Author: John Dennison

As a birthday gift to myself, I thought I’d pull out one of my teacher’s favorites on meditation. Mine, too. It’s the classic of all classics.

It’s the Buddha’s Anapanasati Sutta with his famous teaching on mindfulness.

Try it. It’s a great way to find peace.

Check it out.

 


Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing

“Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

“There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in long’; or breathing out long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out long.’ [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in short’; or breathing out short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out short.’ [3] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.’[2] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.’ [4] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.’[3] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.’

[5] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.’ [6] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.’ [7] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.’[4] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.’ [8] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.’

[9] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.’ [10] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in satisfying the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out satisfying the mind.’ [11] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in steadying the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out steadying the mind.’ [12] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in releasing the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out releasing the mind.’[5]

[13] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.’ [14] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.’ [15] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on cessation.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on cessation.’ [16] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.’

“This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.

*****

For the full Sutta, visit http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

Let’s forget politics today and talk about you. Or more particularly, knowing yourself. Who are you really? What is your life all about? Why?

Talk about heavy.

But really, isn’t this what it’s all about? You?

You are at the center of your universe. So why shouldn’t your life be about you?

It’s bringing you the experiences your soul came to get. Did you ever stop to think about why they might be important to your soul? Or better yet, what all you took from them that served you, whether pleasant or not?

By soul, I’m referring to that non-physical essence of your personality that you know yourself to be. Whether that is some spiritual entity or a self-identity stored deep within your psyche, it doesn’t matter.

Some, like me, see the soul as sort of an energetic transformer through which we are connected to God as the source of all that is, with his energy flowing into and through us to give us life in this three-dimensional reality.

 

Journey to the Center of Your Being

Such a belief is unnecessary to know yourself, however. Nevertheless, what I am asking you to do is to turn your attention back upon yourself, looking deep within the layers of your being until you get to whatever is waiting for you there.

Most of us can’t just look inside as if we have x-ray vision. Rather, we have to peel away those layers one by one, examining the conditions and attributes each brings, and their relationship to the situations and events of our outer world.

Inner world. Outer world. I use these terms a lot, so perhaps I should define them. The outer world is the world you see, touch, feel and hear. Whether it is real or maya (the grand illusion) is a great debate best left to the mystics. Let’s just say it is what it is.

Your body is part of that outer world. It is the vehicle through which your soul experiences life here. When it dies, your experiences here stop. In short, it’s your interface between the seen and unseen, and without it there can be no experience as we know it.

Your inner world is everything else.

Your inner world is everything else.

For in reality, your life is happening inside of you. Your thoughts. Your emotions. Your moods and feelings. Your beliefs. Your fears. Your desires. These are the affairs of the psyche.

It is where you perceive, interpret and decide how to interact with your outer world.

As you go deeper, you’ll begin to see your personality more clearly as you remove the rose-colored glasses that have distorted  your perceptions of yourself. You will see how you created yourself to be. The self-image. The attitudes. The personality traits and other characteristics that make you you.

Yet still you’re just scratching the surface. For even deeper, hiding from view, are inner conditions that shape how you see and interact with your outer world. False images and misunderstandings from experiences past. Scars from pains you’ve suffered. Walls built by judgments and expectations  unmet. Hurts from loves lost. The list is long.

These all affect you and how you conduct your affairs. But still we haven’t come to the core of your awareness yet, much less what lies behind that.

The watcher. The narrator. The inner voices. They are all there, waiting for you to come and explore what they hold in store.

Ah, the voices. If you’re quiet, you’ll hear them.

One, though, I want you to seek above all. It’s the inner voice of your soul.

It whispers to you, calling you to become whole — and to follow its lead to the experiences it will bring to help get you there.

It is there as your guide, dangling the carrot of your desires and whipping you with the stick of your fears and unpleasant experiences to keep you on the path for the life you came to lead. All the while gathering experiences along the way that make you who you are today.

It will tell you who you are and what your life is about. If you can hear your inner voice, ask it. It will answer.

That’s not the only way, however. You can piece it together yourself if you look closely enough. Life lessons and patterns,as well as watershed experiences, provide a pretty good clue. Past lives and karmic echoes do as well. These, though, often take an outside eye to help make sense of what’s going on.

Anyway, you get the picture. There’s a lot going on in you that makes you and your life the way they are. It controls how you think, feel and act. And it ripples outward to influence the behavior of others around you.

If you want peace, whether in your inner world or in your outer one, you will find it mighty hard to find unless you learn to work with your inner conditions and address the hidden factors that help keep the status quo stuck in place.

To start your inner journey, all you have to do is sit quietly. Take a few natural, relaxed breaths. Then speak to that Self within you that is the source of your being.

“Teach me.”

Teach me.

And it will begin.

Enjoy the journey. It’s what you came for.

Am I the only one torn over what we see in the news? It’s as if the Trump election and months since have ripped a hole in the fabric of my reality, making me question some of the foundations of this life I’ve been living.

It’s put me through something of an existential crisis lately.

Those who’ve followed me over the years know I’ve advocated staying above the fray for those who truly want peace. For peace cannot be created through conflict; conflict only begets more conflict in most cases, at least until people see the error of their ways.

It’s based on a simple concept — the more energy we put into fighting, the more it will continue. So I tried to show where both sides were wrong, and how through consciousness we could navigate those obstacles to move toward a more peaceful future that better served all.

The 2016 election season changed all that.

For a long time I resisted taking sides, instead sticking to my long-held position that it was the system itself that gives rise to abuses of the power over which both sides fight. Giving my support to one or the other simply perpetuated their games, played less to serve the people than the interests of a powerful elite that worked behind the scenes.

Truly, the way the candidates were depicted by the media, it was hard to like either Trump or Clinton. Trump was a cad; Hillary was a crook. It was simply a no win situation. Or in my eyes, no good choice at all.

Ultimately, I couldn’t stay on the sidelines and threw my support to Trump. Not so much that I like him or his policies, but because I was against the very Establishment that seemed to unite to try to stop him.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, according to an old Arab proverb. Well, the enemy of peace in my eyes was the very Establishment that was out to get him. The media was clearly in their corner. Besides, the DNC and Podesta leaks told me all I needed to know that I could NEVER vote for Hillary.

Taking Sides

Fast forward to today.

As you may have noticed, I wrote a series of articles on Trump and his administration that weren’t too well received by my more liberal friends.

Having been writing for peace, consciousness and the inner way for a long while now, naturally many of my followers were “liberal.”  I knew they were also interesting in changing the world. I just didn’t realize how entrenched some of their views were, and how they “pushed out” any chance of perspective when I challenged them.

My way has always been to challenge existing beliefs and perspectives. It’s who I am and what I do. For only by challenging the foundations of our status quo can we see the impact of our choices and empower ourselves to choose another way.

In this case, however, my writing about Trump and current events from a middle-right perspective (yes, it is possible to be on the right and still want systemic change) set off a reaction (in you and me). The backlash gave me pause. Not to stop me from trying to challenge your beliefs, but to question whether I was effectively getting across my underlying message in doing so.

So now I’m torn.

Choices, choices, choices

Do I return to working around the periphery by encouraging you to choose peace and address the inner and outer factors that are keeping you from it?

Or do I embrace the battle and take sides, even though I’m not sure what side that is.

It really isn’t about Trump. Yes, I support his efforts to devolve power from the federal government. But I’ve long held that we’ve given WAY TOO MUCH power and authority to Washington, a situation that is inconsistent with the preservation of individuals’ rights. Just look at the Obamagate/Susan Rice/Trump surveillance fiasco and you’ll know what I mean.

Now I’m left caught in the middle, torn between the cause of peace and the complete lack of  ethics, consciousness or independent thought in the conduct of our political affairs and the mainstream media.

To be honest,

I’m not really sure which way to turn.

A wise teacher (Tsen Tsing) once told me the middle path looks narrow but grows wider with every step.

But no matter how many steps I take, the events of our world threaten to pull me off. Nevertheless, something keeps pushing me forward, taking step by begrudging step toward joining the war that’s raging to control the course of our future, even while holding out hope that sanity — and peace — can prevail on Earth.

So if I seem kind of schizophrenic in my posts, please bear with me. I’m trying to lead you through the minefield of civil conflict toward a future of peace and possibility for all.

I just hope they don’t blow up in my face.

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result?

Well, then I must be nuttier than a fruitcake.

Because I’m still here talking about peace while addressing the conditions — both inner and outer — that combine to steal it.

Lately that’s had me writing and speaking on the wars going on in our political affairs. But I must really be nuts going there. Because no one wants peace. Most only want to win, and are willing to destroy anyone and anything that gets in their way.

Looking at what I see on the news and the feedback I get from some of you, it sure doesn’t appear to have had any impact. But I keep going anyway.

 

 

Delusions of Grandeur

I guess its the arrogance of thinking I could make a difference, that I could somehow help people see how attachment to their beliefs and practices was making it impossible to get along with those who want something different.

But it really hasn’t helped, either me or the world around me, because no one wants to change. Not even me.

We all want to stay the way we are, believe the things we do, and act the way we want. It’s everyone else who’s wrong. And if they’d just wake up and realize the error of their ways, the world would be a much better place.

Of course, no one does. We all just keep on our same old paths, thinking and doing things the same old ways, yet expect things to change.

But they don’t. So we bump heads and set off a perpetual cycle of conflict that at most gets us a few moments of peace before the bell goes off and we’re called to fight again.

Who’s right? It really doesn’t matter, does it? All that matters is that we get ours. Even if it means we have to fight to get it, or take it from someone else.

Peace be damned, I guess. It’s not high on our list of things we want for ourselves and our world.

Me? I wanted to help stop the fighting. Perhaps more importantly, I wanted people to truly be at peace.

So I shared what I’ve learned along the way, especially the inner journey of self-realization.  I thought by shining a light on the inner conditions and processes that keep us the way we are and suggesting ways we might address them, I could inspire people to try another way.

Nope. Not happening. Not now. Maybe not in this lifetime.

But I can’t really say I’ve failed.

My inability to be heard, much less make a dent in human behavior, is probably more about me than it is about anyone else. It’s played out valuable life lessons that have made me look deeply into myself and my relationship with life and the world around me, not to mention God.

Maybe they aren’t meant for anyone else. If not, that’s okay. I’m more than willing to give up this quest.

 

It’s All About the Experience

Still, that voice whispering inside won’t let me rest. Just when I’m ready to quit, it nudges me to keep trying, to do all I know and then some to bring this perspective to you — that you are more than you know, and that your life is all about the experiences it’s bringing you. And how you create, gather and process those experiences makes all the difference in how you see your life and what you take from it.

Right now most don’t even consider the possibility there is anything more than the daily grind and the struggle to get for oneself and one’s family.

For them there’s probably not.

I still hold out hope, however, that there are others like me out there who know there’s more than we know and who want to find and bring it into their world. It’s for them that I keep writing, talking and beating my head against this wall in hope against hope that one day it will make a difference.

Until then, it appears this is my lot in life. So rather than fight it, I might as well give into it and keep going full steam ahead.

At least, until you send in the men in the white coats. Because it’s probably the only way you’re going to shut me up.

 


Do you like to watch a good fight? There’s a great one going on and I thought maybe you’d like to watch it with me. It’s called ObamaGate, and we’ve got ringside seats for a winner-take-all death match now going on for the future of our country.

Once upon a time I thought I’d be part of that battle.

That was before I interned in D.C. back when Nixon was in the White House. Like now, it was a turbulent time. Like now, the city was a cesspool of morally-challenged people all seemingly out to enrich and empower themselves with little true regard for the people they served.

And like now, what I saw made me sick.

So I guess I’m not the one to put a positive spin on politics these days.  I won’t even try.

But what’s going on now is really serious stuff. And it’s coming at us so fast from so many directions that it’s hard to keep up, much less get good, reliable information from which to form an opinion.

Maybe I’m a skeptic.  I’ve been around a while and have seen a lot of games played over the years, and politics has always been a rough and tumble business. But the game we’re seeing now puts them all to shame.

In fact, it would rival most any novel Tom Clancy wrote.

With that said, back to the fight.

 

Insurrection in the Ranks

What I see going on is a civil war within our civil service to overthrow Donald Trump, egged on by Democrats and their most-radical elements.

Rogue individuals have made themselves known in many departments to resist Trump’s efforts to change the direction of our country. I appreciate their zeal. Most probably mean well and even somehow justify (at least to themselves) their infidelity to their oath and duties as public servants.

The worst among these are within the intelligence community. Secrecy? It’s a sieve!

This whole Susan Rice thing stinks to high heaven, conveniently collecting all this intelligence on Trump’s team, compiling it and unmasking the players. And then somehow having those reports reduced in security classification so they could be widely spread around the government.

Lo and behold, they were. A leak. And then another. And another. Until it turned into a flood.

Of course, mainstream media is cheering them on, as if they’re watching some game show. “Go ahead and leak. Just bring down Trump. And shut up all who support him while you’re at it.”

 

Instant Karma

Unfortunately, though, their efforts may one day come back to bite them. For the deeper the investigations go, the more we’ll see behind the curtains into why Obama was spying on so many people, especially the candidate opposing his chosen successor who pledged to undo his “legacy.”

Sure, Susan Rice ordered the Trump names unmasked so anyone could know who they were talking about. Still, it’s a reach to think that she acted alone, in an innocent act untied to Obama and devoid of any plan to use them against Trump. Which they conveniently were.

So it seems to me there was more than just one person involved. Someone had to order the surveillance. Someone had to declassify it. Someone had to leak it. If it was more than just one, how many more? Who was pulling their strings?

If so, we’re talking conspiracy — a conspiracy to commit sedition against the United States.

“Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority.”  – Wikipedia

That pretty well covers it, don’t you think?

So I’m just watching the whole thing unfold with baited breath. First one side takes a shot. And then the other. Back and forth they go. Like two punch drunk fighters, they just keep slugging it out. Until only one is standing. Or they call it a draw.

It promises to be great entertainment. Can you feel the suspense?

Partisan politics. Sedition conspiracies. Congressional investigations. Maybe even a little war thrown in?

It doesn’t get much better than this. Who knows? If this keeps up for much longer, I may just cancel Netflix.

 

This is the time of changes. Where we go from here is up to us.

We all know the news. Turmoil abroad. Turmoil at home. Passions run hot, and people are at each others’ throats. We can’t seem to agree on much of anything.

Worse, we don’t want to listen to those who see things another way. They’re crazy. And wrong!

Besides, it just plain hurts to wrap our minds around their words and their implications to our lives and world view.

Somehow we’ve got to find a way — at least, if we’re intent on getting to a better tomorrow together.

Everywhere we turn things are in conflict. Culture wars. Political wars. Even wars within ourselves.

 

Taking a Longer View

I have a theory. First, the foundation.

It’s built upon a view that we live in a world of energy. Invisible to the eye, we see its manifestation through the three-dimensional forms of matter that make up our world.

As Albert Einstein postulated in his famous formula E = MC2, there is a tremendous amount energy in even the smallest particles of matter. By his calculation, it is a function of the mass of the object multiplied by the square of the speed of light (186,000 miles per second).

His equation led to the atomic bomb and the devastating destruction of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It has given birth as well to the specter of nuclear annihilation that stalks us today.

From my perspective, this energy not only makes up matter. It flows throughout our world, and us. The Chinese refer to this energy as qi (chi). It forms the basis for traditional Chinese medicine, flowing through our bodies on invisible pathways called meridians and channels.

I first came to my work with energy through the martial arts over 40 years ago, where I learned to gather, store and use that qi for both combat and healing. Meditation, along with various “internal arts” like qigong, tai chi and bagua, helped to develop my inner soil and ability to wield it (though admittedly not to any degree of mastery).

Our reality is a closed system. The energy within it is fully contained, recirculating to refresh, renew and enervate the world around us.

Like any closed system, when energy is added to it, the molecules inside begin to move as they absorb the energy. It excites their atoms and strains the bonds that hold them together. We recognize this condition as heat, best seen as putting a covered pot of water on to boil. The energy added from the stove (heat) causes the water to boil. The gas of water vapor builds up inside the pot, increasing its pressure and causing the water to boil even more.

This is what is happening to us now. New, more intense streams of energy are bombarding our world, and the pressure is rising. And we’re beginning to boil.

No wonder we’re at each other’s throats.

God is Turning Up the Heat

Over the last 20 years or so, numerous teachings have held that waves of light were shining down on us and setting the stage for great changes to come. We’re seeing the start of those changes now.

Whether that light comes from our solar system’s entry into a highly-charged photon belt, or from some Divine or Cosmic source, or whether it even exists at all, I cannot confirm nor will I even try.

But the situations around us certainly appear consistent with its probable impact.

That light excites the bonds that hold our reality in place, making it harder to continue on the same old ways. As a result, we are growing ever-more discontent with the status quo and the things that make it that way. Moreover, the energies trigger our passions and exacerbate the polarities that keep us in conflict with one another.

Spiritual or religious believers might say that God is using this energy to carry out His Divine Plan to set the stage for heaven on earth.

But first, we must go through hell, so to speak. Because

Armageddon’s coming, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid it.

My own spiritual views are intricately intertwined with this idea. For I believe we are souls who came into this world to know ourselves and our relationship to God, to each other, and to the world around us by learning to love and be loved.

In this reality life is all about the experience, and that everything happens to bring us the experiences our souls need to evolve.

The tools by which we do this are love and light. As we evolve, we learn to use them — ultimately reaching a point where we realize that we are all connected at our core through Oneness — until we can to take our place within the greater mosaic of the human organism.

I even wrote a book about it (Whispers in the Silence — Living by the Light of Your Soul), and the inner voice that whispers to lead us along this path.

So in a very real sense,

God is turning up the heat on all of us. And it’s bringing us to the precipice of our own destruction.

 

 

The Evolution of Human Civilization

What you see playing out in the news is the result of this bombardment of light. It’s creating a feeling of unrest and discontent to lead us to want something better, not to mention the incessant conflicts that crop up on every front.

Culture is pitted against culture. Country against country. And brothers and sisters against brothers and sisters.

Each is affected in its own way. But the result is the same. People want something different, and they’re nigh well ready to fight to get it. Not to mention rid themselves of the unwelcome influence of those who want another way.

Of course, fighting is the way we’ve always settled our differences. To the victor go the spoils. That’s what war is all about, fighting to impose one’s will upon others. It is the ultimate escalation of the myriad little conflicts that we have each day, conflicts that threaten to escalate and steal the peace and safety of all involved.

Now we’re seeing these battles everywhere we turn, especially in politics. For politics is the battlefield where “civilized people” fight to control the course of our common affairs.

Here in America people are uneasy. Many see an Establishment run by elites and an oligarchy of power brokers who enrich themselves at the people’s expense. They want something better, as evidenced by the populist groundswell on the left for Bernie Sanders, and on the right for Donald Trump. They want change, but just can’t agree on the solution.

So they fight. Or more accurately, are enlisted by the Establishment mainstream to take sides and continue the power games that have created this mess.

The more they fight, the more things escalate, dragging us closer and closer toward the precipice over which we fear they will take us to our collective doom.

Neither side can vanquish the other. It’s that way in our reality, where nature seeks balance in all things.

The stronger and more vociferous one side becomes, it is immediately balanced out by equal and opposite forces on the other. But the energies continue to flow in, ratcheting up the pressure and raising the temperature.

You don’t have to be psychic to see where we’re headed.

The battles will grow and grow until we destroy each other. Or wake up and step back from the ledge.

This is the ultimate test for humanity.

Either we evolve. Or we perish. It’s that simple.

I choose peace. I choose evolution. I choose love and light to bring us to a better tomorrow for all.

Which way will you choose? The future of mankind hangs in the balance.

God bless you indeed.

Did you ever doubt yourself? Have you ever wondered whether you’re on the right track? Or that you were enough for the job?

I have. And often still do.

It’s hard, popping your own balloon and seeing yourself as you really are. Sometimes you just don’t like what you see.

My new life started over four years ago after my brush with death. It changed me forever in ways I’m only now beginning to realize.

We lost our law practice.

Five months in the hospital and another two years of recovery made sure of that. Clients don’t wait around long when you can’t do their work (which, frankly, was the last thing on my mind). By time I was able, there weren’t any left to come back to.

And I just couldn’t bear starting over to rebuild my law practice.

After all, it nearly killed me. But I survived, and here I am.

It’s been a long road getting back to where I am. Living on the edge. Feeling like I’m living on bonus time, added on at the end of the game.

A New Beginning

For a long time I didn’t want to pick up any of my previous work. And PeaceOptions was the last thing on my list. I had let it all go.

Worst of all, I couldn’t even get myself to write.

It was my passion. I once said that if I couldn’t write, I couldn’t breathe.

Funny, that almost came true in the hospital.

As it turned out, I couldn’t speak for over a year. At least, not without covering the hole in my throat from the trache tube, once it was finally removed.

Imagine that. A lawyer who can’t talk.

Finally, now I can. And I’ve got something to say.

Maybe it’s why I’m still here. I left that up to God to do with me what He willed.

Now I’m going into the lions’ den and risking the ire of friend and foe alike.

You may have noticed I just started writing again a few weeks ago. The urge to write again just hit out of the blue. Like lightening.

Some of you have probably been quite upset about it; others I know are pleased.

A lot of it has been about Trump and what’s going on in our country.

Some of you haven’t been happy, considering our conversations since. Other long-time friends have left, apparently unable to listen to me express my views on current events.

But that’s exactly why I’m here, talking about us and the state of our nation and the world around us.

Our world is changing. Rapidly. And the old ways aren’t serving us any longer.

What’s really changing is us. We’re all becoming too entrenched in our own extremes and attached to our desires. Fears are running rampant. Emotions run hot.

We each seem to be pulled toward one pole or another, swallowed up by the passions of our extremes. In fact, it’s getting so bad it looks like some people are getting violent, and acting in uncivil ways that they would never have dreamed only a short while ago.

When we engage with others who don’t see things the way we do, we’re finding it almost painful to even listen to them.

 

Our polarization is pulling us apart, and it’s getting worse in every moment.

We can’t go on like this. Something’s bound to give. I’m afraid it might be us. Or our Republic.

So that’s why I’m writing, to do my part to try to stop this madness that is sweeping over the land and threatens to burn down all our forefathers built.

I don’t promise to say things you’ll like. Rather …

I promise to challenge your beliefs and if necessary, piss you off.

But I will do it with love in my heart, always to shine the light upon that which you may not see — or don’t want to.

As I trust you will do with me.

Only together can we make this world a place worth living in. Your extremes. My extremes. And everything in between.

I invite you to walk with me as we explore how to move beyond our differences and find a way to get along despite them.

God bless you indeed.

Disruption. One of its definitions, according to the Free Dictionary, is “to break apart or alter so as to prevent normal or expected functioning.”

Well, that pretty much describes Trump’s administration in a nutshell. He ran on a campaign of reversing course on policies and practices ingrained in a Beltway culture that thinks change is for everyone else — so long as they can keep on keeping on the same old way.

No where is that disruption more visible than in Trump’s relationship with the White House Press Corps.

Entitlement in Action

For a long while the media has given the impression that it considers itself an equal branch of government, if not superior to those who formally hold office. Unelected and unresponsive to the people, the media considered it their exclusive prerogative to set the narrative for national discussion.

Unabashedly liberal by a wide margin, the press corps has consistently demonstrated an elitism and sense of entitlement demonstrated by favorable stories on topics and people they support, as well as opposition hit pieces on those they don’t.

No where was this more evident than in coverage of the 2016 presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton was their darling and could do no wrong. Donald Trump, on the other hand, was the villain they loved to hate. And hate him they did, to the point it oozed out of every pore.

Yet despite their support for Hillary, Trump won. Their influence and stature were soundly rejected as more and more people tuned them out and turned them off in favor of alternative sources on the Internet.

But that didn’t stop the media. No, they doubled down, attacking the new president and his administration at every turn. Viciously. Without remorse.

They refused to acknowledge he is their president, too. Rather, they became the “opposition party” per Steve Bannon, and open warfare broke out with Trump. Ridicule, criticism, and active opposition to everything Trump did became the norm.

A New Sheriff in Town

Is it any wonder, then, that the White House would open press briefings to new voices in hopes the American people could get a more robust but less biased view of the news? Consideration was given to moving the briefings to larger quarters outside the White House Office Building. Ultimately they ended up staying where they were, with two important changes:

  1. The press corps was enlarged to give press credentials to conservative bloggers and news sources to balance out the coverage; and
  2. Several Skype seats were also created by which reporters from around the country — notably outside the Beltway where the rest of American resides — could also participate.

Now press briefings are over-flowing.

The original press corps, sitting in their 49 seats (seven seats in seven rows), still got their entitled positions of privilege to be up front and center. Now, though, they aren’t alone. Dozens of reporters from other organizations fill the aisles.

Moreover, the legacy mainstream media were usually afforded the first questions as a matter of protocol. No more. WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer now regularly picks anybody but the traditional news agencies, in effect implementing Trump’s views stated in his now famous tweet.

Needless to say, the press briefings are much more entertaining — and contentious — reflecting a state of near-open warfare between the sides.

Media Hates Diversity in Questions

Now it seems that the press have started grumbling among themselves. And it’s starting to go public.

Just today The New Yorker wrote a piece on it. Titled Is Trump Trolling the White House Press Corpsit’s apparent they don’t like their loss of prestige and privilege.

They complain that Spicer’s bypassing them for other reporters is somehow avoiding their “hard questions” that really come off as often pushing their one-sided narratives and setting Trump up for more attacks.

To make a long story short, they offer a long laundry list of complaints and reasoning, all of which points to bruised egos and thwarted agendas to paint Trump in the light they want.

But they never learn. They don’t realize it is their very arrogance and disregard for fairness, civility and unbiased reporting that has pitted them in this war against the Administration, and in some ways, against the American people themselves.

Their privilege has been disrupted, and they act like “butt-hurt losers” who refuse to accept the fact that they no longer enjoy the benefits their positions once afforded them.

Conclusion

Trump will continue doing what he’s doing, disrupting the way things were and opening the door to create something better. Whether he can or not remains to be seen, especially with the opposition party media joining Democrats to fight him at every turn.

But now he’s turned the tables and showed us what the mainstream press really is — a good old boy and girl network of privileged insiders that sees their privilege slipping away.

Finally they’re beginning the feel like the rest of us, that the country they knew is being taken away from them.

In their case, it’s a welcome change.

God bless you indeed.

Obamagate. You’d think an ex-president would know better than to direct the vast surveillance powers of the American government toward a private U.S. citizen, much less one that was running to replace him in the highest office in the land.

But for a supposedly smart guy, this sure looks like a dumb move. Because now it’s coming back to bite him — big time.

Since before the election Trump has been hounded by allegations that the Russians hacked Hillary, released the Podesta Wikileaks, and colluded with Trump associates to steal the election from Hillary.

Leak after leak after leak have reported aspects of the story. In case you missed it, my last post on the Coup in America? The Empire Strikes Back lays out the timeline of the various reports.

Trump, of course, sent his famous tweet Saturday morning accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump at Trump Tower in New York:


Needless to say, the opposition fake news party (the CNN/MSNBC/NBC/NYT/WaPo Establishment wing of the main stream media), didn’t take it so well having their beloved figurehead dragged through the dirt. So they struck back with all they had.

How dare Trump accuse Obama of spying on him? He didn’t provide any proof! Excoriate him, they did.

Of course, the allegations of Russian involvement didn’t offer any proof, either. But here they were, in all their hypocritical, partisan glory, bashing Trump for making unsupported allegations against Obama.

He couldn’t have been behind it or given his tacit approval. Could he?

Well, things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser. Robbie Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, now says they (her campaign) knew about the wiretaps.

Even overlooking her continual accusations against the Russians confirmed “by all 17 intelligence agencies,” Hillary confirmed it herself in October.


Think of the implications. Hillary Clinton. The same Hillary who was then under investigation by the FBI for her own mishandling of classified information on her unsecured private server. She who had deleted 33,000 emails to keep them from turning them over to Congress. And she who had lied on just about every aspect of her involvement.

But here she was, accused of mishandling state secrets, now getting briefed on highly classified information even though she was not in office, apparently to aid her campaign. How could this be?

She could not have known unless this information was fed to her from inside the Obama administration. But that couldn’t be, could it? Why would Obama want to help Hillary? Maybe it was due to their deep friendship (NOT) or party loyalty. Maybe it was Trump threatening to undue his cherished “legacy.” Maybe he just didn’t know right from wrong.

But one thing is becoming clear. Trump and his associates were spied on in one way or another. And it was done by the Obama administration.

With his one tweet, Trump changed the entire narrative from “the Russians colluded with Trump,” a false claim that both Comey and Clapper have denied, to why was Obama tapping the computer and/or phones of a political opponent?

Shades of Richard Nixon and Watergate. This is big. This is plain old WRONG!

So what did Obama know about the Trump wiretaps, and when did he know it?

Just as importantly, was it part of a concerted effort to undermine Trump’s candidacy and presidency that continues to this day?  From re-classifying captured conversations to changing NSA sharing rules to spreading the info far and wide throughout the intelligence community to setting up his own “shadow government” that ostensibly has the goal of opposing Trump and removing him from office, Obama has a lot to answer for.

No, we don’t know all the facts. Maybe none of this is true. Maybe there’s a good explanation for all of this.

But if history is any indication, there isn’t. Plausible deniability was always a buzzword of the Democrats’ dirty tricks. But here it’s pretty thin.

Obama spied on Trump. Obama shared the info with Hillary. He’s got to answer for it one way or another.

To quote Leon Jaworski, the Watergate prosecutor, “No one is above the law.”

Not even Barack Obama.

 

 

A coup in America? No way, you say. I must be nuts. And I hope I am.

But that’s the way it looks to me. America is in the middle of an attempted coup, and the two sides are slugging it out while we watch.

At the very least, the picture being painted suggests a concerted effort to undermine, disrupt and eventually overthrow Donald Trump by any means possible.

The bedrock of the Establishment — media, celebrities, politicians, donors, bureaucrats, and special interests — appear to be banding together with Democrats and liberal activists to stop Donald Trump from doing what he said he was going to do. That is, he’ll drain their swamp and end their power games feeding off the American people.

Even Obama is breaking the unwritten rule for ex-presidents to ride off into the sunset, at best to be seen but almost never heard (unless your wife is running for office?).  Enjoy your retirement. A grateful nation waves goodbye.

Oh, it’s not goodbye?

Obama got another home in Washington, D.C., and he just moved in Valerie Jarrett. Talk is they’re setting up a shadow government to oppose Trump’s policies and preserve his “legacy,” for whatever that’s worth. Their avowed goal is to remove Trump from office, whether by resignation or impeachment.

To boot, Obama’s former campaign organization has morphed into a 50-state presence to recruit and train community organizers and others to engage in civil protest. They even circulated an instruction manual on how to prepare for and attend town halls of Republican legislators, and mobilized their troops to disrupt them in front of the media for maximum impact.

Throw in MoveOn.org and their flash mobs for protests on demand, Black Lives Matter, and the Antifa black shirted goons that bring violence and intimidation, and it’s getting to be pretty clear.

Whether coordinated or not, they’re all working for the same goal — get rid of Trump.

Fueled by a steady stream of leaks from anonymous government sources, drip by drip information has been leaded to turn public opinion against Trump. First they force out Flynn. Then Sessions recuses himself. Always to deny Trump legitimacy and stir the waters to ease acceptance of their plans to undermine and eventually overthrow him.

But no so fast!

 

The Empire Strikes Back

As it turns out, it appears the whole series of leaks and other efforts may indeed be part of a plan by Obama or his team to undercut Trump that started well before the election.

You’ve heard the allegations that Russia hacked the election and undertook an effort to help Trump beat Hillary. Of course, despite all their claims, nothing has been found to substantiate any of them. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

But still it’s been rammed down our throats since the election.

Now for the latest.

Radio talk show host Mark Levin laid out a case on his Thursday evening show of how Obama tried to undermine Trump. It was covered in a Breitbart News article that laid out the following facts from Levin:

1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.

2. July: Russia joke. Wikileaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.

3. October: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.

4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

 5. January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier. Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.

6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.

7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the exisentence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them. Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.

9. February: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.

10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Postreports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office. The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions’s testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts. The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.

Wait, it gets better.

Obama gets Trumped

Apparently Trump saw the article and made a few calls of his own. Lo and behold yesterday (Saturday) morning around 6:45 a.m. Trump starts on a series of tweets:

Then,

And there’s more:

So as you can imagine, things are heating up.

Trump’s called for a Congressional investigation but hasn’t provided any details of the alleged wiretap. Of course, Democrats and MSM are cutting him a new one, but what else would you expect?

In any event, Trump has turned the tables, at least for a moment, and put Obama under the spotlight to justify approving (or worse, ordering) surveillance on a presidential candidate opposing his chosen successor who’s avowed goal is to undue everything Obama has don.

 

My Take

As you can guess, my take is there are no coincidences.  It’s looking like Obama was using the agencies of his Administration to gather information on Trump. Why and for what purposes remains to be seen.

But to me, it stinks to high heaven.

Sure, it could all have started over some alleged Russian hacking. But that is looking more and more like a smokescreen used to” 1) undercut Trump; and 2) move us closer to war with them.

But the biggest stench is coming from that guy who just left the White House.

It smells like sedition is in the wind, and Obama and friends are behind it.

Just my opinion. But if you feel otherwise, please convince me. Because I don’t want to believe it myself.

Hopefully soon one day we shall see and history will prove me wrong.