Schwerpunkt

The Monday Forum over at Watchers of Weasels is always worthwhile reading, as some very astute bloggers give their view of one of the issues of the day. This week, it was exceptional. Taking as their subject: Forum: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move? they gave us some very good thinking on the subject. Rob Miller highlighted something that I’ve long said.

Ahh, Russia! A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a wonderful sandwich of that Russian black rye, turkey or roast beef, spicy Russian mustard and pickle with kasha on the side and a Stoly chaser (Sorry, Sir Winston).

First, let’s not forget that Barack Hussein Obama and his $ecretary of $tate Hillary Clinton gave Putin whatever he wanted in the beginning. They literally betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic by reneging on America’s commitment to put missile defense units in those countries and all Putin had to do was glower a bit.

Russia’s nukes at the time of the Hillary ‘reset’ were outmoded and out of date, So Obama and Hillary put together that ridiculous START treaty, which not only had the U.S. decommissioning state of the art American nukes on parity with Russia’s obsolete ones, but giving Russia access to our top anti-missile technology like Shoot To Kill, with no quid pro quo from Russia at all. And that doesn’t count Hillary giving Russia control over a chunk of America’s uranium production in exchange for a nice donation to the Clinton Foundation and a $500K speaking fee for Bill. What the Clintons and Obama gave Russia hurt America worse and was worth far more to Putin than they and their surrogate’s wildest accusations about anyone in the Trump Administration!

But as to the question at hand…

The major challenge of our age is the War on Jihad. Nothing else comes close. This isn’t a clash between civilizations as Samuel Huntington put it, but a clash between civilization and totalitarian barbarity. And the Russians know that first hand.

via Forum: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move? – Watcher of Weasels

Keep reading, and read the other views as well.

That’s the priority, in my mind. If we don’t win (or at least drive back) the war on jihad, we lose completely, our civilization disappears into history.

Putin is not my sort of leader, that’s pretty obvious, but then Stalin wasn’t to the taste of either Churchill or Roosevelt, either. But they supplied him because Hitler was the clear and present danger. Was it fairly obvious that Stalin would become a menace at some point? Sure. But if Hitler won, it simply didn’t matter. Neither in fact, did Tojo. Hitler was the Schwerpunkt, the center of gravity of the Second World War. Now Islamic jihad is. That doesn’t mean it’s 1943, we don’t need to send trucks, guns, and food to Putin free. But we would be well advised to not demonize him, to recognize that he will attempt to advance Russian interests, as we should those of the United States. But also recognize that we have many common interests.

Historically, until their revolution, Imperial Russia was mostly a friendly power, by no means an advanced democracy, but not an enemy, either. Putin strikes me as more a new Czar than a komissar.

Churchill said after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, “If Hitler invaded Hell itself, I would give the Devil a favorable mention in the House of Commons”. So should we. Putin is not a present danger to Western Civilization, he is a part (certainly an imperfect part) of it.

The Jihadis are the existential enemy of this generation, anything else is a distraction. And anyone promoting that distraction does not have the best interests of the United States or Western Civilization at heart.

The Lost Land, Going Home

I was reading Willa Cather last evening, specifically O Pioneers!, the first of her Prairie Trilogy, and as always, it made me think of this post, for it always brings me to a feeling of what Jess used to call hiraeth (see below).

In any case, there is a huge amount going on, and I have little sense that anybody really has much of a handle on almost any of it. So, I’m going to withdraw from pontificating on things I don’t know for a day to indulge myself, and hopefully you as well. We can’t go home again, it is truly said, but we can surely wistfully remember, and perhaps relearn some lessons.

Mae hiraeth arna amdanot ti


I can’t speak for you, but Jess touched a chord (several, actually) with me yesterday, both here. and with her post on AATW. She, like me, grew up in the country, and I suspect both of us feel somewhat out-of-place in town, even the quite small towns we live in. There exists in both of us a longing for the country, I think, away from the ‘Nosy Parkers’ of town life. But even more than that, I think we long for a simpler, better time when we had the time to listen to nature, and yes, to God. Her quote of Houseman is directly on point, for me.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

There’s a deep sadness in knowing we can never go there again, and I suspect it is compounded by the knowledge that those whom we knew so well, and formed us, are no longer there. The old saying that “you can never step twice in the same river” applies forcefully here. And the simple honest folks we grew up around, are passing quickly from the scene, and with them the world they built for us, leaving us alone to face the clamorous, dissonant world of today.

For me, I have that same sense of ‘hiraeth’ (yes, it’s a Welsh word, there is no English equivalent, really) not for Wales, specifically, lovely as it looks in pictures, but for the wide open spaces, for me the high plains of Wyoming tend to hold my thoughts. In many ways, they are not as beautiful as Jess’ Wales, but they have an austere beauty of their own. They also offer a powerful sense of independence. There is just something about knowing that your nearest neighbor is twenty or so miles away.

In A Lost Lady, Willa Cather wrote this:

He had seen the end of an era, the sunset of the pioneer. He had come upon it when already its glory was nearly spent. So in the buffalo times a traveller used to come upon the embers of a hunter’s fire on the prairies, after the hunter was up and gone; the coals would be trampled out, but the ground was warm, and the flattened grass where he had slept and where his pony had grazed, told the story.
This was the very end of the road-making West; the men who had put plains and mountains under the iron harness were old; some were poor, and even the successful ones were hunting for rest and a brief reprieve from death. It was already gone, that age; nothing could ever bring it back. The taste and smell and song of it, the visions those men had seen in the air and followed, — these he had caught in a kind of afterglow in their own faces, — and this would always be his.

In many ways, that seems to sum up how we are feeling about our country today.

Jess linked to an article called Dreaming in Welsh, I’m repeating that link because I think it provides a middle ground between Jess’ hiraeth and my longing as well as can be. Do read it, if you haven’t.

¹ There’s a homesickness on me for you.

Castel Gandolfo and Economics

giardino_degli_specchi_castel_gandolfo_ii_20141006Interesting story here. Note that I’m not picking this as either pro or con Catholic. For me, today, it is purely an economic story and an example of why equality of income is such a bad idea.

Speaking of Francis, I was told by a priest here that the Holy Father has visited a handful of times but has never spent the night or greeted the staff, only stopping to consult the Jesuits in residence. That’s rather bad manners, I should think. It takes only a little magnanimity to imagine what a papal visit means to the staff here. They keep the place in pristine readiness all year round, eagerly awaiting the pope’s arrival, as their fathers’ fathers have done proudly for generations, and His Holiness won’t deign to stop by for the evening! I mean, he has an image to keep up, but isn’t this a bit snobbish? The poor people there have had to open the gardens and palace to tourists just to find something to do with the place and replace lost revenue.

Father also mentioned that he felt a bit sorry for the townspeople, because with the papal court no longer summering at the palace, the local economy is taking a hard hit. Usually, the entire Vatican is run from the palace from June to October, and the restaurants do good business with the influx of papal staff. No longer. “I guess the papal gardener is in a very enviable position!” “That’s right – it’s actually a hereditary position. Like many of these jobs, they’ve been in the same family for generations.”

These revelations added a layer: the merciless enforcement of mercy under Francis’s pontificate has more concrete ramifications in Rome for those who faithfully serve the papacy. It turns scores of talented people out of their jobs. From the great artists who wove the papal vestments and write the papal masses to the humble village family who has kept his garden for generations, there is a great cadre of people who give their lives in noble service to the Church.

via What ‘Humility’ Means for the Papal Staff |

Interesting isn’t it, that the Pope’s refusal to use Castel Gandolfo costs the neighborhood a goodly chunk of change. Of course, it’s pretty obvious when one thinks through it, and indeed, at least some of that money is likely spent in Rome instead.

But his grandstanding (at least that is what it looks like to me), showing off his humility, which to my mind doesn’t really match his statements, hurts those around him. Who’d a thunk it? Just about everybody with any common sense, which pretty much leaves out anyone who thinks virtue signaling a good thing.

Doesn’t make him any better or worse than anybody else, really. We all do things that hurt others although not all of us believe that hurting other people shows virtue (except maybe as a soldier).

What this really shows is that not thinking deeply enough about your actions has consequences. That’s why we call it ‘the law of unintended consequences’, after all.

Jane Rowe, RIP

norma_mccorvey_jane_roe_1989_cropped-269x300It has been announced that Norma McCorvey, who we all know as Jane Roe has died. We all know that her lawsuit, pushed all the way to the Supreme Court (mostly by feminist activists who used her) was the case that allowed abortions in the United States. What isn’t so well-known is the rest of her story. Gene Veith wrote the best I’ve found on it, which is far better than I could.

Norma McCorvey, who went by the name of “Jane Roe” in the infamous Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, has died at the age of 69.

After winning the Supreme Court case, McCorvey became active in the pro-abortion movement.  But the kindness of a pro-life demonstrator at an abortion clinic led to her conversion to Christianity.

She then became a pro-life activist, battling the abortions that in another life she made legal. […]

She became involved in a lesbian relationship, but after she became a Christian, they became celibate.  After her conversion, she was an evangelical, but she later become Roman Catholic.

Her life is a remarkable testimony to the grace of God, who redeems sinners and changes them.

via The death and new life of “Jane Roe”

I couldn’t agree more, the grace of God is very strong in her story. Gene also excerpted the AP obituary, which I’ll also copy.

Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure, died Saturday. She was 69.

McCorvey died at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas, said journalist Joshua Prager, who is working on a book about McCorvey and was with her and her family when she died. He said she died of heart failure and had been ill for some time.

McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established abortion rights, though by that time, McCorvey had given birth and given her daughter up for adoption.

Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and joining the anti-abortion movement. A short time later, she underwent another religious conversion and became a Roman Catholic.

“I don’t believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it’s still a child. You’re not to act as your own God,” she told The Associated Press in 1998.

[Keep reading. . .] 

Rest in Peace.

Sapphires and Duty

Queen Elizabeth II waves to well wishers from a open top Range Rover in Windsor, Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II waves to well-wishers from an open top Range Rover in Windsor, Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.

Yesterday was the sixty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. By all reports, she spent it quietly at Sandringham, in Norfolk, where her father, the King died 65 years ago. She is now the longest reigning monarch in British History. And the only one to have parachuted into the Olympics!

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith wrote about it in the Catholic Herald. He makes a couple of points, I want to emphasize.

The second thing about the Queen that comes to mind is her unshowy devotion to duty. It really is not about her at all, but about the nation, and of course, the Commonwealth. She serves us, not the other way around. In 65 years she has never failed in her duty. This makes her not simply the most remarkable and admirable woman in the country, but perhaps in the world. Her style is in marked contrast to the celebrity culture that is all around us.

How rare that is amongst our people these days. To stick to your duty all your life, even as a quite young woman in the Second World War we could see that. In fact, for her, it is a family trait evident in both of her parents throughout their lives. We try, she flat did it. And a most difficult duty as well. She has done, no that is incorrect, she is doing it admirably. And that is instructive. Her job is one that pretty much denies her any privacy, or even a chance to ever do as she pleases, and yet she has serenely done that duty for sixty-five years, ever since a girl in a Kenyan tree became Queen of England (and all the rest).

He continues

Fourthly, and perhaps the most important of all, as is clear to anyone who has been listening to her Christmas broadcasts over the years, the Queen is a Christian. She is a particular type of Christian, a Low Church Anglican, of the sort who makes little outward show of her faith. But it is certainly there, and it has sustained her over these 65 years. The way she has acted over the last six-and-a-half decades is a tribute to that faith.

via On her Sapphire Jubilee, the Queen remains a wonderful inspiration to all – CatholicHerald.co.uk

Important? Yes. And perhaps it is the most remarkable of all. The queen has kept her faith (and the faith) for her entire reign while so-called progress has stormed about her, and many of her storm-tossed subjects have had theirs rocked, and sometimes lost. In fact, she is on her fifth Archbishop of Canterbury, and Eisenhower had just become the US president when she became Queen.

It’s been at best a turbulent 65 years, and nobody has shown us better what we can be, should be, and yes, must be, if we are to continue what we started those long years ago at the court of Alfred the Great of Wessex, and yes, in Philadelphia City some 241 years ago, as well. For we Yanks too, find in her a steadying point, one who has been there and done that, although probably not so vulgar as to have bought the T-shirt. Indeed the champion of Western Civilization, itself.

God Save the Queen

Marching for Life, Trump, and May

What’s this, I hear, more videos? Well, yeah, they do something that my words about something can’t. And right now, things are moving so fast, I can’t keep up anyway. And that’s a very good thing! 🙂

We talked a bit about Mrs. May’s speech yesterday, here it is.

 

Here’s President Trump at the same event.

 

Pretty good speech, I think, and considerably more thoughtful than you’d expect.

In something more important than politics, yesterday was the 44th March for Life, and if nobody told you, we are winning. Abortions are now lower than they were in 1973 when Roe v Wade came down. I noticed that Trump was again effective, and the March got more coverage from the media than it usually does (none, even with half a million, or more people in the streets)!

Maybe someday, we will actually win, it begins to seem so. Here’s Kellyanne Conway

 

Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Anglican, Evangelical, and even none, marching together to return to respecting the very first of our liberties: Life, itself.

And here’s VP Mike Pence.

It is time soon to end this desecration, killing the next generation. The Culture of Death must end.

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