George H.W. Bush (1924-2018)

By Rod Dreher

News just in that George H.W. Bush has died. Whatever you thought of his politics, he was a deeply admirable gentleman. Karen Tumulty’s obituary for him in the Washington Post says it all right here:

Although Mr. Bush served as president three decades ago, his values and ethic seem centuries removed from today’s acrid political culture. His currency of personal connection was the handwritten letter — not the social media blast.

I was never much of a fan of President Bush the Elder’s politics, especially the New World Order stuff, but his modesty and dignity always struck a chord. More:

No president before had arrived with his breadth of experience: decorated Navy pilot, successful oil executive, congressman, United Nations delegate, Republican Party chairman, envoy to Beijing, director of Central Intelligence.

Over the course of a single term that began on Jan. 20, 1989, Mr. Bush found himself at the helm of the world’s only remaining superpower. The Berlin Wall fell; the Soviet Union ceased to exist; the communist bloc in Eastern Europe broke up; the Cold War ended.

His firm, restrained diplomatic sense helped assure the harmony and peace with which these world-shaking events played out, one after the other.

Do you remember living through those years? Things could have gone much worse than they did for the world. President Bush’s steadiness was exactly what we needed. It wasn’t quite so clear back then, when his verbal maladroitness and Oxford-shirt Establishmentarianism made him easy to caricature.

This is interesting too:

That he was perceived as lacking in grit was another irony in the life of Mr. Bush. His was a character that had been forged by trial. He was an exemplary story of a generation whose youth was cut short by the Great Depression and World War II.

Talk about another world! We could stand a lot more of that Yankee modesty, courtesy, and steadfastness in our leaders. Read:

Prescott Bush wanted his son to go right to Yale upon graduation from Andover. But Mr. Bush said his father had also insisted that privilege carried a responsibility to “put something back in, do something, help others.”

His own time to serve came on his 18th birthday, when he enlisted in the Navy; within a year, he received his wings and became one of the youngest pilots in the service.

Sent to the Pacific, he flew torpedo bombers off the aircraft carrier San Jacinto. On Sept. 2, 1944, his plane was hit by Japanese ground fire during a bombing run on Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands in the western Pacific. He pressed his attack even though his plane was aflame.

Mr. Bush bailed out over the ocean and was rescued by a submarine. His two crewmen were killed. The future president was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Tumulty’s obituary — I hope you’ll read the whole thing — makes a point that can’t be overstated: that you can’t appreciate what George H.W. Bush achieved in managing the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet empire without understanding …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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I wasn’t supposed to like George H.W. Bush — Then I got to know him

By Mark Weinberg I first met George H.W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94, not long before he was elected as Ronald Reagan’s vice president in 1980. At the time, if anyone was predisposed not to like the future vice president and president, it was me. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Sweet Scent Of Intersectionality

By Rod Dreher

The Social Justice Warriors have come up with an Intersectionality Score Calculator, to determine whether, come the Revolution, you should be promoted to the Politburo, or to mere commissar status, or, alas, sent to the gulag, or even shot. Here’s the test; you rate yourself on a sliding scale:

You will not be surprised to learn my score:

To the firing squad for me! If only I had been older, wealthier, and better educated, the SJWs would be required to burn my body and flush the ashes. Bet my score is lower than yours, Uncle Chuckie! This may be the only time I will be rated more monstrous than you.

I say three cheers for low scores. But don’t despair if you fail to score low:

Can I be accused of being oppressive even if I have a high score?

Yes, having a high intersectionality score doesn’t completely immunize you from being called an oppressor. You may be vulnerable to “weakest link” attacks – that is, being called an oppressor on any of the intersectionality factors by those disadvantaged in that factor. For example, a gay black man could still be accused of being a misogynist by women or a poor, immigrant woman could be called transphobic by a transperson..

How can these scores be used? So glad you asked. From the website:

The scores has many practical uses. Primarily, it can be used to help those who are historically marginalized. In an office setting, you can easily identify those who may have unique, and most often overlooked or disregarded perspectives. Some people even advocate giving more opportunties [sic] and promotions to people with high intersectionality scores so that they become more represented in positions of power.

In politics, we could use these scores to compensate for previous social injustice by weighing votes in proportional to ones intersectional score. For example, someone with an intersectional score of 60 would get twice as many votes as someone with a score of 30. This would produce a more inclusive outcome and improve overall diversity.

“A more inclusive outcome and improve overall diversity” is a pretty interesting way to describe depriving people of equal opportunity to vote and to participate in public life on the basis of their skin color, religion, sex, age, and whatnot.

Intersectionality is a cult. You don’t have to think. The intersectionalists spout words like “diversity” and “inclusivity” like rainbow-farting unicorns, but what they propose is utterly malign. From The Gulag Archipelago, this 1918 quote from a Bolshevik official describing the purpose of the Red Terror:

We are not fighting against single individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. It is not necessary during the interrogation to look for evidence proving that the accused opposed the Soviets by word or action. The first question which you should ask him is what class does he belong to, what is his origin, his education and his professions. These are the questions which will determine the fate of the accused. Such is the sense and the essence of red …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Dr. Siegel: The surprising reasons life expectancy is down, and the reasons I’m hopeful it will rise again

By Marc Siegel Drug overdose and suicide are driving down life expectancy in America. But steps are being taken to reverse this disturbing trend. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Pope Francis: ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’

By Rod Dreher

Pope Francis gave an address today to a group gathered in Rome to figure out what to do with churches and religious buildings that nobody is using anymore. Excerpt:

The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy, or a different distribution of the population between cities and rural areas, should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to reflection and requires us to adapt. It is what in a sense the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium affirms when, claiming the superiority of time over space, it declares that “giving priority to time means being concerned about initiating processes rather than possessing spaces. Time governs spaces, illumines them and makes them links in a constantly expanding chain, with no possibility of return” (223).

This sent Phil Lawler over the edge:

Our Church has been hemorrhaging members for decades now. The closing of churches is a symptom of a serious pathology. Yes, reflect on the causes. Certainly think about how to adapt. But for God’s sake be anxious, because souls are at stake!

Like St. Rex of Mottram says, it’s the New Springtime, only Phil is too sinful to see it.

I can’t speak for my friend Phil, of course, but I don’t think he would say that losing people is wholeheartedly a bad thing. A church that tries to be all things to all people, so as to lose as few as possible, will end by being nothing much to anybody. If a particular parish was serious about Catholic orthodoxy, and that drove lukewarm Catholics away, I don’t think that would be a bad thing. Or rather, I think it would be a bad thing, for the sake of those fallen-away Catholics’ souls, but I think the worse thing would be to compromise the Truth for the sake of popularity. I could be wrong, but I imagine Phil thinks the same way. Certainly I believe this about my own church, the Orthodox Church.

Phil is absolutely correct, though, to point out that the collapse of Christianity — especially Catholic Christianity — in the West is something about which every believer should be deeply concerned. In France, for example, hundreds of historic churches are being demolished because the government, which owns them (it’s a French thing) cannot afford to maintain them, and the congregations have withered to nothing. It’s happening across Europe.

The city is burning down, and Pope Francis is inviting those who live in it to come warm themselves by the fire. Unbelievable. No wonder The Benedict Option is selling so well in Europe. Nobody is coming from Rome to save you. In Rome, they don’t even see the problem (well, one old man and his secretary do, but they’re on the margins today).

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Newt Gingrich: G-20 summit — Don’t be fooled by the grins, handshakes and awestruck news coverage

By Newt Gingrich When you see pictures of smiling world leaders from the G-20 summit that began Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, remember that the images do not depict reality. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The T.M. Landry Fraud

By Rod Dreher

This is a real blow. Not long ago, I saw a story on CBS News, or somewhere, about T.M. Landry, a college prep school in Cajun country that managed to send a lot of black students from impoverished backgrounds to good colleges. The narrative was that black kids from broken families and poverty could make it to top American colleges if only they had the kind of discipline that the school, founded and run by Michael Landry and his wife, a black couple, provided them.

This video of a T.M. Landry student receiving his Harvard acceptance letter went viral:

The Landrys have become a national sensation:

Landry success stories have been splashed in the past two years on the “Today” show, “Ellen” and the “CBS This Morning.” Education professionals extol T.M. Landry and its 100 or so kindergarten-through-12th-grade students as an example for other Louisiana schools. Wealthy supporters have pushed the Landrys, who have little educational training, to expand to other cities. Small donors, heartened by the web videos, send in a steady stream of cash.

It turns out that it was too good to be true. The New York Times tells the ugly truth:

In reality, the school falsified transcripts, made up student accomplishments and mined the worst stereotypes of black America to manufacture up-from-hardship tales that it sold to Ivy League schools hungry for diversity. The Landrys also fostered a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse, students and teachers said. Students were forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement, and were choked, yelled at and berated.

The Landrys’ deception has tainted nearly everyone the school has touched, including students, parents and college admissions officers convinced of a myth.

Some of the Landry kids who got into top-rank colleges have succeeded in spite of the deception.

For yet other Landry students, particularly those who spent multiple years at the school, the results after graduation have been disappointing. Some have withdrawn from college, or transferred to less rigorous programs.

Asja Jackson, whose Wesleyan University acceptance video also went viral, decided to leave this month after she said she fell into a depression over her first-semester struggles. She said she “froze and failed” her first chemistry tests and walked out of a biology exam. Her papers, she said, were “childish,” and she was too embarrassed to attend a writing workshop.

She studied and worked through the night, like she had done at T.M. Landry since eighth grade, but she just was not “catching it,” she said. She said she eventually stopped eating, talking to her friends, leaving her room or going to class.

“I didn’t understand why people around me were doing well, and I wasn’t,” said Ms. Jackson, who took the advice of her dean and started medical leave. “I couldn’t tell my friends because they would say, ‘How did you get into the school then?’ There were too many questions that I couldn’t answer.”

More:

Mr. Landry used to tout the school as created for “black troublemakers.” As it became more prominent, it started to appeal to …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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America Is Headed For Military Defeat in Afghanistan

By Danny Sjursen

There’s a prevailing maxim, both inside the armed forces and around the Beltway, that goes something like this: “The U.S. can never be militarily defeated in any war,” certainly not by some third world country. Heck, I used to believe that myself. That’s why, in regard to Afghanistan, we’ve been told that while America could lose the war due to political factors (such as the lack of grit among “soft” liberals or defeatists), the military could never and will never lose on the battlefield.

That entire maxim is about to be turned on its head. Get ready, because we’re about to lose this war militarily.

Consider this: the U.S. military has advised, assisted, battled, and bombed in Afghanistan for 17-plus years. Ground troop levels have fluctuated from lows of some 10,000 to upwards of 100,000 servicemen and women. None of that has achieved more than a tie, a bloody stalemate. Now, in the 18th year of this conflict, the Kabul-Washington coalition’s military is outright losing.

Let’s begin with the broader measures. The Taliban controls or contests more districts—some 44 percent—than at any time since the 2001 invasion. Total combatant and civilian casualties are forecasted to top 20,000 this year—another dreadful broken record. What’s more, Afghan military casualties are frankly unsustainable: the Taliban are killing more than the government can recruit. The death rates are staggering, numbering 5,500 fatalities in 2015, 6,700 in 2016, and an estimate (the number is newly classified) of “about 10,000” in 2017. Well, some might ask, what about American airpower—can’t that help stem the Taliban tide? Hardly. In 2018, as security deteriorated and the Taliban made substantial gains, the U.S. actually dropped more bombs than in any other year of the war. It appears that nothing stands in the way of impending military defeat.

Then there are the very recent events on the ground—and these are telling. Insider attacks in which Afghan “allies” turn their guns on American advisors are back on the rise, most recently in an attack that wounded a U.S. Army general and threatened the top U.S. commander in the country. And while troop numbers are way down from the high in 2011, American troops deaths are rising. Over the Thanksgiving season alone, a U.S. Army Ranger was killed in a friendly fire incident and three other troopers died in a roadside bomb attack. And in what was perhaps only a (still disturbing) case of misunderstood optics, the top U.S. commander, General Miller, was filmed carrying his own M4 rifle around Afghanistan. That’s a long way from the days when then-General Petraeus (well protected by soldiers, of course) walked around the markets of Baghdad in a soft cap and without body armor.

More importantly, the Afghan army and police are getting hammered in larger and larger attacks and taking unsustainable casualties. Some 26 Afghan security forces were killed on Thanksgiving, 22 policemen died in an attack on Sunday, and on Tuesday 30 civilians were killed in Helmand …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Gianno Caldwell: Here’s why prison reform (and the First Step Act) is a major opportunity for our country

By Gianno Caldwell I traveled to the Capitol in Washington this week to lobby for Senate passage of one of the most important pieces of legislation introduced in my lifetime – the long-overdue federal prison reform measure called the First Step Act, which would be a major step forward to make our criminal justice system more just. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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