Wednesday 9/14/16

  1. Journalistic credulity at its finest
  2. Putin is under every bed and in every closet
  3. Like a geriatric Soviet premier
  4. Election violence update
  5. Stronger Together Without the Deplorables
  6. Spreading disinformation
  7. Disneyfied Gumbo
  8. Naked Emperors

1

It’s not every day that I see a news feature that starts with a fact error.

“Mary Alice Nolan will soon be ordained a Roman Catholic priest,” says the lede of a Q&A feature in the Marin Independent Journal.

Well, no, actually she won’t.

Nolan will undergo a ritual that resembles a Catholic ordination. But it will be sanctioned by the WomenPriests movement – not the canonical Roman Catholic Church. You see, Vatican has a system in which it chooses its clergy. It’s kind of like the New York Yankees getting to decide who makes their 40-man roster and who does not.

WomenPriests can read prayers, swing censers and dress Nolan in vestments. But for the newspaper to call her a Roman Catholic priest amounts to adopting – public-relations style – the WomenPriests lexicon.

This is not our first, second or third time dealing with this topic ….

(Jim Davis)

2

While tanks and artillery have been Russia’s weapons of choice to project its power into neighboring Ukraine and Georgia, Mr. Putin has also mobilized faith to expand the country’s reach and influence. A fervent foe of homosexuality and any attempt to put individual rights above those of family, community or nation, the Russian Orthodox Church helps project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights.

(Andrew Higgins in a Section A, Page 1 New York Times story: In Expanding Russian Influence, Faith Combines With Firepower) The stories are long — that it, both the history of Russian Orthodoxy and the New York Times’ story — and at least one of the two is complicated. The other is a fairly simple addition to the “be afraid, be very afraid” stories about Russia that we can expect to continue as long as Trump is in politics and in a bromance with Putin.

Would that journalists viewed WomenPriests and such with such sensitive crap detectors!

3

In conversations with people who know Russia well, I’ve learned that in and around the Kremlin, many senior Russian officials genuinely believe that there is no significant difference between the American and Russian system of government. In both cases, obscure cabals of power-brokers and oligarchs vie for power behind the scenes, dressing it up as democracy and self-government. They look at Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of Fox News in the U.S., or the activities of the Clinton Foundation, or the influence of the Kochs on the right, and they see the same kinds of corruption they have at home. They see proclamations about “equality under the law” and the disparities of the criminal justice system, and see no difference between that and the Godfather-style scheme of government that prevails in Russia. They see a generation of young American men playing Xbox and getting fat on Doritos and see a civilization in terminal decline.

Where we see imperfections in a mostly good system, many Russians see a dark reality dressed up in a lot of propaganda. And who can blame them, when Hillary Clinton is lying about her health like a geriatric Soviet premier?

(Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry)

4

Election violence update. You’ve probably all seen some version of this by now:

Arrest warrant issued in assault of 69-year old woman protester at N.C. Trump rally

But don’t forget this, and other less-covered violence against Trump and his supporters.

Man who grabbed gun to ‘kill’ Trump in June pleads guilty to reduced charges

5

One of the smarter critiques of today’s American liberalism is that it’s actually mainline Protestantism shorn of its explicitly Christian content. Former First Things editor Jody Bottum makes this critique in his book An Anxious Age but others have made similar arguments elsewhere.

Typically the point of making this observation is to highlight points of overlap between mainline Protestantism and today’s liberalism. But in light of Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment from late last week, it seems worthwhile to note where precisely today’s liberalism is deeply at odds with Christianity and how this discontinuity with liberal Christianity figures to be far more important than liberalism’s many continuities with that dying branch of American Christianity.

What’s notable is that she described these people as “irredeemable.” And here we return to the discontinuity between contemporary liberalism and older forms of mainline Protestantism.

Christianity, of course, teaches us that no living person is beyond the reach of divine grace …

Though the disdain that exists between the two parties has been evident for some time, prior to the 2016 election there was a belief on both sides that their base could be expanded to include those who typically vote for the opposite party. Neither party saw a significant chunk of the opposition’s support as being evil; indeed they believe that they might even be won over to the cause with the right messaging and strategy. In the 90s, President Clinton brought fiscal conservatives over via his work on welfare reform. In the early 2000s President Bush drew religious conservatives, libertarians, and foreign policy hawks together to form the coalition that would elect him twice.

More recently, the GOP went through seemingly a half dozen strategies for Latino outreach before deciding that it was better (!!) to nominate a guy who called them rapists. The Democrats made many efforts to reach out to working-class white voters, their traditional base, before deciding this year to nominate a candidate who would call them “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” (You might hear the sound of nails being driven into a coffin as you hear both Clinton and Trump speak about opposition voters.)

What the fact of both Clinton and Trump’s nomination suggests to us is that both parties have given up on persuading their opposites ….

(Jake Meador) Maybe Hillary should reconsider that “Stronger Together” campaign theme.

6

The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today’s dietary recommendations, may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

“They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades,” said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. and an author of the JAMA Internal Medicine paper.

The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, wrote an editorial accompanying the new paper in which she said the documents provided “compelling evidence” that the sugar industry had initiated research “expressly to exonerate sugar as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.”

“I think it’s appalling,” she said. “You just never see examples that are this blatant.”

(Anahad O’Connor, How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat)

In other news, how dare the Russians spread disinformation?!

7

Some people in Louisiana — people who know Gumbo and have suffered so very much with Katrina and now Baton Rouge — are pretty appalled at the thought of kale and quinoa in roux-free Gumbo.

(H/T Rod Dreher)

8

Naked Emperors

daniel

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.