by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
POPE FRANCIS AND HIS 'STAYCATION': Leisure by staying home or visiting the neighborhood. Some great insights on Pope Francis. Ratio vs. intellect. The "busyness" of vacations vs. the leisure of staying home in the hood by Austin Ivereigh.
WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIAN INTELLECTUALS? An excellent historical review of the eclipse of the Christian intellectual in American life by Baylor’s Alan Jacobs in Harper's magazine. It leaves one wanting much more.
THE PRIESTS IN GERMANY: About 30 percent of Germans identify as Catholics (23.9 million), 10% attend weekly Mass. In 1965 there were 500 new ordinations to the priesthood. In 2005 there were 122. This year there were 58.
The German Catholic Church is the richest church in the world, receiving huge government funds for every registered Catholic. Their priesthood is riddled with homosexuals, and their national conference is openly non-orthodox in teaching on sexual roles in the church and sexual morality. The clerical holders of the purse are not hurt by low numbers in the priesthood (fewer slices from the big pie). Defection of registered Catholics, however, is a monetary issue for them because that determines their yearly government check. The German bishops have threatened people who de-register from the Church that they will be ineligible for sacraments.
Consider the 14,000 German priests today (20,000 in 1990). More than half of the best-paid and most corrupt national clergy in the Catholic Church report that they go to confession once a year or less. The CNA article.
THE JEWS IN TOLKIEN: A Jewish father makes a discovery. What surprises me is how this Jewish man and so many lovers of Tolkien have not recognized that "the Dwarves are the Jews." To Tolkien it was embarrassingly obvious. It shows the loss of historical imagination in our age - even among the Tolkien lovers. It was not so of the author whose story written amidst the World Wars of the early 20th century is as much about corporate peoples as individuals.
THE UNIVERSE AND MAN: The anthropological principal in understanding the Cosmos.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
TURKEY, ISLAM, AND ERDOGAN: A very readable good short history.
SUNNI AND SHIA FROM THE INSIDE IN SYRIA: A fascinating article on getting the sectarian narrative right in Iraq and Syria. He rejects the "Sunni disenfranchisement" tale. and sees the Assad government as much more mixed than simply Alawite-Shia. Part one by an anonymous, well informed author. Part Two will be featured here next week. It has just been published.
JAMES WOOLSEY (FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE UNDER BILL CLINTON) TESTIMONY ON WAHHABI ISLAM AND SAUDI ARABIA IN 2005:
"The House of Saud became very, very wealthy and very, very frightened – wealthy because of the huge spike in oil prices by the end of the decade, taking them from a couple of billion dollars a year in foreign earnings to 20 billion dollars, and frightened because of two events: the fall of the Shah and the coming to power of Islamists to govern in Tehran among the hated Shiites, and the takeover attempt in Saudi Arabia, which was really a coup attempt that resulted in the takeover of the great mosque in Mecca by Islamist terrorists for a time.FROM FOREIGN POLICY SITUATION ROOM (8-16-2016): And here comes Beijing. Guan Youfei, an official with China's Central Military Commission, was in Damascus Tuesday where he met Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij. Guan said that China wants a closer relationship with Syria, and "China's military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria's military," China's Xinhua state news agency reported.
"But due to the combination of the oil wealth of the Gulf, the compatibility of the Sunni Islamists’ support for the Caliphate and the history of the Caliphate in Sunni Islam, the long-term objectives of the Wahhabis – I believe the Sunni Islamists present an extraordinarily serious ideological threat.
"And the reason I always say 'Islamist' is that I mean to connote precisely a totalitarian movement masquerading as a religion. We do not in retrospect need to accept Torquemada’s claim that his life, which repudiated everything that the Sermon on the Mount preached, was emblematic of Christianity or that he represented Christianity, and we do not need to accept the Wahhabis’ claim that their hatred is emblematic of or represents the great religion of Islam."
FRANCE SAYS NO COVER-UP ON THE BEACH - MIGHT INCITE SOMEONE: The home of the avant grade and decadent at Cannes finally sees a sight that makes her blush. Banning the Burkini. The Germans might want to focus on figuring out the intentions of their male refugees. Here is an article with some useful definitions and pictures of Muslim veiling practices. Governments often find it is easier to regulate the law-abiding than stop the criminals.
CATHOLICS DEBATE "IS ISLAM A RELIGION OF PEACE?" A very important debate. We think Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch is over the top in many things, but read his daily report to hear about things not reported elsewhere. In this debate, the Monsignor is proposing an untenable option, and then ascribing a level of magisterial authority which should make the most extreme papist blush. Robert Spencer and Msgr. Swetland. As Pope Francis says: "Disagree face to face; man to man." We need more of this. William Kilpatrick is a frequent informed source for many conservative Catholics on Islam, Christianity, and atheism. Like Spencer, his rejection of Islam is totalistic. Unlike Spencer, he doe not seem driven by a palpable hatred. Here is our critical but appreciative review of his important book.
III. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
HILLARY CLINTON - WAR PLANS FOR SYRIA AND JOBS FOR INTERVENTIONISTS WHO WILL MAKE HER LOOK TOUGH: An excellent review of who her appointees will be and what that means for policy. Where is the anti-war Left when you need them? If personnel is policy, then see the regime change hawks who support Mrs. Clinton.
TRUMP - A FOREIGN POLICY VERY DIFFERENT THAN REPUBLICANS: Analysis of Trump speech - there is a huge choice here. He is anti-war everywhere except toward ISIS. His focus allows new allies: Russia and Syria, and after the election probably Iran.
"CRIME AND VIOLENCE ARE AN ATTACK ON THE POOR" That was Donald Trump’s best line as he visited Milwaukee after the violence there. There could be nothing more dramatic than a Trump initiative toward the young men of the inner city as FELLOW AMERICANS. The campaign to properly socialize males, and the repeated public proposition that police and black males share together a male duty as Americans to protect our cities, may not come from Trump himself but it certainly can rise from his supporters. All who see the disaster of anti-male feminist policies of the Democratic Party’s sexual revolutionaries should realize the inner-city is where the disaster is most obvious. President Obama is the first president who has attacked patriarchy as an evil. That may resonate with feminist careerists, but isn’t the rule of fathers just what the black community needs most? The nation’s cities do not need another white feminist leading America. We have just had eight years of one, if you grant that President Obama is in many ways much more the son of his white feminist anthropologist momma as he is of his absent African dad. Trump in Milwaukee. A very different Trump - most powerful appeal to black Americans by a Republican in decades. Powerline blog, which has been tepid or negative about Trump, has the best take on the speech with a full video was well. The speech that will win the White House.
A CLINTON WAR COMES BACK TO HAUNT: Before Crimea, before Libya and Syria, there was another air war led by liberal interventionists. "No American boots were on the ground" but a major European city was bombed. A baby-boomer President and his female Secretary of State showed their toughness by bombing Belgrade to force Serbia to relinquish control of Kosovo. Madeleine Albright admits the bombing "was illegal but it was fair." This showed the helplessness of the Boris Yeltsin government and led to the rise of Vladimir Putin as a Russian who would protect the Orthodox East from the Muslim-friendly, atheist Westerners. Vice President Joseph Biden recently visited Serbia and was greeted with taunts and 'Vote for Trump' signs by crowds who understand very well the kind of globalism that rained down on their capital for 78 days of "humanitarian bombing" in the spring of 1999. This was one of the pivotal catastrophes of the post-Cold War baby boomer presidents in losing the peace their fathers had bequeathed them. A video news clip. These are the kinds of events that are great opportunities for serious journalists to report and learn from history. It places the discussion of Russia, the Ukraine, and Crimea in an important context. Good review of Bill Clinton's foreign policy. NATO expansion and Serbia.
IV. RUSSIA AND CHINA ROUND UP
RUSSIA AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: A troubling law.
CHINA AND THE FISH OF THE SEA: Without agreeing to solutions, here is the problem.