Biden ‘Abandons Pregnant Mothers to Suffer Alone’ from Abortion Pills: 75 Members of Congress

A flurry of legislation, executive orders, and lawsuits have volleyed back and forth between the Biden administration, which seeks to protect the abortion industry, and pro-life advocates attempting to protect unborn children and their mothers. As the Biden administration expanded the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs, 75 pro-life lawmakers have demanded the FDA take pills off the market altogether. As Biden’s executive actions tout expanding the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs as “essential to our [n]ation’s health,” litigators have threatened to take abortionists to state court and issued fresh warnings to corporations thinking of trafficking in life-ending drugs.

“We call on the FDA to remove mifepristone from the market, or, at minimum, promptly restore and further strengthen the initial basic health and safety requirements for abortion drugs, and cease permitting the mailing and shipping of abortion drugs in violation of [f]ederal criminal law,” wrote 75 members of Congress to the Biden administration’s Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Robert Califf. The Biden administration’s new standard “abandons pregnant mothers to suffer alone, without proper medical evaluation or oversight, potentially life-threatening complications, which can include severe bleeding, infection, potential surgical intervention, and even death.”

It also “makes it easier for these drugs to fall into the hands of human traffickers or abusers, who may administer the drugs to pregnant mothers without their knowledge or consent,” wrote the coalition — 23 Senators and 52 U.S. representatives, led by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) — last Thursday. Ironically, by insisting abortion companies can mail abortion pills, “the FDA is, astonishingly, conditioning certification for pharmacies on their willingness to violate [f]ederal criminal law.”

This letter comes after 41 members of Congress chided Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Justice Department has “abdicated its Constitutional responsibility to enforce the law,” specifically the Comstock Act, which forbids mailing abortion-inducing drugs.

Shorn of their majority in the House of Representatives, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have increasingly advanced abortion-on-demand through a combination of executive action and bureaucratic inaction. “Members of our cabinet and our administration are now directed, as of the president’s order, to identify barriers to access” to pills that induce the death of unborn children “and to recommend actions” to facilitate their distribution nationwide, Harris told a crowd of abortionists and lobbyists in Tallahassee last Sunday, on what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Biden’s memo directed AG Garland, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra, and Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas to pursue “further efforts to protect access to” abortion. Biden also directed the Attorney General and the DHS secretary of Homeland Security “to consider actions … that would protect the safety and security of patients, providers, and third parties, and that would protect the security of pharmacies and other entities providing, dispensing, or delivering” abortion pills. “Defending and protecting [abortion] is essential to our [n]ation’s health, safety, and progress,” Biden wrote, before describing pro-life laws as “threats to the liberty” of Americans.

Congressional Republicans more closely reflect the public sentiment on abortion pills. Nearly all young voters — 91% of Gen Z and Gen Y registered voters — support requiring an abortionist to administer an ultrasound to protect mothers from ectopic pregnancies; 93% say abortionists should test women’s blood (RH) to protect women from future infertility; and 60% say the pills should be given in person to avoid them from falling into the hands of an abuser, according to a poll released this month by Students for Life of America. A previous KofC/Marist poll found that 63% of Americans oppose sending abortion-inducing pills through the mail.

“The Biden administration is trying to establish the FDA as the new Supreme Court with their regulations as the new Roe v. Wade. This abuse of power is not only an attack on states’ rights but is also an attack on common decency,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins. “Rest assured that 50 years after Roe v. Wade, pro-life Americans will not have the flawed and inhuman judgment of seven men replaced by the highly discredited Joe Biden.”

Biden notwithstanding, the FDA is an inauspicious vehicle to impose sweeping federal regulations. Nearly all (98%) of the rules issued by the FDA between 2001 and 2017 were unconstitutional, according to a report from the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Rather than rely on the White House to curb its own abuses, pro-life legislators and litigators at the state and federal levels have proposed laws and lawsuits to protect life from executive overreach.

On January 20, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) introduced the Teleabortion Prevention Act of 2023, which would require abortionists to perform an in-person examination of the mother before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, be present when she ingests them, and schedule a follow-up visit to treat any complications.

“The abortion industry continues to exploit vulnerable women through the use of chemical abortions for profit, and they are dishonest about the impact of chemical abortion on women’s health. For years they have worked to remove key health and safety protocols that require an abortionist to physically examine the mother before administering these dangerous drugs,” said Connor Semelsberger, director of Federal Affairs at Family Research Council. “Thank you to Representative Good for standing up to protect both vulnerable women and their unborn children.”

Similarly, Reps. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill to rescind the FDA’s loosening of women’s health protections on the distribution of abortion-inducing pills and prevent the agency from reverting to the lower standards in the future. This legislation “to nullify the final FDA rule that expands distribution of these drugs through telehealth and mail is urgently needed to save the lives of babies and their mothers,” said Kris Ullman, president of Eagle Forum.

Semelsberger agreed, “Despite what the Biden administration may claim, there is mounting evidence of just how dangerous do-it-yourself chemical abortions are to both unborn children and their mothers. The latest action by the FDA to put pharmacies on the front lines of distributing abortion pills — without any real concern for how this move will impact maternal health — shows just how politicized the FDA has become.”

“Thanks to pro-life leaders like Representatives Hern and Harshbarger, there is hope that this Congress will take back its role in providing oversight to the FDA and restore true health and safety measures for all Americans, including the unborn,” he concluded.

The Protect the UNBORN (Undo the Negligent Biden Orders Right Now) Act, introduced by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), would prevent the federal government from enforcing Biden’s abortion-expanding Executive Orders 14079 and 14076.

Aside from the federal government, 29 states place commonsense regulations on chemical abortion, which has a higher rate of dangerous interactions than surgical abortion; 18 require the abortionist to be present when the woman takes the pills. And the top lawyers in nearly half the country have promised additional action to protect the unborn from the Biden administration’s abortion pill regimen.

“The authority to regulate abortion lies with the people and their elected representatives. In our states, we prioritize the health and safety of women and children and our laws reflect this,” wrote the attorneys general of 22 states to FDA Commissioner Califf on January 13. “Our [s]tates will not yield to the [a]dministration’s radical pro-abortion policies.”

Wyoming State Senator Tim Salazar (R-Riverton) introduced SF 109, which would protect unborn children in the state from abortion pills. While the bill would not punish the mother, anyone who manufactures or dispenses abortion pills would face a $9,000 fine and up to six months in prison. If passed, the law would take effect July 1.

Finally, some have appealed to the private sector to follow its conscience — or its financial self-interest — by refusing to stock abortion-inducing drugs. FRC joined more than a dozen other national groups in signing letters asking Rite Aid and Walmart not to distribute abortion-inducing pills in their pharmacies. “We are grateful that, so far, Walmart Inc. has not followed the path of CVS and Walgreens in becoming, in effect, an abortion facility,” said Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council. “Pharmacies across the country should recognize that distributing these drugs is antithetical to their mission of providing medications that allow life to flourish.”

As of this writing, 53,218 people have signed FRC’s petition asking Walgreens and CVS, “Do Not Turn Your Pharmacies into Abortion Businesses!

AUTHOR
Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Winning the Transgender Wars

Here’s what happens when schools and courts conspire to keep child gender transitioning secret from parents:

Appomattox County High School in Virginia kept Sage’s gender transitioning hidden from her parents.  After boys at school threatened her with violence, she ran away to Maryland where she became the victim of a sexual assault.  A judge refused to return her to her parents on the grounds their refusal to affirm her as a male was child abuse.  She was housed in the boys’ part of a children’s home.  She fled and was sex-trafficked until rescued by law enforcement in Texas.

Not a happy story, but one brought to you by the insane Democrats and the Transgender Industrial Complex both of which refuse to acknowledge the ruinous consequences of their communist-inspired transgender ideology.

A Virginia lawmaker has introduced ‘Sage’s Law’ to require schools to notify parents if their child asserts a new gender identity, to prohibit schools from encouraging students to keep gender transitioning secret from parents, and to prevent courts from ruling that raising children in accordance with their biological sex is child abuse.  The Democrats, who control the Virginia Senate, are expected to kill the bill.  Not only that, the Democrats want to bring back their own bill declaring parents criminals if they refuse to affirm their child’s transgender identity.

The battle has been joined.  Either families mean something and parents have rights, or children are state property and public schools are in control of parenting decisions, as the radical Left education establishment has been working toward for decades.  Here are some other ways people are fighting back against the Evil Empire:

Utah just passed a law banning sex change surgery for youth and hormone treatments for minors not diagnosed with gender dysphoria.  Florida’s medical boards banned transgender drugs and surgeries for minors under 18.

Victories in court are starting to pile up.  A federal appeals court ruled last month Florida’s policy of separating school bathrooms based on biological sex is not discriminatory or unconstitutional.  A federal court in Texas struck down Biden administration rules that would have required the state to legalize sex-change procedures for children in order to receive federal funds.  A federal judge upheld West Virginia’s law barring biological males from competing in girls’ sports.  A female athletes group put the NCAA on notice colleges must stop allowing men into women’s college sports or the group will sue.

We’re finally starting to see mercenary healthcare and social service providers being held accountable for indiscriminantly promoting sex change services.  One former transitioner in Oregon sued a social worker and mental health therapist for the “abhorrent misdiagnosis” that led to the removal of her breasts.  An 18-year-old is suing Kaiser Permanente for breaching the standard of care in unjustifiably giving her sex change drugs and surgery starting when she was 13.  She alleges Kaiser misinformed her when it claimed her gender dysphoria would not resolve on its own and that she was at high risk for suicide if she did not transition.  All lies.  These cases are part of a growing trend of medical providers getting sued for wrongful transitioning.  Good, it’s about time the financially self-interested merchants of gender dysphoria were held accountable for their actions.

The fight has been taken to other fronts:  The Catholic Diocese of Des Moines issued a policy “forbidding puberty blockers, cross-dressing and even preferred pronouns on its property.”  South Dakota terminated a contract with a transgender activist group hosting a Gender Identity Summit this month.  A Vermont family is suing the school district for retaliating against it for speaking out against the district’s transgender policies.

When confronted with a daughter who said she was transgender, a mother took the daughter’s phone, put her in a new school, and continually reinforced the truth to the daughter that she was female.  The mother stood strong, and prevailed after 18 months when the daughter stopped claiming a transgender identity.  That’s what it takes.  With parental rights come parental responsibilities.

Democrats are deliberately using transgender ideology to tear families apart in order to empower their god – the State – and to render families, individuals, and the private sphere in general powerless.  It’s all about the Democrats’ insane lust for power and growing the government – transgender kids are just sacrificial pawns in their evil game.

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

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The Totalitarian Schemes of Global Genocidal Maniacs—Part 1

“It doesn’t matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the U.S., if the govt can punish you for exercising those rights. And it doesn’t matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials’ power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences.” — Thomas Sowell

“People get what they deserve. Regardless of political party, if people support candidates who promote the Vaccine Holocaust, there will be 200 million dead Americans by 2030. If they support candidates who promote the supply chain crisis, there will be no diesel oil to transport food from the farms to the grocery stores. And if people support candidates who supply billions of dollars to the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion thugs and terrorists in Ukraine, you will enjoy World War III when Putin has had enough. It doesn’t matter who you vote for if your candidate is a global genocidal maniac.” — Steven Fishman

“Love your country, but never trust its government.” — Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire, French writer


The Bolshevists were a far-left, revolutionary Marxist faction founded by Vladimir Lenin that split with the Mensheviks from the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898.  In 1917, two Revolutions occurred in the Russian Empire.  The first overthrew the imperial monarchy and the second placed the Bolsheviks in power following a bloody civil war.

Fascism dominated many parts of Europe between 1919 and 1945.  NAZI means National Socialist German Worker’s Party.  Nazis are not right wingers, they are far leftists, but calling them far-right persists because of fools and amateurs who wish to label anyone right of center as a fascist.  They did this to Donald Trump, and fraudulent as it was, the repetitious lie took hold.  (Shades of Joseph Goebbels) Trump is many things, but fascist is not one of them.

Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao were unrivaled in murdering their own people and the people of Europe, albeit there were others who were just as cruel and deliberate in their extinction of millions.  Would 100 million people be a close figure of the murdered?  Perhaps, but I’d bet it’s far more.

Now there are worldwide totalitarians eager to enslave the survivors of their latest depopulation slaughter.  The annihilation of God’s creation has always been the goal of those possessed by evil. Their excuse has always been that the population would overrun the food production.  However, advances throughout time have proven this false.  The goals today are both depopulation and food scarcity, and they’re seeing to both in order to make their aspirations and predictions come true.

World Economic Forum

There is no normalcy within those who are drawn to world conquest and world revolution.  Sympathizers are drawn to the ordinary members, building their ranks.  Think of those in the Republican Party who are members of the World Economic Forum.  Want me to name a few?  Elise Stefanik, Dan Crenshaw, Darrell Issa, Debra Fischer, Eric Holcomb, Michael McCaul, Pat Toomey, Roger Wicker and more.  Kevin McCarthy, who never should have been made Speaker, attends every WEF meeting and has had dinner with Klaus Schwab.  Numerous Stalinist Democrat Party politicians are also WEF members.  They are traitors to their country and traitors to their oaths of office.

Schwab and his top advisor, Yuval Noah Harari, are the two men who are now leading the nation states into their world of complete dystopian domination over the masses.  They’ve infiltrated every government and succeeded in bringing government leaders into the WEF fold.  The Malthusian economics of Schwab and Harari are straight out of Maurice Strong’s depopulation playbook. Strong, father of global warming and United Nations Agenda 21, arguably the most significant and most secretive plan for global transformation, was Klaus Schwab’s friend and mentor.

Sustainability and smart growth cities are everywhere in the U.S. now.  But there are bigger plans.  American Billionaire Marc Lore has set out to build a city of the future that embodies equity, diversity, and inclusion. Telosa City is planned to be built in a dessert region of USA, likely Utah, and it is estimated to cost $400 billion.  Yep, same old plan, pack us all into an urban area to live together in what they believe is utopia. Here’s the plan:

Video Here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q-ukNwrzA0

In this article, Mastering the Future: The Megalomaniacal Ambitions of the WEF, Michael Rectenwald writes, “Lest we imagine that the WEF and its meetings merely represent the grandiose delusions of some ineffectual clowns, it should be noted that the WEF’s ‘stakeholder capitalism’—introduced in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, the WEF founder and chair, in Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering—has been embraced by the UN, by most central banks, as well as by the world’s leading corporations, commercial banks, and asset managers. Stakeholder capitalism is now considered to be the modus operandi of the world economic system.”

Agriculture, climate change, sustainability, the food crisis, water supplies, economic crises, natural disasters, viruses and everything else Strong laid out in his UN Agenda 21 tome are part of the WEF plan for dominance over the world and her people.

Klaus Schwab explains The Great Reset Agenda in 15 minutes.

Rectenwald ends his article with this statement, “In short, with the Davos agenda, we are confronted with a concerted, coordinat­ed campaign to dismantle the productive capabil­ities in energy, manufacturing, and farming. This project, driven by elites and accruing to their benefit, is amounting to the largest Great Leap Backward in recorded history. If it is not stopped and reversed, it will lead to economic disaster, including dramatical­ly reduced consumption and living standards. And it will almost certainly result in more hunger in the developed world and famines in the developing world. WEF chairman Schwab may out­do Chairman Mao. If we let him.”

Those who sit on the board of this towering tyrannical abomination and what they have planned for us are the same players who have been at it for decades.

The Nazi Party Plan

The history of the Nazi Party can be told in terms of new formations within the movement, each becoming more vicious and cruel. Think about the New World Order, which became United Nations Agenda 21/30 and now has become the Great Reset. All the goals are the same, but changing the names for different generations keeps the people from understanding that whatever the moniker, we are facing the same diabolical evil and with each change, the genocidal maniacs grow more maniacal.  Mix in the tenets of Marxism and fascism and you’ll have a clear picture of what humanity is facing.

Hannah Arendt explains in her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, page 368:

“Another advantage of the totalitarian pattern is that it can be repeated indefinitely and keeps the organization in a state of fluidity which permits it constantly to include new layers and define new degrees of militancy.

“The SA, the stormtroopers, (founded in 1922), were the first Nazi formation which was supposed to be more militant than the party itself; in 1926 the SS was founded as the elite formation of the SA; after three years the SS was separated from the SA and put under Himmler’s command; it took Himmler only a few more years to repeat the same game within the SS.”

Each more militant than the last; first came the Shock Troops, then the Death Head units (guard units for the concentration camps) which later merged to form the Waffen-SS, finally the executive arm of the “negative population policy” and their office of questions of Race and Resettlement.  Soldiers of Destruction – SS Death Head Division, written by Charles Sydnor, Jr., gives the reader a clear picture of the atrocities and evil perpetrated by the Death Head Division.

Worldwide evil confronts us with another new title and menace, and this time, the majority of governments are in on it, including the United States.

So is Ukraine’s Zelensky.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Prior to becoming President of Ukraine, Zelensky was a comedian.  He is shown in a video wearing high heels and doing an erotic gay dance with three other men.  And in case you’ve forgotten this, here is Volodymyr Zelensky with a friend, pretending he is playing the piano with his penis.

Presidential material?  I think not.

Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit recently reported, Ukrainian Officials Blew $100 Billion in US Uniparty Dollars on Sports Cars, Mansions, Luxury Vacations, etc. Our tax dollars at work.  Actually, it’s worthless paper with no backing whatsoever.  So our illegitimate president feels he can just keep printing worthless dollars and Americans will pay with exorbitant inflation.

America has sent over $100 billion to Ukraine, as well as tons of military equipment through Biden’s revival of WWII’s Lend Lease Act.  During WWII, Marxist Harry Hopkins, referred to as the co-president of FDR, lived in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House.  He was in charge of the Lend Lease program to Russia.

(From Diana West’s book, American Betrayal, Chapter 5:  “Victor Kravchenko was a Soviet official who defected to America.  He had been at the Soviet headquarters of Lend Lease in Washington.  After the war, he testified before Congress that the Soviet Lend Lease operation he defected from and that was located only three blocks from the White House, was the Soviet spying, thieving and ransacking Commission.  They succeeded in stealing as many industrial and military secrets as possible.”)  Link

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock bluntly stated in fresh remarks that Western allies are fighting a war against Russia.  America and Germany said they would send tanks to Ukraine; Germany is also sending three B2 bombers.

In December, Volodymyr Zelensky became the first foreign wartime leader since Winston Churchill in December 1942 to address a joint session of the US Congress.  At least Sir Winston showed up in a suit, Zelensky wore his sweats.  Perhaps he doesn’t own a suit, since he showed up for his speech at Davos in a tee shirt.  Pelosi bestowed a kiss on the fascist’s cheek.

Ukraine has replaced COVID.  It is a country of fascist corruption and the Bidens and his buddies, including Republicans, are taking home the spoils.

Retirees from Ukraine who arrived in the U.S. after the outbreak of full-scale war will be able to receive the government’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pension. This was reported by the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the US Department of Health and Human Services. SSI is a government pension paid to low-income people over age 65 and people with disabilities.  Link

Funding fascists while Americans suffer.  Where is the outrage?!

The fascist Azov Battalion was immediately put into Ukraine’s Army by Zelensky. In fact, he stated same in his interview some time back on Fox, but his statement was removed.  Apparently the media doesn’t want us to know that we’re funding direct descendants of Hitler’s Nazis to fight with Russia.

Zelensky is a member of WEF, and Ukraine already has a form of the social credit system. It was reported last year that he had followed China and combined government and business surveillance of citizens that gives citizens a “score” that can restrict the ability of individuals to take actions — such as purchasing plane tickets, acquiring property or taking loans — because of behaviors.  This is in the works to operate in America.

Colonel Douglas MacGregor tells us Ukraine is currently staring annihilation in the face.

Video Here:  https://youtu.be/2_pEyTH_VfE

Our privacy is a thing of the past, the fourth amendment is shot to hell along with the first, and the second is a prime target.  The Bill of Rights is in tatters, but then of course, the newest judicial nominee by Biden, couldn’t name even one of our ten God-given Bill of rights.  Duh!

Putin’s Russia

Back in late August of 2022, Russia had detected more than 50 US-run biolabs near its borders, and it planned to present the evidence to the UN Office in Geneva in early September.

Remember Victoria Nuland?  She was the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and testified before a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on Ukraine on March 08, 2022 in Washington, DC.  She stated, “Ukraine has ‘biological research facilities,’ worried Russia may seize them.”

The Pentagon admitted on Thursday, June 9th, 2022 that it has operated 46 biolabs in Ukraine handling dangerous pathogens, after previously dismissing the charges as Russian propaganda.

Maybe…

On September 22, 2022, Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the Federation Council said the Pentagon-run biolabs in Ukraine are pursuing military goals, proven by irrefutable evidence.

Putin is neither happy with those DoD bioweapons near his border, nor the fact that Zelensky wanted to join NATO who commits members to come to each other’s defense.

Vladimir Putin is no Zelensky.

On June 23, 2007, Der Spiegel published an interview with Alexandre Solzhenitsyn.  Alexandre had been offered a prize by Gorbachev in the past and then a prize by Yeltsin.  Both were turned down.  But when he was offered a prize by Vladimir Putin, he accepted.  Here is what he stated in that interview:

In accepting the award, I expressed the hope that the bitter Russian experience, which I have been studying and describing all my life, will be for us a lesson that keeps us from new disastrous breakdowns.

Vladimir Putin – yes, he was an officer of the intelligence services, but he was not a KGB investigator, nor was he the head of a camp in the gulag. As for service in foreign intelligence, that is not a negative in any country – sometimes it even draws praise. George Bush Sr. was not much criticized for being the ex-head of the CIA, for example.

Before Alexandre Solzhenitsyn died, Putin met with him and Solzhenitsyn told Putin what needed to be changed, more local control, less central control.

The Russian leader listened. Solzhenitsyn died on August 3, 2008; a few months short of his 90th birthday. Only two weeks later, it was announced that Moscow’s Great Communist Street (ulitsa Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya) was to be re-named “Alexander Solzhenitsyn Street,” an honor bestowed by personal decree from President Putin.

Joseph Pearce writes the following in his article Solzhenitsyn and Putin:

In October 2010, it was announced that The Gulag Archipelago would become required reading for all Russian high school students. In a meeting with Solzhenitsyn’s widow, Putin described The Gulag Archipelago as “essential reading.” “Without the knowledge of that book, we would lack a full understanding of our country and it would be difficult for us to think about the future.”

What more need be said? In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the greatest classic of anti-communist literature is now compulsory reading in all the high schools of the nation. If the same could be said of the high schools of the United States, we would not have the endemic historical and political ignorance that has led to the widespread sympathy for communism among young Americans. In the light of this, and in the light of Putin’s evident admiration for Solzhenitsyn, let’s not try to pretend that Russia is a communist nation. We don’t need to like Vladimir Putin. We don’t need to admire him. But we do need to acknowledge that Russia has moved on from the evils of socialism, even as we are in danger of embracing those very same evils.

And yet, our communist/fascist American politicians want to make him the enemy when we’re massively funding the real adversary.

Conclusion

In Part 2, we’ll look at the coming plans of the dystopian oligarchs for all of humanity.

©Kelleigh Nelson. All rights reserved.

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Kaepernick Trashes Cops in Disney’s Hulu Docuseries

In the newly-released trailer for his Disney-produced Hulu docuseries Killing County, former NFL player and notorious anthem-kneeler Colin Kaepernick once again trashes law enforcement.

Killing County, set to debut February 3, focuses on crime as well as officer-involved killings in the city of Bakersfield, California. Kaepernick describes the docuseries “one of the most powerful projects I’ve ever been involved with,” later adding in a tweet that it is a “true crime thriller set in Kevin McCarthy’s district.”

Unidentified voices in the trailer intone ominously about “the deadliest law enforcement in the country per capita” and “highest rate of officer-involved deaths anywhere in the country.”

Killing County was produced by the unemployable ex-athlete’s production company, Kaepernick Media, as well as woke Disney’s ABC News Studio.

The multi-millionaire Kaepernick signed with left-wing mega-talent agency CAA this week, a move that Breitbart News notes “will add jet fuel to his burgeoning Hollywood career that already includes the Netflix series Colin in Black and White.”

Communist, anti-cop activism — lucrative work if you can get it.


Colin Kaepernick

25 Known Connections

Comparing the NFL Scouting Combine to a Slave Auction

In an October 2021 episode of the Netflix documentary series about Kaepernick’s life, Colin In Black & White, Kaepernick condemned the NFL Scouting Combine — an annual, week-long showcase where college football players, in advance of the NFL draft, perform physical and mental tests in front of National Football League coaches, general managers, and scouts. In his discussion of this tradition, Kaepernick complained that the young prospects at the Combine were routinely “poked, prodded, and examined” for defects, likening the process to a mid-1800s slave auction where white landowners examined slaves before purchasing them. Kaepernick stated that this was how the NFL scouts sought to establish a “power dynamic.” That particular scene of the documentary closed by portraying an NFL coach shaking hands with a slave auctioneer against the backdrop of bonded slaves — implying that modern-day professional athletes are exploited in much the same way as were the black slaves of yesteryear.

To learn more about Colin Kaepernick, click here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Judicial Watch Sues Health and Human Services for Surgeon General Office Contact with Big Tech about COVID Vaccines

Washington, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for communications and records of the Surgeon General’s Communications Director’s contact with social media companies regarding COVID-19 vaccines (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:23-cv-00113)).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after HHS failed to respond adequately to a March 3, 2022, FOIA request for:

All records, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, texts, memoranda, and handwritten notes, of, regarding, referring, or relating to any efforts of Alexandria Phillips, Communications Director, Office of the Surgeon General, to contact any employee of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest concerning COVID-19 vaccines.

In 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a report titled “Confronting Health Misinformation” to “slow the spread of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” which called for censorship of speech about the vaccines and other COVID controversies:

Prioritize early detection of misinformation “super-spreaders” and repeat offenders. Impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies.

On March 3, 2022, Murthy demanded that the tech companies turn over information about individuals who spread COVID-19 misinformation:

In a formal notice, Murthy requested major tech platforms submit information about the prevalence and scale of COVID-19 misinformation on their sites, from social networks, search engines, crowdsourced platforms, e-commerce platforms and instant messaging systems.

“Biden’s Surgeon General is abusing his office to pressure Big Tech companies to censor Americans,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “This lawsuit aims to uncover the details of this government attack on the First Amendment.”

Judicial Watch recently filed suit for records of communications between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Judicial Watch sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for all records of communications between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency , a division of DHS, and the Election Integrity Partnership , which was created to flag online election content for censorship and suppression.

In September 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Secretary of State of the State of California for having YouTube censor a Judicial Watch election integrity video.

In April 2021, Judicial Watch published documents revealing how California state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In May 2021, Judicial Watch revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In July 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records showed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the COVID narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising given to the CDC by social media companies.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Department of Critical Race Theory Neologisms: ‘To Racialize’

In an article on the website of the Canadian Public Health Agency entitled “Inequalities in Health of Racialized Adults in Canada,” one reads that “populations who are racialized in relation to a ‘white’ or non-racialized social group experience stressors including inter-personal and systemic discrimination throughout the life course,” that “racialized adults are less likely to feel that their health is either good or excellent,” and that “racialized Canadians are disproportionately impacted by inequalities in safe and stable housing.”)

As a linguist, I was struck by the repeated use in this article of a new past participle that I was not familiar with — “racialized”. I began to wonder about the implications underlying the use of this verb form, which implies the existence of a verb “to racialize”.

So I looked on the internet to see if I could find other forms of this verb. My search turned up examples such as the following: “Coleman Hughes on how America racializes its citizens”; “Not all racializers do the same thing when they racialize”; “Discourses that are racializing and othering muslim*women [sic] can sustain hegemony, by disguising their particularities”.

The past participle of this verb therefore represents the person or group to which it is applied as having undergone the action of being racialized by some agent who is represented as a racializer. This leads to the question as to who is doing the racializing. A further search on the internet showed that the answer to that question is invariably the same — whites.

Behind that little past participle “racialized”, consequently, there lies a whole worldview which sees the relations between different races in terms of racializer/racialized or, in other terms, oppressor/oppressed. As Robin Diangelo states in White Fragility, “white people raised in Western societies are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and its institutions,” and this worldview “brings into existence whites and nonwhites, full persons and subpersons.”

The name of this worldview is Critical Race Theory, and its underpinnings are essentially Marxist. It divides the world into two opposing power groups: the oppressor (capitalists/whites) and the oppressed (workers/nonwhites). Since everything is governed by power-relations in this system, the only recourse of the oppressed is to use whatever power they have to rise up against the oppressor and throw off his yoke: as one of the foundational thinkers of Critical Race Theory, Ibram X. Kendi, has written in How to be an Antiracist: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

One doesn’t have to be a linguist in order to see that the division of the world into racializer/racialized is a recipe for conflict and violence, and not for the resolution of unjust discrimination.

As Edward Feser points out in his book All One in Christ. A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory, “if one were to replace expressions like ‘whiteness’ and ‘white supremacy’ with terms such as ‘Jewishness’ and ‘Jewry’, it would be difficult to distinguish Critical Race Theory literature from the ugly propaganda of Nazism. Its claims are comparably extreme, even if it has not (yet?) led to comparable levels of violence.” Feser advocates that the way forward entails “not Critical Race Theory’s cancel culture and hermeneutics of suspicion, but rational discourse and mutual understanding. Not the demonization of any race as inherently oppressive, but solidarity and mutual respect.”

Amen to that.

AUTHOR

Patrick Duffley

Patrick Duffley is Professor of English Linguistics at Université Laval, in Canada. More by Patrick Duffley

RELATED ARTICLE: Norway to study if white paint is racist – Audio

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Meet the First American Journalist to Interview Hitler—and the First Expelled From Nazi Germany

In a 1990 interview, legendary English singer and songwriter David Bowie opined that being famous was not itself “a rewarding thing.” The co-composer (with John Lennon) of the 1975 funk rock hit, Fame claimed that “The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.”

Fame is certainly fickle. Some people get it but don’t deserve it; others don’t get it when they do. It can also be disappointingly fleeting.

Its enemies include short memories, ideological bias, and new generations.

Fanny Crosby comes to mind. When my grandparents were young, millions of Americans were singing her songs. One President of the United States after another (21 in all) wanted to meet her. When she died in 1915, she was widely regarded as among the best known and most beloved women in the country. Now, I’d wager not five percent of Americans could tell you a thing about her.

Another example of fame won and lost, the subject of this two-part essay, is Dorothy Thompson. Does that name ring any bells?

Thompson deserves to be far better remembered than she presently is. Most Americans of just 80 years ago could tell you exactly who she was. Born in 1893 in Lancaster, New York, she was broadcasting news and commentary on the radio at a time when women were widely supposed to stay in the kitchen. As a foreign correspondent in the late 1920s and 1930s, she was “the undisputed queen of the overseas press corps, the first woman to head a foreign news bureau of any importance,” recounts one of her several biographers, Peter Kurth.

Her thrice-weekly newspaper column, begun in 1936, was syndicated nationally. It ran in 170 papers read by tens of millions of Americans. For a quarter century (from 1937 until her death in 1961), she authored a separate monthly column in Ladies’ Home Journal. She was known as “the First Lady of American Journalism” by 1940.

She was courted by presidents, prime ministers and potentates and admired by men and women alike for her trenchant writing. A celebrity herself, there was hardly another celebrity who didn’t relish a few moments with her. Over the years in movies and on stage, such actresses as Kathryn Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Lois Nettleton played characters based on Thompson. She counted among her best friends the fellow journalist Rose Wilder Lane, an influential libertarian political theorist.

In December 1931, thirteen months before Hitler took power as Germany’s Chancellor, Thompson was working in Munich. She had tried since Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 to speak with the Nazi leader but he proved elusive to her and other foreign journalists.

In his biography of Thompson, American Cassandra, Kurth revealed that when she read Hitler’s political manifesto Mein Kampf in the 1920s, she “recognized it for what it was”:

…[N]onsense, ‘one long speech’ filled with lunatic diatribes about nations and races, ‘eight hundred pages of Gothic script, pathetic gestures, inaccurate German, and unlimited self-satisfaction.’

Some read Mein Kampf and, like Katherine Atholl in Britain, warned of the coming danger it foretold. Others, like Thompson, were initially more dismissive, thinking it a disgusting rant that would go nowhere. She scoffed at the future Fuehrer’s boast that Germans would come to embrace Nazi rule. “Imagine a would-be dictator,” she sneered, “setting out to persuade a sovereign people to vote away their rights.” Of course, by making the Nazis the largest bloc in the Reichstag, that’s exactly what they did.

Hitler was likely unaware of Thompson’s personal view of Mein Kampf when he finally consented to a meeting with her in December 1931. Expecting his Nazi Party to win big in upcoming elections in March 1932 (they did), he decided it was time to engage with the world. He agreed to sit down with Dorothy Thompson. The result, her 1932 book titled I Saw Hitler!, proved embarrassing for both of them.

Hitler, she wrote, came to his scheduled interview an hour late and accompanied by a bodyguard “who looked like Al Capone.”

Biographer Susan Hertog, in Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson, describes the meeting:

As she watched and listened to the Nazi leader, the psychodrama began to unfold. Shy and cool at the outset, Hitler whipped himself into a frenzy, raising his voice to a crescendo, all the while banging his fist on the table to hammer his point. He spoke in a monologue, as if he were addressing an audience of thousands, and he seemed to be looking right through her. Cunningly shifting the focus of the meeting toward his own agenda, he sidestepped all but one of her questions…Dorothy was shocked to think that this great nation, this citadel of art, philosophy, and science, would voluntarily hand over its rights to a thug.

Though she detested the Nazi movement, Thompson offered an assessment of its leader in I Saw Hitler! that vastly depreciated his potential. Of her 1931 meeting, she recalled:

When finally I walked into Adolph Hitler’s salon in the Kaiserhof Hotel, I was convinced that I was meeting the future dictator of Germany. In something less than fifty seconds I was quite sure that I was not. It took just that time to measure the startling insignificance of this man who has set the whole world agog…He is formless, almost faceless, a man whose countenance is a caricature, a man whose framework seems cartilaginous, without bones. He is inconsequent and voluble, ill poised and insecure. He is the very prototype of the Little Man.

Thompson would eat those words in short order but in the meantime, the interview boosted her worldwide profile considerably.

Why did an intelligent person like Thompson, who knew well the language, history, politics, and culture of Germany, so egregiously underestimate Hitler? Youthful naivete may partially explain it, but I believe the answer is primarily her overestimation of a people in crisis. Defeat in World War I followed by hyperinflation, political instability, and then the Great Depression combined to form the cauldron in which Germans stewed. By the early 1930s, they were more ready to flush their freedoms away than she (and many others) imagined.

Upon becoming Chancellor in January 1933, Hitler moved swiftly to consolidate power. “In less than a month,” wrote the reporter Rothay Reynolds, bureau chief in Berlin for Britain’s Daily Mail, “Germans had lost freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.” But Hitler’s popularity at home was high and rising.

Thompson by then was back at home in Vermont with second husband and Nobel laureate Sinclair Lewis. Soon, however, developments in Europe beckoned. When Nazi agents assassinated the Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, in July 1934, she knew she had to cover the aftermath. Thompson flew to Austria.

After a short stint in Vienna, she headed by car to Berlin. A few days later, she learned the hard way what Hitler had thought of her book. She recounted the episode in a piece for Harper’s magazine, “Goodbye to Germany”:

I was still in my room in the morning when the porter rang up from the desk. ‘Good morning, madam, there is a gentleman here from the secret state police.’ ‘Send him up,’ I said. He was a young man in a trench coat like Hitler’s. He brought an order that I should leave the country immediately within forty-eight hours, for journalistic activities inimical to Germany.

In the space of three years, Dorothy Thompson had become the first American journalist to interview Hitler and the first American journalist to be expelled from Nazi Germany. Though she didn’t at first believe that Hitler would talk his way to power, she more than made up for lost time once he did. In her columns in the late 1930s, she frequently and mercilessly assailed him and his Nazi thugs. That alone should earn her fame and recognition to this day and forevermore.

What were Dorothy Thompson’s political and economic views? Did she see any resemblance between the fascism of Hitler and the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt? What influence did Rose Wilder Lane’s libertarianism have on her? Why is she largely forgotten today?

These are questions I will explore in my next article. Stay tuned.

For Additional Information, See:

The Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took on a World at War by Deborah Cohen

Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson by Susan Hertog

Dorothy Thompson: A Legend in Her Time by Marion K. Sanders

American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson by Peter Kurth

Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship, Letters 1921-1960 by William Holtz (editor)

Reporting on Hitler: How Foreign Correspondents in Nazi Germany Battled to Expose the Truth by Will Wainewright

Dorothy Thompson’s Political Guide: A Study of American Liberalism and Its Relationship to Modern Totalitarian States by Dorothy Thompson

The American Journalists Who Defied Nazi Intimidation (PBS video)

AUTHOR

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is FEE’s President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty, having served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is author of the 2020 book, Was Jesus a Socialist? as well as Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. Follow on LinkedIn and Like his public figure page on Facebook. His website is www.lawrencewreed.com.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Child Sexual Exploitation is Not New—It Has Just Moved Online

A few weeks ago, the now-septuagenarian actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who appeared in 1968’s Romeo and Juliet as minors, filed a lawsuit against the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures, for being forced to perform nude on camera at the ages of 15 and 16 years old.

The lawsuit was filed in accordance with California law that has now extended the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. According to Hussey and Whiting, they had been promised by the film’s director, Franco Zeffirelli, that they would be wearing flesh-colored undergarments while filming sex scenes.

Hussey and Whiting allege that when it came time to film the scenes, the director reneged on his promise and told them that they had to do the scenes completely nude or “the film would fail.” The two child actors reluctantly complied, their nudity was depicted onscreen, and they have carried the trauma from that coercion with them to this day.

Sadly, the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s were filled with other movies that featured nude depictions of minors such as Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon, featuring a child Brooke Shields. There was also Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which included a scene of a young male fantasizing about an underage girl removing her bikini top and exposing her breasts. Perhaps the most egregious, 1984’s Blame it on Rio, depicted several instances of child nudity and sexual exploitation in a story about a middle-aged man being pursued by an underage girl and eventually having sex with her. The young actress playing the girl, Michelle Johnson, was 17 at the time of filming and the filmmakers had to get a signed waiver from her parents before her nude scenes could be filmed.

There are countless other examples. But the main thread running through all of them is the shameless child sexual exploitation. And that exploitation continues to this day.

Child Sexual Exploitation Has Moved From the Movie Screen to the Computer Screen

While many in our culture – especially in light of the #MeToo movement – now condemn the the way these older films sexually exploited minors, the truth is the exploitation goes on. It has just moved from the movie screen to the computer screen. And like Hollywood in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the exploiters are laughing all the way to the bank.

Literally millions of children are having their sexual abuse images trafficked daily on the Internet. For example, after Nicholas Kristof’s explosive articleThe Children of Pornhub, appeared in the New York Times in December 2022, Pornhub had to take down more than 10 million videos from their website because they could not verify the age of the individuals featured in them. This means that any number of those 10 million videos could have been child sexual abuse material (the more apt term for “child pornography”).

But NCOSE is taking action to stop this exploitation.

The NCOSE Law Center sued Pornhub and its owner, MindGeek, on behalf of a 16-year-old girl, who was drugged and then had her rape by a Tuscaloosa, Alabama man filmed and uploaded to Pornhub, which then profited from the images and video. No attempt was made by Pornhub to verify the young girl’s identity or age. Another underage girl had sexually explicit videos, which she was forced to participate in, uploaded, distributed, and profited from by Pornhub. NCOSE is suing Pornhub on her behalf as well.

There are the typical nefarious exploiters, such as Pornhub and other hardcore pornography sites – but the exploitation and sexualization of children also occurs daily on mainstream social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter.

NCOSE has filed a federal lawsuit against Twitter for facilitating and profiting from child sexual abuse images of two young boys. The suit is presently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The NCOSE Corporate Advocacy team is working with mainstream social media companies to curb child sexual exploitation on their platforms. Working with our ally, #Traffickinghub, Pornhub was booted off of Instagram, Tik-Tok, and YouTube – resulting in them losing 15 million subscribers!

You can read more about these efforts and victories in the 2022 NCOSE Gratitude Report.

Help NCOSE Combat Child Sexual Exploitation Whenever it Occurs

The track record of both Hollywood and the tech industry when it comes to child sexual exploitation is shameful. The unwillingness of both industries to be held accountable – whether the depicted exploitation occurred 50 years ago or yesterday – means organizations such as NCOSE, along with many of our allies, have to step up, file lawsuits, and demand legislation to force them to end the abuse or face the consequences.

You can help us end the sexual exploitation of children on pornography sites as well as mainstream social media platforms! See quick actions you can take here and here.


Take Action Against Exploitation in Pornography!

Take Action Against Exploitation by Mainstream Corporations!


People like Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, should not have to wait decades to achieve justice for the sexual exploitation they endured as children. With your help, justice can be achieved now for the millions of others whose sexual exploitation is depicted daily on computer screens worldwide.

Donate now to support the fight to end all sexual abuse and exploitation!


Donate Now


Thank you for joining us as we work to hold exploiters accountable, bring justice to survivors, and protect all children!

AUTHOR

EDITORS NOTE: This NCOSE Law Center column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

CHOP! A Searing Indictment of Islam’s Inhumane Criminal Justice System Under Sharia Law by Tober Mory

Stoning for adultery.  Amputation for thievery.  Death for apostasy.  These cruel and unusual punishments for criminal offenses under Islam’s sharia law strike Westerners as barbaric.  Yet they have been and continue to be the law of the land for countless Muslims in numerous countries right up to the present day.  Criminal justice under sharia law is an upside down world where criminal defendants are caught in a Kafkaesque system, judges make it up as they go along, and never-ending punishments far exceed the crime.

Chop! – a searing indictment of Islam’s inhumane criminal justice system under sharia law, where the accused have no rights and the punishment never ends a new short story from Tober Mory.


And as for those who do evil deeds, the punishment of an evil deed shall be the like thereof, and ignominy shall cover them. They shall have none to protect them from ALLAH. And they shall look as if their faces had been covered with dark patches of night. It is these who are the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide….
   – Quran 10:27 –


“You have the right to remain silent…. You have the right to an attorney….”  Alex had heard this countless times on TV, but never thought he would be having his rights read to him in real life.  But here he was, busted for shoplifting a men’s Longévité dress watch from Javert Jewelers.  Alex wondered if police in other countries went through this same routine when they made arrests.  Meanwhile, eight time zones away….

It all started with a coincidence.  Ali was thinking about how he would like to get married someday when he saw engagement rings in the window of Javert Jewelers and went inside. “I wonder how much they cost,” he thought.  An arm and a leg, it turned out but, as he turned to leave, a men’s Longévité dress watch caught his eye.

“Would you like to try it on?” the store clerk asked.  Ali did just that and admired the way the watch looked on his wrist and hand.  Truth be told, Ali was a bit vain about his hands. “A concert pianist should have such hands,” he often told himself.  Ali liked how the hour and minute hands pointed to the classic Roman numerals on the face of the watch, and how the second hand advanced a single second at a time – tick… tick… tick….

“Could you come here for a minute?” the manager called out to the clerk from the back.  When the clerk disappeared, the temptation came over Ali suddenly.  Still wearing the watch, he was out the front door and halfway down the block before he knew it.  “I’ve never done anything like this in my life,” he thought.  But the alarm had gone off, calling the police right away.  They happened to be in the neighborhood and they caught Ali just two blocks from the store.  The clerk told the police what had happened and the manager affirmed the watch Ali had stolen had indeed come from Javert Jewelers.  “Praise be to Allah,” the manager said as the police drove Ali away.

Jail

The ride to the jail didn’t take long.  The walk to the cellblock was equally short, but made memorable when Ali saw a prisoner hanging upside down from the ceiling of a cell, being beaten by the other prisoners.  Ali was dumped in a common area with about 50 men sitting or lying on the floor.  A fluorescent light was flickering on and off.  A prisoner was called by a guard and had to step over other people to make his way out of the room.   Another prisoner, bigger than the rest, was bossing the other inmates around, telling them to bring him a snack from the little shop Ali had seen on the way in where they sold pajamas, toothpaste, and the only toilet paper that was available.  “Do what he says, or you won’t have any place to sleep tonight,” an inmate seated next to Ali said. “I’m Jalaal,” the man said, extending his hand.  The two men shook hands.

“Salaam.  I’m Ali.  What are you in for, Jalaal?”

“I shot somebody.  It was an accident, but I still got convicted.”  Jalaal went on to tell how his mother had witnessed the incident and offered to testify on his behalf, but women are generally not allowed to testify in criminal cases in Muslim countries governed by sharia law.

“Something’s not right.  Didn’t you have a lawyer?” Ali asked.

“A lawyer, hah!” Jalaal replied.  “First, they held me at the police station and beat me with a stick every day, trying to get me to confess.   You could see my bruises, but they got recorded as ‘accidents’ in my records.  When they got tired of beating me, they put me under the air conditioner for hours at a time, until I was shaking from the cold.  They woke me up several times every night.  I confessed when they brought out the electric baton and threatened to shock me until I soiled myself or passed out.

“Then I was sent here and held in solitary confinement for the first four months.  I was handcuffed in a cell so small I couldn’t even lie down.  I was not allowed to call a lawyer or my family.  They don’t have to tell anybody where you are for 60 days.  So my family didn’t even know where I was the first two months.  There isn’t much a lawyer can do, anyway…, to answer your question.”

Jalaal’s story was interrupted by the evening meal, such as it was.  The guards threw a big tray on the floor for everyone to scoop up their food with their hands, or with a little cup some of them had.  “Better grab what you can,” Jalaal told Ali. “There isn’t any more until morning.”

“You were going to tell me the rest of the story,” Ali said when they finished eating.

“The judge asked me if the confession I signed were my words.  I told him, ‘It is my writing, but those are not my words, I was tortured.’  The judge refused to proceed with the trial until I withdrew my claim the confession was coerced.  He sent me back here.  I was forced to stand in place the entire next day.  When they threatened to stick a boot in my mouth and break my jaw – I’ve seen it done to other prisoners – I signed another statement admitting to everything they said I had done.  I put my fingerprint on it for authentication, and months later, I was finally brought back to court where I told the judge I fired the gun deliberately.

“I heard, in other countries, people aren’t made to speak against themselves.  Wouldn’t that be nice,” Jalaal mused.

“The entire time, I never saw the charging documents, the police reports, or the other evidence against me.  They never let me see any law books, so I never learned what they had to prove, or the penalty for the crime.  They were never going to let me call my other witnesses or cross-examine the witnesses who were to testify against me.  I was also told that, if I didn’t approve the verdict, they wouldn’t give me a copy of it so I couldn’t appeal.  I confessed and the court entered a guilty verdict, but I don’t know how long my sentence is. Without a copy of the verdict, I’ll never be able to prove how long I’ve been here.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear, it’s so crowded in here,” another prisoner said.  “I’m Majid al Din, asalaamu alaykum.  Consider yourself lucky.  At least you know what you were charged with.  I’ve been here almost six months and I still don’t know.  I’ve never been to court.  I’ve been accused of all sorts of things – stealing money, belonging to a non-religious political party, spying for a foreign government – but I’ve never been charged, at least, not yet.

“You talk about law books and wanting to know what the authorities have to prove.  Good luck with that.  There is no written criminal code under sharia.  Offenses aren’t defined anywhere.  Punishments aren’t spelled out, either.  It all depends on how your particular judge happens to interpret sharia law.  You never know what you’re going to get from any individual judge.  You never know if your actions are criminal or not.  And you never know what your punishment will be.  In my case, they’re still investigating.  They told me that, when they’re finished, they’ll make up a name for what they say I’ve done.

“I heard about one guy who was tortured and confessed to forming a gang that never even existed.  He was given two trials where witnesses were paid to testify against him.  He was told to plead guilty and beg for mercy.  He was sentenced to death, then he was tried again twice without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, and sentenced to death by beheading.  His head was chopped off not too long ago.  All praise be to Allah – Allah has willed it so.”

It was time for bed.  Off the common area were several rooms without doors, each with six bunk beds. Ali’s blanket was full of lice, and the only toilet was a bucket shared by the 50 men in his cell block.  “You think this is bad.  At least we have beds,” Jalaal told Ali.  “Some prisoners have to sleep on the floor in the hallway, so consider yourself lucky.”

Court

Months went by without Ali hearing any more about his case.  He was looking forward to the six-month mark when he could ask to see a judge.  But the day before the six months was up, Ali was summoned to court.  The first thing he noticed was the large Quran mounted on the wall, displayed alongside a whip and a long axe with a sharp blade.  Ali looked around for his family, but they weren’t there.  Maybe his mother was there, but Ali couldn’t tell because of the wall running down the middle of the courtroom to segregate the sexes – men on one side, women on the other.

The judge, who was an imam, took the bench in full clerical robes.  Only he could see both sides of the courtroom.  There were no spectators present, and no press was allowed.  These were not public proceedings.

First up was a murder case.  The defendant appeared without a lawyer.  He didn’t look more than 14 to Ali, but the judge didn’t ask about his age.  The deceased’s family had demanded the death penalty.  “The court finds you guilty and, in accordance with Quran 6:151, sentences you to death by way of justice and law in the name of Allah, the most Compassionate and Merciful.”

The judge privately had qualms, but didn’t let on.  Stone-faced, he declared to the courtroom, “Sharia is our teacher.  I seek only to do Allah’s will.”

The next defendant was led to the dock.  He was accused of drug smuggling.  He was charged only because his friend was arrested for the drug deal in question.  The witnesses to the transaction – who were all actually somewhere else at the time the deal went down – testified they heard from acquaintances the defendant was in on it.  The defendant demanded to see some real evidence, since this was just hearsay.  “Silence!” the judge roared. “I am satisfied whatever the prosecutor says is true.  I hereby sentence you to 20 months and 700 lashes.”  Ali looked nervously at the whip on the wall, wondering whether the lashes would be administered right then and there, as he had heard happens in some sharia courts.  He also wondered whether that would be his fate, as well.

But the defendant was hauled away and the next case was called.  Ali couldn’t see this defendant, but could hear her on the other side of the wall.  The religious police had entered a private home to bust up a party where mixing of the sexes and consumption of alcohol had occurred.  The young woman was questioned at the scene and released, thinking that was the end of the matter.  But she got a summons a few months later accusing her of witchcraft and leading a prostitution ring.  Those charges weren’t mentioned in court, though.  “The court finds you guilty of commission of sins, serious crimes against the religious order,” was all the judge said before pronouncing sentence in accordance with the sharia. “All praise and thanks belong to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,” the judge continued. “Let your conviction and sentence serve as an example to others.  We cannot have this kind of behavior or the ummah is lost.  If we depart from the sharia – Allah’s law – we will have no end of troubles.  But if we fully enforce and adhere to the sharia, our other troubles will disappear. Thus, I follow sharia. It is ordained by Allah, the most Beneficent and Merciful.  May Allah have mercy on the whole Muslim ummah and protect us from women like you who would tempt us and lead us into licentiousness.”

Then it was Ali’s turn.  He listened as the witnesses from Javert Jewelers swore to tell “the truth before Allah” and laid out the case against him.  After they finished, the judge did not ask Ali if Ali had a defense.  Instead, he asked, “Will you submit to the sharia?”  Not seeing any choice, Ali answered, “As a Muslim, I submit to the sharia and to whatever sentence the sharia prescribes,” hoping his submission would buy him some leniency.

The judge said, “The court finds you guilty of stealing an expensive watch from the premises of the rightful owner, Javert Jewelers.  Under sharia law, the punishment for theft is amputation of the right hand at the wrist.  The Quran at 5:38 states: ‘As for the thief, cut off their right hands as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah.  And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.’  Further, Muhammad – the Prophet and Perfect Man, Peace Be Upon Him – ordered that a thief’s hand should be severed at the wrist.  The Prophet said, ‘The hand should be cut off for stealing something that is worth a quarter of a Dinar or more.’ There is no denying the value of the watch.  The court further finds the additional conditions for meting out this sentence are met – the thief was not under duress, the item was stolen from one who had not wronged the thief in any way, two male witnesses who were present at the time agree in their testimony, and the thief’s left hand is healthy.”

Privately, the judge was thinking, “The Quran might be cruel, unsustainable, and inhumane, but it is the direct word of Allah and cannot be changed.  How could anyone – much less a single judge – presume to change the word of Allah?  Why should I be ashamed to hand out this sentence?  I am only implementing the laws the Creator has decreed for all humanity, Muslim and non-Muslim.  Besides, I would lose my job and be ostracized if I were to fail in my duty or speak against the system.”

Convincing himself it all made perfect sense, the judge continued: “The court sentences you to amputation of the right hand at the wrist, the sentence to be carried out forthwith in the public square.”  He rose to his feet.  “Praise be to Allah, the Most Tender and Merciful,” he said, turning to leave the courtroom.  It was time for prayer.

Meanwhile, back in America, Alex saw a judge within 24 hours of his arrest, got out on bail, and went to meet with his lawyer.  “You’ve got two choices,” his lawyer said.  “You can go to trial or plead guilty to a lesser charge.  I went to see the prosecutor.  I got discovery – they have a lot of evidence against you.  They offered to cut the charge down from felony theft to a misdemeanor if you plead guilty, because it’s your first offense.”  “Will I go to jail?” Alex asked.  “Hard to say,” the lawyer answered. “First offenders usually get probation, but jail time is more common in cases that start as felonies.  That was an expensive watch and our system endeavors to make the punishment fit the crime.  The best advice I can give you is bring your toothbrush to sentencing.”  “What will happen if I ask for a trial?” Alex asked.  “You’d get a trial in open court pretty fast, within a few months.  I’d be there to represent you.  You could have your family there.  Who knows, a reporter might even take an interest.  It’s not like you could keep them out – it’s a public proceeding.  You could take the stand and tell your side of the story, or not – it’s up to you.  You’d get a jury, but juries are tough.  Don’t expect to lie your way out of this.  If you do and you’re found guilty anyway, there will be a hidden sentence from the judge for perjury inside what would definitely be a prison sentence at that point.”  Alex frowned.  “Don’t worry,” his lawyer said. “Jail’s not great, but you’re young and you’d still have your health and your whole life ahead of you when you get out.  In the meantime, there’s TV and popcorn.  You could take classes and work on a college degree, if you want.”

Chop Chop Square

Ali was whisked from the courtroom and taken straight to Chop Chop Square where his punishment was to be carried out.  He was there before he knew it, still shocked by what had happened to him in the courtroom.  It began to sink in as he watched the proceedings.

A young man was pushed to the middle of the square.  “Sit,” he was told.  “Take off your robe.”

Crack!

The whip lashed across the man’s back and he flinched.

Crack!

The second lash left a long mark on his skin.

Crack!

He curled forward in pain.

After all ten lashes – the lash marks crisscrossing his back – the crowd roared, some taking pictures with their cellphones.  “This is Allah’s justice,” one onlooker said approvingly, as the man was led away.

Then a man and a woman were brought in, and buried up to the waist, the crowd leaning forward in excited anticipation.  The executioners picked up stones from a pre-arranged pile and hurled them toward the condemned.  The first stone hit the woman square in the face.  Their heads were tossed back and forth as the stones pelted them, the man’s head eventually separating from his body.  The woman’s face eventually caved in.  The stoning only stopped when both of the accused were dead. What blood didn’t soak into the ground flowed into the nearby drain, installed for the purpose. They had been found guilty of adultery.  “It is ordained by Allah,” one of the executioners said.  “Why should I be ashamed of laws that Muhammad himself ordered during his lifetime, Peace Be Upon Him.”

Next up was an adolescent male.  He was caught at a protest and charged with sowing discord.  He was charged with forming a terror cell.  His family didn’t see it that way.  The main evidence against him was a picture on his phone deemed offensive to the security forces.  His family issued a statement:  “How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?  Since his arrest, we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family.”  The execution of a minor being a special case, a government official strode up and told the assembled crowd, “This execution will be shown later on TV.  In addition, pictures of it, along with pictures of other imprisoned children in shackles, will be published on the cover of a children’s magazine.  This boy’s beheading will serve as a deterrent and inhibition to other children who might be tempted to deviate from the way of Allah.  And Allah is exalted in might and wisdom.”

Then the executioner stepped up, placed a bag over the boy’s head, and the blade came down.  Ali watched the head bounce on the ground, the crowd roaring in approval.  The severed body and head were publicly nailed to a pole as a warning to the young.

The boy was one of 81 executions in Chop Chop Square that day, but Ali could no longer concentrate.  He knew he was running out of time.  But the government officials in attendance were still watching attentively.  The executions were fully supported by the highest officials of this Islamic country.  The president himself was so enthusiastic about sharia punishments, he was called ‘the Butcher’.  He had personally overseen thousands of executions when he was Justice Minister.

Then came Ali’s turn.

The tranquilizer was fast-acting.  “The better to control you with,” one of the officials who was to administer the punishment said to himself.  Another tied rubber surgical tubing around Ali’s right arm to form a tourniquet.  Two others grabbed his hand and forearm.  “Please make it quick,” Ali pleaded.

A heavily built official drew out a large wooden-handled knife he used to slaughter camels.  Ali watched the blade descend.

CHOP! 

It was all over in a flash but, for Ali, it went into slow motion.  The blade sliced through the layers of the epidermis… the dermis… the subcutaneous tissue and fat…  the many muscles giving the hand its dexterity… and the blood vessels, nerves and tendons… before hitting bone.  The blade tore through the first bone – the radius… then crunched through the second – the ulna… before ravaging through the tendons… the nerves… the blood vessels… the muscles…  the fat…  and the layers of skin while going out the other side.

Ali screamed in pain as he watched his hand drop through the air and fall to the ground.  He could smell the iron scent of his own blood, the tourniquet being tightened now to staunch the flow.  He wanted to pick his hand up and somehow stick it back on, but he passed out.  He never saw his hand again.   An official picked it up and walked away with it.  When Ali came to, he found his arm had been wrapped in cloth.  He was sent on his way, Allah’s justice having been done.

Little did he know his punishment was just beginning.

Alex went to see his probation officer for the first time.  He had pled guilty to stealing the watch and received weekends in jail for a year, giving him plenty of time to think about what he did.  The sentence allowed him to keep his job during the week.  He was ordered to visit his probation officer regularly and to make payments toward a fine equal to the value of the watch.  “The system cut you a break,” the probation officer said. “You could easily have ended up in prison for years.  This way, you can remain a productive member of society and not get institutionalized, unable to function outside prison walls.  The judge gave you a reasonably good start.  The rest is up to you.”

Home

Ali was released late in the day.  First stop, the grocery store.  He pushed a cart around the aisles with his left hand, picking up some vegetables, meat, and aspirin as he went along.  He found he could use his stump to help steer the cart.  Carrying a shopping bag with one hand – no problem.  “This isn’t too bad, maybe I’ve been worrying too much,” he said to himself.

When he got to his apartment, he set the bag down beside the door and fumbled for his keys.  They fell on the floor.  When he reached down to pick them up, he lost his balance.  He instinctively reached out with what should have been his right hand to break his fall, but there was no right hand and down he went.  Just then, his neighbor’s door opened and people started coming out.  They saw Ali on the floor and offered to help him back up.  “I don’t need your help,” he replied angrily, maneuvering to pick himself back up with his stump and left hand.  Ali felt ashamed and wanted to cry.  Fortunately, nothing was bruised but his dignity.

The pain wouldn’t let up.  He would see a doctor tomorrow and get a prescription for some painkillers.  Aspirin was all he had for right now.  Ali set the new box of aspirin down on the table in front of the sofa.  He managed to get the box open with one hand and started to wrestle with the bottle inside.  He pinched the cap with his left thumb and forefinger and began to twist.  Not easy, since he was used to using his right hand for everything.  Like most people, Ali was right-handed.  He poured out a few tablets on the table, but some got away from him.  It took him a few days to figure out he should pour the aspirin into the upturned cap so he wouldn’t have that problem.   Pain was radiating up his arm.  “Will I able to sleep tonight?,” he wondered.

Ali was getting hungry, so he went into the kitchen.  He put the cabbage he bought on the counter and picked up a knife to cut into it.  The cabbage rolled off the counter and onto the floor.  Another defeat.  The cabbage was too big to grip with one hand, but he managed to get it back on the counter by pressing his stump into service.  This time, he rolled it into a corner so he could cut it.  It wasn’t until later he would learn about special cutting boards and cooking techniques others in his predicament use to cope with their situations.

The cooking done, Ali sat down to eat.  He lined his lamb chop up on his plate, then pressed in with a knife.  He rolled the knife back and forth on the meat, using his stump to keep the chop from moving around too much.  It took a long time to free one mouthful, but it eventually worked.  For the next bite, he stuck his fork into the chop, then secured the fork between his stump and upper arm.  He picked up his knife with his left hand, but when he went to cut the meat, the improvised hold suddenly gave way, sending his food flying off the plate.

He was humiliated, but then it struck him:  this was nothing compared to the fact he was being forced to eat with his left hand.  “I’m eating with my left hand,” he repeated aloud.  That’s the hand Muslims use in the bathroom and is, therefore, considered unclean. “Now I have to eat my food with my left hand.  That’s part of my punishment,” he realized.  “And it will be like this for the rest of my life.  Every time I sit down to eat – every meal – I’ll be reminded of my punishment, a punishment that will never end.”

Ali was worn out and headed to bed.  Getting his robe off one-handed and hanging it on a hook wasn’t hard.  He laid down, his mind churning.  “Why couldn’t they have taken my left hand?  It wouldn’t have been such an insult, and there’s so much I have to relearn because I’m left-handed now – how to write, how to use my phone – the screen’s too big, I can’t hold it and reach everything with my thumb at the same time. Some of my robes have buttons – how’s that going to work?  I guess putting on a watch won’t be too difficult – I can manipulate an expandable watchband with the fingers of one hand, or get a Velcro band and use my teeth to hold it in place when I’m closing it.  Maybe I don’t want a watch.  A watch is what got me into trouble in the first placed, hmm….  Most of my shoes are slip-ons, but I do have sneakers and black leather shoes, both with laces.  How in the world am I going to tie them?  I don’t even want to think about it, it’s too depressing.  Everything’s too depressing.  Who will marry me, after this?  What woman wants to feel a stump on her back?  Can I still go to Paradise when I die?  And I’m down to one hand – what if I sprain my left wrist and they put it in a cast?  That would be catastrophic.  I’d be completely helpless.”  It was then he allowed himself to cry, the pain sapping his will.  It was all so overwhelming.

Exhausted, Ali fell into a fitful sleep.  The next morning, he awoke with a sense of dread, but didn’t know why.  Then he remembered his right hand was chopped off the day before.  He was tempted to stay in bed, to hide from the world.  But his pain got the better of him, so he got up and went into the bathroom where he found more challenges – shaving and grooming his facial hair one-handed, not losing his balance in the shower, deciding whether to soap up his hand or rub the bar of soap all over his body.

On the way to the doctor, he noticed his stump was starting to swell up.  Then the weirdest thing happened.  He started to feel pain in his right hand, the hand that was no longer there.  In coming weeks, he would swear his missing hand was itching, burning, or feeling wet.  “I can’t tell anyone this.  They’ll think I’m crazy,” Ali thought.

The doctor reassured him.  “That happens to most people in your situation.  It’s called ‘phantom pain’.”

“You’re lucky,” the doctor went on.  “You could have died from the amputation, or had a heart attack or blood poisoning, or a blood clot in your lung.”  “I don’t feel lucky,” Alex said.

The doctor started writing Ali a prescription for pain pills, then asked, “Have you thought about a prosthesis?  You can get a hook, a gripper, or one in the shape of a hand.”  Ali asked what was involved and the doctor said, “First, we have to prepare your stump – remove all the dead tissue and file down the bone.  They weren’t exactly careful when they were amputating your hand.  Next, we cushion the area with healthy tissue from other parts of your body, then stitch skin and muscle flaps over the stump.  When all that heals, we go back in and attach the prosthesis to the bone.  If your bone grows a spur, we have to do it all over again.”

Ali said he would think about it, wondering if he would ever have a job again that would allow him to pay for all that.  He took his prescription and headed to the pharmacy, careful to hold his stump inside his sleeve and close to his stomach so people wouldn’t notice, they would just see folds of white cloth and not think anything of it.  He kept looking around to see if people were scrutinizing him.  He was getting angrier by the minute.  “I don’t want a prosthesis.  I don’t care how much it can do,” he thought.  “I want to hold my first child, with my own hands.  I want my own hand back,” although he knew full well it wasn’t coming back.  It was a part of him that was gone forever and would never return.

Mother

Ali was back home when the phone rang.  It was his mother.  Ali had been wondering why she hadn’t called. “Well…,” she hesitated.  “I didn’t really know what to say.”  She had been getting conflicting advice from family and friends.  “You’ve brought dishonor upon the family.  Some of your relatives never want to see you again.  It is written in the hadiths that Muhammad – Peace Be Upon Him – would cut off his own daughter’s hand if she were a thief.  Some are even telling me that I’ll be punished in the grave because I must not have raised you right. But a TV imam was saying the other day it’s a great sin to cut off family ties completely.  People who do that don’t go to Paradise.  He said, if I do see you, an angel will be with me defending me from the evil inside you.  So, I don’t know what to do.  I need spiritual guidance before I talk to you or see you again.  I’ll call you when I’m ready.”

With that, she hung up.  Ali was devastated and ran out into the street in a panic.  “My own mother….  She might disown me.  She thinks she has to defend herself against me.  It’s not fair.  Yes, I committed a crime, but it was just an impulse.  What are those few seconds against a lifetime of behaving right?  How could anyone think I’m evil deep down inside and will be for all time?  People change.”  His mind was furiously spinning future possibilities:  Maybe he wouldn’t be invited to family gatherings ever again.   Maybe they wouldn’t come to his wedding.  Maybe his children would never know their grandparents.  As he wandered aimlessly about, he forgot to hide his stump.  A child asked, “What happened to your hand?”  Ali looked at the child, then up at the adults the child was with.  They weren’t smiling.  They knew.

Friends

Over the coming days and weeks, Ali found out who his friends were.  Some people he knew shunned him entirely.  He just had to take the losses and go on.  Others may have meant well but said the most insensitive things.

“You’re lucky you weren’t cross-amputated,” one said.  Cross-amputation is the punishment under sharia law for highway robbery.  The right hand and left foot are both amputated, making it difficult or impossible to walk – even with a cane or crutches.  “People keep telling me I’m lucky.  I don’t feel lucky,” Ali said, irritably.

His best friend – one he started school with – turned on him.  “Hate to say it, but you got exactly what you deserved.  You may still go to Paradise, but your right hand will go to hell.  Sharia law has been followed.  Justice has been done.  This is Allah’s will.  Just accept it.”

That was hard to take, but not as hard as the friend who said Ali should become a suicide bomber.  “Fulfill your duty to Allah and wage jihad so others will submit to Islam,” he said.  “You’re disabled, so that’s all that’s left to you now, Ali.  I know some people….”

Ali dismissed the possibility in his mind, but the suggestion did start him thinking seriously, for the first time ever, about ending his own life.

He would turn this over in his mind many times as the days went by.  He started isolating, deliberately keeping to himself, brooding.  It had been some weeks, but his stump still hurt.  Not as much as before, but he was still maxing out on his painkiller prescriptions.  “I hope I’m not getting addicted to these things,” Ali thought.  “But maybe I am.  They help me forget my hand is gone and I can’t do everything I used to.”  His thoughts took him further down, to the point where he wasn’t taking care of his stump properly or even showering every day.  He picked up a staph infection in his stump that put him in the hospital on an antibiotic IV drip.

“I know some people just want me to die,” he was thinking to himself, eyeing the knife on the kitchen counter and the veins in his left wrist.  But then the doorbell rang.

“Hi Ali, I haven’t seen you in a while.  Where have you been hiding?,” his friend Khalil asked. “Listen, I came to invite you to the soccer game this Saturday.  It’s a big match; the whole country will be watching.  Everyone’s excited.  I have an extra ticket.  What do you say?”   This was a pleasant surprise and Ali agreed to go.  “Oh, by the way,” Khalil continued.  “There’s a woman we’d like you to meet afterwards – Sonia.  She has an uncle whose foot was amputated from diabetes, so stumps don’t bother her, if that’s what you’re thinking.  She’s used to it.  We can all meet at a coffee shop after the game, her brother will be there, tamaam?

“Azeem!,” Ali said.  This was the best he’d felt in months.  A woman with a family member who had a stump – this possibility hadn’t occurred to him.  Of course he was interested.  Things were looking up.

The group met at the stadium. There was an awkward moment when one of Khalil’s friends reached out his right hand to shake hands with Ali.  Not knowing what else to do, Ali bowed his head in greeting, instead.

They found their seats and the players took the field.  Ali relaxed and was starting to enjoy himself.  When the first goal was scored, the roar of the crowd took Ali right back to Chop Chop Square.  He looked at the ball bouncing near the net, but what he saw was the head of a condemned prisoner bouncing on the ground at the Square.  Then he remembered his encounter with the cabbage in his kitchen and imagined it was the head of an executed prisoner rolling off the counter instead – too big to pick up with one hand.

Ali was unnerved by these unwanted thoughts and the suddenness with which they unexpectedly appeared out of nowhere.  “I have to go home.  I’m not feeling well,” he told Khalil.  “What about meeting Sonia?,” Khalil asked.  “Maybe some other time,” Ali mumbled then left, secretly relieved because his body was not very interested in such matters since his amputation, and wasn’t cooperating the way it used to.  He didn’t know if the spark would ever come back.

Dreams

Alex only had a few weekends left in jail.  He got a promotion at work and began to fantasize about what more money would make possible – a new car, a bigger apartment.  A female co-worker was beginning to show interest in him, so maybe an engagement ring was down the road, somewhere.  He wondered what it would be like to have children.  He realized the people in jail were mostly younger than him.  “Jail’s for kids,” he thought.  “It’s time to get on with it.”  He felt ready to put this chapter behind him and find new life.  His arrest had lit a fire inside of him.  It galvanized his will to do better, to make something of himself.  Then it was lights out in the cellblock and he drifted off.

Back home now, Ali went to sleep and began to dream:

He was sitting on the sofa, looking eye-level at the Longévité watch from Javert Jewelers on his wrist.  Blades grew from inside the watch band and constricted, cutting off his remaining hand, but the watch stayed on.  Blood spurted in a fountain from his upturned arm, then stopped.  He looked at the face of the watch.  The hands were moving backwards, slowly at first.  The severed hand floated up off the floor and reattached itself to his arm.   The hands on the watch were spinning backwards faster now.   He looked again and saw that his right hand had reappeared – beautiful as ever – on the stump he had tried to hide from view ever since Chop Chop Square.  Now Ali had both his hands back.  A feeling of contentment washed over him.

Tick… Tick… Tick….  Nice.

The feeling didn’t last long.  The face of the watch now showed a cross-section of a wrist, as if looking down from inside the arm.  The hands of the watch had turned into axes, like the one on the courtroom wall, and the sharp blades were cutting through the skin… the fat… the nerves…

Tick… Tick… Tick….

The blood vessels… the tendons… the bones….

Louder now.  Chop… Chop… Chop….

Ali looked away in horror.  When he looked back, he saw the face had almost returned to normal but, this time, the Roman numerals had been replaced with words – Pain, Loss, Embarrassment, Shame, Humiliation, Rejection, Isolation, Nightmares, Flashbacks, Regret, Hopelessness, Despair – at all twelve positions.  Nothing to look forward to but anguish, no matter what time it is.

Tick… Tick… Tick….

Then each word turned into a tongue of yellow and orange flame.  Now it didn’t matter if the hands went fast or slow, forwards or backwards, or stopped altogether.  It was all the same.  The tongues got bigger and merged into one big conflagration.  The inscription ‘Longévité’ was still clearly visible inside the fire.  The fire ignited the sleeve of his robe.  Before long, his entire apartment was engulfed in flames.

“It is these who are the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide…”

Still louder – tick… tick… tick….

Ali awoke with a start to see the sun streaming in through the windows.

“My hopes… My dreams… My future plans… My prospects… My joy….  I stole a watch.  They stole my life.”

The phone rang.  It was his mother.

©Tober Mory. All rights reserved.

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PODCAST: What The ‘Peace Symbol’ Really Means

This is a republication of a column and radio interview I did in 2012. In my interview with Paul Ibbetson we discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement, which I wrote about here and here. We now know Occupy Wall Street was an anti-capitalist Marxist movement. Fast forward to 2023 and we now have groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter picking up the Marxist torch and burning down towns and cities across America in the name of a socialist change labeled as diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE). DIE is now public policy under the Biden administration and is being taught to our youth from Kindergarten to colleges and universities as Critical Race Theory.

History is once again repeating itself.


My interview with Paul Ibbetson, host of the Conscience of Kansas radio show on the peace sign:

When you walk through the local mall you may see clothing, jewelry and patches featuring the “peace symbol’. When driving down the road you will see cars with a peace symbol proudly displayed on a bumper or rear windshield. Have you even seen this symbol on t-shirts issued to your public school student? Do you ever wonder if those displaying this symbol truly understand its meaning?

Perhaps a short history will help you understand the meaning of the peace symbol.

The peace symbol dates back to ancient times. The fifth and final Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Nero (born Lucius Domitius Ahenabarbus 37 – 68 AD), is remembered in history for persecuting Christians. Nero’s rule was so wicked he even had his mother executed. The First Roman-Jewish War (66 – 70 AD) started during his reign and today the term “Nero Cross” [today’s peace symbol] is the symbol of the “broken Jew” or “broken cross.”

Anti-religious and satanic groups use the “Nero Cross” or inverted “Latin Cross” to symbolize everything opposite of Christianity. Today this is clearly illustrated by “black metal” or heavy metal music lyrics and imagery that communicate anti-Christian sentiments. An album cover for the black metal group, Mayhem, displays the “peace symbol or Nero Cross” on an album cover. Film makers have reinforced the notion that the upside down cross is an anti-Christian symbol as illustrated by The Omen in 1976 and The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 2005.

During WWII the “peace symbol” was used by Hitler’s 3rd Panzer Division from 1941 to 1945. The image is the regimental 3rd Panzer Division symbol. Soviet, Polish, and Hungarian citizens, having suffered from the Nazi massacres, undoubtedly struggle with use of the symbol as a thoughtful way to communicate peace. The symbol can also be found on some of Hitler’s SS soldiers’ tombstones.

Finally, the symbol was revitalized by the UK artist and anti-war advocate Gerald Herbert Holtom (1914 – 1985). Holtom is credited with creating this now popular symbol on February 21, 1958 as part of the nuclear disarmament movement. The symbol combines the the naval code semaphore with the symbol representing the code letters for “N” and “D” (nuclear disarmament).

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), a philosopher, historian, mathematician, and a member of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, supported using the peace symbol globally. Russell’s interest in the peace symbol becomes visible when you know he was a member of the British Fabian Socialist Society, a secret society advocating a New World Order.

The symbol was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago. Altbach had traveled to England to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union (SPU) and on his return he persuaded the SPU to adopt the symbol. The SPU joined with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to hold anti-war protests in Washington, D.C. in 1962. We know the SDS gave birth to the Weather Underground movement co-founded by 1960 era domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn.

During the 1980s the “peace movement” was supported and funded by the Soviet KGB. Following the large peace demonstrations in Europe in October and November 1981, Ronald Reagan said of the peace movement, “[T]hose are all sponsored by a thing called the World Peace Council, which is bought and paid for by the Soviet Union.”

So now that you know about the history of the so called “peace symbol” you may want to rethink buying your child or grandchild new clothing with this symbol on it?

VIEW: “Peace symbol” on Nazi 3rd Panzer Regiment armored vehicle.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

Technology and The Values Gap

While the need for America to arrest its decline down into a new Marxist Dark Age grows painfully more obvious each day, just how do we arrest and, hopefully, reverse such a steep decline? For starters, let’s assume those of us born before 1946 understand the need for a return to our founding documents and values, meaning a return to Traditional American Values. the younger generations who will have to do the heavy lifting needed to restore America to where it was prior to the elections of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. “Patriot Act” Bush, and Joe Biden.

Communications technology, despite all the upsides of computers, the Internet, and Social Media, also has the downside of creating a huge communication gap between our elders and our youngsters whose knowledge of the world comes from their computer screens, video games, their cell phones, and from a public education system that has abandoned even such basics as cursive handwriting.

For example, if Granny hand writes a note of congratulations to grandson Jimmy for achieving something worthwhile, Granny’s cursive handwriting will look like a foreign language to little Jimmy. Jimmy, who only understands block printing on computer screens, will need an older person to interpret Granny’s kind note. Already many Jimmies of driving age are totally baffled by cars with manual transmissions. Moreover, Jimmy’s grandchildren are likely to grow up knowing only autonomous vehicles and wondering how on earth their elders were allowed to drive such dangerous machines by themselves.

Many of these examples are found in Victoria Kirin’s book: Stories of Elders, 2019. Kirin poses the question of how can older generations transmit their values to younger generations who have become high-tech incommunicado?

Our exhortations of the thinking of Aristotle, Epictetus, Herodotus, Plato, Socrates, Cicero, Franklin, Paine, Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson are not likely to reach ears covered by earbuds. Nor are they likely to comprehend the values of the early (not the later) Romans: Mercy, Dignity, Tenacity, Frugalness, Gravity, Respectability, Humanity, Industriousness, Prudence, Wholesomeness, Self-control, and Honesty.

Early Rome’s values produced an empire with a 10,000-mile border that lasted for over 1,100 years but only fell when their version of Las Vegas (Pompeii) diverted their attention from robustly defending their borders. Hello! Does this sound familiar?

Our mere 245 years of existence pale in comparison with the Roman Empire. Recall, many empires fell due to internal decay: Mandarin China, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey, Tsarist Russia, and Soviet Russia. Great Britain exhausted itself by fighting Germany twice and Japan once. Tojo’s Japan and Nazi Germany had to be bombed into submission.
So, what’s the solution to inculcating the values that made America great into the younger generations? If this writer knew the answer, you would be reading it right here. Meanwhile, it might help if all of us elders try to live our lives like the Pilgrims of old and make America once again like the Reverend Winthrop’s “City upon a hill.”

Suggested reading:

Stories of Elders: What the Greatest Generation Knows about Technology that You Don’t by Victoria Kirin, 2019.

Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Keith Goldsworthy, 2006.

The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Rose Fraser, 2017.

Errand into the Wilderness by Perry Miller, 1952.

©2023. William Hamilton. All rights reserved.

When Does a Government Become Illegitimate in the Eyes of God?

The Bible says all authority is established by God and rulers are ministers of God. So, when do when do leaders lose their legitimate authority to rule over our lives?


Last week, Kamala Harris was in Florida to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision legalizing abortion, which (as everyone in America knows) was overturned this past June.

In her typical arrogant tone, she made a speech attempting to defend a woman’s right to abort her child because those rights were supposedly enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

Among her exact words were: “A promise that we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Except … that’s not what the Declaration of Independence says.

The correct recitation of that historic document is that all mankind is endowed by their Creator “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [emphasis added]

How convenient that Harris left out the most important human right of all, the right to life.

Pure evil.

For Harris to intentionally omit this God-given right is to push the narrative that no living being has a right to life. But she had to, didn’t she? According to her, the unborn do not have this right. It’s OK to kill them.

Our anti-human government

No wonder some political commentators are calling our current government “anti-human.”

Here’s what FOX News commentator and podcaster Dan Bongino, said on Jan. 21:

“Just listen to the liberals talk; liberalism in essence is anti-human. Listen to how they talk about people: the ‘deplorables,’ the rednecks. They see you as a proliferating virus to this atheistic god they have, Mother Nature. And they see nothing … stopping them from doing bad things.”

Want more evidence of government officials’ being “anti-human”?

A couple of weeks ago, a staggering 210 House Democrats voted against a bill requiring doctors to save the lives of babies that survive abortions. Let them die. Kill them.

That’s anti-human.

Though it’s tempting to delve into the cesspool of other anti-human practices, policies and dictums of our United States government, it would distract from my main question:

When does a government become illegitimate in the eyes of God?

The answer is surprisingly simple if one holds the Bible as the infallible word of God.

When government leaders cease to be ministers of God, they become illegitimate. THAT role is their sole purpose: To be God’s servants.

The Apostle Paul says, “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” [Ro. 13:1]

Think about that for a moment: Unless a government official is “established by God,” he or she has no authority over anyone’s life, ever.

Xi Jinping? None in China. Ali Khamenei? None in Iran. Kim Jong-un in North Korea? Nope. Not from God.

But how do we know if our rulers are “established by God”?

Again, the answer is simple:

He or she must be “a servant of God to you for good.” [4]

But what is “good”?

Simple again:

He or she must be “an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” [4]

“For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.” [6, emphasis added]

Simple, isn’t it? They must be devoted to good and to the punishment of evil.

Our “Upside Down” Government

Anyone who has watched the Netflix series Stranger Things will recognize our current government in Washington D.C. as the “Upside Down” from a God-ordained government. Legitimate governmental authority has been turned into a dark, nightmarish negative image of what it once was, and not just in D.C.

More and more, we witness open servants of evil running federal, city and local governments. Let’s call them … oh, I don’t know … ministers of Satan, whose real goal is not to govern for “good” or to bring wrath on evil, but to make a mockery of God, His laws, His justice and His creation.

They are purveyors of evil. They celebrate and applaud evil. They invent new forms of evil.

They are NOT established by God regardless of how people voted or how brilliantly a rigged election was manufactured. People can vote for evil people. But those rulers have NO God-given authority over mankind.

I’ll repeat Paul’s words:

“[T]here is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Emphasis added)

Our Founding Fathers knew that. They wrote a 1,338-word Declaration saying as much when they told King George and all the king’s men to hightail it back to their side of the pond. They were no longer needed, accepted or had any legitimate power to rule in the colonies.

King George lost his authority to govern the American colonies because he was accused of violating the unalienable rights God gave man: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Winston Churchill (did he ever tire of carting that heavy bag of great quotes around?) told the House of Commons in 1948: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!”

Welcome to the Show that Never Ends: government authorities becoming tyrants who refuse to be servants of God for good.

No longer do Americans look at their future with great anticipation or excitement. Instead, they look over their shoulders with fear of the next mass killing at a Wal-Mart, a church or a school.

Since May 2020, nearly 300 vandalism attacks against Catholic churches alone have been committed.

There’s essentially a war along our southern border – more like a surrender – that has seen over 4 million illegal immigrants invade our country since Joe Biden took office. Countless (literally countless) numbers of these “immigrants” are terrorists, sex traffickers, drug runners and hardened criminals who steal the lives, liberties and happiness of millions.

Yet, when Biden visited Mexico earlier this month and met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Liar-in-Chief didn’t talk about ways Mexico could help our nation secure the lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness of Americans.

No: He spoke about ways the two nations could promote diversity, “equity,” and gender inclusivity, along with fighting “climate change.”

The White House is more concerned with turning children into circus attractions and cracking down on “terrorist” moms at school board meetings than making sure those same moms have baby formula to feed their infants so they can grow up cherishing their God-given male- or femaleness.

I could go on and talk about random attacks and killings, the devaluation of police officers, hardened criminals that are never prosecuted, stores shuttering across the nation because of theft, drug addicts menacing people and stores and dying on the sidewalks of big cities, and the insane push to disfigure little children into freaks of nature.

Government without God’s Authority

Only those who have never read the Bible could convince themselves that these people are “servants of God for good” who “bring wrath on those who practice evil.”

But if these rulers have NO authority because only God can establish legitimate leadership, how do we respond to these illegitimate tyrants and their demands for our ungodly compliance?

Pause to think about people being forced to use transgender pronouns. Healthcare workers being forced to perform abortions. Doctors being told they must assist in euthanasia as a kind of “medical care.” Churches being told they must close their doors.

Our Founding Fathers drew the road map for us to follow, and it’s probably not what most people think.

The American colonies did not declare war on Great Britain. Instead they declared their independence.

In fact, during the first Revolutionary War battle on April 19, 1775, Captain John Parker told his Minutemen as 700 British regulars approached Lexington Green:

“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” Parker believed firing first would be tantamount to treason.

Paul Revere, standing off to the side, agreed.

“Let the [English] soldiers pass by. Do not molest them without they begin first.”

Indeed, the redcoats did fire first during the conflict that came to be known as the Battle of Concord.

800 British soldiers squared off against 400 militia. Through the use of guerrilla tactics (to which the British were unaccustomed), the militia forced the redcoats to flee, inflicting 300 casualties that included 73 deaths.

The Americans stood their ground, having declared their independence. They viewed starting a war as treason, but likewise had no compulsion to believe that declaring their independence was a treasonous act.

When government leaders are not servants of God for good, when they fail to be avengers on those who practice evil, they have no authority from God, they are not established rulers.

To protect ourselves, the Bible warns us to put on the “full armor of God.” Then it commands us to stand against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ep. 6:12]

“When the day of evil comes,” the Apostle Paul says (and it’s looking like it’s now here), “stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [12]

That’s exactly what Captain John Parker’s men did. They stood their ground.

That’s exactly what we need to do to oppose an illegitimate government without God’s authority to rule over us.

Also, like our Founding Fathers, this additional admonition from Jesus would serve us well:

“And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one.’” [Luke 22:36]

© Martin Mawyer from Majority Report. All rights reserved.

EDITORS NOTE: This Majority Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Child from Radical Gender Ideology

When we find ourselves encountering education professionals who sincerely believe and defend concepts like Queer Theory and believe they have a moral obligation to teach those concepts to children for the good of society, it is long past time for parents and concerned citizens to act. Gender ideology is a dangerous force in education and our culture. Parents can take several important steps to safeguard our own children and our communities from this evil influence.

1. Parents need to be the most important person in their children’s lives.

Our right to direct the upbringing of our children is unquestioned. Our responsibility to our children is confirmed by our love for them. We need to make sure that we know our children’s hopes and dreams, their friends, their teachers, and those who influence them. When schools have policies that would seek to “affirm a gender identity” in children without the knowledge or consent of parents, we can protect our children — and ourselves — by being fully engaged in relationship with our children.

One of the common rejoinders to efforts to enact policies to protect children from secret social transition in schools actually does have a grain of truth in it. Gender activists will demagogue: “If you want to find out what gender your child is, just ask your child; the school can’t hide that from you.” We can see the arrogance and dishonesty behind such a comment, but it makes a point too — never let anyone know your child better than you do.

2. In the event of a gender identity crisis in your home, be careful to get the right help.

There are fewer resources for parents who do not wish to affirm their children in a gender delusion, but they are good resources. Desist, Detrans, and Detox by Maria Keffler is a wonderful book with advice from a mother and former public school guidance counselor. Be careful not to rely on the advice of “gender specialists.” It is more likely than not that advice from this perspective will “affirm” a sex change approach rather than explore the reasons for gender dysphoria and seek to integrate body and mind consistent with biological reality.

3. Engage your school system or state legislature.

If you wish to engage your school system or state legislature to protect the rights of parents and children, there are many efforts underway to use as guides. Groups like Family Research CouncilParents Defending Education, and Parental Rights Foundation are ready to help, with research, advice, and connections to other resources. Making sure to keep parents at the center of the process is key.

Virginia’s recently drafted model policy includes this useful definition: The phrase “transgender student” shall mean a public school student whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school. The Virginia draft is a reaffirmation of parental rights, keeping parents front and center.

4. Never doubt yourself when you stand for the truth of biological sex.

History is littered with examples of medical fads that have victimized people and cultures: lobotomy, eugenics, and recovered memories are just a few examples. The gender fever seems to be breaking. It will take parents and a public committed to truth spoken in love to protect our children and heal our culture.

We live in the greatest nation on earth, the beacon of hope for the world. Let’s make America’s school systems as exceptional as our nation. Our children, entrusted to us by God, deserve our very best.

AUTHOR

Meg Kilgannon

Meg Kilgannon is Senior Fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council.

RELATED ARTICLE: Parents, It’s Time to Get Your Child Off of Social Media

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Covering for Biden, Pathetic Pence Swoops In To Save Corrupt, Criminal Joe Biden

Tucker Carlson: “Here’s the latest in unexplained weirdness in the news—Mike Pence of all people has just swooped in to save Joe Biden…”

Mike Pence “almost bragged” about the appearance of classified documents at the former vice president’s Indiana home, rather than worrying about facing prosecution.

In the latest twist in the saga of classified White House materials not being properly returned to the National Archives, Pence’s lawyers confirmed that a “small number of documents” were found at his home during a search last week. These were then handed over to the government.

Pence said he was “unaware” of the existence of sensitive materials at his private property and that he would be willing to fully cooperate with any inquiry.

Carlson said that Pence may have “swooped in” and saved Biden by revealing classified documents from his time as vice president were also found at his home.

Carlson said despite Pence repeatedly saying during media interviews that he was not in possession of any classified materials, his lawyers conducted a search of his home after being asked to do so by federal prosecutors wanting to build a case against Trump.

“The point would be to show that not every federal official walks off with state secrets. Donald Trump was uniquely evil in that regard, as in so many others,” Carlson said. “‘See, Mike Pence didn’t do it.’

“So if that was the plan and we suspect that it was, it backfired spectacularly because Mike Pence’s lawyer promptly discovered classified documents.”

Carlson added it was odd that Pence immediately notified authorities, as well as congressional leaders, about the appearance of the documents because “what he did was a felony.”

“We’ve heard that again and again. Keeping classified documents at home unsecured is a felony,” Carlson said.

“But Pence didn’t seem embarrassed about it at all. In fact, he almost bragged about it. So clearly, Mike Pence is not worried about being punished for keeping secret documents in his home. And that’s strange in a country where all laws are supposed to apply equally to all people. But Mike Pence is not worried about FBI raids. And that’s interesting. Maybe someday we’ll learn why.”

Associated Press: Documents with classified markings were discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, his lawyer told the National Archives in a letter. The records “appear to be a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration,” Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, wrote in the letter. He said that Pence “engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents, to review records stored in his personal home after it became public that documents with classified markings were found in President Joe Biden’s Wilmington residence (Associated Press). Ed Morrissey: What does this mean politically? It probably lets Joe Biden off the hook, or at least provides enough of a distraction to cool the temperature around his scandal. Biden and his team certainly didn’t embrace the “everyone does it” defense when Donald Trump deployed it, but you can bet they’ll grasp at it now (HotAir).

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Facebook Welcomes Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment Back on its Platform

“What the Zuck?” is a valid question asked in the title of the Breitbart article below, “What the Zuck: Facebook Welcomes Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment Back on Platform.”


In 2021, before the Azov battalion became accepted as a key element of Ukraine’s defense against Russia, Time magazine did an exposé on the group. Some key points that are relevant to the US and other Western countries about the Azov movement, which has denied its neo-Nazi activities for years: Time points out that in October 2019:

40 members of Congress signed a letter calling—unsuccessfully—for the U.S. State Department to designate Azov a foreign terrorist organization. “Azov has been recruiting, radicalizing, and training American citizens for years,” the letter said.

Time conducted its own investigations:

TIME, in more than a dozen interviews with Azov’s leaders and recruits, found that the key to its international growth has been its pervasive use of social media, especially Facebook, which has struggled to keep the group off its platform. “Facebook is the main channel.”

The Azov Regiment doesn’t aim to only protect Ukraine, but to spread its National Socialist ideology. There could even be violence in America itself:

In their letter to the State Department in 2019, U.S. lawmakers noted that “the link between Azov and acts of terror in America is clear.”

Azov’s main recruitment center in Kyiv disseminates Nazi propaganda. “On the ground floor is a shop called Militant Zone, which sells clothes and key chains with stylized swastikas and other neo-Nazi merchandise.”

Haaretz has previously reported:

The Azov movement insists it is not neo-Nazi, yet its members have been captured giving Hitler salutes and being virulently anti-Semitic….

Members even muse that some Jews would not be allowed to stay in Ukraine if they ever seized power.

At a time when antisemitism is on the rise, why is the Azov Regiment being welcomed back on Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg has weaponized the Facebook platform as a political tool, employing bold and unapologetic censorship tactics to target users with views that oppose those of the establishment Left. Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were allowed on Facebook, and now the Azov Regiment. Facebook, of course, banned Donald Trump. The reasoning that governs Facebook  (Meta) concerning the Azov battalion is that as the group is “under the command and control of the Ukrainian government,” it is benign and has shed its Nazi elements.

But that line of reasoning is irrational. The neo-Nazi Azov Regiment was formally incorporated into the Ukraine National Guard since November 11, 2014. Its character hasn’t changed just because Ukraine has now been invaded. The change from “Battalion” to “Regiment” was cosmetic — an attempt to rebrand in the face of the war with Russia. As that war goes on, the Doomsday Clock has now moved closer to midnight.

The decision to provide a forum for neo-Nazis will likely backfire on “Zuck.”

What the Zuck: Facebook Welcomes Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment Back on Platform

by Lucas Nolan, Breitbart, January 21, 2023:

Facebook (now known as Meta) has removed Ukraine’s Azov Regiment — members of which regularly display Nazi symbols and signs on their uniforms — from its list of dangerous individuals and organizations. With this change, Mark Zuckerberg is welcoming members of the Azov Regiment who were once blacklisted to utilize his massive platform.

The Washington Post reports that as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, Facebook has modified its approach to content moderation. The neo-Nazi Ukrainian military group Azov Regiment was recently removed from the social media behemoth’s list of potentially harmful people and groups. With this modification, members of the Azov Regiment will be able to sign up for Facebook and Instagram accounts and post content without worrying about it being taken down unless it violates the platforms’ content policies. Other users will be able to openly laud and support the group’s work due to the change.

This policy change comes after months of criticism of how the social media juggernaut is handling the conflict, with many questioning where it draws the line between promoting free speech about the conflict and containing rhetoric that could have violent or dangerous offline repercussions. The company has been criticized by its Oversight Board, an independent group of primarily leftist activists, academics, and experts who oversee Facebook’s content moderation decisions, for going too far in removing content that challenges authoritarian governments or leaders.

Historically, there has been controversy surrounding the Azov Regiment. It is one of Ukraine’s most skilled military units and has engaged in combat with Russian forces in strategic locations like the besieged city of Mariupol and close to Kiev. However, there were worries that the group was drawing extremists because of its ties to its neo-Nazi ideology. The Azov forces were partially referred to when Russian President Vladimir Putin described his invasion of Ukraine as an effort to “de-Nazify” the nation.

According to Facebook, the neo-Nazi Azov Movement and the Azov Regiment are no longer affiliated. It mentions that the unit is formally under the command and control of the Ukrainian government. According to Facebook, there are still “elements of the Azov Movement, including the National Corp., and its founder Andriy Biletsky” on its list of potentially harmful people and groups. “Hate speech, hate symbols, calls for violence, and any other content which violates our Community Standards are still banned, and we will remove this content if we find it,” the company said.

Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, praised Facebook’s choice and singled out former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, Fakebook’s president for international affairs. “Means a lot for every Ukrainian. New approach enters the force gradually,” Fedorov tweeted. “Big contribution @nickclegg & his team in sharing truthful content about war.”…..

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.