Trump Hypocrisy

Hire American Workers — Unless It Interferes with Profits?


Mary Papenfuss: “Trump Vineyard Requests Visas For Still More Foreign Workers: ‘America First’ doesn’t apply to Trump wines” (Huffington Post)

While President Donald Trump rails against immigrants and foreign workers taking away American jobs, the Trump Vineyard Estates has filed yet another request for visas for foreign farm workers at its Virginia winery.

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Dante’ Purgatory: Canto 19 Retelling — Fifth Ledge — Avarice and Wastefulness

Chapter 19: Fifth Ledge — Avarice and Wastefulness (Purgatory)

Just before dawn, a time when dreams sometimes bring truth, Dante dreamed about a hag — a stutterer and stumbler, with crossed eyes, yellow skin, and hands deformed as if by arthritis. Dante stared at her, and under his gaze the hag changed and became gradually beautiful.

The now beautiful woman spoke, “I am a Siren. I am she who sings sweetly and entices sailors to crash their ships upon my shores. I am the Siren who convinced Ulysses to stray from his path. Anyone who spends time with me seldom leaves because I satisfy them.”

She had barely finished speaking before a Heavenly lady appeared to defend Dante and said to Virgil, “What is this? Do your duty!”

Virgil then stepped up the Siren and ribbed her garment from the top to below her belly. A stench then poured forth, and Dante gagged and woke up.

Virgil said, “I have been calling you three times now. You are slothful, and you are not acting like the saved souls purging their sin on this ledge.”

Dante followed Virgil.

As Dante walked, he was thinking about his dream. He was stooped over and resembled half of a bridge. He then heard a soft, kindly voice say, “This is the way up.”

An angel’s wings fanned Dante and erased one of the remaining P’s on his forehead, and the angel said, “Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

Virgil asked Dante, “What are you thinking about?

Dante replied, “I had a dream that I cannot stop thinking about.”

Virgil knew Dante’s thoughts, and he knew the dream that Dante had had. He said to Dante, “You saw an evil witch that causes the sinners on the three upper ledges to mourn. You also saw how to escape from her.

“The Siren was once hideous but then seemed beautiful, just as a sin is repulsive at first but when habitually engaged in seems attractive. Think of addiction to tobacco, which a later age will regard as at least a bad habit. Anyone smoking a first cigarette is likely to have a very unpleasant experience, with coughing and, in some cases, vomiting. But continued smoking makes a person an addict to tobacco, and smoking becomes a pleasure — until it results in disease. But a better example is perhaps food. Food is necessary and eating too much of it can be pleasurable, but eating too much can lead to obesity and disease. What seemed good at first — overeating — can very quickly show that it is bad in reality. The same is true of other sins, which sometimes can have an attractive veneer but which always have an ugly reality.

“In your dream, a Heavenly lady and I came to your rescue. I know reason well, and reason is important in recognizing what is good and bad. But more is needed than reason. The Heavenly lady represents divine guidance, which is something that is outside of reason. With reason and divine guidance, you can recognize sin and see how ugly it is in reality rather than be taken in by the attractive veneer it at first seems to have. Reason and divine guidance can and should work together.

“Please realize that the Siren is a liar. She said that she convinced Ulysses to stray from his path. That is not true. Ulysses’ path went by the Siren. Ulysses was able to hear the song of the Siren and survive. He ordered his men to tie him to the mast of his ship so he could not jump overboard and swim to the Island of the Siren. His crewmen, however, put wax in their ears so that they could perform their duties without hearing the song of the Siren. Ulysses heard the song of the Siren, but he did not deviate from his path.

“Let us continue climbing. Look upward. Paradise is calling to you.”

A tame falcon will stay still until its master calls for it to soar. Now Dante strained to climb higher.

Dante and Virgil reached the fifth ledge of the mountain. There they saw saved souls, in tears, lying face down, their backs to the heavens and their faces looking at dust. Their hands and feet were bound.

Dante heard the souls say a prayer that was taken from Psalm 119 — “Adhaesit Pavimento Anima Mea” or “My Soul Cleaves Unto the Dust”:

“My soul cleaves unto the dust: quicken You me according to Your word.

“I have declared my ways, and You heard me: teach me Your statutes.

“Make me to understand the way of Your precepts: so shall I talk of Your wondrous works.

“My soul melts for heaviness: strengthen You me according to Your word.

“Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me Your law graciously.

“I have chosen the way of truth: Your judgments have I laid before me.

“I have stuck unto Your testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

“I will run the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart.”

Virgil said to the saved souls, “You will reach Paradise, and the purgation you are now undergoing is made easier by justice and the promise of Paradise. Please tell us how to reach the steps that lead upward.”

A saved soul said, “If you are not required to spend time on this ledge purging your sin, go to the right, and you will find the steps that lead upward.”

Dante thought, This saved soul has mistaken Virgil and me for saved souls who do not need to spend time on this ledge. Some souls can skip ledges, if they are not guilty of the sin purged on that ledge. Also, it is good to note once more that the saved souls in Purgatory are helpful.

Dante also thought, I would like to talk to this saved soul.

Virgil, who knew Dante’s thoughts, nodded to him that it was OK to talk to the saved soul.

Dante said to the saved soul, “You are purifying yourself with tears, and you will see God. Please tell me who all of you were and why you weep in the dust. Also, can I help you in some way in the Land of the Living when I return?”

The saved soul replied, “I will tell you soon why we lie in the dust with our backs to Heaven, but first let me say that I was a successor to Saint Peter. In the Land of the Living, I was Pope Adrian V. I was Pope for only 38 days, but that was enough time for me to learn how difficult it is to be a good and virtuous Pope. I converted very late in life. When I became Pope, I understood how false the world is. I realized that true peace could not be found in this world. I instead sought the true peace that is found in Paradise.

“Until I came to the realization of the falseness of the world, I was greedy and I was separated from God. On this ledge we are punished for being greedy in life. Because we looked at money and material possessions in the Land of the Living instead of looking to God, on this ledge our purgation is to look at the dust of the ground and to turn our backs on God. Our hands and feet are bound because we used them to pursue money and material possessions with too much zeal in the Land of the Living. This is the worst punishment on the mountain.”

Dante thought, Each sinner is most horrified by his or own sin, and so each sinner regards his or her punishment as the worst because he or she must think constantly about that particular sin.

This purgation is just because the avaricious turned their backs on Heaven, instead choosing to look toward money and material things. Now they are forced not to look toward Heaven. Because they used their hands and feet to pursue money and material things, now their hands and feet are tied.

Dante kneeled.

The saved soul said to him, “Why are you kneeling to me?”

Dante replied, “You have been a Pope. You have had high office.”

The saved soul replied, “Please rise to your feet. Do not kneel to me. I am a servant, as are you and all the other souls here, of God. You know the words of Jesus when he was asked by the Pharisees which of seven husbands a woman had had in the Land of the Living would that woman be married to in Paradise: ‘For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels who are in Heaven.’

“In the Land of the Living, I was married to my diocese, but now I am not married. The title of Pope is not applicable to one in the afterlife, and therefore you ought not to kneel to me.

“Please do not stay longer. Please let me go back to purging my sin. Let me cry in penance. In the Land of the Living, I have a niece named Alagia. I hope that she may retain her goodness and not be led astray. There is no lack of bad examples that she could follow. She is all that remains to me in the Land of the Living.”

Dante thought, The saved souls in Purgatory still care about and wish the best for people who are still in the Land of the Living. Also, on this ledge Virgil and I see the former Pope Adrian V being purged of the sin of greed. Of course, the Simoniac Popes in the Inferno were greedy, but they did not repent their sins before dying.

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce

This is an excerpt from Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Retelling in Prose by David Bruce, available here:

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Check out David Bruce’s PATREON Page

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Romance Books by Brenda Kennedy (Some Free)

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Brave Fox Reporter Criticizes Trump, Protects Journalism

Fox News Rips Trump as a liar (YouTube)

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Dear President Trump, You Don’t Get to Tell the Press What to Do


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Dante’s Purgatory: Canto 18 Retelling —  Fourth Ledge — Sloth (Abbot of San Zeno)

Chapter 18: Fourth Ledge — Sloth (Abbot of San Zeno) (Purgatory)

When Virgil had finished speaking, he looked at Dante to see if he wanted more information. Dante, although he wanted more information, wondered whether Virgil was tired of answering questions. Of course, Virgil could read his mind, and he encouraged him to ask questions.

Dante said, “The information you have given me is very good, but please explain love to me. It is, you say, the source of every virtue as well as of every vice.”

Virgil replied, “Listen carefully, and I will explain love. Not every love is good. The Epicureans believed that, but they were wrong. The Epicureans taught something false, and when they taught it, they were like blind people leading other blind people.

“People have desires, but not all desires are good. The Epicureans would say that anything that gives pleasure is good, but the Epicureans are wrong. As we have seen, it is important to love the right things. Loving the wrong things leads to pride, envy, and wrath. It is important to love to the right degree. People who are guilty of sloth love the right things, but not strongly enough. And when we climb to the final three terraces, you will see saved souls who loved the right things but too strongly.

“The soul senses something, whether material or nonmaterial, forms an image of it, and if the image seems desirable, the soul desires — or loves — the thing as naturally as a flame shoots upwards. If the thing is sufficiently desirable, the soul moves toward possessing it.”

Dante asked, “If all of this is completely natural, does it make sense for one to be praised or blamed for one’s choices, whether good or bad? It seems as if the soul must act as it does.”

Virgil replied, “I will explain to you what I can explain. Although the soul’s wanting a thing is completely natural, as natural as a bee’s making honey, people must use their reason to determine whether to pursue the thing or not. Some things we should pursue, and some things we ought not to pursue. Humankind has knowledge of right and wrong. Humankind has reason. Humankind has ethics. All of these things can help people to decide whether what the soul wants is good or bad. And Humankind has Free Will to make a decision and act on it. Whatever your heredity and environment are, reason can help you make the correct decision and Free Will can help you implement that correct decision.

“We human beings do have Free Will to choose, and what we choose is important.

“To summarize: What we choose is what we love. However, we have reason, and we can use our reason to understand the difference between good loves and bad loves. We also have Freedom of the Will, and we can use our Freedom of the Will to choose good loves.

“I have explained to you what I can explain. When you see Beatrice, she can give you more information. Beatrice, not I, understands faith.

“Intellect will not solve all of our problems or tell us everything that we ought to know. We have had an intellectual discussion of love, but you still need to have faith as well as intellect.

“I understand human reason, but Beatrice understands faith, and Beatrice will be able to take you further than I can.

“Again: Quite simply, intellect is not able to understand everything. Some things will remain a mystery and must be accepted on faith.

“I am aware of my limits, and I am aware that Beatrice will be able to answer some questions that I am unable to answer. I, of course, will soon turn you over to Beatrice. Beatrice will be your next major guide.”

The time was close to midnight. Dante was satisfied that Virgil had answered his question the best he was able to, but he realized that Beatrice could answer his question in more detail.

Dante’s thoughts began to wander, but then he and Virgil heard people running toward them. The followers of Bacchus in Thebes were zealous in their worship of the god, and the saved souls running toward Dante and Virgil were also zealous.

Two souls were ahead of the others. One soul shouted, “Mary ran to the hills.”

Dante thought, After the Annunciation, in which an angel told Mary that she would bear Christ, Mary hurried to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Mary did not delay; she wished to hurry to share the good news with Elizabeth.

The next soul shouted, “Caesar struck at Marseilles and then hurried to Spain to subjugate Ilerda.”

Dante thought, Julius Caesar warred against Pompey the Great. Eager to meet Pompey in battle, Caesar left some of his army to besiege Marseilles, and then he took as quickly as he could the rest of his soldiers to the showdown with the Spanish army of Pompey. Caesar won the Battle of Ilerda.

Mary and Julius Caesar are examples of zeal and diligence that we ought to emulate.

Other souls running behind the two souls in front shouted, “Faster! Faster! Don’t waste time! Purge the sin of sloth! Do good deeds to rid yourself of sloth and be blessed!”

Virgil said to the running souls, “Saved souls who are eager to make up for lost time — time lost due to the lukewarm love of doing the right thing and of doing good deeds — this man who is alive would like to climb higher when dawn arrives. Please show us the way up.”

One of the saved souls shouted to him, “Follow in our tracks, and you will arrive at the way up the mountain.

“We cannot stop. We cannot lose time. We are keeping our eyes on the prize. We beg your pardon, but we must purge our sin of sloth.”

Dante thought, These souls certainly are keeping their eyes on the prize. Elsewhere on the mountain, souls have been distracted from the prize when they have found out that I am still alive. These souls refuse to be distracted. Cato would be proud of them. Those who were slothful while they were alive are now purging their sin by staying busy day and night. The slothful purge their sin by running and running, both day and night.

The saved soul continued, “I was the abbot of San Zeno in Verona when Barbarossa was Emperor. He destroyed Milan in 1162, even sowing salt into the ground so that nothing would grow in the fields. A person who had power over the monastery, but who will soon die, replaced me with a person who is an illegitimate bastard, unqualified mentally because of mental retardation, and unqualified physically because of physical handicaps. Thus, he is triply unqualified. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, a man with these qualities cannot become a priest. Such qualities can interfere with the duties of a priest. For example, a priest with severe physical handicaps may not be able to pour the liquid for the Mass. Living men abuse their power, and they make bad times worse by providing bad leaders.”

He raced on.

Virgil said to Dante, “Turn around. More souls are racing toward us as they work to purge the sin of sloth.”

Two souls at the end of the group of souls shouted, “Most followers of Moses never reached the Holy Land.”

Most of the followers of Moses never reached the Promised Land because they were slothful after God opened the Red Sea so that they could escape from Egypt. As recorded in Numbers 14:22, God told Moses, “Because all those men who have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice, surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them who provoked me see it.” Among the older men, only Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, made it to the Holy Land.

And then the two souls at the end shouted, “Some followers of Aeneas never made it to Italy.”

Dante thought, This is true. When Aeneas and his followers were on the island of Sicily, the women set fire to some ships because they were tired of wandering and wanted to stay on Sicily. Some of the ships burned, and Aeneas did not have enough ships to take all of the Trojan refugees to Italy. Therefore, he left nearly all of the women on Sicily (he did take to Italy at least one mother) and all the men who desired to stay there rather than going on to glory in Italy. Virgil tells this story in Book 5 of his Aeneid.

These slothful followers of Moses and of Aeneas are not to be emulated.

When the souls had gone on, Dante’s thoughts wandered. He went to sleep, and he began to dream.

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce

This is an excerpt from Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Retelling in Prose by David Bruce, available here:

Check out the rest of

Check out David Bruce’s PATREON Page

Download free eBooks, including books for teachers, by David Bruce here:

Romance Books by Brenda Kennedy (Some Free)

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With Age Comes Wisdom, and With Xanax Comes a Sense of Calmness. Why Isn’t President Trump Wise Enough to Take Xanax?


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An Easy Way to Double Your Wardrobe



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