Britain’s Nervous Breakdown

By Lara Prendergast

My editor at The American Conservative writes to ask: what is going on over there in the UK? It’s a good question. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, my country has been going through what might be termed “a period of self-reflection.” A less generous description would be: “nervous breakdown.”

The newspapers are filled with increasingly frenzied pieces from writers on both the Left and the Right wondering what the rest of the world thinks of our small island. Are we “global Britain,” cocksure and cavalier? Or “little Britain,” timid and tame? Is everyone laughing at us? Or concerned that we have lost the plot? Have we lost the plot? Does anyone care? Do we even care?

Passing news events are now imagined to be grand tests of our country’s character. Take the awful story of Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old British boy with brain damage. Doctors and judges said he would never recover, so instead his life support should be switched off. His parents disagreed. They wanted to take him to Rome to be treated in a Vatican hospital. The Italians even granted Alfie Italian citizenship to expedite the process.

Would the young boy die on the terms of the British state or on those of his parents? In the end, it was the former. The complex, sad story made headlines in the United States and across Europe. Britain was portrayed as the cruel man leaving Europe: Protestant utilitarianism turning its back on Catholic compassion. Brits reacted to the international condemnation with wounded pride, a common national trait, and a grudging acceptance that maybe we have gone mad. So—have we become a callous, cold country? Was it British to let Alfie die against his parents’ wishes? Or is the British way to let the law decide? We don’t really know.

The Windrush scandal has also wounded British pride. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government visit last month, our Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to apologize to Caribbean leaders over deportation threats made to the children of Commonwealth citizens, who despite living and working in the UK for decades had been told they were living here illegally because of a lack of official paperwork. Is Britain now a racist country? No, screamed the Brexiteers, this isn’t what Brexit was meant to be about. Yes it was, squawked the Remainers. Amber Rudd, the home secretary, has now resigned over the scandal, making her the fourth member of May’s Cabinet to go in just six months. Our government appears to be crumbling to pieces. To settle the matter, the UN has sent a human rights experts to assess the situation. Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on racism, arrives this week, and no doubt will be delighted to confirm our worst fears about our country.

Another test of national character came in the form of Theresa May’s decision to join the strikes in Syria alongside the U.S. and France. As any Brexiteer will tell you, the vote to leave the EU was about “taking back …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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The Trump White House’s Lies About Iran

By Daniel Larison

Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance earlier today didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about Iran’s nuclear program, but it has given the Trump administration a pretext to tell some amazing lies about it:

ON ISRAEL’S ANNOUNCEMENT RELATED TO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT: …These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 30, 2018

None of this is true in the least. There is no nuclear weapons program in Iran, and there haven’t been any activities in Iran related to researching such weapons for 15 years. The purpose of the nuclear deal was to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program would remain a peaceful one, and it is doing exactly that. Blowing up the deal based on falsehoods and lies would be a colossal mistake that the U.S. would regret for a very long time to come.

The White House’s statement is as brazen and shameless a lie as one could tell about Iran’s nuclear program. That is consistent with the behavior we have come to expect from Iran hawks generally and from this administration in particular: when there is no evidence to support their position, they simply make it up out of thin air. There is no good reason to renege on the nuclear deal, so they are reduced to spinning dishonest tales about a nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist.

It is very important to understand that there is absolutely no merit to the White House’s claim. Trump and his advisers are openly peddling egregious lies to justify the president’s decision to renege on the deal in two weeks. The Trump White House’s willingness to spread such a fabrication publicly tells us how determined they are to wreck the nuclear deal. Trump isn’t going to be swayed from doing that now, but it is essential that he not be allowed to get away with lying about a serious matter of national security.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Texans Vs. ‘Restrictive Masculinity’

By Rod Dreher

The University of Texas in Austin is going to treat masculinity as a health problem. No, really. In Texas. Excerpts from the university’s announcement:

MasculinUT recognizes unhealthy masculinity as restrictive and exclusionary in the sense that it only affords a narrow definition of what it means to be masculine. This definition of masculinity also restricts what is acceptable in terms of appearance. This also makes it exclusionary, because a restrictive definition of masculinity depends on excluding people from that definition. Students who do not feel what a “real man” should feel, think the way a “real man” thinks, or looks the way a “real man” is supposed to look are vulnerable to violence from others who cannot accept male students who stray from this narrow definition. Students who feel targeted are also at risk of engaging in violent behavior in an attempt to not be the target of violence. Restricting the definition of masculinity can turn students into “pressure cookers,” where if a student is not allowed to express all of their emotions and thoughts, these just build up and can explode in various, unhealthy ways (such as violent behavior or coping mechanisms such as drinking).

If you are a male student at UT reading this right now, we hope that learning about this helps you not to feel guilty about having participated in these definitions of masculinity, and instead feel empowered to break the cycle!


Patterns of Restrictive Masculinity

Restrictive masculinity is taken for granted and is often expected of male and male-identified students. The harm that this can cause to the self (such as high-risk drinking or reluctance to seek out help) and harm against others (such as sexual harassment, sexual assault and other forms of abuse and violence) is often ignored or condoned by believing that “boys will be boys.”

Unhealthy masculinity can restrict the emotional development of students, yet recognizes aggression and violence as common and normalized behavior for men.

Unhealthy masculinity works by excluding students who are judged not to measure up to the values of “real men.” This is especially pronounced in the exclusion of feminine gender expressions, gay, bisexual and queer men, and gender-expansive students, which perpetuates sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

To prove who is a “real man” means proving who is not a “real man.” This can take the shape of competition between men, which often results in devaluing and/or hurting some men in order to appear more masculine. If unhealthy masculinity is not questioned, it could lead to racist, classist, ableist, and other violent behavior to devalue other students in the competition to prove who is a “real man.”

Unhealthy masculinity works to exclude any “femininity” from a masculine identity. This can create challenges when students want to have relationships on campus (platonic or romantic). A lack of empathy and a devaluation of femininity can result in unhealthy behavior and risks the occurrence of relationship and sexual violence. It also perpetuates the exclusion of women from academic and extracurricular activities.

Yadda-yadda-yadda-genderqueer-yadda-yadda. More:

The lesson to learn from …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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One in four American adults lives with a criminal record — It’s time for them to get a second chance

By James Ackerman When people have a chance to start over, it’s not just their second chance—it’s a chance for all of us to see transformed lives, safer communities, and a more just society. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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Christians Scared Away From California

By Rod Dreher

This is news: Summit Ministries has relocated a summer program from Biola University to another state. Why? From the press release:

For more than 55 years, Summit Ministries has held conferences at its headquarters in Manitou Springs, Colo., and across the nation, training nearly a half-million young Christians to become leaders in their schools, communities, churches, families, and country. But the group has had to cancel its June 10-23 and June 24-July 7 sessions at Biola University near Los Angeles due to concerns that California will forbid some of what it teaches.

At issue is AB2943, a bill recently passed by the state Assembly and likely to be passed by the Senate, that seeks to insert provisions into the state’s Business and Professions Code to the effect that goods and services “offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” constitute deceptive business practices, and are subject to fines and penalties.

The proposed law includes a prohibition of “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

“Summit’s program helps students develop an intelligent, defensible Christian worldview before they go to college,” Summit President Jeff Myers explained. “Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology as well as sociology, psychology and science. But the wording of AB2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits.”

Summit’s program would fall under the proposed law because its lineup includes defenders of traditional man/woman marriage and people who advocate pursuing only those sexual activities approved in the Bible. Myers said it has also been common during prior trainings for students to ask questions of Summit staff about how to address confusion over gender identity and sexual attraction in the context of their faith.

By prohibiting such conversations, AB2943 would cripple Summit’s ability to care for and equip its students, Myers said.

I once spoke at the Summit summer conference in the past. It is a conservative Protestant organization, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything they teach — I’m not entirely on board with “worldview” theory — but they were welcoming to me. It was a good experience on my part, just as my friend Francis Beckwith, the Catholic philosopher and frequent Summit speaker, told me it would be. Whatever you think of Summit in particular, it is well within the mainstream of conservative Christianity.

And now its leadership is afraid that presenting its student training on the California campus of a Christian university could land it in legal trouble. I think they are right to be cautious. Though the bill is not yet law, there is little prospect that it won’t pass the Democratically-controlled legislature, and make its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk before this summer. Though some conservative Christians went too far in estimating what this bill stands to do (there won’t be any banned Bibles, for example), …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Corey Lewandowski: The Chief of Staff Trump Wants

By Curt Mills

President Donald Trump is getting the gang back together—or at least he’d like to. He’s certainly well on his way to assembling the team he’s always envisioned.

He’ll have plenty of cover as he puts on the finishing touches: his frenemy speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, just last week hailed the president’s “darn good” cabinet following the installation of Mike Pompeo at the State Department and John Bolton at the National Security Council.

Ryan even went so far as to defend the beleaguered Ronny Jackson, now withdrawn from Veterans’ Affairs secretary, calling the allegations against the admiral potentially “baseless.”

Now the president can accomplish the coup de grace: installing Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager and continual confidante, as his chief of staff, sources familiar with the matter tell TAC.

All this was lost on most in last weekend’s shuffle—and the ensuing furor over comedian Michelle Wolf’s risible performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

But appearing with Trump at a political rally in Michigan on Saturday was none other than Lewandowski, who strikingly was called on by the president to address the crowd.

“Speaking of not being a patsy or a pushover,” the president told those gathered on Saturday night, “you ever watch Corey Lewandowski on the shows? Where’s Corey? Corey! And [Citizens’ United chief] David Bossie.”

Bossie is another Trump consigliere who could be formally ushered into the West Wing.

Trump waved Lewandowski on stage: “He only ran one campaign and he won. So he’s one for one.”

Lewandowski then declared: “This is Trump country! We love you Michigan! Thank you for supporting Donald J. Trump as…president of the United States. Thank you very much.”

Trump is famously allergic to sharing the spotlight with most anyone, but he has made some notable exceptions.

Those familiar with Lewandowski say that Trump summoning him was evocative of when he called onstage Reince Priebus, who would become chief of staff, during election night in 2016.

“Reince is really a star,” said the then-president-elect. “Say a few words.” Priebus at first resisted—“no, no, no”—but then, like Lewandowski, was brief and unctuous: “Ladies and gentleman, the next president of the United States.” Trump also hosted a similar political rally with James Mattis after naming Mattis to be his secretary of defense in December 2016.

A couple of factors are at play here.

First, the president doesn’t really want a chief of staff, not in any traditional sense. As Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman reported last week, he’s considering shuffling the incumbent, General John Kelly, over to the VA now that Jackson is out of the picture.

A source intimately familiar with Trump’s work style says the recent Cabinet reshuffle is true to form—he wants a rotating cadre of advisors who double as friends, with no central management to stop him. Hence Bolton and new chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow. As I’ve reported: “He’d have Seb Gorka back, if he could.”

Fox News host Lou Dobbs is another: Trump at one point wanted him on the …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Lauren Appell: Backlash over Sarah Sanders attacks by ‘comedian’ proves being a mean girl just isn’t funny

By Lauren DeBellis Appell Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner was nothing short of a flop, after the “entertainment” for the evening, Michelle Wolf, took a dive into the gutter. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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