Liz Peek: Second Democratic debate – A Trump supporter’s top takeaways

By Liz Peek Here’s a word that was not once uttered by any of the 10 Democratic presidential candidates who gathered for the second night of the debates held in Detroit Wednesday: growth. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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And Then They Came For the Left’s Sacred Symbols

By James P. Pinkerton

All throughout history, winners have destroyed the creations of losers. And yet that same history tells us that the wheel has a way of turning, as losers sometimes become winners. And so perhaps those who would destroy someone else’s stuff should stop and reflect on the possibility that the next stuff to be destroyed could well be their own. Less destruction, more preservation—as a matter of enlightened self-interest, that should be the goal of all who wish to see heritage preserved.

A case in point is the planned destruction of murals at George Washington High School in San Francisco. Ironically, “The Life of George Washington” was painted in the 1930s by an avowed communist, Victor Arnautoff (that’s not red-baiting: after he retired in the ’60s, Arnautoff returned to the Soviet Union to live out his days as a contented commie).

Yet 80 years later, Arnautoff’s left-slanted depiction of scenes from American history—including dead bodies—is judged by newer leftists to be retrograde, even offensive.

We can observe that the old Marxist Left, steeped in the tragic militance of the Manifesto, actively celebrated death and martyrdom. For instance, the famous anthem “The Red Flag” begins with these vivid lines: “The people’s flag is deepest red/ It shrouded oft our martyred dead/ And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold/ Their hearts’ blood dyed to every fold.” The goal of the lyric, of course, is to inspire: all serious movements, secular as well as sacred, celebrate martyrdom; it’s the sacrament of sacrifice that proves that the cause is worthy.

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By contrast, today’s new trendy Left lacks such stern courage. Instead of tragic militancy, it suffers from helpless dependency. By its own admission, it fears being “triggered,” that is, made sad. If so, then the prospects for this new kind of Left—more pampered and brittle than hardened and proletarian—ever winning outside of a few cities, campuses, and courtrooms are nil. The world is a tough place full of tough people, and events can be even tougher.

The old Left knew that to be true, and so comrades were willing to die for their beliefs—that’s why the men who manned the “barricades of freedom” are remembered in legend and song to this day. (By contrast, today’s Antifa losers are hardly strong warriors. Like the klansmen they resemble, they hide their identities and prey on the weak.)

Speaking for that older, tougher leftist tradition, Peter Dreier wrote recently in Common Dreams (emphasis added):

The Arnautoff murals are a remarkable teaching tool, providing educators with opportunities to help students consider how the country was founded on the backs of slaves and native Americans. They give students—and the general public—a different view of George Washington than the one typically portrayed in textbooks. Shielding students from these images is stupid. It reflects the school board’s political cowardice and a failure of imagination.

Fortunately, too, The New York Times has weighed in. The Times has done more than its share of pandering to snowflakes in recent years, yet the Grey Lady (let’s hope that doesn’t trigger …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Marianne Williamson: Holy Fool

By Rod Dreher

Russian Orthodoxy treasures the yurodivy, or “holy fool,” an ascetic who behaves in ways that seem insane to normal people, but who, in so doing, reveal Christian truth. The New Age guru and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is not a holy fool according to the usual definition, but I can’t help thinking that to some extent, she’s playing that role. We all love to laugh at her, because she is something of a kook … but she’s onto something important about us.

In last night’s Democratic debate, Williamson spoke of the “dark psychic force” of “collectivized hatred” that Donald Trump draws up and exploits. Here’s the clip:

I know: ha ha, what a ding-dong! But she’s not wrong, except in that she pins this entirely on Trump. David French says that yes, it’s obvious that Trump stokes and weaponizes this stuff. But in pointing out that the other side does too, French — an original Never Trumper — is not trying to whatabout the discussion. He writes:

At the risk of incurring Williamson’s wrath by getting a tad wonky, there is a nerd term for Williamson’s psychic force. It’s called negative polarization, it’s rampant, and it’s used to rationalize and justify all manner of excesses and outrages. Essentially, negative polarization means that individuals are drawn to their political party or faction primarily out of a spirit of opposition. They hate the other side more than they love their own.

As I’ve written many times before, the evidence of that hate is everywhere — especially in America’s most politically engaged citizens. A recent study documented some rather alarming statistics. For example, “42 percent of the people in each party view the opposition as ‘downright evil.’” A stunning 20 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans believe “we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of the opposing party in the public today just died.” And if the opposing party wins the 2020 election, 18 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of Republicans “feel violence would be justified.” A More in Common survey found that 86 percent of Republicans think Democrats are brainwashed, 84 percent think they’re hateful, and 71 percent think they’re racist. The Democrats were even more disdainful of Republicans — 88 percent think Republicans are brainwashed, 87 percent think they’re hateful, and 89 percent think they’re racist.

Each side has its own narrative — pointing to real incidents and real bigotry — that justifies its increasing disdain. And don’t think for a moment that this is a phenomenon that started with Trump. Pew Research Center data from 2014 shows an astonishing rise in polarization even before Trump. Republicans and Democrats not only grew further apart ideologically, they hated each other more. The percentage of Americans holding a “very unfavorable” view of their political opponents more than doubled between 1994 and 2014, on both sides.

The Left (so far) has not produced a national politician as capable of embodying and mobilizing negative polarization as well as Trump has. But it will. …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Gutfeld on Tuesday’s debate

By Greg Gutfeld Democrats in Detroit sounded like an awkward family squabbling in front of all the neighbors. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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APSA’s ‘Diverse, All-Woman Team’

By Rod Dreher

Wokeness blinds. A political scientist e-mails:

I wanted to draw your attention to the new editorial board of the American Political Science Review, the premier journal in my discipline. (You can find the announcement here.) In its oblivious self-contradiction, the announcement reads like Newspeak:

In entrusting the editorship of the association’s flagship journal to our diverse and all-woman team, the Council is demonstrating its commitment to promoting a wider range of voices and scholarship in the journal and the discipline.

Outsiders often lump political science in with the rest of the lost causes (sociology, anthropology, the humanities…), but until recently our discipline tended to privilege science over ideology. Inconvenient research struggled to get published, of course, but the top journals (usually) refused to compromise scientific rigor to publish fashionable dreck. It was a leftie discipline, but at least a methodologically sophisticated leftie discipline. In fact, within my memory, deconstructionist feminist scholarship was relegated to third-tier journals because it refused to approach its questions with anything like the scientific method (science being, of course, the tool of the patriarchy).

Now, I feel like I am watching a slow-motion coup. Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed several better-qualified males passed over for jobs in favor of obviously less-qualified females. It has gotten to the point where, at conferences, I even hear liberal women worrying about the hurdles their male friends in grad school face on the job market, especially as they see those friends growing bitter and depressed. Journals that were once criticized for their methodological monotony (if it wasn’t an advanced piece of data analysis, its odds of publication were slim) are now, suddenly, being taken over by the race-and-gender brigade eager for “poststructural methods such as deconstruction.”

To be fair to the APSR, there are some highly qualified women on the new board, women who do good work. Yet the total exclusion of men is galling and dispiriting. I don’t understand how this kind of sexism can go hand-in-hand with such vicious sanctimony.

I thank God I have a job at a terrific university where this nonsense has not (yet) taken hold. But it is dispiriting to me to watch it begin to tear down one of the last disciplines that had resisted this disease–the more so because political science has traditionally sheltered students who want to study the humanities without the joylessness that now consumes those fields. If we fall, as well, where else are the non-STEM majors going to go?

“Diversity and inclusivity” are what Social Justice Warriors appeal to when they are seeking to justify imposing a race, gender, and sexuality-based monoculture that explicitly excludes heterosexual white males.

This could last a long time. Last night, I interviewed my houseguests, two old friends who grew up in the Soviet Union. They told me that in their youth (the 1970s and 1980s), nobody believed in Communist ideology anymore. But it also didn’t occur to most people to resist it. People just assumed that it was a fact of life, and if …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Tom Del Beccaro: California Democrats target Trump’s tax returns (apparently the big stuff can wait)

By Tom Del Beccaro In California, Democratic politicians get ahead by attacking, suing and otherwise denigrating President Trump. Indeed, California is number one in suing Trump. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Sanctions Kill the Innocent

By Daniel Larison

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj explains how Bolton’s NSC is blocking the implementation of a Swiss humanitarian channel for Iran:

In November of last year, as the Trump administration reimposed secondary sanctions on Iran and embarked on its “maximum pressure” policy, the Swiss government opened discussions with the Treasury and State Departments to ensure that Switzerland’s significant sales of pharmaceutical products and medical devices—technically exempt from U.S. sanctions—could continue unimpeded.

But the hardline sanctions policy being pushed by the National Security Council has so far prevented a Swiss effort to ease trade in food and medicine in a remarkable subversion of longstanding U.S. protections for humanitarian trade with Iran.

The Swiss effort does not seek to get around U.S. sanctions, but simply seeks to facilitate the humanitarian trade that is supposed to be exempted. The fact that the administration’s National Security Council wants to hinder that effort and prevent it from functioning speaks volumes about current Iran policy. Even when foreign governments seek to work with the U.S. on something as innocuous as facilitating humanitarian trade, hard-liners in the administration try to put a stop to it. It once again puts the lie to the administration’s claims that they aren’t interfering with humanitarian trade with Iran.

Humanitarian trade is exempted on paper, but in practice these exemptions are irrelevant. Muhammad Sahimi explains how sanctions affect the availability of medicine:

Officially, U.S. economic sanctions do not include medicine. But in practice, medicine is subject to sanctions. The reason is twofold: no pharmaceutical company producing critical medicines is willing to sell its products to Iran for fear that the Treasury Department might find some small technical or administrative errors in their applications and go after them with a vengeance. The enforcer of the sanctions is Sigal Mandelker, the under-secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, who said recently, “without a doubt, sanctions are working.” The question is, for whom are the sanctions working? Ordinary Iranians?

The second reason is practical. Even if a pharmaceutical company was willing to export its medicines to Iran, Iran’s banking system has been effectively cut off from the rest of the world.

If foreign firms refuse sell to Iranians for fear of sanctions, and if there are no channels to provide payment for imported goods because of sanctions, there is no question that the sanctions have effectively cut off access to those goods. Our government keeps up the illusion that they are not responsible when this happens, but the people on the receiving end of the sanctions know that the shortages and skyrocketing prices they are experiencing weren’t happening until sanctions were reimposed last year. If the administration wants “credit” for inflicting enormous damage on the Iranian economy, they must accept responsibility for the massive suffering that their policy causes as well. Whenever Pompeo or anyone else from the administration touts “maximum pressure” and talks about how well it is “working,” we need to remember that this policy is working to harm and kill innocent Iranians. That is what …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Homoerotic Archbishop Vs. St. John Paul II

By Rod Dreher

In 2017, news broke that Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia had commissioned a gay artist to do a mural for the inside of his cathedral. The mural was shockingly homoerotic, and even featured a depiction of the archbishop himself. I wrote about it here.

Pope Francis moved sexy Archbishop Paglia over to be Grand Chancellor of Rome’s John Paul II Institute, described by George Weigel “the hub of several affiliated institutes around the world, was a key instrument for deepening the entire Church’s reception of John Paul’s 1993 encyclical on the reform of the moral life, Veritatis Splendor.” It has now become indisputably clear that Paglia is destroying the institute — this, as a move by senior Vatican progressives to reverse the work of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Weigel:

So these stubborn and, it now seems, ruthless men bided their time. In recent years, they have continued to lose every serious debate on the nature of the moral life, on the morality of conjugal life, on sacramental discipline, and on the ethics of human love; and the more intelligent among them know it, or at least fear that that’s the case. So in a bizarre repetition of the anti-Modernist purge of theological faculties that followed Pius X’s 1907 encyclical Pascendi, they have now abandoned argument and resorted to thuggery and brute force in order to win what they had failed to win by scholarly debate and persuasion.

That unbecoming score-settling is why the senior faculty of the John Paul II Institute was abruptly dismissed last week, and that is why there is absolutely no guarantee that, in the immediate future, the Institute that bears his name will have any resemblance to what John Paul II intended for it. Cardinal Angelo Scola, emeritus archbishop of Milan and a former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, described what is afoot in Rome these days as “torpedoing” the John Paul II Institute through an academic “purge.” 150 students of the Institute signed a letter saying that the changes underway will destroy the institute’s identity and mission; in the present Roman circumstances, they have about as much chance of being heard as Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky had at the Moscow Purge Trials in 1937-38.

That these Stalinistic acts of intellectual brigandage against the theological and pastoral heritage of Pope St. John Paul II are being carried out by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia – who came to international attention in 2017 for having commissioned a homoerotic fresco in the apse of the cathedral of Terni-Narni-Amelia – is ironic in the extreme. Paglia was simply another ambitious cleric when his work as ecclesiastical advisor to the Sant’Egidio Community drew him to John Paul’s attention. Years of sycophancy followed, during which Paglia would brag about how he had turned the pope around on the subject of murdered Salvador archbishop Oscar Romero by telling John Paul that “Romero was not the Left’s bishop, he was the Church’s bishop.” Paglia’s appointment as Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Institute …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Lee Carter: Democratic debate’s second night — After round one’s hits, misses and surprises, look for this

By Lee Carter As an analyst and researcher, there are certain things I look for. Here is a breakdown of the winners and losers on Tuesday night and what to watch for on night two. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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