Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Wishing all the readers of Tea at Trianon a New Year of blessings and joy! Share

An Anglo-Saxon Christmas Sermon

From A Clerk at Oxford:
Angels often appeared to men under the old law, but it is not written that they came with light; that honour was reserved for the glory of this day, that they revealed themselves with heavenly light when the true light rose in the darkness for the righteous, the merciful and just Lord. The angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which has come to all people, because now today for you the Saviour Christ is born in the city of David.” Truly he brought them tidings of great joy which will never end, because the birth of Christ brought gladness to the dwellers in heaven, in earth, and in hell. The angel said, "Now today for you the Saviour Christ is born in the city of David". He rightly said "today" and not "tonight", because Christ is the true day, who by his coming drives away all the dark ignorance of the old night and illuminates the whole world by his grace...(Read more.)

Human History and the Birth of Christ

From Life Site:
It has been argued by not a few individuals that the defeat of Germany during World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 meant any governing philosophy not named liberal democracy was destined for what Ronald Reagan once called “the ash heap of history.” 
The past twenty or so years has proven that theory false. The rise of Islamism, democracy’s devolution into despotism via a Deep State that spans multiple continents, and liberalism’s increasing hostility towards religion suggests the convulsions mankind experienced in the 1900s have not yet come to an end. 
Furthermore, the resurgence of anti-globalist, some might say anti-liberal, attitudes currently sweeping Europe indicate Christians are no longer willing to sit idly by as their heritage is torn apart under the guise of tolerance. 
Essential to a proper understanding of human events is the recognition of the social ramifications of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Pope Pius XII once remarked, “it is impossible for anyone to expound fully and impartially the history of events and institutions without the light of Christ and His Church shining clearly forth in superhuman brightness.” 
In the 21st century, partisans of liberalism, in an attempt to accomplish what their Communist forefathers could not — namely, eradicate from existence the Catholic faith — will often assert that supporting same-sex ‘marriage’, promoting transgender ‘rights’, expanding abortion, and the like, places oneself on “the right side of history.” 
No doubt many persons in our agnostic age fall prey to the sort of moral superiority the high-sounding claim of being on “the right side of history” brings with it. But the inconvenient truth for those who have succumbed to this fairy tale is that to place oneself on “the right side of history” means placing oneself on the side of Jesus Christ. (Read more.)

In Defense of Male Stoicism

From Quillette:
“Can we wean boys off machismo and misogyny?” wrote the author Tim Winton. “Will they ever relinquish the race, the game, the fight, and join the dance?” What is inherently wrong with racing, or gaming, or even fighting in controlled, consensual situations? Competitive and even aggressive instincts can be useful and satisfying if channelled properly. A thousand “How The Patriarchy Harms Men and Boys, Too” articles have blossomed across the internet. There is no subtlety here. “From birth,” claims one article in Bustle, “Men are discouraged from showing emotion.” As if there are moms and dads who try to silence their baby boys as they scream in the maternity wards.

Mental health is more complex than “repression” versus “expression.” First, there are differences in how we experience feelings. Depressive rumination is more common among women than among men which can make them more vulnerable to stress and depression. I would not recommend “Stop Thinking About It” as a mental health campaign slogan but it complicates the picture. Rational coping as well as emotional suppression is more common among men than among women and can be a productive response to the struggles of life. Psychological needs vary depending on the person and the situation—certainly not just between the sexes—and there is no single, simple model of how one should cope with hardship and pain. We can all agree that no one should feel shame for talking, crying or seeking professional help, but we should not pathologize aversion to doing so under unwieldy banners like “toxic masculinity.”

Stoicism is a good thing that, like all good things, becomes damaging in excess. Even in the relatively comfortable West our lives are hard. We have bills to pay, and jobs to keep, relationships to maintain, and children to raise. Many people live with illness, grief, or the pain of separation or dreams gone to ruin. Some people are just sad in a deep, persistent way. At times we have to grit our teeth amid stress and suffering or else our lives will fall apart and damage those we love. (Read more.)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Downton Abbey: The Movie

 From The Wrap:
“Life is settling into these new realities when this event happens at Downton that brings everybody together,” Engler told EW. “The story line has expanded the scale of it. It takes the things you love about Downton – the romance, the intrigue, the pageantry – and makes it bigger.” The cast and crew promises that the new film will be much more of the same of the original series but on a “grander scale.” They also addressed the challenges of taking the sprawling stories of 20 plus characters spread out across a season of television and making all their stories fit into a two hour film. “The minute we read it, already the story had gained in scale and in size so much, and Julian’s done a very clever thing … Everyone has to come together and combine as a household for the story,” Leech told EW. (Read more.)

The Neverending, Mysterious Saga of Michael Flynn

From Victor Davis Hanson:
What put Flynn in legal jeopardy were the general’s statements to FBI investigators that purportedly were false, and allegedly given deliberately to mislead two federal investigators. I express doubt here only because of media reports and leaks that Special Counsel Robert Mueller later either pressured Flynn for a confession, by strategies of financial exhaustion or leveraged him by threats to indict his son, or both. 
Without that pressure, one wonders how Flynn might have explained his earlier alleged inconsistencies in recounting a private off the record conversation with a foreign diplomatic official to two FBI officials. That is, had he had adequate legal resources or not faced prosecutorial threats to indict his son, would he have later claimed that months earlier that he had been dishonest to Peter Strzok and his fellow FBI investigator?

Had Flynn at the time been apprised of why Andrew McCabe was sending his agents over to the White House, Flynn would have had choices, perhaps Lois Lerner-like to plead the Fifth, or in James Comey fashion he initially could have told chief interrogator Peter Strzok on 245 occasions that he did not know or did not remember, or he simply could have told investigators in James Clapper fashion that he was giving the least untruthful version of the story. (Read more.)

From The Last Refuge:
DIA Director Michael Flynn, was on the job two months when the attack took place.  Flynn sent this intelligence information to the State Department, White House, Intelligence agencies, ODNI, and Defense Dept. on Sept 12th, 2012.  Director Flynn knew the motives, the players and also knew there was advanced warning the attack was coming.

While al-Zawahiri was organizing the Cairo Egypt,protest for the release of the Blind Sheik….  in Benghazi a jihadist attack by the Muslim Brotherhood group who supported the Blind Sheik was also pre-planned.   Both events were sending the U.S. a message centered around Omar Abdul Rahman, the “Blind Sheik”.   Both events (Cairo and Benghazi) had absolutely nothing to do with a YouTube video.

However, behind the attack-motive was the much bigger State Department and CIA problem with the U.S. Libyan weapons and the flow to Syria.  The U.S. sending weapons into the hands of al-Qaeda was always the larger risk to the Obama administration.  This problem started with Clinton (State) and Panetta (CIA at the time), but now those weapons going to Syria was an even bigger problem.  Flynn was not in place at the time (2010 – 2011) when Obama, Clinton and Panetta carried out Operation Zero Footprint. Factually the U.S. policy that facilitated arming al-Qaeda was a big political problem.  All of the expressed false motives, false statements and political lies were intended to cover-up this issue. (Read more.)

A King is Born

From Steve Ray:
Luke and Matthew were not alone in writing accounts of the Christ. An old man named John, chosen by Jesus while still a young fisherman, wrote a personal account of his three years with the king. And Mark, who was Peter’s “secretary” recorded Peter’s recollections of his years with Jesus. Four witnesses wrote four accounts called the Gospels. They recount the one historical event from four different perspectives, just as in a courtroom four witnesses might testify about one case with four differing yet truthful accounts. Each Gospel writer had his own material, audience, emphasis and style.

For example, each author deals with the genealogy and birth of Jesus in very different and fascinating ways. Each account is true, non-contradictory, and essential to understand the whole story. Matthew was a Jew writing to Jews. He adeptly demonstrated that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and King with royal pedigree through the lineage of King David to Abraham the patriarch of Israel and the father of the Jewish nation.

Mark, on the other hand, penned Peter’s gospel from Rome and presents Jesus to the Romans as a servant with no genealogy. A key verse in Mark summarizes the whole Gospel, “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). A servant’s genealogy is irrelevant. Mark’s gospel begins with Jesus working. King and servant: no polar opposites could be more extreme. (Read more.)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

What the Vikings Were Really Like

From Twenty-two Words:
In Old Norse, Vīking means “pirate” or “sea rover,” and that couldn’t be more accurate. The Vikings were Scandinavian people who scavenged and pillaged a region encompassing Scandinavia, North America, the Mediterranean, and Central Asia and Russia from the 8th to 11th centuries. What caused their expansion is debated, as some historians believe it was spurred by the religious persecution of the Saxon Wars led by Charlemagne– while others insist it was due to the economic and political weakness that occurred in Britain and western Europe. Regardless of motive, the Vikings left an indelible mark on the lands they both raided and settled. Today, we have pieced together what their culture looked like– from religious and social structures, seafaring practices, clothing and appearance, and even cuisine. We’ve also dispelled certain purveying myths about them, like the belief that they wore horned helmets into battle and the idea that they were big-boned and hulking. If you want to get a grip on these well-known peoples, or if you want to call “B.S.” the next time a TV show about the Vikings is produced, read on. (Read more.)

Traditional Romanian Christmas

From Uncover Romania:
Pork is by excellence the main meat used to prepare the Christmas meals. Strongly related to the tradition of sacrificing the pig before the religious celebration, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without all the home-made pork products that include various sausages and ham recipes and a long list of specialties like toba, muschi, caltabos, chisca, the main ingredients of all Christmas appetizers. (Read more.)

Taking Refuge From Church Turmoil

“‘Lex orandi, lex credenda — the way we worship is the way we believe,’” said Joan Tussing, who converted to the Catholic faith in 1995. “This speaks so clearly about why I prefer and believe in the importance of the traditional Latin Mass.” 
Tussing was first exposed to the traditional Mass about eight years ago through a priest in Cleveland, Ohio, who is a family friend. More recently, after doing some reading of Church history as part of her concerns about the synod on the family and the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, she decided to seek out a traditional Mass at a parish in Florida, where she spends the winter. Tussing said she converted to Catholicism because she was drawn to the truth of the faith and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that the Latin Mass better connects and unifies her with the fullness of that truth. Although she does not attend the Latin Mass exclusively, she said when she does, she experiences more fully the embodiment of what Christ instituted at the Last Supper and his offering of himself for the salvation of sins. “It’s not about what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s about what he’s doing for us.” (Read more.)

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Santons of Provence

From France Today:
In Provence the holiday season belongs to the colorful world of santonssantous or santoùos in Provençal, “little saints” to the rest of us. A wrinkle, the shining dot of an eye, a graceful pose, the tilting of a hat, a lace bonnet, a weary back stooped by toil and age, a smile of contentment, an ample fold in a garment—since these clay figurines are often no bigger than Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina, you will not be surprised that 85% of the cost goes to labor, a far cry from the modern mass-production Christmas industry. The making of a santon is a labor of love.

Figurines have been part of the human experience since time immemorial, often as effigies of the gods. The santons of Provence stem from the first living Nativity scene, said to have been created in 1223 by St. Francis, in Greccio, near Assisi. When these evolved into Nativity crèches (manger scenes), they were made of painted and gilded wood and set up inside churches. In time they became luxury artifacts, adorned with Venetian glass and fine porcelain, acquired by wealthy families as status symbols. When wax came into use in the 17th and 18th centuries, likenesses of the high and mighty rivaled those of the Holy Family, flattering the vanity of their owners, not least Louis XIV who owned seven scale models of himself. The mechanized crèches that appeared in the late 18th century were altogether removed from the church and displayed in small theaters. The kicking feet of the infant Jesus delighted the crowds but were hardly conducive to spiritual meditation. (Read more.)


Tariffs Are Working

From The Hill:
Throughout 2018, there has been a constant wave of criticism regarding the tariffs that President Trump imposed on an array of imports, principally from China. However, the evidence shows that the tariffs are actually working. Economic growth is up, inflation is under control, and many of the tariffed industries are enjoying strong recoveries in output, profits and employment. An economic analysis we conducted at the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) explains why we are seeing stronger economic growth this year and can also expect more gains over the next three years. The economic numbers in 2018 are already impressive. In the third quarter of this year, growth in inflation-adjusted GDP (the broadest measure of U.S. economic activity) came in at 3.5 percent. That's far better than most economists expected a year ago. (Read more.)

On the media's hypocrisy, The Hill:
My colleagues at many publications and networks were in full-throated hysteria, suggesting the nation is approaching the brink of disaster. Some actually used that very word. Things sounded so dire that I almost felt like I was reading a chapter from the Book of Revelations or a script from a new Bruce Willis movie. Take, for example: Tom Brokaw suggested the USS America is under the dark spell of Captain Queeg, one that needed to be broken by mutiny because Trump disagreed with his Defense secretary and summoned troops home. (FYI, I think the National Institutes of Health needs to develop a vaccine for the opinion disease that seems to afflict supposedly neutral ex-anchors these days.) 
A co-host, Brian Kilmeade, at “Fox and Friends” suggested the president just revived the terror group ISIS by pulling troops from Syria. The Washington Post ran an editorial with a headline exhorting Americans to “be afraid” because Trump dismissed ex-general James Mattis as Defense secretary. And then I remembered this is the same news media that took the opposite side on all these issues just a few months ago. For example, the Post, that bastion of journalism whose marketing tagline is “Democracy dies in darkness,” the same paper that lambasted Trump for dismissing an ex-general as a Cabinet secretary last week ran an article, a year ago with this priceless headline: “Let’s not staff a White House with generals ever again.” 
Okay, so hiring a general is bad — and firing a general is bad. Hmmm. Apparently democracy isn’t the only thing in darkness at the Post. Collective memory, common sense and consistency apparently are searching for a flashlight, too. Now to NBC, where Brokaw was the face of the network for decades and still is identified as a special correspondent on “Morning Joe.” His colorful tweet comparing Trump to an infamously insane Navy captain from American literature was prompted by the troop-withdrawal decision.  (Read more.)

Let’s Pray for Persecuted Christians

From Life Site:
A widespread crackdown on Christians in Iran led to the arrests of over 100 Christians, with many of them arrested for “proselytizing” Muslims to Christianity, which is a crime in the Islamic Republic. Those arrested were ordered to detail their past religious activities and cut contact with any Christian groups they might be involved in. Christianity has existed in Persia since shortly after the Crucifixion some 2,000 years ago. Despite this, many Christians fled after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Some reports indicate, however, a rising rate of conversion to Christianity despite the obstacles.

In China, police officers in some cities are apparently being given quotas for how many Christians they need to arrest. Open Doors, an organization that tracks the persecution of Christians around the world, noted that police officers could lose their jobs if they do not imprison the required number of Christians. This comes in the wake of a massive nation-wide crackdown which began with the arrests of the leadership of a prominent evangelical house church, with apartments being surrounded and entire families dragged off to jail. Chinese Christians are promising to stand firm in the face of this persecution.

In Egypt, some have been trying to draw attention to a silent epidemic for years: The systematic kidnapping of Christian girls by Muslims. Girls are pulled off the streets, held in captivity, sexually assaulted, and told they must convert to Islam. Violence is used to break their will: One young Coptic Christian girl from Minya was kidnappedby five Muslim men, forcibly stripped naked, and filmed. The kidnappers threatened to make the video public if she did not convert to Islam and marry one of them. Christians in Egypt keep a close eye on their daughters, and try to ensure that they never travel alone. The authorities rarely bother to assist those families who are robbed of their daughters. 
In Nigeria, the massacre of Christians by Fulani radicals has continued. Hundreds have been killed in the past several months in an ongoing humanitarian crisis that has been largely ignored by the world, with men, women, and children being hacked to death with machetes in what many in the press are simply writing off as a tribal conflict over farmland. Christian girls have also been kidnapped by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, and one fifteen-year-old schoolgirl named Leah Sharibu remains in captivity because she refuses to convert to Islam. (Read more.)

Ancient Humans and the Stars

From Popular Mechanics:
Studying cave paintings from Turkey, Spain, France and Germany, researchers have come to the conclusion that humanity’s ancient ancestors were smarter than previously given credit. These famed paintings were not simply decorative, a new study says—they represent a complex understanding of astronomy pre-dating Greek civilization. Going back 40,000 years, scientists now believe that ancient humans had the knowledge to keep track of time based on the movement of stars in the sky. They understood a concept called “precession of the equinoxes”—the idea that the Earth’s movement was causing the changes of star location, not the stars themselves.

History generally credits this idea to Hipparchus of Nicea, a famed Greek astronomer who is “regarded by many historians as a scientist of the highest quality and possibly the greatest astronomical genius among the ancient Greeks,” according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Several cultures, from China to Babylonia, discovered the idea independently. Now it appears that Hipparchus was late to the idea as well, thanks to a new understanding of the cave paintings.

Researchers used perhaps the most famous cave paintings in the world to help make their determination—the Paleolithic art inside the caves of Lascaux in southern France. Studying a drawing referred to as “The Shaft Scene,” scientists now believe the picture of a dying man was made to commemorate a comet striking the planet in around 15,200 BC. This determination was made through a combination of radiocarbon dating and studying the atmospheric history. Around the same time “The Shaft Scene” was being made, a climate change event was recorded in a Greenland ice core, ancient ice which has stored climate records for over 100,000 years. Through dating the paints of the drawings, scientists were able to find when they were applied to the walls. Using powerful computer programs, they were able to compare these dates to the predicted positions of the stars. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

It is St. John's day, which is the name-day of my late father. This early American carol was one of his favorites. It invokes images of Eden and the lost earthly paradise, while bringing to mind the Tree of Life which is the Cross. From Hymns and Carols of Christmas:
1. The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

2. His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

3. For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

4. I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

5. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.
From The Thinking Housewife: "The lyrics were written by an unknown poet in the 18th century and call to mind the tradition in the Middle Ages of decorating Christmas trees with apples, symbolic of the Tree of Knowledge." (Read more.)

The Tree of Life and Death


On Future War

From Modern War Institute at West Point:
In August 1945, when America initiated the atomic age, the dominant character of land war between great powers transitioned from operational maneuver to positional defense. Now, almost a century later, the US Army is mistakenly structuring for offensive clashes of mass and scale reminiscent of 1944 while competitors like Russia and China have adapted to twenty-first-century reality. This new paradigm—which favors fait accompli acquisitions, projection from sovereign sanctuary, and indirect proxy wars—combines incremental military actions with weaponized political, informational, and economic agendas under the protection of nuclear-fires complexes to advance territorial influence. The Army’s failure to conceptualize these features of the future battlefield is a dangerous mistake. 
The modern context of positional warfare, as argued by British theorist J.F.C Fuller, thus renders “physical” land invasion between nuclear powers an “obsolete thing.” Regional powers like Russia and China are protecting sovereign and adjacent territories with unprecedented reconnaissance-strike defenses that cannot be degraded without attacking systems in home territory and incurring instant strategic escalation. The US Army’s renewed focus on large-scale ground combat against peer threats with maneuvering field armies, as directed in its capstone doctrine, FM 3-0: Operations, presents a mismatch of problem and solution to these hybrid challenges. 
While many strategists idealize the Napoleonic Era or Second World War as the theoretical foundation for nation-state warfare, the era of Frederick the Great in the seventeenth century better describes the current strategic landscape. That period of European rivalry featured interlocking cannon forts and political alliances at depth that made offensives by small and expensive armies problematic. Instead, states typically acquired territory though positional advances or dynastic realignment while protecting lines of communication. This approach, similar to contemporary threat strategies, saw regimes routinely extend influence by co-opting sympathetic populations and expanding hardened networks. 
Failure to recognize the ascendency of nuclear-based defense—with the consequent potential for only limited maneuver, as in the seventeenth century—incurs risk for expeditionary forces. Even as it idealizes Patton’s Third Army with ambiguous “multi-domain” cyber and space enhancements, the US Army’s fixation with massive counter-offensives to defeat unrealistic Russian and Chinese conquests of Europe and Asia misaligns priorities. Instead of preparing for past wars, the Army should embrace forward positional and proxy engagement within integrated political, economic, and informational strategies to seize and exploit initiative. (Read more.)

How Trump Brought Christmas Back to America

From Life Site:
When, after Trump’s inauguration, conservatives began celebrating what they saw as the new president’s overthrowing of the “War on Christmas,” they were soundly mocked for thinking there had been a war in the first place.

This leads to the big question: Did Christmas really leave America under Obama and his administration? Has Trump really brought Christmas “back”? The only way to go about answering this question is to compare how the two presidents have commemorated Christmas. There are no better examples of this than the presidential addresses at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies and the annual White House Christmas Cards. What messages about Christmas have Obama and Trump conveyed on these occasions? (Read more.)

Ross Douthat On Staying Catholic at Christmas

From The Deacon's Bench:
The case for remaining Catholic in this moment, then, is basically that all this has happened before and will happen again — in what G.K. Chesterton once called the “five deaths of the faith,” the moments across two thousand years when every human probability pointed to the church of Rome passing into history, becoming one with Nineveh and Tyre.

For American Catholics at least, this era feels understandably like another death — in which the saints seem hidden, the would-be prophets don’t agree with one another, the reformers keep losing. And it is all-too-understandable that people would choose to leave a dying church. But it is the season’s promise, and in the long run its testable hypothesis, that those who stay and pray and fight will see it improbably reborn. (Read more.)


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas in Poland

From Voice of Europe:
It becomes a familiar recipe in Europe: If you want to see a traditional Christmas, head East. While you can barely see the Christmas trees through barricades and road blocks in Germany, in Poland it’s a completely different story. We’ve selected some images and videos to bring the Christmas spirit to your home and to show you what Christmas in Europe should be about. Thank you to Beautiful Warsaw for the images. (Read more.)


From Corymbus:
One of the most attractive features of medieval Christmas carols is how often and how enthusiastically they celebrate the act of singing. Their refrains frequently contain exhortations to sing – ‘sing we now!’, or similar phrases – and many carols explore the part which song plays in the traditional Christmas story, from the rejoicing of the angels to the piping of the shepherds and Mary singing lullabies to the baby Christ. Medieval carols give space to all these different voices, and in the process remind the listener of the pleasures of making music, alone and with others, and of the important part music plays for most of us in the enjoyment of the Christmas season. 
A good example is this lovely fifteenth-century carol, which is short enough to quote in full (in modernised form): 
Nowell sing we now all and some,
For Rex pacificus is come.
In Bethlehem, in that fair city,
A child was born of a maiden free,
That shall a lord and prince be,
A solis ortus cardine. 
Children were slain in full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of thee;
Wherefore their souls saved be,
Hostis Herodis impie
As the sun shineth through the glass,
So Jesu in his mother was;
Thee to serve now grant us grace,
O lux beata Trinitas
Now God is come to worship us;
Now of Mary is born Jesus;
Make we merry amongst us;
Exultet caelum laudibus. 
Nowell sing we now all and some,For Rex pacificus is come. 
‘All and some’ is a Middle English idiom meaning ‘everyone’ (like our phrase ‘one and all’) or ‘all together’, so this refrain enjoins everyone to sing in consort: ‘let us all now sing ‘Nowell!’ Like many medieval carols, this one is macaronic, ingeniously interweaving English and Latin, and there’s something particularly clever about the use of two languages in carols like this one: the last line of each verse quotes a different Latin hymn used in the Office, especially at Christmas and the Epiphany. Even the phrase ‘Rex pacificus’ (‘King of peace’) comes from the antiphon used on Christmas Eve. So this is in part a song about singing, making reference to familiar liturgical music as it encourages everyone to sing. In the final verse, the singers and audience are urged ‘make we merry’, to join in the celestial song as ‘the heavens rejoice’. (Read more.)


From Townhall:
Somehow Trump is the unprecedented danger to our democracy.  From Trump’s activities I can think of two incidents where he has caused violence.  One is the guy in his 70s who smacked a 20-something being escorted out of a rally after interrupting it with a disruptive protest.  The other is this nutcase in Florida that was a Trump fan apparently.  But this guy was sick for years and I don’t believe any of these nut jobs should be blamed on any political figure of either party.  They are just mentally ill people grasping onto some thought at the moment.  We are told to accept manifestly demented individuals have a rational political agenda.

The comparison of the supposed negative, violent rhetoric coming from Trump and the negative violent actions coming from the Left is not even close.   Who is the real unprecedented danger to our society? Any action against Trump is OK in these people’s minds because he is a “clear and present danger.”  Though they cannot point to exactly what he has done that is so dangerous.  They just echo chamber the opposition and then it becomes the truth to them even though it cannot be substantiated with actual examples.

The latest proof of Trump being a “danger to all free people” was his recent run-in with CNN’s Jim Acosta at a press conference after the mid-terms.   Never-Trumpers used this as proof that Trump is on the road to dictatorship and suppression of our free press.  I watched the entire press conference.  Trump answered two questions from Acosta even though he tried to only answer the first one, if you can call the first one a question.  Acosta began his comments by saying “I want to challenge you.”  He went on to lecture President Trump about the migrants coming in mass groups to our border from countries in Central America.  We know how that turned out.

The reason Acosta had his WH press credentials taken away was for his ensuing rude and selfish behavior.  He insisted on keeping the microphone, trying to either ask another question or further lecture the president. Other members of the press were waiting their turn to address the issue they were concerned with at the time.  Acosta does this regularly with Press Secretary Sanders. (Read more.)

Domus Aurea

Immediately after the fire of 64 AD, which destroyed most of the centre of Rome, Nero built a new imperial residence. This was far bigger and more luxurious than the previous one, the Domus Transitoria. Its walls were decked with gold and precious stones, giving it the name the Domus Aurea or Golden House. Designed by the architects Severus and Celeres, the new palace was immense: it covered the Palatine, Velia and Oppian hills and the valley where the Colosseum was later built.
The astronomic orientation of the building confirms the theory that Nero saw himself as the sun god and therefore frequently used symbolism of the stars and sun. The head of his colossal statue, too, was surrounded by a corona. 
Nero’s successors constructed other buildings within the unfinished complex, such as the Colosseum on the site of the artificial lake and the Baths of Trajan, which replaced palace buildings that burned down in the year 104. During the Renaissance, parts of the substructure and ground floor rooms of Nero’s palace were exposed, revealing many ancient works of art, including the Laocoön group in 1506. (Read more.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

The Birth of Christ, Federico Barocci, 1597
And a Happy New Year! Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog in 2018~ I will pray for you all this Christmas Day in the morning. Please pray for me.
Welcome, all wonders in one sight!

       Eternity shut in a span;

Summer in winter; day in night;

       Heaven in earth, and God in man.

Great little one, whose all-embracing birth

Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heav’n to earth.
 ~  from "In the Holy Nativity of Our Lord" by Richard Crashaw


"The Burning Babe"

The poem by St. Robert Southwell, priest and martyr. 
As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.


Last Will and Testament of Louis XVI

The last Will and Testament of Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, given on Christmas day, 1792.
In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
To-day, the 25th day of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI King of France, being for more than four months imprisoned with my family in the tower of the Temple at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatsoever, even with my family, since the eleventh instant; moreover, involved in a trial the end of which it is impossible to foresee, on account of the passions of men, and for which one can find neither pretext nor means in any existing law, and having no other witnesses, for my thoughts than God to whom I can address myself, I hereby declare, in His presence, my last wishes and feelings.
I leave my soul to God, my creator; I pray Him to receive it in His mercy, not to judge it according to its merits but according to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ who has offered Himself as a sacrifice to God His Father for us other men, no matter how hardened, and for me first.
I die in communion with our Holy Mother, the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, which holds authority by an uninterrupted succession, from St. Peter, to whom Jesus Christ entrusted it; I believe firmly and I confess all that is contained in the creed and the commandments of God and the Church, the sacraments and the mysteries, those which the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught. I never pretend to set myself up as a judge of the various way of expounding the dogma which rend the church of Jesus Christ, but I agree and will always agree, if God grant me life the decisions which the ecclesiastical superiors of the Holy Catholic Church give and will always give, in conformity with the disciplines which the Church has followed since Jesus Christ.
I pity with all my heart our brothers who may be in error but I do not claim to judge them, and I do not love them less in Christ, as our Christian charity teaches us, and I pray to God to pardon all my sins. I have sought scrupulously to know them, to detest them and to humiliate myself in His presence. Not being able to obtain the ministration of a Catholic priest, I pray God to receive the confession which I feel in having put my name (although this was against my will) to acts which might be contrary to the discipline and the belief of the Catholic church, to which I have always remained sincerely attached. I pray God to receive my firm resolution, if He grants me life, to have the ministrations of a Catholic priest, as soon as I can, in order to confess my sins and to receive the sacrament of penance.

I beg all those whom I might have offended inadvertently (for I do not recall having knowingly offended any one), or those whom I may have given bad examples or scandals, to pardon the evil which they believe I could have done them.

I beseech those who have the kindness to join their prayers to mine, to obtain pardon from God for my sins.
I pardon with all my heart those who made themselves my enemies, without my have given them any cause, and I pray God to pardon them, as well as those who, through false or misunderstood zeal, did me much harm.

I commend to God my wife and my children, my sister, my aunts, my brothers, and all those who are attached to me by ties of blood or by whatever other means. I pray God particularly to cast eyes of compassion upon my wife, my children, and my sister, who suffered with me for so long a time, to sustain them with His mercy if they shall lose me, and as long as they remain in his mortal world.
I commend my children to my wife; I have never doubted her maternal tenderness for them. I enjoin her above all to make them good Christians and honest individuals; to make them view the grandeurs of this world (if they are condemned to experience them) as very dangerous and transient goods, and turn their attention towards the one solid and enduring glory, eternity. I beseech my sister to kindly continue her tenderness for my children and to take the place of a mother, should they have the misfortune of losing theirs.

I beg my wife to forgive all the pain which she suffered for me, and the sorrows which I may have caused her in the course of our union; and she may feel sure that I hold nothing against her, if she has anything with which to reproach herself.

I most warmly enjoin my children that, after what they owe to God, which should come first, they should remain forever united among themselves, submissive and obedient to their mother, and grateful for all the care and trouble which she has taken with them, as well as in memory of me. I beg them to regard my sister as their second mother.

I exhort my son, should he have the misfortune of becoming king, to remember he owes himself wholly to the happiness of his fellow citizens; that he should forget all hates and all grudges, particularly those connected with the misfortunes and sorrows which I am experiencing; that he can make the people happy only by ruling according to laws: but at the same time to remember that a king cannot make himself respected and do the good that is in his heart unless he has the necessary authority, and that otherwise, being tangled up in his activities and not inspiring respect, he is more harmful than useful.

I exhort my son to care for all the persons who are attached to me, as much as his circumstances will allow, to remember that it is a sacred debt which I have contracted towards the children and relatives of those who have perished for me and also those who are wretched for my sake. I know that there are many persons, among those who were near me, who did not conduct themselves towards me as they should have and who have even shown ingratitude, but I pardon them (often in moments of trouble and turmoil one is not master of oneself), and I beg my son that, if he finds an occasion, he should think only of their misfortunes.

I should have wanted here to show my gratitude to those who have given me a true and disinterested affection; if, on the one hand, I was keenly hurt by the ingratitude and disloyalty of those to whom I have always shown kindness, as well as to their relatives and friends, on the other hand I have had the consolation of seeing the affection and voluntary interest which many persons have shown me. I beg them to receive my thanks.

In the situation in which matters still are, I fear to compromise them if I should speak more explicitly, but I especially enjoin my son to seek occasion to recognize them.

I should, nevertheless, consider it a calumny on the nation if I did not openly recommend to my son MM. De Chamilly and Hue, whose genuine attachment for me led them to imprison themselves with me in this sad abode. I also recommend Clery, for whose attentiveness I have nothing but praise ever since he has been with me. Since it is he who has remained with me until the end, I beg the gentlemen of the commune to hand over to him my clothes, my books, my watch, my purse, and all other small effects which have been deposited with the council of the commune.

I pardon again very readily those who guard me, the ill treatment and the vexations which they thought it necessary to impose upon me. I found a few sensitive and compassionate souls among them – may they in their hearts enjoy the tranquillity which their way of thinking gives them.

I beg MM. De Malesherbes, Tronchet and De Seze to receive all my thanks and the expressions of my feelings for all the cares and troubles they took for me.

I finish by declaring before God, and ready to appear before Him, that I do not reproach myself with any of the crimes with which I am charged.

Made in duplicate in the Tower of the Temple, the 25th of December 1792.



A Short History of Ice Skating

From The Spectator:
In landscape terms, the Fens don’t have much going for them. What you can say for them, though, is that they’re flat — a selling point for lovers of flat racing. This aspect was not lost on James I when, while out hunting in 1605, he came across the village of Newmarket, and 60 years later his grandson Charles II, who inherited the Stuart love of the sport of kings, would build a palace and stables in the Suffolk village. Today the remains of Palace House and the King’s Yard are home to the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, which houses a world-class collection of sporting art by Stubbs, Landseer, Munnings and Skeaping. But its latest exhibition focuses on a sport with a more surprising Stuart connection — skating. While in exile in the Netherlands in 1648, the teenage James II acquired a taste for scooting over the ice with blades strapped to his boots, and he introduced the sport to the English court on his return. 
In Holland skating hardly ranked as a sport. When frozen waterways became impassable to boats, skates were an alternative mode of transport. In Cornelis Beelt’s ‘Skaters on a Frozen River’ (c.1660), a peasant loads hay on to a horse-drawn sled; in Anthonie Verstraelen’s ‘Ice Scene’ (c.1640), an urban couple teeters across a river in fashionable bustles and pantaloons. By the following century, skating had become a spectator sport: in Cornelis Troost’s ‘Winter Fun’ (1740), a drinker at a pop-up bar trains his eye glass on an avalanche of petticoats as a passing lady slips and performs a horizontal cancan. 
In France, where Louis XVI had introduced skating to Paris, displays of petticoats were confined to dance halls. On the flooded fields of La Glacière, gentlemen pulled ladies across the ice in carriages shaped like swans or gondolas. The rink was an arena for male display; an excuse for Parisian dandies to don tights. The balletic moves outlined in Jean Garcin’s ‘Le Vrai Patineur’ (1813) were explicitly designed to ‘seduce weak mortals’ of unspecified sex. They included ‘L’Adonis’ — right arm raised — ‘L’Apollon’ — left arm raised — and ‘Le Beau Narcisse’ — both arms raised and bent above the head in a half-Mobot. Only French skaters, sniffed Garcin, had any style; with the Germans, English and Danes either ‘the body is bent, the arms swinging… or straight as a picket, all stiff, inflexible, without grace, without attitude’. 
True of the English, perhaps, though not the Scots, as demonstrated by the effortless ease with which the Reverend Robert Walker glides across Duddingston Loch in Henry Raeburn’s famous painting of the 1790s. The National Galleries of Scotland wouldn’t lend this iconic image, but in its place there are two paintings by Raeburn’s pupil Charles Lees: ‘Skaters on Duddingston Loch by Moonlight’ (1857) (see p69) shows an Edinburgh swell in top hat and frock coat swooping swallow-like over the ice as lesser mortals totter and topple around him, and ‘Skating on Linlithgow Loch’ (1858) features a major pile-up. 
If figure skating was for dandies, speed skating was for oiks, with the Fens — drained with Dutch help in the 1650s — providing the perfect surface. By the 1890s fixtures at Littleport and Lingay were attracting international competitors, with punters packing on to trains from Liverpool Street. Victorian lantern slides document the speed skating heroes of the day, from hunky New Yorker Joseph F. Donoghue in natty racing sweater and matching headband to veteran local talent William ‘Turkey’ Smart, who acquired his nickname from his bent posture and flapping arms — a style confirming Garcin’s worst prejudices about the English, while keeping this agricultural labourer from Welney at the top of his game for 40 years. But the show’s star turn, captured going like the clappers in a 1920s Pathé film, is Wisbech-born blacksmith Cyril W. Horn, his clinging jersey revealing good honest pecs earned in the forge rather than the gym. A girl can tell. (Read more.)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Faith, Reason and the Virgin Birth

It is the ancient and constant teaching of the Church that Our Lady gave birth without loss of her virginity. In the words of Father Angelo:
In the Catholic view of things, faith and reason are mutually compatible, although through faith we are able to know things that we could not know by reason alone.  Hence, faith is both reasonable and transcends reason, just as grace builds on nature but also transcends it.  Reason shows us that what God has revealed is compatible with nature.  In other words, God is not arbitrary.  The natural law written in our hearts is confirmed by supernatural revelation not contradicted by it....

Among Catholics there is much confusion as to the precise meaning of the Virgin Birth.  It is not to be confused with the Virginal Conception of Our Lord.   The Church, from the earliest times, has articulated the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady as pertaining to three distinct moments:  before the birth of Jesus (ante partum), during the birth of Jesus (in partu), and after birth of Jesus (post partum).  Virtually every time the magisterium has spoken on the subject, this threefold distinction is made.  This teaching is derived from the early fathers of the Church, who maintained, defended and made the teaching a universally held truth of the Catholic Church.

Joyeux Noël from Québec City

From Victoria:
Snow falls gently along the cobblestone streets of Old Québec, near the banks of the St. Lawrence River, turning this historic neighborhood within the walls of Québec City into an authentic winter wonderland. From Upper Town to Lower Town, the Christmas spirit comes alive with every boutique, bistro, and abode reflecting the area’s distinctive French character amid the exuberance of the season. (Read more:)

Victorian Christmas Decorating

From Mimi Matthews:
There’s nothing more quintessentially Christmas than a Victorian Christmas, complete with mistletoe, tinsel, and candles on the tree. But there was more to Victorian holiday decorating than tinsel and candles. Just like us, many Victorians had a fondness for glitter and gold. In my new Victorian Christmas romance A Holiday By Gaslight, there’s a scene in which the guests at a country house party decorate for Christmas by gilding acorns and artificially frosting the tips of holly and ivy leaves with crystals. These Victorian decorating ideas didn’t originate in my fevered authorial brain. They were actual methods used to create glittering, gold-flaked, holiday cheer. 
An issue of the Delineator from 1900 declares that “one of the handsomest effects” for the Christmas tree was “having the tips of the green boughs glittering with crystals and reflecting the lights in many brilliant colors.” It goes on to state that: “One would suppose, at first sight of the glittering display, that some expensive method was necessary to produce the effect, but the process of covering the green twigs with crystals is very cheap and simple.” 
At this juncture, I feel it necessary to warn you that you should definitely NOT try this at home. Many recipes the Victorians employed for decorating were highly toxic and not at all safe for use. The information provided below is purely for your historical edification. (Read more.)

Religious Upbringing Better for Kids’ Health

From The Stream:
A recent Harvard study reveals that children who had a religious upbringing are likely to be healthier and have a higher degree of well-being in early adulthood than those who did not. The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and released last month, shows a link between a religious upbringing and better physical and mental health in young adults. Researchers found that people who attended religious services weekly or who practiced prayer or meditation daily in their youth reported having a higher life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s. Individuals were found less likely to smoke, have symptoms of depression, use illicit drugs, or have sexually transmitted infections than people who engaged in less regular spiritual practices.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices,” said first author Ying Chen in a university press release. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.” The researchers followed 5,000 young people for between eight to 14 years, controlling for variables such as maternal health, socioeconomic status, and histories of substance abuse or symptoms of depression.

Results show that those who went to religious services at least once a week as children were about 18 percent more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults between the ages of 23 and 30 than those who didn’t. They were also shown to be 29 percent more likely to volunteer in their local communities and 33 percent less likely to engage in the use of illicit drugs.

Those who prayed or meditated at least once a day in their youth were shown to be 16 percent more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults and were 30 percent less likely to have become sexually active in their adolescence. These individuals were also 40 percent less likely to have contracted a sexually transmitted infection than those who never prayed or meditated.

Emilie Kao, the director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, said she was not surprised by the researchers’ findings, noting that the Harvard study joins a long list of studies showing a positive link between religion and well-being. “I think they’re consistent with other research that we’ve seen that shows religious beliefs give people spiritual strengths that lead to healthy habits and build their social networks and gives them the ability to overcome obstacles in their lives,” Kao said. (Read more.)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Royal Snow

From Royal Central:
The onset of winter provides another opportunity to look again at the links between the many fascinating outdoor pastimes and pursuits enjoyed by royalty, which I touched on in my article of December 2017, Snow and Royalty. Whilst the German Christmas was much popularised by Prince Albert, the preference of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle with the royal children was in fact, a continuance of an earlier, medieval pattern, English monarchs having wintered at Windsor since the twelfth century. The winter wedding of King Henry I – his second marriage – to the French Princess Adeliza of Louvain, was celebrated at Windsor on 24 January 1121. Windsor Castle came to be closely associated with Christmases within the Royal Family until the death of Prince Albert, after which Queen Victoria generally took to celebrating Christmas at Osborne. 
I am particularly interested here to explore a little closer the actual royal pastimes enjoyed with the snow itself, as opposed to the various charming winter pastimes on the ice such as skating and sledging – Prince Albert having been an extremely keen and enthusiastic skater. Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria – the French Queen Marie Antoinette – adored the snow, which she ever associated with her Viennese childhood; indeed, she remained excited at the mere sight of it for the rest of her life. (Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, 21). Snow, therefore, provides the setting for many charming vignettes and provides the background for generations of royal play. 
In Tudor England, the court used the snowfall as an opportunity to make royal winter sports, as might befit the cycle of seasonal entertainments it enjoyed around its yearly calendar. We know from the accounts of Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon and Marquess of Exeter, that the courtiers of Henry VIII engaged in snowball fights (Alison Weir, Henry VIII: King & Court, 94; 519) and thanks to the records contained within the Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, that on at least one occasion, the King joined in. This occurred in January 1519, when a 28-year-old Henry VIII borrowed a cap from a boy to keep out the cold. (Ibid, 94). The King once travelled by winter sleigh over the frozen Thames from his Palace at Whitehall to Greenwich in 1536. (Louise Cooling, A Royal Christmas, 110). (Read more.)

More on Marie-Antoinette and sleigh-riding, HERE. Share

The Meltdown Over Syria

From the American Conservative:
And what about if the United States withdraws? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely to attack the Kurds, which he sees as a threat to his homeland. (Though even there, the crystal ball is murky. As Joshua Landis pointed out on Twitter yesterday, the Kurds helped fight off Arab rebel militias, and Assad may decide he needs them as allies in post-war Syria.) Some combination of Assadists and Russians will then move in against the straggling rebel and ISIS remnants, the latter of which are still committing horrific atrocities but largely defeated and shut out of major population centers. Syria after that will be changed, tense, bloodstained, aggrieved. But it will be more stable, at least, than it was during the war, perhaps enabling the trickle of refugees returning home to become a gush. And even if that scenario proves too rosy, even if Turkey and Syria somehow end up skirmishing, what is America supposed to do? What justifies the expenditure of another dollar or soldier in a conflict as intractable as that? What net good do we accomplish by planting ourselves in front of a powerful NATO nation on the other side of the globe? (Read more.)

From the Spectator USA:
Warmongers on the Left and Right are united in their fury at President Donald Trump’s extraordinarily bold and brave decision immediately to begin withdrawing all US troops from Syria. For those of us who prefer peace, it is a sure sign that Trump deserves our unconditional support and gratitude, no matter how we view the rest of his presidency. After all, the only other time Trump united the neocons and liberal hawks was when he launched a futile cruise missile barrage last year at an empty Syrian airfield in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians.

It is a sad reflection on the state of the Western media that it is only by unleashing deadly weapons against a sovereign Arab country that – in the infamous words of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at the time – the Commander-in-Chief can appear ‘presidential’. A year later, we still have no incontrovertible evidence that a chemical attack had in fact been carried out or, if it was, who was responsible. Now Zakaria is whining that Trump’s latest decision to remove troops from Syria feels worse than the moment former President George W. Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq – an invasion, incredibly, Zakaria’s lies helped pave the way for.

For those of us living in the real world, Trump’s decision to remove the military from the Syrian quagmire is the bravest and most logical decision in the Middle East by an American president since Eisenhower ordered Britain, France and Israel to withdraw from Suez. After all, US troops – unlike those from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, who were invited to fight Isis by the Assad regime – were stationed there illegally, and served no discernible strategic American interests. Worse, they were fighting an Islamic State partly armed by the Obama administration, which had recklessly backed other Sunni terror groups in an effort to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

During the election campaign, Trump was uniquely eloquent in pointing out all this. He was also alone in highlighting the disastrous consequences of earlier military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. This, then, is one of those moments those of us not fond of death and destruction can once again celebrate that Hillary Clinton – who championed the Libya campaign, wickedly joked about Gaddafi’s murder and supported regime change in Syria – never made it to the White House. In stark contrast, by withdrawing US troops from Syria, Trump is guided by a rational and humane assessment that Western military intervention in the Middle East always ends in disaster so should be avoided wherever possible. (Read more.)

A Christmas Miracle

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act touted by President Donald Trump is one of three reasons that at least 19 states are reporting unexpectedly high general fund revenue halfway through fiscal year 2019, tax policy expert Adam Michel told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

“[Trump] can also take credit for the larger economy to the extent that that’s now fueling additional spending,” Michel, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst, told TheDCNF via telephone. “It’s not only the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that’s growing the economy but his deregulatory agenda is fueling economic growth. All of those things wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t push for them.”

Increased spending in the larger economy gave state sales tax revenue a boost.

“I think we will see most states end up with more revenue at the end of the year,” Michel told TheDCNF. Heritage is a conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C.

The current fiscal year will hit its halfway point on Dec. 30. The National Association of State Budget Officers (Nasbo) released a report Thursday that said 19 states have received general fund revenue that exceeded expectations for fiscal year 2019. Those states include Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington and Connecticut, reported The Wall Street Journal. The latter state expects to take a $600 million chunk out of its budget gap by summer 2021 thanks to the increased revenue, reported WSJ.

Fourteen states say their revenue is meeting expectations for fiscal year 2019, while five report falling short, according to the report cited by WSJ.

The revenue increases are directly tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) touted by Trump, Michel told TheDCNF.

“Because the federal tax code expanded what is taxable income — the main change being they eliminated the exclusions for individuals and children and they compensated in other areas — income that is taxable at the state level for many states went up,” he said. “So we should expect to see in a majority of states income tax revenue rise because of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” (Read more.)