WPW 2019

By Rod Dreher

Hello from Walker Percy Weekend! I’m settled down in my room at the Myrtles, the haunted plantation house (no kidding), and don’t you worry about me, I’m FINE, just FINE! (Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio…). I realized just now that I didn’t take any photos tonight, despite the fact that I saw Franklin Evans, Jon F., David J. White, Alcuin, and Bernie from this blog. I’ll do better tomorrow, promise.

I picked up Anne Snyder Brooks at the airport on the way to St. Francisville late Friday morning. We ate lunch at Restaurant 1796 at The Myrtles. It’s a new restaurant. I knew that my cousin Daniel Dreher was the sous chef here, but I didn’t realize that he recently became the chef. I’m not just saying this because I’m related to him, but dang, the food was really good. I had cornbread with greens and bacon confiture, and I mean to tell you, it was phenomenal. Then Daniel came out with bread pudding and homemade cinnamon ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and pistachio ice cream. Here he is with his masterpieces:

No kidding, this restaurant is something else.

I met some friends from New York, including Tara Isabella Burton, at The Saint, the new cocktail bar in the St. Francisville Inn. A couple bought the inn a year or so ago, and totally renovated it. It’s amazing! It’s exactly what you want when you come to the deep South. We had cocktails (gin for me) in the languid mid-afternoon, listening to French cabaret music, and speaking of religious exotica. I didn’t want it to end.

At the St. Francisville Inn

Then, I did an interview with Anne late in the afternoon, talking about community. Met Walter Isaacson, here for his first WPW. Later, the opening night reception at Jackson Hall of Grace Episcopal Church. I spent two and a half hours, literally, trying to get from the bar outside to the food in the church hall, but unable to do it because there were so many great people to talk to. I went through two bourbon and sodas before finally pushing through, and having delicious food. Oh, friends from Birmingham came down, and brought Orthodox me a nice present. More news from me tomorrow.

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Via:: American Conservative

      

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Colin Reed: Warren again flubs response to attack on who she really is

By Colin Reed Before she was upended Friday morning by questions about her false claims to minority status, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was enjoying another positive week in her presidential campaign. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Alan Arnette: I climbed Mount Everest at 54 – Here’s what’s really happening on the world’s highest peak

By Alan Arnette If you read the recent headlines, anyone who climbs Everest barely makes it up, leaves trash and is a rich, selfish narcissist who comes home to brag about how easy it was and how they did it better than anyone else. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Week’s Most Interesting Reads

By Daniel Larison

How U.S. sanctions hinder Iranians’ access to medicine. Sina Azodi details how sanctions effectively deprive Iranians of medicine despite supposed exemptions for humanitarian goods.

Iranians adjust to living under Trump’s sanctions. Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports on current conditions inside Iran.

How the War Party broke Trump. Andrew Bacevich explains what the recent war scare with Iran means for Trump and his foreign policy.

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Via:: American Conservative

      

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Walker Percy Gone Fishin’

By Rod Dreher

Just a note to readers that I’m headed up in a second to Walker Percy Weekend. I will check in when I can to approve comments, and to post pictures, but mostly I’m going to be sweating and drinking bourbon and having a great time with Franklin Evans, Jon F., and the usual suspects. Watch this space!

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Via:: American Conservative

      

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IAEA Confirms Iranian Compliance for the Fifteenth Time

By Daniel Larison

Despite more than a year of U.S. violations and unjustified sanctions, Iran is still complying with the nuclear deal. This is the fifteenth consecutive report from the IAEA that confirms Iranian compliance:

The U.N. atomic watchdog says Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states Friday and seen by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Iran has honored its commitments under the JCPOA without interruption for more than three and a half years. In exchange, Iran’s trust was betrayed and the Iranian people have been punished with a severe sanctions regime. The nuclear deal did exactly what it was supposed to do for the P5+1, but the promised sanctions relief for Iran was slow in coming and then arbitrarily snatched away for no good reason. Iranians can be forgiven for thinking that it was a mistake to negotiate away their leverage with the U.S. and the other major powers, and that is what most Iranians now believe. Iran’s continued compliance in the face of the outrageous treatment from the Trump administration has been remarkable, and all the more so when we remember that opponents of the agreement insisted that Iranian cheating was a foregone conclusion. The JCPOA is still alive, and it may survive until there is a new administration in Washington, but it won’t last much longer if the next administration does not hasten to rejoin it and lift all of the sanctions that have been imposed since May 2018.

In response to the economic war being waged against them, the Iranian government recently announced that it would not be bound by the restrictions on its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water. Daryl Kimball explains the implications:

In response to U.S. moves to further tighten sanctions earlier this spring, Iran announced on May 8 that it would no longer adhere to JCPOA limits on stockpiling heavy water and low-enriched uranium. Iran also gave the other parties to the agreement (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union) 60 days to help it thwart U.S. sanctions on oil sales and banking transactions, or else it will take additional measures with more significant proliferation implications.

With its existing heavy-water production and uranium-enrichment capacities, Iran could soon breach some of these limits. Any violation of JCPOA restrictions is cause for concern, but Iran’s plan to exceed the agreement’s limits on storing more than 130 metric tons of heavy water and 300 kilograms of 3.67-percent enriched uranium-235 would not pose an immediate proliferation risk. By comparison, in June 2015 Iran had a stockpile of approximately 11,500 kilograms of LEU in all forms. It takes roughly 1,050 kilograms of LEU in gas form and enriched to weapons-grade to produce a significant quantity …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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In The Romanian Gulag

By Rod Dreher

Sandro Magister has the incredible story of Father Tertulian Ioan Langa, a Greek Catholic priest (d. 2013) who survived torture in Romanian communist prisons for his faith. Excerpt:

I remember Holy Thursday of 1948. For two weeks, every day, they had beaten me with a rod on the soles of my feet, through my shoes: it seemed that lightning coursed through my spine and exploded in my brain. But they didn’t ask me any questions. They were getting me ready, using the rod to soften me up for the interrogation. I was bound hand and foot and hung upside down, and my jailers stuffed into my mouth a sock that had already been long employed in the shoes and the mouths of other beneficiaries of socialist humanism. The sock had become the noise-reducer that prevented the sound from passing beyond the place of interrogation. But it was practically impossible to emit a single moan. Moreover, I had frozen psychologically: I was no longer capable of crying out or moving. My torturers interpreted this behavior as fanaticism on my part. And they continued with increasing fury, taking turns in torturing me. Night after night, day after day. They didn’t ask me anything, because they weren’t interested in answers, but in annihilating a person, something that was delayed in coming. And as the effort to annihilate my will and overshadow my mind was prolonged, so was the torture indefinitely prolonged. The battered shoes fell from my feet, piece by piece.

That Holy Thursday night, in a nearby church, they were celebrating the liturgical office, accompanied by bells that wept as if frightened. I started. Jesus must have heard my suffocated cry when, how I don’t know, I howled from within that hell: “Jesus! Jesus!” Coming out through the sock, my cry was incomprehensible to the jailers. As it was the first sound they had heard from me, they said they were satisfied, sure of having broken me. They dragged me on a blanket to the cell, where I fainted. When I awoke, the inquisitor was standing before me with a ream of paper in his hand. “You’ve been stubborn, criminal, but you’re not getting out of here until you’ve brought out everything you’re hiding inside. You have five hundred sheets of paper. Write about everything in your life: everything about your mother, your father, your sisters, brothers, in-laws, relatives, friends, acquaintances, bishops, priests, religious, politicians, professors, neighbors, and criminals like you. Don´t stop until you’ve finished the paper.” But I didn’t write anything. Not out of some kind of fanaticism, but because I didn’t have the strength: even my mind seemed empty.

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As a subject devoid of value and interest to the interrogators, I was transferred to the prison twenty-five feet beneath the marshy ground of Jilava, constructed for the defense of the capital but unusable on account of serious water damage. Nothing survived there except for man, the greatest treasure of historical materialism. In the cells of Jilava, the poor men were packed …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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‘Chernobyl’ And Communism

By Rod Dreher

Are you watching the HBO miniseries Chernobyl? If not, you are missing some of the best television ever made. I don’t subscribe to HBO, but got a seven-day free trial through Roku, I think it was. You can watch the previous four episodes of the show, and the series finale on Monday. Please do it. It’s incredible. I might end up subscribing to HBO after this, simply because I want to support in some way works of art like this.

It also surely must count as one of the most powerful anti-communist messages ever committed to film. It’s up there with The Lives Of Others, though not as explicitly anti-communist. It doesn’t have to be. The horror of this true-life story is overwhelming.

The series dramatizes the story of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster by centering on particular characters. We see the unspeakable destruction caused by the plant explosion and widespread radioactive contamination. But what we also see is that the accident itself, and the human suffering it caused, was a direct byproduct of Soviet police-state communism. Mind you, this happened under Gorbachev, not Brezhnev or Stalin. The system itself was so rotten that lies were built into its fabric, in ways that brought the entire thing down. The state’s scientists knew that the kind of reactor in use at Chernobyl was deadly under certain conditions, but kept that knowledge secret from its own experts. The first thing the Soviets cared about when the disaster happened was managing the information to save face. Human lives were expendable. This happens over and over in the series. You come to see that life itself — human life, and all life — is chaff to the Communist Party. Maintaining the system, and the reputation of the system in the eyes of the world, at all costs is the only thing that matters.

The heroes here are ordinary people, like the coal miners and Soviet soldiers who come in and risk their lives to do things that cannot be done otherwise. Why do they do it? Because it’s the right thing to do. These are the people that the corrupt system grinds up, and always ground up, but there they are trying to save others from the consequence of the elite’s actions. I suspect that I’m making this sound moralistic and dull, but trust me, it’s anything but in this series. In episode four, there’s a sequence in which a new soldier has to learn from two experienced soldiers, veterans of the Afghan war, how to kill people’s pets without remorse. They have to do this because the pets, which had to be left behind in the evacuation, are too radioactive to be allowed to live. The young man, Pavel, has to harden his conscience, and the older men teach him how to do it, based on their Afghan experience. That, and vodka.

That sequence shows you how the soul-deadening communist system destroys what is human within people. The whole damn show does that. I can’t stop thinking about …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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