Week in Pictures: Honoring Warriors

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

2 TIMOTHY 4:7

A man who knows whereof he speaks

Seems a bit tacky, but some things are eternal verities


The business of the week. Snark, irony, and pictures to do with the events of the week. Mostly from Powerline and The Bookworm Beat.

Steve over at PowerLine says this may be their mascot for a while. I can see why. IDF veteran soldier Orin Julie.

Have a better week.

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The Left’s Last Spasm

Bring it on.

I think the author here, J.r. Dunn, may well be correct. I can think of no other reason, other than perhaps mass delusion, which isn’t all that different. And do read it all, I’ve just excerpted a few of my favorite parts.

As far as anybody knows, the November 4th revolution/tantrum/jamboree planned by Antifa and its associate organizations remains on schedule. The “Opposition” – Antifa, the John Brown Clubs, Refuse Fascism, and assorted other scraps have announced that on that date the revolution will begin with a mass nationwide uprising that will continue until the Trump/Pence regime is overcome. Dozens of hundreds of the people’s vanguard will hit the streets, squatting at intersections and holding their breaths until the fascists are exorcised and the new epoch of light is fully underway. (Further details can be found here.)

Conservatives, as is all too often the case, have overreacted.  Numerous sites, publications, and radio shows have featured rhetoric such as “Antifa Planning Communist Revolution for America on November 4,” “Patriots beware! ANTIFA plans armed uprising on November 4!,” and “The Leftist Chaos Will Be Coming On November 4th.” (Links withheld to protect the guilty.)

But the truth, if anything, is exactly the opposite. What we are experiencing, far from a deadly revolutionary upsurge threatening everything of value, is a historically unique situation where, for the first time on record, a leftist movement is in complete and accelerating collapse within a democratic polity. The upcoming people’s revolt is simply another symptom of this.

The Democrats, America’s de facto leftist party (note how a sworn socialist, Bernie Sanders, is effectively exercising leadership of the party without anyone so much as blinking) have lost over 1,000 offices nationwide in the past year. The GOP controls nearly two-thirds of all governorships and nearly half of state governments. The left’s political presence and influence is negligible across vast areas of the heartland. They have abandoned the working class, the bedrock of any leftist movement, in favor of representing transsexuals, ball club millionaires, and noncitizen criminals, not a strategy with much of a future, on the face of it.

The year since the 2016 electoral debacle has witnessed a number of off-elections to replace cabinet picks, each one hailed by the media as the turning of the progressive tide, each one won by the GOP.

Thus leading many of us to recall Trump’s prediction, “So much winning. You’re going to get tired of winning”. Well, I haven’t, yet. It feels real good.

[…]

Then we have the NFL. The national anthem uproar is the fruit of the latest attempt by the left to turn American workingmen’s institutions – sports and country music in particular – into left-wing systems to shunt the regular Joes into the arms of the commissars, where they belong. Its failure, at the hands of an irate public (not to forget Donald Trump, certainly, here as in many other instances the indispensable man), is one of the most encouraging developments in the wake of 2016. Colin Kaepernick, who attempted to revive a foundering career on the field though political posturing, can serve as an object lesson to all the others attempting to follow in his wake. The NFL, already on the skids, now faces an accelerating and well-deserved financial hemorrhage. (I say that even though my grandfather helped found the organization.)

Finally, we get to Harvey. Harvey Weinstein was a bicoastal combination of Graydon Carter and George Soros, acting as a facilitator between left-wing politics and popular culture while at the same time financing left-wing politicians – including the Clintons, the millennial Borgias – to the tune of millions. All this bought him immunity for decades of sex offenses. The fact that it came to an end in large part due to the efforts of Rose McGowan, onetime inamorata of Marilyn Manson and collaborator with Quentin Tarantino, and Ronan Farrow, a virtual stereotype of the Manhattan liberal, makes his fall even sweeter.

I like many of you, wasted many hours watching the NFL, and like others, I have noticed the quality of play decrease, and then this silliness during the Anthem. Well, I really can’t say I miss it much and see no reason to ever start watching again. Those hours are far better spent now. Buh-Bye NFL!

[…]

Yet all attention on the right seems to be focused on a gang of undergrads in black hoodies and Guy Fawkes masks. How can we correlate the two – black-clad militants brash enough to threaten the government itself while their entire political/social superstructure collapses in ruins around them? On the face of it, it seems paradoxical. But there’s actually no contradiction at all. The one follows the other as sure as Stalin followed Lenin. The left has turned violent because it’s falling apart. They don’t have anything else. No plans, no prospects, no leadership. The left has failed, and violence is all that remains.

Left-wing failure is not arguable. The international record stands for itself, having become a truism without ever quite attaining the status of a cliché. Though the academy and the media have tried their best to bury the record (while earnest and naïve types such as Anne Applebaum scratch their heads as to why it lacks the immediacy of the Nazi crimes), it’s impossible to hide failures so gargantuan as to have left mountainous piles of corpses across the entire landscape of Eurasia. (Every few years the spring thaw in Siberia and the Urals uncovers mass graves, the legacy of the Gulag, sending thousands of mummified, nearly intact corpses drifting down the rivers. This is what Weinstein, Antifa and the rest would wish on us.) The same pattern is occurring at this moment in Venezuela, a wealthy nation reduced first to pauperdom and soon to open massacre.

Something to interject here is that the reason that America leads the free world, is because we fought very hard to be free, and we all know hard lessons stick. And then our founder’s had the gumption and foresight to write it all down so that we could refer back to what they had said and done. And they even had the foresight to make their plan the supreme law of the land, subject to change only with great difficulty and with the consent of a supermajority of citizens, and legislators at all levels. It is something that even our near peers, like the UK lack. Their rule, that one Parliament may not bind another, means that it can all be lost in an instant. And finally, our leadership is based on our passionate defense of liberty which hasn’t waned since before 1776. We lead because we tend the flame of freedom, we were the first and if necessary we will be the last, but the flame shall not go out again.

I have Brits tell me every day that demographics will destroy us (and them). My standard answer is (although more politely) “Here, hold my beer”. We were the first, and we have kept the faith. It is nearly 120 years since the first Progressive Teddy Roosevelt, (who actually wasn’t all bad) was elected, and watch us, of all the people in the world, while we’ve been hurt, sometimes badly, by the disease, yet here we still stand, and get this: WE ARE WINNING! Mostly because we have the guts and the means to fight back. Something else the smarter ones tell me often is to never, ever let them take your guns. You’d be surprised how often I hear that from Brits I respect highly.

What I tell them is that it is a long process, and they went much further down the road than we did. They need to get control of the Conservative Party, even as we are starting to do the Republican Party, another place where Trump is proving indispensable. But Corbyn’s Labour party is showing the same signs as our left. They need to quit making excuses and just do it.

It’s best to ignore them, and let the law take its course. We hold all the cards. The thunderous, nationwide shout of “No!” that greeted the NFL “protests” clearly demonstrates that the United States remains solid. The greatest public humiliation endured by the American left in this century proved that the bedrock of this nation still exists, uneroded by ephemeral entities like Obama and the Clintons. The teenage ninjas think they can take that down with a few slingshots and Molotov cocktails. Let them try.

I think the best thing to do with the leftists is simply laugh at them, and then use their tears as a mixer in our whiskey. It also reminds me of a bit of graffiti from when I was in college back in the early seventies. Carved on the stall wall in the Union was this,
Workers of the World arise,
So that we may more easily gun you down.
Bring it on, I’m tired of this nonsense, even as my dad was in the sixties.

Donald Trump: An American Patriot of the Same Stripe as Ronald Reagan

From my friend, Danmillerinpanama whom many of you will know, but if you happened to miss the post, you’re missing a good one. A bit…

 

To my mind, that unholy dialectic between political power and an agenda of enforced dependency is one of the most despicable and destructive coefficients of the administrative state. It is despicable because it deploys power for personal aggrandizement under the camouflage of helping (i.e., pretending to help) others (the “Great Society,” etc.). It is destructive because its end is the eclipse of liberty for the sake of expanding and institutionalizing the apparatus of bureaucracy (and the perquisites of the bureaucrats running it).

So I applaud the president’s plan to cut taxes and allow Americans to keep a bit more of what after all is their own money. (We tend to forget this.)

But although taxes formed the official centerpiece of the president’s speech last night, and though I liked what he said about taxes, I thought the most impressive part of the speech was its rhetorical setting.  The occasion was a meeting of Heritage Foundation supporters. Accordingly, President Trump began by talking about the importance of embracing our history, our heritage. “For America to have CONFIDENCE in our future, we must have PRIDE in our HISTORY.”

I think that is right, and I think it is worth pondering each of the three stressed words.

One of the great liabilities of so-called identity politics is that, ironically, it acts as a solvent on shared cultural confidence. The irony flows from the fact that identity politics is supposed to leave its partisans with an enhanced sense of self-worth and solidarity but in fact it tends to isolate them in rancid grievance ghettos.

Along the way last night, the president spoke up for preserving our heritage, our history, an enterprise that encompasses not just the preservation of monuments and other historical markers that commemorate our past, but also extends to the spiritual decorum of civic respect: standing for the national anthem, for example, or (since this multiethnic country was and is, as Samuel Huntington observed, a country of “Anglo-Protestant” values) wishing people “Merry Christmas” in due season.<

It is worth noting, by the way, that saying one should have  pride in our history and confidence in our culture is not thereby to issue a plenary indulgence for past wrongdoing.  The fact that people erect a statue commemorating Gen. Robert E. Lee does not in any way imply that they are racist advocates of chattel slavery, any more than erecting a statue of JFK implies that one is an advocate of satyriasis.

Do read it all at Donald Trump: An American Patriot of the Same Stripe as Ronald Reagan. Because what Dan sees is what I also see, an American patriot, who will do his best (and his best is proving pretty damned good) for America. Perfect? No, he’s a man, and an imperfect one, as we all are. And that post from Theodore Roosevelt in my sidebar is my measure of a president.

“Every man, who parrots the cry of ‘stand by the President’ without adding the proviso ‘so far as he serves the Republic’ takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude.”

And the inverse is just as true, any man who parrots the cry of stand against the president, so far as he misserves the Republic, is as unmanly as TR said. And yes, I’m looking at you, Bill Kristol, who was one of the people in the conservative movement I admired most, until last year.

And Dan’s ending for his post will do admirably for this one as well.

That is no surprise. The history of the world is full of redemption and conversion stories, from Saul of Tarsus to Henry V and beyond. Quoth the King at the end of Henry IV Part 2:

Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn’d away my former self.

The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating.  It seems to me that in just nine months Donald Trump has given us a lot of savory tidbits to chew on.  Some people might object to the style.  But how about the substance?  In any event, it seems ungracious, not to say short-sighted, to withhold any possibility of reformation from a man just because he had the temerity to win an election without the permission of the would-be governing class.

Dereliction of Duty, Dishonor, Hatred of Country

And so, we’ve all heard of LT Spenser Ramone, he of the Che T-shirt under his academy uniform. How did he get through the Academy and back into the forces? Here’s how. This is a signed letter from one of his instructors at the Point. Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Heffington, USA, Retired. Which of course is why he can write the letter without consequence. From American Military News. I’ve taken the liberty of reposting the whole letter. It’s long, but it is very important.

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line. I firmly believe West Point is a national treasure and that it can and should remain a vitally important source of well trained, disciplined, highly educated Army officers and civilian leaders. However, during my time on the West Point faculty (2006-2009 and again from 2013-2017), I personally witnessed a series of fundamental changes at West Point that have eroded it to the point where I question whether the institution should even remain open. The recent coverage of 2LT Spenser Rapone – an avowed Communist and sworn enemy of the United States – dramatically highlighted this disturbing trend. Given my recent tenure on the West Point faculty and my direct interactions with Rapone, his “mentors,” and with the Academy’s leadership, I believe I can shed light on how someone like Rapone could possibly graduate.

First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.

Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies. He repeatedly states that “We are going to have winning sports teams without compromising our standards,” and everyone in Robinson Auditorium knows he is lying because we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks. It is disheartening when the institution’s most senior leader openly lies to his own faculty-and they all know it.

The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock. Cadets know they will not be separated for violating it, and thus they do so on a daily basis. Moreover, since they refuse to enforce standards on each other and police their own ranks, cadets will rarely find a cadet at an honor hearing despite overwhelming evidence that a violation has occurred. This in tum has caused the staff and faculty to give up even reporting honor incidents. Why would a staff or faculty member expend the massive amount of time and energy it takes to report an honor violation-including writing multiple sworn statements, giving interviews, and testifying at the honor hearing-when they know without a doubt the cadet will not be found (or, if found, the Superintendent will not separate the cadet)? To make matters worse, the senior leadership at West Point actively discourages staff and faculty from reporting honor violations. l was unfortunate enough to experience this first hand during my first tour on the faculty, when the Commandant of Cadets called my office phone and proceeded to berate me in the most vulgar and obscene language for over ten minutes because I had reported a cadet who lied to me and then asked if “we could just drop it.” Of course, I was duty bound to report the cadet’s violation, and I did. During the course of the berating I received from the Commandant, I never actually found out why he was so angry. It seemed that he was simply irritated that the institution was having to deal with the case, and that it was my fault it even existed. At the honor hearing the next day, I ended up being the one on trial as my character and reputation were dragged through the mud by the cadet and her civilian attorney while I sat on the witness stand without any assistance. In the end, of course, the cadet was not found (despite having at first admitted that she lied), and she eventually graduated. Just recently a cadet openly and obviously plagiarized his History research paper, and his civilian professor reported it. The evidence was overwhelming-there was not the slightest question of his guilt, yet the cadet was not found. The professor, and indeed all the faculty who knew of the case, were completely demoralized. This is the new norm for the cadet honor system. In fact, there is now an addition to the honor system (the Willful Admission Process) which essentially guarantees that if a cadet admits a violation, then separation is not even a possibility. In reality, separation is not a possibility anyway because the Superintendent refuses to impose that sanction.

Academic standards are also nonexistent. I believe this trend started approximately ten years ago, and it has continued to get worse. West Point has stated standards for academic expectations and performance, but they are ignored. Cadets routinely fail multiple classes and they are not separated at the end-of-semester Academic Boards. Their professors recommend “Definitely Separate,” but those recommendations are totally disregarded. I recently taught a cadet who failed four classes in one semester (including mine), in addition to several she had failed in previous semesters, and she was retained at the Academy. As a result, professors have lost hope and faith in the entire Academic Board process. It has been made clear that cadets can fail a multitude of classes and they will not be separated. Instead, when they fail (and they do to a staggering extent), the Dean simply throws them back into the mix and expects the faculty to somehow drag them through the academic program until they manage to earn a passing grade. What a betrayal this is to the faculty! Also, since they get full grade replacement if they must re­take a course, cadets are actually incentivized to fail. They know they can re-take the course over the summer when they have no other competing requirements, and their new grade completely replaces the failing one. ST AP (Summer Term Academic Program) is also now an accepted summer detail assignment, so retaking a course during the summer translates into even more summer leave for the deficient cadet.

Even the curriculum itself has suffered. The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.” Simultaneously, the plebe International History course now focuses on gender to the exclusion of many other important themes. On the other hand, an entire semester of military history was recently deleted from the curriculum (at West Point!). In all courses, the bar has been lowered to the point where it is irrelevant. If a cadet fails a course, the instructor is blamed, so instructors are incentivized to pass everyone. Additionally, instead of responding to cadet failure with an insistence that cadets rise to the challenge and meet the standard, the bar for passing the course itself is simply lowered. This pattern is widespread and pervades every academic department.

Conduct and disciplinary standards are in perhaps the worst shape of all. Cadets are jaded, cynical, arrogant, and entitled. They routinely talk back to and snap at their instructors (military and civilian alike), challenge authority, and openly refuse to follow regulations. They are allowed to wear civilian clothes in almost any arena outside the classroom, and they flaunt that privilege. Some arrive to class unshaven, in need of haircuts, and with uniforms that look so ridiculously bad that, at times, I could not believe I was even looking at a West Point cadet. However, if a staff or faculty member attempts to correct the cadet in question, that staff/faculty member is sure to be reprimanded for “harassing cadets.” For example, as I made my rounds through the barracks inspecting study conditions one evening as the Academic Officer in Charge, I encountered a cadet in a company study room. He was wearing a pair of blue jeans and nothing else, and was covered in tattoos. He had long hair, was unshaven, and I was honestly unsure ifhe was even a cadet. He looked more like a prison convict to me. When I questioned what he was doing there, he remained seated in his chair and sneered at me that he “was authorized” because he was a First Class cadet. I proceeded to correct him and then reported him to the chain of command the next morning. Later that day I received an email from the Brigade Tactical Officer telling me to “stay in my lane.” I know many other officers receive the same treatment when attempting to make corrections. It is extremely discouraging when the response is invariably one that comes to the defense of the cadet.

That brings me to another point: cadets’ versions of stories are always valued more highly by senior leaders than those of commissioned officers on the staff and faculty. It is as if West Point’s senior leaders believe their job is to “protect” cadets from the staff and faculty at all costs. This might explain why the faculty’s recommendations are ignored at the Academic Boards, why honor violations are ignored (and commissioned officers are verbally abused for bringing them to light), and why cadets always “win” when it comes to conduct and disciplinary issues.

It seems that the Academy’s senior leaders are intimidated by cadets. During my first tour on the faculty (I was a CPT at the time), I noticed that 4th class cadets were going on leave in civilian clothes when the regulation clearly stated they were supposed to be wearing a uniform. During a discussion about cadet standards between the BTO and the Dept. of History faculty, I asked why plebes were going on leave in civilian clothes. His answer astonished me: “That rule is too hard to enforce.” Yet West Point had no problem enforcing that rule on me in the mid-1990s. I found it impossible to believe that the several hundred field grade officers stationed at West Point could not make teenagers wear the uniform. This anecdote highlights the fact that West Point’s senior leaders lack not the ability but the motivation to enforce their will upon the Corps of Cadets.

This brings me to the case of now-2LT Spenser Rapone. It is not at all surprising that the Academy turned a blind eye to his behavior and to his very public hatred of West Point, the Army, and this nation. I knew at the time I wrote that sworn statement in 2015 that he would go on to graduate. It is not so much that West Point’s leadership defends his views (Prof. Hosein did, however); it is that West Point’s senior leaders are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be. They are so reticent to separate problematic cadets (undoubtedly due to the “developmental model” that now exists at USMA) that someone like Rapone can easily slip through the cracks. In other words, West Point’s leaders choose the easier wrong over the harder right.

I could go on, but I fear that this letter would simply devolve into a screed, which is not my intention. I will sum up by saying this: a culture of extreme permissiveness has invaded the Military Academy, and there seems to be no end to it. Moreover, this is not unintentional; it is a deliberate action that is being taken by the Academy’s senior leadership, though they refuse to acknowledge or explain it. Conduct and behavior that would never be tolerated at a civilian university is common among cadets, and it is supported and defended by the Academy’s senior leaders in an apparent and misguided effort to attract more applicants and cater to what they see as the unique needs of this generation of cadets.

Our beloved Military Academy has lost its way. It is a shadow of what it once was. It used to be a place where standards and discipline mattered, and where concepts like duty, honor, and country were real and they meant something. Those ideas have been replaced by extreme permissiveness, rampant dishonesty, and an inexplicable pursuit of mediocrity. Instead of scrambling to restore West Point to what it once was, the Academy’s senior leaders give cadets more and more privileges in a seeming effort to tum the institution into a third-rate civilian liberal arts college. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded. The few remaining members of the staff and faculty who are still trying to hold the line are routinely berated, ignored, and ultimately silenced for their unwillingness to “go along with the program.” The Academy’s senior leaders simply do not want to hear their voices or their concerns. Dissent is crushed-I was repeatedly told to keep quiet at faculty meetings, even as a LTC, because my dissent was neither needed nor appreciated.

It breaks my heart to write this. It breaks my heart to know first-hand what West Point was versus what it has become. This is not a “Corps has” story; it is meant to highlight a deliberate and radical series of changes being undertaken at the highest levels of USMA’ s leadership that are detrimental to the institution. Criticizing these changes is not popular. I have already been labeled a “traitor” by some at the Academy due to my sworn statement’s appearance in the media circus surrounding Spenser Rapone. However, whenever I hear this, I am reminded of the Cadet Prayer:

” … suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won. …that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice, and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

West Point was once special, and it can be again. Spenser Rapone never should have been admitted, much less graduate, but he was-and that mistake is directly attributable to the culture of permissiveness and apathy that now exists there.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Robert M. Heffington

LTC, U.S. Army (Retired), West Point Class of 1997

Pretty disgusting to one who, like me, was raised to honor above most men, those who went to the point, and led our armed forces. Sure we always kidded about Hudson High and elitism, and such but it was because we knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they were amongst the best of us, always had been always would be. I’m pretty old to be losing my heroes, but I am.
And then this, from a tenured professor at the Naval Academy, via The Federalist. Not the whole thing, do read the links today.

The military world and military academies—I’m a tenured civilian professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis—were rocked by an October 11 “open letter” exposing the rotten underbelly of our sister academy at West Point, the U.S. Military Academy.

The letter was penned by Robert Heffington, an Army officer and West Point graduate who taught there for several years before retiring. Only his retirement made it possible for him to publish the letter, since officers in uniform cannot publicly disagree with superiors. Within 24 hours, West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslan Jr., head of the administration Heffington holds responsible for its deficiencies, respondedby evoking the “thousands of graduates who sacrifice and serve honorably every day.”

Heffington’s letter is a scorcher. It pulls no punches and concludes it’s questionable whether West Point, founded in 1802, “should ever remain open.” Heffington’s “BLUF,” Bottom Line Up Front: “First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other.” He goes on: “The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline.”

Heffington notes that students are admitted to play Division I football, which degrades academics: “we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks.” Faculty members who object are silenced, he says.

To this, I say “Amen, brother.” Heffington’s letter caused me personal joy and professional agony. I’ve been making a number of the same points about Annapolis, an essentially identical taxpayer-funded institution, for the last several decades, earning repeated salvos of our administration’s ire and attempts to silence me. (West Point has few civilian professors, and no tenured ones.) So it was gratifying to hear someone else say the same things about our sister institution, with more vitriol than I usually employ.

So much needs to change with our institutions, yet there no signs of any changes even being contemplated. This is bad news for the taxpayers who are footing the bill and depend on them for one-fifth of the new officer pool. It’s also bad news for the disaffected, cynical students who have lost faith in the system. I think Heffington saw the cynicism without understanding its source. I think I do.

There’s lots more at the links, but this post is already far too long. In sum, what I’m seeing here is a somnambulant, bureaucratic administration who has sold its (and perhaps the academies’ souls for a quiet life without the discord of the modern world. It’s a Faustian bargain, when the Academies were the model for all of us in ROTC and OCS, it didn’t really matter if they were much better than us, they were at all time and in all places, something to live up to, if they are just lousy not quite Ivy League schools wasting our tax money, that is quite a different proposition. I fear the latter is true, and thus the title of this article.

The Courage of Cowards

This whole Weinstein thing just grabs on and doesn’t let go, as far as I can see. There is no excuse for him, just as I never heard one for Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Savile, or for Ted Kennedy. I can understand how they got that way, to a point, but I can not excuse it. The mark of a man is how he treats those he has power over, and these four and many others fail abysmally. There will be more, and I suspect in other cities, particularly Washington, and likely London. I note there are quite brutal rape accusation against Weinstein in Britain.

But while the fault is theirs, and their’s alone, and one hopes the earthly penalty is sufficient, others bear some blame as well. As I said yesterday ‘casting couch’ has been a cliché for decades. Sure some part of it was normal guys wishing for an opportunity. But you, know, most of those ordinary guys would never have used sex to be paid to advance someone’s career. Lust is one thing, and essentially prostitution is another. But it happens, it always has, and if not watched, it always will. That’s why Mike Pence’s rule about drinking and dining with women, not his wife is so wise. It negates not just the temptation but the appearance of temptation.

But the victims do bear some blame here, as well. This behaviour has been covered up for decades. Why? Because none of them was willing to pay the price for doing the right thing. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but when you cover for a rapist, you sentence another woman to be raped as you were. I understand that you might have lost your career, and that’s a shame, but instead, you chose to lose your self-worth. Was it worthwhile? Dov Fischer has a superb article up at The American Spectator on this. It is most aptly title The Courage of Cowards. I strongly recommend that you read it. A few excerpts follow

Five years later, I found myself employed in a significant role within a very different kind of corporate structure where, it came to my attention, one of the Board members, a singularly powerful figure in the body, had been harassing women. Two separate women came to me privately, each separate from the other, each telling me her respective account — and their accounts were verifiable. I went home and said to my wife: “I think I am in another one of these spots. If I report to the rest of the Board what I now know, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have no choice but to demand the guy’s immediate removal from all Board influence, and they never will be able to let him on that Board again. But I also have no doubt that, once that dust settles, they will come after me for blowing the whistle. So I have to make a decision.”

My wonderful wife looked at me with eyes that essentially said: “So what’s the question? You know what you have to do.”

And she was right. There was no question. I am no feminist — au contraire — but this was not about the politics of vagina hats and burning bras. This was a matter of human decency and the spiritual holiness that exists in every person. I knew what I had to do.

I blew the whistle internally. The Board appointed an internal committee to investigate independently. The committee came back affirming my report. The harasser’s role as an influential Board powerhouse ended. He never returned to that Board, and he was demoted and sanctioned severely beyond that.

Soon after, predictably, his friends’ backlash against me hit hard from within. I ended up leaving that place of employment.

Best thing that ever happened to me.

That’s gut check time, isn’t it? Something evil going on that you can, perhaps stop, but there will be a price to pay, win or lose. Personally, I’ve been in variations of that spot, and like his wife indicated, it’s not much of a decision. But I’m a man, and I was trained not to run from trouble, but to take my best shot at fixing it. I said man there, but what I really mean is a responsible adult, we all know plenty of women who are the same way. I was raised according to the old Irish adage, The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak. All of these people, abusers and victims as well, fail the test. The abusers will hopefully face man’s justice, the others will be asked one fine day about it, I warrant, by a higher judger, and there are no appeals from that judgement.

There was Ashley Judd, less than a year ago, at a “Women’s March.” It was a “Women’s March” that barred and disenfranchised the whole huge swath of American women who do not share the radicals’ leftist agenda. Speaking to those attending, Ashley Judd ripped into President Donald Trump. She became profoundly obscene, reciting a “poem” that bore fantasized intimations of perversion and incest. Oh how brave she was — “speaking truth to power” — by regaling a leftist crowd, whining men and women and whatever pronouns now are persondated (not “mandated”) in California — with a hateful radicalized leftist attack on the Republican President.

That is not “courageous.” That is not “brave.” There is no downside for a Hollywood figure to attack conservatives, Republicans, Christians, the Catholic Church, or Orthodox Jews before one of their hooting echo audiences. Those audiences lap it up. They love it. They reward such attacks with adulation and iconization. It is the “courage” of late-night talk hosts lambasting the President or the Republicans to their self-selecting echo chambers of leftists, while knowing full well that the conservatives and the Republicans are not in the Stephen Colbert audience or viewing on television when they instead can be watching Fox News or reruns of Last Man Standing or Quick Pitch on MLB or the cooking or other food channel or a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or reading a book or even going to sleep at 11:30 p.m. because, as many conservatives do, those people have to get up in the morning the next day to go to work for a living.

There is no courage in attacking the President or the conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court or Republicans in Congress at Academy Awards night or Emmy night or Tony Awards night or Grammy night. There is no courage in mocking the traditionalists on Saturday Night Live. When a person arises amid an echo chamber of same-minded Eloi in a time machine that is stuck in an Obama era that has passed, and sneeringly feeds the clods who get their news from Comedy Central their liberal mantras, he or she simply is feeding fish to clapping seals. That is not courage. That is pandering.

Instead, courage is when an Ashley Judd is pawed by a Harvey Weinstein who has power over her career — and she decides that, whatever may be the price to be paid, she will stop this pig here and now by blowing the whistle. And that is the kind of courage that a coward like Ashley Judd lacks. Courage is not when Meryl Streep at a Hollywood Awards ceremony mocks President Trump’s perceived approach to women, based on the brash person he was decades earlier, while she extols Roman Polanski as an artist who has suffered far too long, even as she calls Harvey Weinstein “God.” Rather, courage is when the same Meryl Streep wins the confidence of women in her field who can go to her, as women came to me in my less famous role, to tell their horrific reports of sexual assault and violation, knowing that she will leverage her voice in Hollywood to extirpate the pig from the public arena. And the coward Meryl Streep does not have that courage — not unless it is printed out for her in dummy cards for her to read emotively into a camera.

And that very thing is what empowers the Harvey Weinsteins, the Bill Clintons, the Teddy Kennedys, to use others, especially women without power, because women let him do it before, and so it becomes ‘just Harvey’ and it goes on until somebody dies, like Mary Jo Kopechne, and sometimes it still goes on. And you know, the only reason, for most of these women’s silence, that I can see, is a profound dislike for anybody but themselves. They’ve made little (very little indeed) tin gods of themselves, and there is no good in them or in those who enable them. G.K. Chesterton wrote

“When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

Even little tin Hollywood gods they made for themselves.

Things Fall Apart; the Centre Cannot Hold: 1968 Redux

WTH is going on in the world these days? One is tempted to quote Yeats and turn away in disgust.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Well, that may be a wise quote for us, at that. It was written in 1919 just after the world-shaking carnage of the Great War when seemingly all was in flux. Victor Davis Hanson in The Washington Times this week compared our time to 1968, another year that shook the world.

Almost a half-century ago, in 1968, the United States seemed to be falling apart.

The Vietnam War, a bitter and close presidential election, anti-war protests, racial riots, political assassinations, terrorism and a recession looming on the horizon left the country divided between a loud radical minority and a silent conservative majority.

The United States avoided a civil war. But America suffered a collective psychological depression, civil unrest, defeat in Vietnam and assorted disasters for the next decade — until the election of a once-polarizing Ronald Reagan ushered in five consecutive presidential terms of relative bipartisan calm and prosperity from 1981 to 2001.

It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil.

After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two.

But this time the divide is far deeper, both ideologically and geographically — with the two liberal coasts pitted against red-state America in between.

[…]

The smears “racist,” “fascist,” “white privilege” and “Nazi” — like “commie” of the 1950s — are so overused as to become meaningless. There is now less free speech on campus than during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s.

No news in any of that is there? It’s simply our daily diet.

As was the case in 1968, the world abroad is also falling apart.

The European Union, model of the future, is unraveling. The EU has been paralyzed by the exit of Great Britain, the divide between Spain and Catalonia, the bankruptcy of Mediterranean nation members, insidious terrorist attacks in major European cities and the onslaught of millions of immigrants — mostly young, male and Muslim — from the war-torn Middle East. Germany is once again becoming imperious, but this time insidiously by means other than arms.

[…]

If we remember in 1968 the UK was starting to slip into that malaise that became known as ‘The British Disease’ and the cure didn’t come until Maggie Thatcher took charge just before Ronald Reagan cured the Carter malaise.

And we watch as Mrs May turns the UK’s best chance since Mrs Thatcher to again become a wealthy country, thanks to the voters who voted for Brexit, changes her title to Prime Ditherer, as she proves a less capable leader than -Barack Obama, perhaps. Sad to see. There are plenty of people in Britain who know how to win in these circumstances, but like our own GOPe the Conservatives hide in their bubble, out of fear of the people, or change, or Political Correctness, or something, and so fumble their chance, and are likely to ruin the country by turning it over to Corbyn. Taking the title of Venezuela North from Chicago in the process.

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

Neither traditional political party has any answers.

Democrats are being overwhelmed by the identity politics and socialism of progressives. Republicans are torn asunder between upstart populist nationalists and the calcified establishment status quo.

And again showing the wisdom of the founders, we now see Steve Bannon gearing up to challenge every GOP Congresscritter (save Ted Cruz) in next years Republican primaries. He won’t win them all, I predict. But I also predict he’ll win enough to put the fear of the electorate back into the Republicans. Of course, if they were as smart as they think they are, 2016 would have done that.

Yet for all the social instability and media hysteria, life in the United States quietly seems to be getting better.

The economy is growing. Unemployment and inflation remain low. The stock market and middle-class incomes are up.

Business and consumer confidence are high. Corporate profits are up. Energy production has expanded. The border with Mexico is being enforced.

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past — about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics — is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic — the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

And that is true too. The United States is actually doing pretty well, these days, which may well be why our left seems increasingly detached from reality, just like the NFL players biting the hand that feeds them. All gravy trains end, and so does extended adolescence.

No guarantees here but it looks to me if we keep on keepin’ on the way we are going, we may well make the United States stronger still. And if the UK can find their spine (a stiff upper lip wouldn’t hurt either) they may come through with the Union Jack flying proudly, as well. After all, we are the people who invented the modern world, we just need to do a bit of remodelling.

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