakable bond between sacred Scripture and the Eucharist. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she has venerated the Lord’s body, in that she never ceases, above all in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the word of God and the body of Christ” (Dei Verbum, 21).
Regular reading of sacred Scripture and the celebration of the Eucharist make it possible for us to see ourselves as part of one another. As Christians, we are a single people, making our pilgrim way through history, sustained by the Lord, present in our midst, who speaks to us and nourishes us. A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. For this reason, we need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness.
Sacred Scripture and the sacraments are thus inseparable. When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God’s word, they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge his saving work. We should always keep in mind the teaching found in the Book of Revelation: the Lord is standing at the door and knocking. If anyone should hear his voice and open for him, he will come in and eat with them (cf. 3:20). Christ Jesus is knocking at our door in the words of sacred Scripture. If we hear his voice and open the doors of our minds and hearts, then he will enter our lives and remain ever with us.
9. In the Second Letter to Timothy, which is in some ways his spiritual testament, Saint Paul urges his faithful co-worker to have constant recourse to sacred Scripture. The Apostle is convinced that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (3:16). Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is fundamental to the teaching of the conciliar Constitution Dei Verbum on the great theme of biblical inspiration, which emphasizes the Scriptures’ saving purpose, spiritual dimension and inherent incarnational principle.
First, recalling Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, Dei Verbum stresses that “we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures” (No. 11). Since the Scriptures teach with a view to salvation through faith in Christ (cf. 2 Tim 3:15), the truths contained therein are profitable for our salvation. The Bible is not a collection of history books or a chronicle, but is aimed entirely at the integral salvation of the person. The evident historical setting of the books of the Bible should not make us overlook their primary goal, which is our salvation. Everything is directed to this purpose and essential to the very nature of the Bible, which takes shape as a history of salvation in which God speaks and acts in order to encounter all men and women and to save them from evil and death.
To achieve this saving purpose, sacred Scripture, by the working of the Holy Spirit, makes human words written in human fashion become the word of God (cf. Dei Verbum, 12). The role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is primordial. Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of remaining limited to the written text alone. This would open the way to a fundamentalist reading, which needs to be avoided, lest we betray the inspired, dynamic and spiritual character of the sacred text. As the Apostle reminds us: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6). The Holy Spirit, then, makes sacred Scripture the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of his holy people.
10. The work of the Holy Spirit has to do not only with the formation of sacred Scripture; it is also operative in those who hear the word of God. The words of the Council Fathers are instructive: sacred Scripture is to be “read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written” (Dei Verbum, 12). God’s revelation attains its completion and fullness in Jesus Christ; nonetheless, the Holy Spirit does not cease to act. It would be reductive indeed to restrict the working of the Spirit to the divine inspiration of sacred Scripture and its various human authors. We need to have confidence in the working of the Holy Spirit as he continues in his own way to provide “inspiration” whenever the Church teaches the sacred Scriptures, whenever the Magisterium authentically interprets them (cf. ibid., 10), and whenever each believer makes them the norm of his or her spiritual life. In this sense, we can understand the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples when they told him that they now understood the meaning of his parables: “Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt 13:52).
11. Finally, Dei Verbum makes clear that “the words of God, expressed in human language, are in every way like human speech, just as the Word of the eternal Father, in taking upon himself the weak flesh of human beings, also took on their likeness” (No. 13). We can say that the incarnation of the eternal Word gives shape and meaning to the relationship between God’s word and our human language, in all its historical and cultural contingency. This event gives rise to Tradition, which is also God’s word (cf. ibid., 9). We frequently risk separating sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition, without understanding that together they are the one source of Revelation. The written character of the former takes nothing away from its being fully a living word; in the same way, the Church’s living Tradition, which continually hands that word down over the centuries from one generation to the next, possesses that sacred book as the “supreme rule of her faith” (ibid., 21). Moreover, before becoming a written text, sacred Scripture was handed down orally and kept alive by the faith of a people who, in the midst of many others, acknowledged it as their own history and the source of their identity. Biblical faith, then, is based on the living word, not on a book.
12. When sacred Scripture is read in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written, it remains ever new. The Old Testament is never old once it is part of the New, since all has been transformed thanks to the one Spirit who inspired it. The sacred text as a whole serves a prophetic function regarding not the future but the present of whoever is nourished by this word. Jesus himself clearly stated this at the beginning of his ministry: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Those who draw daily nourishment from God’s word become, like Jesus, a contemporary of all those whom they encounter: they are not tempted to fall into sterile nostalgia for the past, or to dream of ethereal utopias yet to come.
Sacred Scripture accomplishes its prophetic work above all in those who listen to it. It proves both sweet and bitter. We are reminded of the words of the prophet Ezekiel when, commanded by the Lord to eat the scroll of the book, he tells us: “It was in my mouth as sweet as honey” (3:3). John the Evangelist too, on the island of Patmos, echoes Ezekiel’s experience of eating the scroll, but goes on to add: “It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter” (Rev 10:10).
The sweetness of God’s word leads us to share it with all those whom we encounter in this life and to proclaim the sure hope that it contains (cf. 1 Pet 3:15-16). Its bitterness, in turn, often comes from our realization of how difficult it is to live that word consistently, or our personal experience of seeing it rejected as meaningless for life. We should never take God’s word for granted, but instead let ourselves be nourished by it, in order to acknowledge and live fully our relationship with him and with our brothers and sisters.
13. Yet another challenge raised by sacred Scripture has to do with love. God’s word constantly reminds us of the merciful love of the Father who calls his children to live in love. The life of Jesus is the full and perfect expression of this divine love, which holds nothing back but offers itself to all without reserve. In the parable of Lazarus, we find a valuable teaching. When both Lazarus and the rich man die, the latter, seeing the poor man Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, asks that Lazarus be sent to his brothers to warn them to love their neighbour, lest they also experience his torment. Abraham’s answer is biting: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). To listen to sacred Scripture and then to practise mercy: this is the great challenge before us in life. God’s word has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity.
14. One of the most significant moments in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples is found in the account of the Transfiguration. He goes up the mountain with Peter, James and John to pray. The evangelists tell us that as Jesus’ face and clothing became dazzlingly white, two men conversed with him: Moses and Elijah, representing respectively the Law and the Prophets; in other words, sacred Scripture. Peter’s reaction to this sight is one of amazement and joy: “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Lk 9:33). At that moment a cloud overshadows them, and the disciples are struck with fear.
The Transfiguration reminds us of the Feast of Tabernacles, when Ezra and Nehemiah read the sacred text to the people after their return from exile. At the same time, it foreshadows Jesus’ glory, as a way of preparing the disciples for the scandal of the Passion: that divine glory is also evoked by the cloud enveloping the disciples as a symbol of God’s presence. A similar transfiguration takes place with sacred Scripture, which transcends itself whenever it nourishes the lives of believers. As the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini reminds us: “In rediscovering the interplay between the different senses of Scripture it becomes essential to grasp thepassage from letter to spirit. This is not an automatic, spontaneous passage; rather, the letter needs to be transcended” (No. 38).
15. Along our path of welcoming God’s word into our hearts, the Mother of the Lord accompanies us. She is the one who was called blessed because she believed in the fulfilment of what the Lord had spoken to her (cf. Lk 1:45). Mary’s own beatitude is prior to all the beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus about the poor and those who mourn, the meek, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted, for it is the necessary condition for every other kind of beatitude. The poor are not blessed because they are poor; they become blessed if, like Mary, they believe in the fulfilment of God’s word. A great disciple and master of sacred Scripture, Saint Augustine, once wrote: “Someone in the midst of the crowd, seized with enthusiasm, cried out: ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you’ and Jesus replied, ‘Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it’. As if to say: My mother, whom you call blessed, is indeed blessed, because she keeps the word of God. Not because in her the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but because she keeps that same word of God by which she was made and which, in her womb, became flesh” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 10, 3).
May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures. For as the sacred author taught of old: “This word is very near to you: it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance” (Dt 30:14).
Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death.
 Cf. AAS 102 (2010), 692-787.
 “The sacramentality of the word can thus be understood by analogy with the real presence of Christ under the appearances of the consecrated bread and wine. By approaching the altar and partaking in the Eucharistic banquet we truly share in the body and blood of Christ. The proclamation of God’s word at the celebration entails an acknowledgment that Christ himself is present, that he speaks to us, and that he wishes to be heard”(Verbum Domini, 56).
on Fire Prevention Week, 2019
Since 1922, our Nation has observed Fire Prevention Week to promote emergency preparedness and reaffirm our enduring commitment to fire safety. This week, we honor and remember the heroic firefighters and first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice to save and protect our citizens, homes, and communities. We express our gratitude for their service to our country, and we encourage all Americans to do their part to prevent dangerous fires.
In 2017, more than 1.3 million fires killed 3,400 people and injured 14,000 more, while causing an estimated $23 billion in direct property loss. Sadly, the number of fire-related deaths continues to rise, even though the number of fires is falling. All Americans should take the dangers of fires seriously and conduct routine inspections of smoke alarms and plan and practice home fire escapes. Such concerted efforts are crucial to stopping fires and their devastating consequences.
While preventing fires in our homes, we also must take measures to prevent wildfires, such as the catastrophic Woolsey, Camp, and Mendocino Complex wildfires, all of which ravaged communities last year. The Camp fire killed at least 85 people, and the Mendocino Complex wildfire was the largest fire of its kind in California history. Improving the health of America’s forests and rangelands is critical to reducing the frequency and severity of the kind of wildfires that have devastated communities and ecosystems across the Nation. This is why I signed legislation that improves support for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior’s wildfire suppression operations, as well as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which includes robust fire risk reduction measures and important forest management provisions. These bills will empower Federal agencies to actively manage our forests and rangelands and aggressively fight wildfires. Further, I issued an Executive Order to promote active management of America’s forests and Federal lands to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in better partnership with State, local, and tribal officials.
This week, I urge all Americans to take special precautions to ensure fire safety in their homes and communities to help prevent fire-related tragedies. By staying vigilant, we can all do our part to protect our loved ones, homes, and communities. We recognize those who take such actions, and we pledge to continue our support for the Nation’s firefighters, first responders, and EMS providers who answer the call to serve and risk their lives to safeguard their fellow Americans and our precious land.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6 through October 12, 2019, as Fire Prevention Week. On Sunday, October 6, 2019, in accordance with Public Law 107-51, the flag of the United States will be flown at half-staff at all Federal office buildings in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. I call on all Americans to participate in this observance with appropriate programs and activities and by renewing their efforts to prevent fires and their tragic consequences.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
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|Cache||Click here to view original web page at www.letfreedomringblog.comFor a little over a week, Ms. Pelosi has been talking about this being a solemn time, that we should keep President Trump in prayer and that Jefferson, Madison and Franklin gave us “a republic if you can keep it.” Ms. Pelosi has repeatedly said that respecting the Constitution was the Democrats’ highest priority. Yet when she’s been asked to give Republicans the right to ask witnesses questions or to subpoena witnesses, Ms. Pelosi has been an autocrat. When she started the impeachment inquiry, she didn’t do it by announcing the results of a vote from the People’s House. Ms. Pelosi stepped up to the microphone and announced that she was starting the inquiry. That means this inquiry isn’t a legitimate impeachment inquiry in the eyes of the courts. When Chairman Schiff requests documents, the White House won’t hesitate in rejecting Chairman […]|
|Cache||Click here to view original web page at www.letfreedomringblog.comDemocrats have a messaging problem with Joe Biden. The Democrats’ biggest problem is that they’ve stuck with the ‘Trump is going after his political enemy’ storyline. Up until now, that’s been effective. Bit-by-bit, though, it’s hitting the point-of-diminishing-returns wall. It’s indisputable that candidates can’t take campaign contributions from foreigners or foreign companies. That’s been on the books for decades. That’s getting murkier by the day. Presidents have the obligation to fight crime, too. As long as those 2 obligations tug at each other, this isn’t a simple thing to sort through. The minute you say President Trump can’t ask for China’s help in investigating Hunter Biden’s activities, 2 bad things happen. First, you tie the president’s hands in conducting foreign policy. That’s never a positive. I also don’t think it’s constitutional because the Constitution gives the president sole authority to conduct foreign […]|
This morning the Supreme Court will kick off October Term 2019 by hearing oral argument in three cases. First up is Kahler v. Kansas, which asks whether the Constitution allows states to abolish the insanity defense. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. […]
|Cache||The Term starts off with two exciting criminal law cases:|
1. First up is Kahler v. Kansas: “Whether the Eighth and 14th Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense.” Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has a nice write up here. A snippet:
Under Kansas law, Kahler could not argue that he was insane as a defense to the charges. In 1995, Kansas had replaced the insanity defense with a new law that allows a defendant to argue that, because of mental illness, he could not have intended to commit the crime but makes clear that mental illness “is not otherwise a defense.” The law was a response to several high-profile criminal cases, including the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The trial court instructed the jurors in Kahler’s trial that they could only consider Kahler’s mental illness as part of determining whether he intended to kill his victims. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death.2. Second up is Ramos v. Louisiana, which addresses “whether the 14th Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict.” Amy Howe again:
In Ramos’ case, the justices are not writing on a blank slate. Nearly 50 years ago, in, the court ruled that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to a unanimous jury, but that such a right does not extend to defendants in state trials. The justices were deeply divided. Four justices would have ruled that the Sixth Amendment does not require a unanimous jury at all, while four others would have ruled that the Sixth Amendment establishes a right to a unanimous jury that applies in both state and federal courts. That left Justice Lewis Powell, who believed that the Sixth Amendment requires a unanimous jury for federal criminal trials, but not for state trials, as the controlling vote.
Donald Trump Brags About His “Great And Unmatched Wisdom” To Destroy Turkey (Where He Owns Two Towers) After He Betrays The KurdsCache
Twitter bursts out laughing after Donald Trump brags about his “great and unmatched wisdom” to destroy Turkey following his decision to betray the Kurds. He has two towers in Turkey. Trump tweeted: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider […]
Hillary Clinton Hammers Donald Trump For Selling Out The Kurds To Turkey: “His Decision Is A Sickening Betrayal”Cache
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton hammered Donald Trump for selling out the Kurds to Turkey: “His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.” Clinton tweeted: “Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own […]
Colin Powell Hammers Republicans Kowtowing To Donald Trump: “The Constitution Started With We The People, Not Me The President”Cache
Ret. Gen. Colin Powell hammers Republicans kowtowing to Donald Trump saying, “the Constitution started with we the people, not me the president” and the the GOP needs to get a grip on itself. “The Republican party has got to get a grip on itself. They’re holding back if they speak out. Will they lose a […]
#TrumpMeltdown Trends After Donald Trump Melts Down Over Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff Ratcheting Up The PressureCache
Welp: #TrumpMeltdown trends on Twitter after Donald Trump melts down next to the Finnish president over Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff ratcheting up the pressure in the impeachment inquiry. Pelosi hammered Trump during the packed press conference: “Our founders, they put guardrails in the constitution because they knew there would be someone who’d overplay his […]
|Cache||The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is an independent Commission established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, with the mandate to set and regularly review the Remuneration and Benefits of all State Officers and to advise the National and County Governments on the Remuneration and Benefits of all other Public Officers.|