Category Archives: Agni ad Bellum/ The Lamb’s War

Harvard, Affirmative Action, “Reparations,” & Me

An earlier exposés of legacy preference/WASP affirmative action, from 2006.

One of the most shopworn and least shocking of discoveries about USA higher education Is that of Ivy League “affirmative action” (aka preferential admissions) for the non-genius children of wealthy donors or powerful alumni (mainly WASPS). This “exposé” (which, to be fair, is also found at many other non-ivy schools) has been around about a century or so, and has since been repeatedly documented by many scholars, novelists, biographers, pretend radicals — and news editors who have not read much or got out enough.

Someone fairly high up on the editorial ladder at The Guardian — normally relatively up to date on such matters— evidently fits into one of these dim categories. At least they thought the scandal of legacy preference needed to be disclosed back in the unenlightened times of fourteen months ago, and then worth repeating, at least online, in January 2023. Continue reading Harvard, Affirmative Action, “Reparations,” & Me

Chelsea Manning Is an American Hero. Full Stop.

. . . And both an  inspiration & challenge to Quakers & other people of faith.

Thank you to the Times for implicitly acknowledging this. And to Obama for commuting her prison sentence.

Chelsea Manning: ‘I’m Still Bound to Secrecy’

Ms. Manning is an American activist and the author of the forthcoming memoir “README.txt,” from which this essay has been adapted.

It is not possible to work in intelligence and not imagine disclosing the many secrets you bear.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when the idea first crossed my mind. Maybe it was in 2008, when I was learning to be an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army and was exposed to sensitive information for the first time. Or maybe the germ of the idea was planted when I was stationed at Fort Drum, in upstate New York. I was tasked with transporting a cache of classified hard drives in a large box in the summer heat, and I began to imagine what might happen if I screwed it up and left the box unattended. If someone managed to get ahold of a stray hard drive, what ripple effects might it cause?

Chelsea Manning

I knew the official version of why these secrets had to be kept secret. We were protecting sources. We were protecting troop movements. We were protecting national security. Those things made sense. But it also seemed, to me, that we were protecting ourselves.

While I felt that my job was important, and I took my obligations seriously, a part of me always wondered: If we were acting ethically, why were we keeping so many secrets?

The months I spent in Iraq in 2009changed the way I understood the world. Every night, I woke up in the desert at 9 p.m. and walked from my tiny trailer to the Saddam Hussein-era basketball court that the military had converted into an intelligence operations center.

Monday, Monday — Can’t Trust That Day! The Supreme Court Will Be Back

In a recent speech at Independence Hall, President Biden called on Americans to stand against an assault on democracy — the ongoing assault waged by insurrectionists and would-be patriots, by election deniers and other extremists. “We are not powerless in the face of these threats,” he insisted. “We are not bystanders.”

Yet that role — bystander — is exactly the one Mr. Biden seems to have assigned himself when it comes to the Supreme Court, which is posing a more profound challenge to the American system of self-government than any violent mob has managed.

The court’s conservative justices have issued a run of rulings that make it harder for many Americans, particularly citizens of color, to vote; make it easier for partisans to grab power by distorting the shape of legislative districts; and make it nearly impossible to counter the corrupting influence of money in politics. This is only a partial list — and is, most likely, only the beginning.

In the term that starts on Oct. 3, the conservative bloc, six justices strong and feeling its oats, will decide whether an Alabama congressional map discriminates against Black voters and will consider a novel theory that state legislatures should have a free hand, unconstrained by state courts, in setting rules for federal elections.

After the court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, eliminated the constitutional right to abortion, Mr. Biden stood in the White House and decried the decision as “the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law.” He hit the same refrain the next week, warning that an “extremist court” was “committed to moving America backwards.”

. . . While Mr. Biden promises to “build back better,” the court’s majority is a demolition crew, razing or gutting legislative landmarks — the Voting Rights Act, the Clean Air Act — by means of sweeping opinions. . . . [They are ] the defining project of the court’s conservatives: to lay waste to the welfare state and the administrative state, the civil rights revolution, the underpinnings of an accountable, workable government.

In Philadelphia and on the hustings, Mr. Biden has begun to acknowledge the tribal warfare that consumes this country. Yet the Roberts court is both a product and a sponsor of that conflict, and the president should say so. He needs to “take the country to school,” as Felix Frankfurter, who would later become a Supreme Court justice himself, urged Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, when another ideologically driven court had put democracy on the docket.

. . . In a similar spirit, Mr. Biden should view adverse rulings as opportunities to deliver his own dissents — to expose the designs of majority opinions, demystify them, debunk them, show whose interests they serve and whose they do not, and provide a countervailing view of the Constitution.

– Historian Jeff Shesol, in the New York Times

But Tuesday, Tuesday — And Soon  Tuesday will Be Voting Day . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Choice — No! But Guns Everywhere, Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

The Leak That’s Bleeding Women All Across The Map

 

 

 

Oh— Did We Forget to Mention —??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Old Lesson – Time to Re-Learn It . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This “Horton” Today Is Listening to — Who???

Dark Money, Babe — Definitely Not To You!

 

 

 

 

Quotes of the Day

Patti Davis, recalling the passing of her father, Ronald Reagan:

“My hope is that people remember this about the royal family: In the end, though they breathe rarefied air, they grapple as we all do with life and death, with the mystery of what it means to be human. When darkness falls, and they are alone, they sink into the same waters that everyone does when a loved one dies. And they wonder if they’ll make it to the other side..”

Jamelle Bouie quoting Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “‘A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people,” [Lincoln] said. “Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.”

“You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government,” Lincoln added, “while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend it.’ ”

SERGE SCHMEMANN: Part of [the Queen’s] appeal was the extravagant — some might say excessive — pomp and ceremony that accompanied her every royal appearance. While Scandinavian countries deliberately decontented their monarchies until their kings and queens could barely be distinguished from normal citizens, Britain proudly maintained the full medieval monty: gilded carriages, bearskin helmets, liveried footmen and volumes of tradition.

It was marketing, to be sure; the royals are central to Britain’s brand and identity. But Queen Elizabeth was prepared to treat it all, from wearing a five-pound crown while reading a canned message in Parliament to feigning delight in some tropical ceremony, as the service to which she dedicated her life. . . .Though democracy left her no real governing power, she was ahead of her time in championing equality and diversity in the Commonwealth and, by most accounts, she made her views discreetly known to successive prime ministers, whom she met weekly.”

Eugene Robinson: “I once had the opportunity to attend an investiture, the palace ceremony at which the queen conferred knighthoods and other honors to the great and the good. It was the first time I had seen her in person, and what struck me was how tiny she was.

This woman who had been a larger-than-life presence on the world stage since before I was born — the first prime minister who served under her was Winston Churchill — was minute, dwarfed by her regal accoutrements and surroundings. Her voice was thin and soft, her words hard to follow.

Yet she did have a presence that dominated the vast room. On reflection, it occurred to me that this aura of authority and command was not emanating from the queen herself. It was being projected upon her by the audience.

And so it is with all the anachronistic stature and privilege the British royal family still enjoys in an egalitarian age. Elizabeth’s character, stamina and skill persuaded her subjects to suspend any possible disbelief in the divine right of a mostly German family to reign over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Will they have such faith in Charles? In William?

“Après moi, le déluge,” King Louis XV of France is thought to have said, decades before the French Revolution. After Elizabeth, the British monarchy will find itself in rising waters and struggle not to be swept away.”

Seattle: Later that day, the congresswoman [Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington] was driving from her house to an event in Seattle, celebrating the introduction of a trans bill of rights. [Rachel] Berkson, her district director, was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat, Jayapal pulled out her phone and played some of the voice mails she’d received.

A man’s voice filled up the car.

“ … Your f—in’ day is coming. God damn, as soon as the president’s installed, like on Nov. 4 or 5, we’re f—in’ coming after all you motherf—ers. You’re gonna be scrubbing f—in’ floors for the rest of your life, you f—in’ wh—.”

Another man, a trace of a smile in his voice.
“ … Get ready for the worst year of your life. It’s gonna be turmoil every day. This is gonna be fun. This is gonna be fun. Your life is gonna be miserable. And we’re gonna get rid of that corrupt Biden, and that socialist Kamala, and the rest of the group, and you’re going right along with them.”

His voice deepened.
“You stupid f—in’ b—-. Get ready for turmoil. You’re gettin’ it. You’re gonna get exactly what you deserve, b—-. Have a nice day, b—-.”

Then another man.
“ … I’m gonna send you some knee pads, you f—in’ b—-. You worthless f—in’ c—.”
“ … We’re coming. And we’re really pissed off.”
“ … You are an evil b—- and you need to die and I hate you and I will never vote for you again.”

Jayapal stopped the recordings. Berkson, in the front seat, was one of the staffers who screened the messages. She decides what to forward to Capitol Police, and what to bring to Jayapal’s attention. As she drove, she started to cry. “Sorry,” Berkson said. “I honestly don’t think about it that much.”

At home later that night, Jayapal listened again to the threatening voice mails that [Rep. Adam]  Kinzinger and [Eric] Swalwell released this summer. She thought about how violence begins with the ability to dehumanize the subject of that violence. And she spent that evening replaying the voice mails that had been left for her. There was one calling her an animal. “The unleashing of it everywhere creates this space for other people to be unleashed as well,” she said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)

She thought about her decision to talk about what happened. What would she and [her husband] Williamson be saying, to themselves, to each other, to their loved ones, if they did?

“I don’t really want to admit that we’re in danger,” Williamson said, “because that’s not a place I want to occupy.”

“But at the same time,” said Jayapal, “it’s important people understand how ubiquitous this is, and how much a part of our psyche it is taking up.”

She thought about why she had never shared the voice mails before.
“Why didn’t I?”

“Is it like, ‘Oh you’re supposed to take it?’”

“Or you’re not tough enough if you release it?”

These were questions the congresswoman couldn’t answer.

Instead, she asked, “Have we somehow conditioned ourselves to think this is what we should expect?”

Newest U. S. Catholic Cardinal – A Surprisingly “Progressive” Pick

When San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy received his prestigious red hat at the Vatican on Saturday, he brought to the College of Cardinals a fervent loyalty to Pope Francis that has often put him at odds with the conservative majority in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Robert McElroy, a new Catholic cardinal

McElroy, 68, is the only American among the 21 clerics being installed as cardinals by Francis in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica. He was chosen over numerous higherranking American archbishops, including two from his home state — outspoken conservative Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and José Gomez of Los Angeles, the president of the U.S. bishops conference.

McElroy has been among the few American bishops who questioned why the conference insists on identifying abortion as its “preeminent” priority. Echoing the pope’s concerns, he has questioned why greater prominence is not given to issues such as poverty, immigration and climate change.

“The death toll from abortion is more immediate, but the longterm death toll from unchecked climate change is larger and threatens the very future of humanity,” McElroy said in 2020.

The Rev. James Martin, editoratlarge of the Jesuit magazine America, described McElroy as “one of the foremost articulators in the United States not only of Pope Francis’ vision but also the vision of the Second Vatican Council and, more basically, the vision of the Gospel.

“He has been the special champion of people on the margins, both in society and in the church,” Martin said via email. “It’s not surprising that the Holy Father would have singled him out for this honor and that he would want the future Cardinal McElroy present in the conclave that will elect the next pope.”

Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at The Catholic University of America who has been critical of many Vatican decisions under Francis papacy, said McElroy “often speaks from the ideological margins” and thus would be seen, in this papacy, as an appropriate candidate to be a cardinal.

“But mostly, his elevation reminds me that more senior and substantial prelates like Archbishop Cordileone and Archbishop Gomez have, once again, been very deliberately passed over,” Pecknold said in an email.

Among his notable stances, McElroy has been one of a minority of U.S. bishops denouncing the campaign to exclude Catholic politicians who support abortion rights from Communion.

“It will bring tremendously destructive consequences,” McElroy wrote last year. “The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen.”

Cordileone, in contrast, said earlier this year that he would no longer allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion because of her support for abortion rights.

Last year McElroy was among a small group of bishops signing a statement expressing support for LGBTQ youth and denouncing the bullying often directed at them.

The bishops said LGBTQ youth attempt suicide at much higher rates, are often homeless because of families who reject them and “are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.”

“We stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you,” the statement read. “Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.”

McElroy received a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard in 1975 and a master’s in history from Stanford in 1976.

He studied at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, and in 1985 received a theology degree at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He obtained a doctorate in moral theology at the Gregorian University in Rome the following year and a doctorate in political science at Stanford in 1989.

He was ordained in 1980 and assigned to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where he served in a parish before becoming personal secretary to Archbishop John Quinn. Other California parish assignments included Redwood City and San Mateo.

He became an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco in 2010. In 2015, early in Francis’ pontificate, he was named bishop of San Diego. For the past three years, he has served as president of the California bishops conference.

Monsignor Stephen Doktorczyk, vicargeneral for the Diocese of Orange, said McElroys leadership skills have been impressive.

“One thing I respect about him is that while he is confident in the positions he takes, he truly is open to hearing the take of others and engaging in a dialogue with those who have different points of view,” Doktorczyk said.

Allan Figueroa Deck, a distinguished scholar of pastoral theology at Loyola Marymount University, said McElroy’s elevation represents a “clear message” from the pope about the direction the church should move in.

McElroy “understands and takes seriously what Pope Francis means by ‘epochal change’ and the challenge of finding better models, a more effective and inclusive style for the Church to proceed,” Deck said via email. “He approaches hotbutton issues like the pastoral care of LGBTQ persons and the abortion issue with balance and prudence.”

Conservative Catholic activist Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute has been a frequent critic of McElroy, for example condemning his strong support for the Association of United States Catholic Priests. The association is a relatively liberal group whose priorities include expanding the role of women in church leadership and creating “priestless parishes” that potentially could be overseen by laypeople as a way of countering the shortage of priests.

McElroy’s elevation “is a sign of Pope Francis’ desire to marry the Church with the world,” Hichborn said via email. “There can be little doubt that McElroy currently stands as the model for the kind of priest, bishop, and cardinal Pope Francis desires for the future of the Church.”

The Diocese of San Diego runs the length of California’s border with Mexico and serves more than 1.3 million Catholics in San Diego and Imperial counties. It includes 98 parishes, 49 elementary and secondary schools and, through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego, various social service and family support organizations.

___

More from AP at the Vatican

Of the 20 churchmen named new cardinals in the consistory ceremony, 16 are younger than 80 and thus eligible to participate in a conclave — the ritualshrouded, lockeddoor assembly of cardinals who cast paper ballots to elect a new pontiff.

The 85yearold Francis has now named 83 of the 132 cardinals currently young enough to join a conclave. The others were appointed by the previous two popes, St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, whose unexpected retirement in 2013 paved the way for Francis to be elected.

With the eight batches of cardinals Francis has named, prospects are boosted that whoever becomes the next pontiff will share his vision for the future of the church.

Francis reminded the cardinals of their mission, which he said includes “an openness to all peoples, to the horizons of the world, to the peripheries as yet unknown.”

Underlining Francis attention to those on societys margins, among the new cardinals is Archbishop Anthony Poola of Hyderabad, India. The prelate, 60, is the first member of the Dalit community, considered the lowest rung of Indias caste system, to become a cardinal.

One by one, the newest cardinals, whose red cassocks and headgear symbolizes the blood they must be prepared to shed if necessary in their mission, knelt before Francis, who placed on their head the prestigious biretta, as the threepeaked hat is known.

In choosing San Diego Bishop Robert Walter McElroy, Francis passed over U.S. churchmen leading traditionally more prestigious dioceses, including San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Among the newest cardinals is Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr from Wa, Ghana, who has spoken out against LGBTQ rights. The African prelate felt ill when he arrived in Rome on Friday and was hospitalized for a heart problem, the pope told the other cardinals, asking them to pray “for this brother who should have been here.”

Asked by The Associated Press about such contrasting views among church leaders, McElroy replied that “there are always cultural differences within the life of the church as there is within in the human family. And different cultures approach these questions in different ways.”

McElroy added: My own view is that we have an obligation in the church to make the LGBT persons feel equally welcome in the life of the church, as everyone else.” . . .

Archbishop Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, became the first cardinal from the Amazon, the vast, environmentallyvulnerable region in South America on the Argentineborn pontiff’s home continent. In remarks to The AP, Steiner expressed concern about increasing violence in the Amazon.

“But this violence was not born there, it came from outside, Steiner, 71, said. ”It is always violence related to money. Concessions, deforestation, also with the mines, also with the fishing.

At 48, the youngest member among the cardinals ranks is an Italian missionary in Mongolia, where Catholics number some 1,300. Francis knows how important it is supporting these little communities, said the new cardinal, Giorgio Marengo.

Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.