Former Treasury Official Says U.S. Banks On Verge Of ‘Nationalization’

A former Treasury Department official said Tuesday that American banks were on the verge of being nationalized following the Friday collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the government’s response.

“What the authorities did over the weekend was absolutely profound. They guaranteed the deposits, all of them, at Silicon Valley Bank. What that really means — and they won’t say it, and I’ll come back to that — what that really means is that they have guaranteed the entire deposit base of the U.S. financial system. The entire deposit base,” Roger Altman, a former deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, told CNN host Kaitlan Collins. “Why? Because you can’t guarantee all the deposits in Silicon Valley Bank and then the next day say to the depositors, say, at First Republic, sorry, yours aren’t guaranteed. Of course they are.”


Federal regulators shut down Silicon Valley Bank Friday after its stock price collapsed and customers began a bank run following the financial institution’s disclosure of a $1.8 billion loss on asset sales due to high interest rates, CNBC reported. Depositors who had accounts at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, which was shut down by regulators Sunday, will be able to fully recover their funds, the FDIC announced Sunday in conjunction with the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

“So this is a breathtaking step which effectively nationalizes or federalizes the deposit base of the U.S. financial system. You can call it a bailout, you can call it something else, but it’s really absolutely profound,” Altman continued. “Now, the authorities, including the White House, are not going to say that because what I just said of course implies that they have just nationalized the banking system. Technically speaking, they haven’t. But in a broad sense, they are verging on that.”

When Collins called Altman’s statements “remarkable,” Altman emphasized that he had not said the banks had been nationalized.

“I said they are verging on that because they have guaranteed the entire deposit base. Usually the term nationalization means that the government takes over the institution and runs it and the government owns it,” Altman explained. “That would be the type of nationalization we have seen in many other countries throughout the world. Obviously, that did not happen here. When you guarantee the entire deposit base, you have put the federal government and the taxpayer in a much different place in terms of protection than we were in a week ago.”




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China President Xi Plans Meeting with Zelensky to Discuss Peace Proposal, Mediating End To The War

Wiping the floor with Biden.

This was America’s global role and responsibility (not marching to WWIII) before the 2020 coup.

Watch the Democrat party of treason spins this faster than Rumpelstiltskin.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the start of the Ukraine war, likely after he visits Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meetings with Messrs. Putin and Zelensky, the latter of which is expected to take place virtually, reflect Beijing’s effort to play a more active role in mediating an end to the war in Ukraine, some of the people said.

Xi Jinping Plans Meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky to Discuss Peace Proposal

Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the start of the Ukraine war, likely after he visits Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter. The meetings with Messrs. Putin and Zelensky reflect Beijing’s effort to play a more active role in mediating an end to the war in Ukraine. A direct conversation with Mr. Zelensky would mark a significant step in Beijing’s efforts to play peacemaker in Ukraine. It would also bolster Beijing’s credentials as a global power broker after it facilitated a surprise diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week

Read more.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to visit Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin as early as next week, according to reports by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. newspaper added that Xi would also call Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which will be the first time the two men will have had direct communication, at least publicly, since the Russian invasion started more than a year ago.

The Kremlin last week refused to comment on reports saying that Xi would be in the Russian capital on March 21.

Xi, who broke with tradition and embarked on his third five-year term as president last week, has long considered Putin his “old friend,” while the two governments reached a “no-limit partnership” shortly before Putin waged war on Ukraine.

Read more.




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

‘Rapid Deterioration’: Moody’s Rating Service Downgrades U.S. Banking System

It’s coming down fast, folks. Literally and figuratively.

Biden voters have destroyed this country.

‘Rapid Deterioration’: Major Rating Service Downgrades U.S. Banking System

By: Spencer Brown | Townhall March 14, 2023 12:00 PM

Following the biggest bank failure since the financial crisis of 2008, Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded its rating of the “U.S. banking system” in the latest sign that President Biden’s Monday morning attempt to assuage concerns went over like a lead balloon.

Moody’s cuts outlook on entire U.S. banking system to negative, citing ‘rapidly deteriorating operating environment’ – CNBC

Moody’s — one of three major rating entities — downgraded its outlook for the U.S. banking system from “stable” to “negative” on Tuesday morning “to reflect the rapid deterioration in the operating environment following deposit runs at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Silvergate Bank, and Signature Bank (SNY) and the failures of SVB and SNY,” Moody’s explained.

In addition to downgrading the entire banking system, Moody’s also issued warnings for several individual banks “with substantial unrealized securities losses and with non-retail and uninsured US depositors” that “may still be more sensitive to depositor competition or ultimate flight” and end up “with adverse effects on funding, liquidity, earnings and capital.”

The unrealized losses, specifically, have become substantial:

View FDIC Unrealized Gains (Losses) on Investment Securities infographic.

The specific institutions being monitored by Moody’s for “potential downgrades” include INTRUST Financial, Western Alliance, Comerica, Zions Bancorp, and First Republic.

Markets, however, did not seem to move much on the news.

Moody’s just cut its outlook on U.S. banking system to negative due to ‘rapidly deteriorating operating environment’

Keep reading.


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

WATCH: Biden Says Opposing the Mutilation of Children Is ‘Close to Sinful’

Old Joe Biden appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show Monday night, where the guest host Kal Penn, star of the deathless classic Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, asked him about same-sex marriage and boys who want to become girls and girls boys. In response, Biden struck a moral tone, suggesting that support for same-sex marriage and the genital mutilation of children in pursuit of delusions and fantasies was simply the decent position to take, and darn it, Lunchbucket Joe didn’t see why it had to be any more complicated than that.

As we have all come to expect by now, Biden lied when he told a story that he has told before about his alleged “epiphany” on same-sex marriage. As Matt Margolis shows here, Biden claims to have begun to support same-sex marriage as a teenager, when he saw two men kissing. This was the 1950s, when no one was talking about same-sex marriage and it was extremely rare to see homosexuals kissing in public, so his story is dubious on its face. But Matt demonstrates that Biden opposed same-sex marriage decades after that, casting his entire “epiphany” into doubt. Old Joe even threw in his patented insistence “I’m not joking,” which he often says when he’s in the middle of telling a lie.

Then, when Biden turned to discussion of today’s fashionable gender madness, the conversation got even worse.

Penn had asked the ostensible president about what the government could do to protect the “trans kids who are dealing with all these regressive state laws that are popping up right now.” Biden replied, “Transgender kids is a really harder dnnnn. Thing. What’s going on in Florida,” and here he paused, shaking his head, weary at the evil of it all, “is, as my mother would say, close to sinful.”

What’s going on in Florida? Last October, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to ban the mutilation of children in the name of attempting to aid them to pretend that they’re of the opposite sex. At a Board workshop on this issue, a woman named Chloe Cole, who had embarked upon the path that she thought would make her a man, described the monstrousness of the procedures involved in abetting these delusions:  “My breasts were beautiful, now they’ve been incinerated for nothing. Thank you, modern medicine. At 13, I started taking puberty blockers and testosterone, and at 15, I underwent a double mastectomy in which my breasts were removed and my nipples were grafted. And yet, at 16, after years of medically transitioning, I came to realize that I severely regretted my transition.”

Woke doctors sold Cole a lie: “During my diagnosis for dysphoria and the consultations for these treatments, the overall picture of my life just went completely unaddressed….I was introduced to inappropriate content and an echo chamber of far-left ideology, such as that sex and gender are separate, women are inherently victims, men are inherently superior in every way, and that dysphoric children need hormones and surgeries in order to live.” This Mengelian manipulation is what Old Joe Biden was saying it’s “close to sinful” to stop.

Old Joe rambled on semi-coherently, claiming to be on the side of the good and loving: “It’s terrible what they’re doing. It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man’ or ‘I want to become a woman’ or ‘I want to change.’ I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings. They love. They have feelings. They have inclinations that are… I mean, it just, to me, is, I don’t know, is, it’s cruel.” No. What’s cruel is putting children on a path that they think will help them attain their delusions, only to find that it’s impossible for them to discard what they are and become something else.

What’s cruel is Old Joe Biden pretending that any of this butchery and mutilation is compassionate. But he is determined to protect these Frankensteinian, life-destroying procedures by law: he said that we need to “make sure we pass legislation like we passed with same-sex marriage. You mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable.”

Will Biden himself ever be held accountable for the human cost of his misplaced “compassion”? Almost certainly not. He’s more likely to get a Nobel Prize than to face the repudiation and shame that should be coming to him for endorsing this inhuman social contagion. Still, Biden’s appropriation of religious language to support this disgusting barbarism is one of the most disgraceful episodes of this singularly repulsive man’s noxious career.


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Thousands of Schools Won’t Tell Parents About Kids’ Gender Transition: Report

More than 5,000 schools across the nation allow teachers to hide a child’s decision to identify as a member of the opposite sex from the child’s parents. The parental exclusion policy — which is heavily advocated by LGBT lobbying groups and applies to more than 3.2 million children nationally — has already resulted in the sexual trafficking of at least one young girl.

A total of 5,904 schools in 168 school districts nationwide allow, or require, teachers to conceal children’s transgender “social transition” — in which children change their name or preferred pronouns, or begin using the locker rooms of the opposite sex — from their parents. School districts keeping legal guardians ignorant about their children’s life-altering decisions stretch from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, and from Alaska to Arizona.

“This investigation shows that parental exclusion policies are a problem from coast-to-coast — and that living in a red state doesn’t mean that families are automatically shielded from this issue,” said Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education (PDE), which compiled the list. PDE discovered four districts in deep-red Kansas that have adopted the policy, crafted by LGBT activists. For example, Wichita Public Schools’ teacher training claims, “The lack of using [a child’s preferred] pronouns could lead to death.”

In all, PDE reports, such policies affect 3,268,752 students — and their parents — in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

“This list is not comprehensive,” the report notes.

A Virginia high school’s decision to conceal a teenage girl’s gender transition ended with the teen being drugged, gang-raped and, on two separate occasions, sexually trafficked. In August 2021, 14-year-old Sage began attending Appomattox County High School. Her biological grandmother, Michele, who legally adopted her, said Sage told her “all the girls there were bi, trans, lesbian, emo,” and Sage soon decided she “wanted to wear boys’ clothes.” But Michele added, Sage told school officials “she was now a boy named Draco with male pronouns. Sage asked the school not to tell me, and they did not tell me.”

After a group of boys accosted and threatened to rape her in the boys’ restroom, Michele took Sage home and found a pass made out to “Draco.” Michele said Sage was too afraid to return to school, so she ran away to meet an online “friend,” who sexually trafficked her through Washington, D.C. and Maryland. By the time the FBI found her locked inside a room in Baltimore nine days later, Michele recalled, Sage had been “locked in a room, drugged, gang-raped, and brutalized by countless men.”

“One of the expert witnesses in the hearing [on January 30] confirms that online predators do target social media accounts of children who list themselves as ‘ftm’ or ‘female to male,’” Delegate David LaRock (R-Berryville) told The Daily Signal.

But Sage’s nightmare had only begun. A judge accused Michele and her husband of inflicting “emotional and physical abuse” by “misgendering” their granddaughter. The judge had Sage committed to the male section of a children’s home, where she was “repeatedly beaten” and “given street drugs,” Michele said. Sage ran away from the home, but the FBI found her in the grips of a sexual trafficking in Texas. Sage had again “been drugged, raped, beaten, and exploited.”

“Sage isn’t unique,” LaRock told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” on February 9, although “the degree to which she’s been violated is, hopefully, rare.”

Reports of schools allowing or encouraging minors to “socially transition” to another gender have trickled out, as outraged parents have taken legal action against the districts on PDE’s list. A coalition of parents sued Iowa’s Linn-Mar Community School District last summer. Last month, Amber Lavigne filed a lawsuit against the Great Salt Bay Community School in the coastal Maine village of Damariscotta — population 2,300 — after she found a chest binder in her 13-year-old daughter’s belongings. A social worker facilitated the child’s decision to identify as another gender, and the school withheld all information from her mother, according to her legal counsel. “The school never stopped trying to keep me in the dark at every turn, repeatedly stonewalling me when I tried to find out what was going on,” said an exasperated Lavigne, who is represented by the Goldwater Institute. “My parental rights aren’t up for debate: I deserve to know what’s happening to my child in school.”

“Counselors and teachers didn’t tell Sage’s family about the fact that she was transgender. And she got caught up in some horrific human trafficking issues, and they almost lost her,” Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) told a CNN townhall last Wednesday. “There’s a basic rule here, which is that children belong to parents — not to the state, not to schools, not to bureaucrats, but to parents.”

Last September, Youngkin enacted model school guidelines that affirm, “School personnel shall keep parents fully informed about all matters that may be reasonably expected to be important to a parent.” Parents may “determine (a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school, (b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender that differs from their child’s sex, or (c) whether their child expresses a gender that differs with their child’s sex while at school,” the guidelines add.

Despite Youngkin’s actions, the report lists seven school districts in Virginia that continue to hide social transition from parents.

To remedy the situation, LaRock introduced “Sage’s Law” (H.B. 2432), which requires school officials to contact parents if a child begins using names or pronouns not consistent with his or her sex. The bill passed the House of Delegates on February 6 by a narrow 50-48, party-line vote. (Democratic Delegate Cliff Hayes also intended to vote no.) It is currently under Senate consideration.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is taking steps to assure no American parent is frozen out of his or her child’s life decisions. Last week, House Republicans advanced a measure barring any federally funded elementary or middle school from changing a “minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name” on any school form, or allowing students to use the restrooms and changing facilities of the opposite sex. The House Education and the Workforce Committee adopted the measure — originally introduced as a separate bill, the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act, by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) — as an amendment to the Parents Bill of Rights (H.R. 5). Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 200).

Walberg, an ordained pastor who once worked for the Moody Bible Institute, found it “unconscionable that some believe that parents should be kept in the dark regarding gender transitions of their own children. He urged Congress to “ensure that schools do not hide important information about children from their own parents,” “increase transparency, and defend the God-given authority and rights of parents.”

President Joe Biden is all but certain to veto such a bill. The president’s now-inactive nonprofit, the Biden Foundation, partnered with Gender Spectrum, a group whose “Gender Support Plan” tells schools to have “contingencies in place” if parents find out their child is “being supported” against their will. Since taking office, Biden has said transgenderism reflects “the image of God.”

You may see PDE’s incomplete list of the school districts that have adopted anti-parental rights transgender policies here. The group asks citizens to report such policies to PDE.

“Frighteningly, this only begins to scratch the surface of what is taking place behind closed doors in America’s schools,” said Neily. “Without a doubt, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of others with similar policies on the books.”


Ben Johnson

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


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council

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.

10 Things to Know about the Silicon Valley Bank Collapse

This weekend was the most tumultuous for the banking sector since 2008, as an apparently prosperous, mid-sized bank completely collapsed. When the dust settled, federal regulators had taken over management of two banks while several others teetered on the brink.

Needless to say, the incident has deeply shaken Americans’ confidence in the banking industry. To complicate matters, most Americans are busy shuttling their kids to school and earning an honest day’s living (as they should be) — too busy to keep up with the cacophony of opinions firing around industry jargon amid rapidly developing facts. So, for those too gainfully employed to dig through the noise themselves, here are 10 things to know about the mini-crisis in the banking sector that occurred over the weekend.

1. Silicon Valley Bank exploded since 2020 to become the nation’s 16th largest bank.

As the name suggests, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was based in Santa Clara, California — otherwise known as Silicon Valley. It operated 17 branches in California and Massachusetts. This location, plus the bank’s startup friendly policies, meant that SVB was the bank of choice for many tech companies, particularly tech startups funded by venture capital, operating in Silicon Valley.

Over the past three years, SVB had more than tripled in size. It began January 2020 with $55 billion in deposits and ended December 2022 with $186 billion. Last week, it had $175 billion. Two factors contributed to its explosive growth. First, COVID lockdowns created a spike in demand for digital technologies, which is exactly what tech startups intend to provide. Second, trillions of dollars in irresponsible federal COVID spending left investors flush with cash to pour into tech startups. Most of the tech startups deposited their extra cash in SVB.

2. SVB over-invested in long-term public debt.

However, the dirt-cheap interest rates at the time made it hard for SVB to make all that dough rise. You’re likely aware that banks don’t bury your deposits in the ground like the worthless servant (Matthew 25:25-27); they lend most of it out again at interest, which is how banks stay in business. But SVB couldn’t lend all those billions of dollars out with everyone already flush with cash, so they opted instead to purchase long-term, U.S. government bonds and notes. SVB purchased $80 billion in 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, along with other public debt.

U.S. treasury notes, bills, and bonds are the primary way that the U.S. Treasury finances government deficit spending. These different securities (which differ from each other primarily in duration) are essentially IOUs that yield interest over time and can be redeemed at face value at a fixed future date. For instance, a 10-year Treasury note yields interest every six months and may be redeemed 10 years after it was issued. Once issued, these notes often change hands and are considered safe, reliable assets in an investment portfolio — which means they yield a low but certain return on investment.

Longer-term Treasury notes yield a higher return than shorter-term notes, due to uncertainty about future interest rates. For instance, when SVB was purchasing Treasury notes in 2020, 10-year notes were paying 1.5% interest, while short term notes were paying 0.25% interest. SVB opted to invest heavily in 10-year notes, which paid a higher yield.

Then, in 2022, the Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates to try and combat inflation. The Fed raised the target range for federal funds interest eight times in 12 months, from 0.00%-0.25% to 4.25%-4.50%. Suddenly, SVB’s 10-year loans paying 1.5% interest weren’t so lucrative anymore.

Around the same time, venture capital funding for tech startups dried up, and those companies (many of which take years to become profitable, if they ever do) began to draw on the funds they had stored up in SVB. To cover these withdrawals, SVB had to sell its long-term Treasury notes. But because market interest rates have risen, and the Treasury notes’ interest rate remains fixed, SVB couldn’t find a buyer willing to pay full price for the notes, and it had to sell $21 billion in assets at a loss of $1.8 billion.

3. SVB experienced an old-fashioned bank run.

Once it announced the losses, some investors smelled trouble and began to pull out even more money. Customers eventually withdrew an eye-popping $42 billion, a quarter of all deposits. In a new twist on an old-fashioned bank run, Silicon Valley Bank simply ran out of money to give customers on Friday, and had to shut its doors. SVB was the largest bank failure since Washington Mutual in 2008.

Andy Kessler, analyst with The Wall Street Journal, blamed SVB managers for making three critical mistakes: reaching for yield just before interest rates were set to rise, misreading its customers’ cash needs, and not selling equity to cover losses. “You’re really only allowed one mistake; more proved fatal,” he said.

In response to the bank failures of the Great Recession, Congress in 2010 passed legislation authorizing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure “$250,000 per depositor, per insured bank” in case of collapse. (Congress created the FDIC in 1933, in response to the Great Depression, as part of FDR’s New Deal.) The goal was to eliminate or mitigate bank runs by creating a safety net to protect consumers.

However, most of SVB’s depositors (“something like 85% to 90%,” wrote The WSJ’s Editorial Board) had deposits that exceeded that threshold. That’s because most of SVB’s clients were companies or wealthy Silicon Valley types, and not ordinary Americans. The streaming company Roku, for example, had $487 million (26% of its cash) deposited in SVB. Unusually for a post-Great Recession bank, the vast majority of money deposited in SVB was not insured by the FDIC.

4. SVB run takes out Signature Bank, hits other banks hard.

SVB’s abrupt fall hit other medium-sized banks like a shock wave. The hardest hit was New York City-based Signature Bank, another medium-sized bank with many corporate clients above the FDIC insurance threshold. At the end of 2022, Signature had 40 locations and $88 billion deposits. But customers withdrew $10 billion from Signature on Friday, forcing the bank into the third largest bank closure in U.S. history.

Another bank to take a hit was First Republic, a San Francisco-based bank around the same size as SVB, which also had a high proportion of uninsured stocks. Its stock fell hard (as of this writing, it is down more than 60% in value) after it announced that it had gained access to $70 million in loans from the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase. While the announcement likely means the bank will not fail, it also leaves investors wondering whether it was about to fail.

Bank stocks suffered across the board. The KBW NASDAQ index of commercial banks was down 11%, as even the largest, most secure banks took a hit. Some regional bank stocks like PacWest Bancorp, Zions Bancorp, and Comerica were down more than 20%. Many of the stocks grew so volatile that exchanges temporarily froze trading on them. The stock plunge could affect banks’ ability to raise money by selling shares, if they need to do so as a last resort.

5. Feds bail out all depositors, even those above insurance limit.

Federal regulators scrambled over the weekend to respond to the Friday collapse of SVB and Signature Bank. California and New York bank regulators placed SVB and Signature Bank, respectively, into receivership with the FDIC. The FDIC fired the previous executive teams and will essentially run the insolvent banks until it can find private buyers.

On Sunday, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC issued a joint statement on the bank failures, announcing that they were “taking decisive actions to protect the U.S. economy by strengthening public confidence in our banking system.”

“Depositors will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13,” they promised, but “Shareholders and certain unsecured debtholders will not be protected.”

“No losses will be borne by the taxpayer,” the joint statement continued. “Any losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund to support uninsured depositors will be recovered by a special assessment on banks, as required by law.”

6. Federal response creates incentives for bad behavior.

This last declaration from the federal agencies amounts to the government taking money from banks that did not collapse, in order to pay off the uninsured deposits from the banks that did collapse. National Review’s Philip Klein wrote,

“Defenders of this decision will try to make it seem as if it’s an extraordinary, one-off decision by regulators, but in practice, it has created a huge moral hazard by signaling that the $250,000 FDIC limit on deposit insurance does not exist in practice. The clear signal it sends is that when financial institutions make poor decisions, the government will swoop in to clean up the mess.”

“Moral hazard” is an economic concept that describes how people will engage in riskier behavior if they are protected from the consequences.

7. Federal government compounds bad policymaking with more bad policymaking.

While SVB executives bear some of the blame for the bank’s sudden collapse, poor federal policymaking played a role, too.

COVID-era lockdowns and excessive deficit spending — including direct payments to individuals kept from working by government policy — helped to create the cash glut that led SVB to grow too big, too fast, with nowhere to reinvest its deposits. These panic-driven polices, which didn’t even make sense at the time, occurred in both 2020 and 2021, under both a Republican and a Democratic president, and many of the spending packages received bipartisan support.

This cash glut also caused inflation, which the Federal Reserve has tried to fight by raising interest rates. Despite the bank collapses, on Monday stock traders said there was an 85% probability that the Fed will raise rates another 0.25% when it meets next week. Like a water skier lifted airborne by one wave and body-slammed by the next, SVB exploded with massive deposits, only to wipe out when massive withdrawals combined with massive interest rate hikes.

Now, federal agencies propose to clean up the damage by guaranteeing uninsured deposits, a signal that these deposits are virtually insured.

8. President Biden signals confidence in banking system.

President Biden briefly addressed the banking issue Monday morning, “Thanks to the quick action of my administration the past few days, America is going to have confidence that the banking system is safe. Your deposits will be there when you need them.”

9. U.S. federal government can do little to boost confidence in banks.

Throughout the 21st century, the U.S. federal government has essentially pledged itself as the backstop for any collapse of the financial sector.

That policy only works so long as the U.S. federal government remains solvent. In a report last month, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the U.S. government will spend more money in interest payments on an ever-growing national debt than on national defense by 2028; it also projected that Social Security will become insolvent in 2033. Meanwhile, a divided Congress is at loggerheads about raising the debt ceiling, which the government hit on January 19, with Democrats and Republicans at odds about whether spending cuts should go along with a debt ceiling increase.

So, it’s worth wondering how much pledges by the U.S. federal government can boost credibility in the banking system. In fact, the latest (2022) Gallup public opinion poll found that a higher percentage of Americans have a “Great deal” or “Quite a lot” of confidence in banks (27%) than in Congress (7%) or the Presidency (23%).

10. Worldly wealth is fleeting, but a Christian can trust in God.

Reading an in-depth explainer about the collapse or tottering of several bank institutions and an emergency response from the federal government has the potential to provoke fear or anxiety in anyone, particularly a person who is cautious by nature. But while there’s room for prudence, a biblical response will not get stuck in that rut.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money,” Jesus told his followers (Matthew 6:24). Clearly Jesus means that we should serve God instead of money. But what reasons does he give?

Jesus had just said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Earthly treasures have a tendency to up and leave.

Proverbs makes the same point, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:4-5).

Building your life on worldly wealth is “like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Matthew 7:26). It might look just fine while all goes well, but when “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house,” Jesus said, “it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27). By contrast, said Jesus, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock,” which “did not fall in the storm, “because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).

Are you trusting your future happiness to a bank’s survival, or to your heavenly Father?

Jesus gives another reason to serve God rather than money: the kindness of God will supply the needs of his children. Consider the birds and the lilies, he said. “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?” (Matthew 6:30).

“Therefore,” Jesus applies the lesson, “do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33).


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Woke Priorities Borrowed Trouble for Belly-Up Bank


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

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.




Dr. Rich Swier is a “conservative with a conscience.” Rich is a 23 year Army veteran who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his years of service. Additionally, he was awarded two Bronze Stars with “V” for Valor and Heroism in ground combat, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry while serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Dr. Rich now publishes the the “ report”. A daily review of news, issues and commentary!

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Clare M. Lopez is the founder and president of Lopez Liberty LLC. She was a career operations officer with the CIA and publishes widely as a strategic policy and intelligence expert. Clare is also a Senor Advisory Board Member Near East Center for Strategic Engagement.

TOPIC: Origins of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic!

Great news from Washington about American families

There is hope for the United States Congress.


It had to happen.

At long last, there is a group in the United States Congress devoted exclusively to the welfare of the American family.

On Tuesday, March 7, Representatives Mary Miller of IllinoisDiana Harshbarger of Tennessee, and Brian Babin of Texas officially launched the Congressional Family Caucus.

This is an extraordinary event of momentous importance that will have an impact for years to come. It must. The American family has been battered by a callous and intrusive runaway government collaborating with a corrupt woke corporate culture that values flesh-and-blood human beings solely for their economic utility.

While the Big Government-Big Business axis thrives, the average citizen and their families, the bedrock of America, are taking it on the chin. That must change. The historic March 7 announcement is a step in that direction.

The press release announcing formation of the Congressional Family Caucus speaks for itself. Here it is, exactly as released, bold font and all:

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-IL) will be joined by Reps. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Brian Babin (R-TX) in launching the Congressional Family Caucus.

The Congressional Family Caucus will serve to defend the natural family from attempts by the radical left to erode this core foundation of our society. Reps. Miller, Harshbarger, and Babin will initiate legislation favorable to American families and discuss the effects major legislation will have on the family.

“For years, we have witnessed a concerted effort by activists on the Left to abolish the natural family,” Miller said. “Today, I am launching the Congressional Family Caucus because I believe we have a moral obligation as servant representatives to protect and conserve the family. The natural family, a man and a woman committed for life to each other and to their children, is essential for a nation to prosper because the family is the root of self-government, service, community, and personal responsibility. I am honored to be joined by my co-chairs, Representatives Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee and Brian Babin of Texas, in our efforts to protect the family.”

Congresswoman Miller spoke on the House Floor on the creation of the Congressional Family Caucus. You can view her here.

Co-Chairs Reps. Diana Harshbarger and Brian Babin released the following statements on the launch of the Congressional Family Caucus:

“As you look around and take inventory of the struggles in our nation, the vast majority can be traced back to the demise of the family unit,” said Congresswoman Harshbarger. “Children can have no greater inheritance than the godly legacy left to them by their parents. I am proud to co-found the Congressional Family Caucus to promote policies that support and strengthen families.”

“The natural family, ordained by God, is the foundation upon which our country was built,” said Congressman Babin. “The Congressional Family Caucus will promote policies that are God-driven and family-focused. Our goal is to conserve and protect American families and ensure they prosper for years to come.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Why do we need the Congressional Family Caucus? For generations the American family has been under all-out attack. Debased entertainment, a debilitating social welfare system, callous manipulation by the welfare-warfare state (including Big Tech), onerous taxation, and the mainstreaming of depravity and vulgarity are assault weapons in the anti-family arsenal. Is this intentional? Conspiracy? Doesn’t matter. The fact is that traditional family values have massive support but little representation in Washington where the laws are made. So there needs to be an organized effort within the corridors of power to remind politicians that there is more to serving their constituents than shilling for big business.

As a former Capitol Hill staffer and lobbyist, I’ve seen it up close and personal. The sad reality is that we don’t have a representative government of the people but rather a government of special interests. Time and again well-funded lobbies get what they want irrespective of election results.

In an earlier piece I stated:

The family has more of a stake in society than any racial, ethnic, business, professional or educational lobby. Families are the building blocks of society upon which the prosperity and well-being of all else depends. You can’t fool Mother Nature.

So there needs to be a family lobby, a coalition of cooperating public interest groups, NGOs and the like that don’t let up fighting for family-friendly legislation. In American politics the squeaky wheel gets the grease. All the gargantuan special interests have lobbies. Look at how well Big Tech, Big Pharma, the constellation of well-funded so-called “social justice” organizations and defense contractors make out.

Now, at long last, there is a Congressional Family Caucus in the House of Representatives. Let’s get something going in the US Senate as well.

I would indeed be remiss not to give thanks and a tip of the hat to the American Family Project for their diligent efforts to help bring this about. (Full disclosure: yours truly serves on the American Family Project Board of Directors.) Long hours pounding the pavement and forging connections to educate public officials about the grievous challenges facing American families have paid off. Again, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Thank you, Representatives Miller, Harshbarger, and Babin for your courage in stepping up with this bold initiative. Through the years I’ve seen a good number of idealistic, well-intentioned souls arrive in Congress only to be coopted by the system or become pathologically fixated on their public image to the point that they truckle – go along to get along – rather than do anything to incur the wrath of malevolent woke media types. It takes guts to stick up for the traditional American family these days.

The next time you hear that we must have compassion for vandalous rioters that destroy our public spaces, that immigration is great for the economy, that globalism is the wave of the future, that we must spend billions on faraway wars that have nothing to do with our national security, and that discredited government agencies are only trying to protect us, take stock and think of the family, the interests of which the ruling oligarchy has subordinated to greed.

The future of our civilization depends on the well-being of the family.


Louis T. March

Louis T. March has a background in government, business and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family… More by Louis T. March.

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

NSW Premier puts families at centre of election pitch

This will be the first policy initiative of its kind in Australia.

The New South Wales state election is just around the corner and the major parties are putting forward their final pitches to the voters.

Last weekend the Liberal party, currently in government and led by Premier Dominic Perrottet, launched its big family-friendly policy, the New South Wales Kids Future Fund. The policy is based on a similar Canadian initiative.

It was a notable announcement — the first policy of its kind in Australia. The ABC explained the policy this way:

If re-elected on March 25, the Coalition has promised to create savings funds for every child and kick in the first A$400.

Every year the child’s family puts another $400 in, the government will match it.

The earnings are not taxed and once the child turns 18, they can withdraw the money but they must use it on education or housing.

Perrottet touts the long-term thinking behind the policy, saying it will help a new generation “build the foundations of financial security so they are ready for success in the NSW of tomorrow”.

The Labor opposition says the policy will only help wealthy families and will do nothing to help the cost of living crisis hitting families right now.

Indeed, much of the criticism the policy has attracted is focused on the same concern – that poorer families don’t have the spare cash to put into an account for the future and wealthy families too, leaving the poorer kids even further behind when they turn 18 compared to their more affluent counterparts.

While the NSW government has proposed a mechanism for less well-off families to still get $200 each year into their child’s account based on their eligibility for certain government support, the criticism of the policy is not unreasonable.

After all, few policies that involve direct payments to families won’t benefit some families over others. And more money that goes directly to the kids is less money going into the pockets of education bureaucrats and social service NGOs.

Further, policy that incentivises parents to find a way to think less short-term and invest in their kid’s long-term future should be encouraged. One of the great underreported social and economic causes of inequality is family breakdown. It dilutes wealth, creates more demand for housing, destabilises the day to day life of the kids affected and can often be a symptom of adults putting their needs before their kids.

Not that the Perrottet proposal is about family breakdown, but a bit of a nudge towards putting kids first over the long term is not a bad thing. And if, as a result, it makes parents think a bit more carefully about how they invest in their kids’ futures, that’s even better.


Samuel John

Samuel John is a Sydney-based writer and commentator. He has previously worked as a political staffer, ministerial adviser, and in government relations. More by Samuel John.


Great news from Washington about American families

Transgender tide may be turning

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

Treasury Department To Hand Over Hunter Biden’s Banking Records

The Treasury Department will allow members of the House Oversight and Government Accountability Committee to review Suspicious Activities Reports (SARs) detailing Hunter Biden’s bank records, committee chairman James Comer of Kentucky said Tuesday.

The Oversight Committee initially requested in January that Treasury officials provide Biden’s SARs, which are taken by banks in accordance with federal law when deposits or withdrawals exceed $10,000 or may indicate criminal activity. Assistant Treasury Secretary for Legislative Affairs Jonathan Davidson responded that the Oversight Committee did not identify a purpose for the request. Comer believes that Treasury holds more than 150 reports on Biden.

“After two months of dragging their feet, the Treasury Department is finally providing us with access to the suspicious activity reports for the Biden family and their associates’ business transactions. It should never have taken us threatening to hold a hearing and conduct a transcribed interview with an official under the penalty of perjury for Treasury to finally accommodate part of our request,” Comer said in a statement.

The Treasury Department changed a rule to limit the ability of minority party members to request SARs, Comer asserted in July 2022. He argued that the department made the change to limit Republican investigations into Hunter Biden.

“We are going to continue to use bank documents and suspicious activity reports to follow the money trail to determine the extent of the Biden family’s business schemes, if Joe Biden is compromised by these deals, and if there is a national security threat. If Treasury tries to stonewall our investigation again, we will continue to use tools at our disposal to compel compliance,” Comer added.

The Lion Hall Group, a company controlled by Hunter’s uncle James Biden, paid Hunter Biden a $100,000 monthly retainer. Those payments were reportedly flagged, as was a $100,000 payment from Chinese billionaire Ye Jianming to Owasco, Hunter Biden’s law firm.

Large payments to “politically-exposed people” like Hunter Biden can be part of “malign foreign influence campaigns,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray testified in August 2022.

“It starts to shade into a blend of what we call malign foreign influence with potential public corruption. And it’s something we take seriously,” he told Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.



Congressional correspondent.

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

NetZero Reality Coalition Forms Scores First Big Win

CFACT is proud to be a founding member of the new NetZero Reality Coalition which aims to push back against the growing tide of leftist “green” mandates being foisted on our energy infrastructure.

The NetZero Reality Coalition (NZRC) includes free market think tanks, energy experts and legislators all dedicated to preserving the reliable, affordable energy we take for granted.

NZRC stands in opposition to leftist “NetZero” advocates who seek to tear down energy sources that work, while pushing energy sources, such as intermittent wind and solar, that are not up to the challenge of powering the world’s needs. Their radical climate and energy agenda is destabilizing our grid, causing blackouts and power disruptions, and driving up costs for average, hardworking Americans.

It was high time to start pushing back!

The first such opening salvo of this important coalition has come in Utah. There, NZRC presented information that led to a ground-breaking “Energy Security Bill” that passed the Utah legislature. This bill is now on Governor Spencer Cox’s desk awaiting his signature.

The Utah energy bill was submitted by Representative Ken Ivory.  Take a look at the press release we posted to

HB425 underscores that Utah supports and promotes both renewable and nonrenewable energy systems – including coal, gas, oil shale, nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and other sources. It clearly states that Utah has both a “duty” and “sovereign authority” to defend all necessary electricity generation from “external regulatory interference.”

The legislation thus requires “at least” 180-day prior notification of any decommissioning, disposal, retirement or closure of electricity generation facilities and equipment, whether proposed or being “forced” due to federal mandates or the high costs of compliance with federal regulations. It gives the Attorney General authority to take legal or other actions to defend the state’s energy interests.

Wind and solar profiteers and their strange Green bedfellows believe that if they destroy our reliable energy grid, somehow better energy will come.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  European countries such as Germany and Spain have already invested billions on wind and solar.  The result?  Flickering, unreliable power grids, soaring prices, sham solutions such as “biomass,” and no meaningful decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Consider “biomass.”  Did anyone genuinely believe that cutting down North American trees, grinding them into pellets, shipping the pellets to ports and loading them onto diesel powered freighters to burn in Europe was clean, green, or somehow good for the climate?  To the NetZero crowd, at least, that actually counts as “renewable!” 

We cannot leave our energy to NetZero zealots or the businesses shamelessly using them to cash in.

The NetZero Reality Coalition has reported for duty just in time. 

Utah was just the start. Here’s to more energy reality victories ahead!

For nature and people too.

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

Republican Candidates for President Asked Six Questions on Ukraine—Their Answers Will Shock You

Tucker Carlson decided to send six questions about the Ukrainian/Russian conflict. Amazingly the candidates responded with insightful answers.

Here are the six questions:

  1. Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?
  2. What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it?
  3. What is the limit of funding and materiel you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine?
  4. Should the United States support regime change in Russia?
  5. Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective?
  6. Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?


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Replies to the Six Questions about the War in Ukraine

Tucker then posted each candidates answers on Twitter. Here their answers:

President Donald J. Trump.

Former President @realDonaldTrump answers our Ukraine questionnaire:

“Like inflation and numerous other self inflicted wounds and mistakes made over the past two years, Russia would definitely not have raided and attacked Ukraine if I was your President. In fact, for four years they didn’t attack, nor did they have any intention of doing so as long as I was in charge. But the sad fact is that, due to a new lack of respect for the U.S., caused at least partially by our incompetently handled pullout from Afghanistan, and a very poor choice of words by Biden in explaining U.S. requests and intentions (Biden’s first statement was that Russia could have some of Ukraine, no problem!), the bloody and expensive assault began, and continues to this day. That is all history, but how does it end, and it must end, NOW! Start by telling Europe that they must pay at least equal to what the U.S. is paying to help Ukraine. They must also pay us, retroactively, the difference. At a staggering 125 Billion Dollars, we are paying 4 to 5 times more, and this fight is far more important for Europe than it is for the U.S. Next, tell Ukraine that there will be little more money coming from us, UNLESS RUSSIA CONTINUES TO PROSECUTE THE WAR. The President must meet with each side, then both sides together, and quickly work out a deal. This can be easily done if conducted by the right President. Both sides are weary and ready to make a deal. The meetings should start immediately, there is no time to spare. The death and destruction MUST END NOW! Properly executed, this terrible and tragic War, a War that never should have started in the first place, will come to a speedy end. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”

Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?

“No, but it is for Europe. But not for the United States. That is why Europe should be paying far more than we are, or equal.”

What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it?

“Our objective in Ukraine is to help and secure Europe, but Europe isn’t helping itself. They are relying on the United States to largely do it for them. That is very unfair to us. Especially since Europe takes advantage of us on trade and other things.”

What is the limit of funding and materiel you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine?

“That would strongly depend on my meeting with President Putin and Russia. Russia would have never attacked Ukraine if I were President, not even a small chance. Would have never happened if I were President, but it has. I would have to see what the direction in which Russia is headed. I want them to stop, and they will, depending on the one that delivers that message. But with everything said, Europe must pay. The United States has spent much more than Europe, and that is not fair, just, or equitable. If I were President, that horrible war would end in 24 hours, or less. It can be done, and it must be done– now!”

Should the United States support regime change in Russia?

“No. We should support regime change in the United States, that’s far more important. The Biden administration are the ones who got us into this mess.”

Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective?

“No, they have not been effective. Just the opposite. They drove Russia, China and Iran into an unthinkable situation.”

Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?

“It depends on who the President of the United States is. At the moment, with Biden as president, absolutely yes. He says and does all the wrong things at the wrong time.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor @RonDeSantisFL answers our Ukraine questionnaire:

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them. The Biden administration’s virtual “blank check” funding of this conflict for “as long as it takes,” without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges.

Without question, peace should be the objective. The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table. These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable.

A policy of “regime change” in Russia (no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists) would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin. History indicates that Putin’s successor, in this hypothetical, would likely be even more ruthless. The costs to achieve such a dubious outcome could become astronomical.

The Biden administration’s policies have driven Russia into a de facto alliance with China. Because China has not and will not abide by the embargo, Russia has increased its foreign revenues while China benefits from cheaper fuel. Coupled with his intentional depletion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and support for the Left’s Green New Deal, Biden has further empowered Russia’s energy-dominated economy and Putin’s war machine at Americans’ expense.

Our citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine.

We cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland, especially as tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year from narcotics smuggled across our open border and our weapons arsenals critical for our own security are rapidly being depleted.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence

Former VP @Mike_Pence answers our Ukraine questionnaire

Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?

“When the United States supports Ukraine in their fight against Putin, we follow the Reagan doctrine, and we support those who fight our enemies on their shores, so we will not have to fight them ourselves. There is no room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party. This is not America’s war, but if Putin is not stopped and the sovereign nation of Ukraine is not restored quickly, he will continue to move toward our NATO allies, and America would then be called upon to send our own.

Vladimir Putin has revealed his true nature, a dictator consumed conquest and willing to spend thousands of lives for his commitment to reestablish the Greater Russian Empire. Anyone who thinks Putin will stop at Ukraine’s border is not owning up to the reality of who Putin is. We need to be clear-eyed about the Russian threat: that Georgia, the Crimea, and Ukraine are merely at the top of Putin’s lists, they are not the only countries he’s aiming for. And by supporting Ukraine, we have told China we will support Taiwan, should they follow Russia in an attempt to invade.”

What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it?

“Victory for Ukraine, where Ukraine’s sovereignty and peace are restored as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the Biden administration slow walked aid to Ukraine, every response has been too slow from providing intelligence to Ukraine, to hammering Russia with sanctions, to providing military equipment and fighter jets to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s victory should be an unmistakable, undeniable defeat for Russia and its allies.”

What is the limit of funding and material you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine?

“As a fiscal conservative, I do not believe in sending blank checks and want oversight of government spending at home and abroad. But withholding or reducing support will have consequences: If Putin is not stopped now and he moves into NATO-controlled territory, the cost will be far greater.”

Should the United States support regime change in Russia?

“That is a better question for the thousands of Russian citizens jailed for protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As many as 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, that question should be asked to those families grieving their loss, ask if they’d support a regime change.”

Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective?

“The Trump-Pence administration established a devastating sanctions program and was the toughest US administration on Russia since the Cold War. Sanctions against Russia could have had even more painful consequences if the Biden administration moved quicker with new sanctions and western Europe had heeded US warnings to look elsewhere for energy sources.

Russia’s economy and currency are not stronger than before the war. The Russian economy is in free-fall. The Russian ruble is still afloat because of the extremely costly measures Russia has taken to keep their currency at pre-war levels in the face of sanctions. Russia is currently being propped up by China, and if China withdraws their support, Putin could run out of money by as soon as 2024; Russia is not in a strong economic position. This war is costing Russia their economy, their military prowess, their position on the world stage, and it’s costing lives.”

Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?

“Putin is still “the small and bullying leader of Russia,” his talk of nuclear war is a bullying tactic that he used at the start of the invasion. But Putin should know the United States will not be bullied. This administration has not led with strength on the world stage, but America is still a nation that believes peace comes through strength.”

Candidate Vivek G. Ramaswamy

2024 GOP Presidential Candidate @VivekGRamaswamy answers our Ukraine questionnaire

Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?

“No, it is not “vital.” Rather, this is a stark reminder of what is a vital American national strategic interest: national energy independence. This war is a symptom of America’s lack of self sufficiency. Putin is a tyrant and started this needless war, but he did so because we created incentives that tipped the balance of his decision-making in favor of invading: if he knows the West relies on him to provide oil and gas (because the U.S. and Western Europe have self-inflicted limitations on their own ability or willingness to produce), then Putin is in a stronger position–and that led him to think he could win. The Biden Administration weakened our energy security, which created the conditions for Putin to invade Ukraine, which is of course an undesired outcome. Biden, in turn, responded by calling for more oil and gas production, pretty much everywhere in the world other than in the U.S. itself.

The more America is reliant on foreign energy and oil, the less leverage we have with petro dictators.

The Europeans need to be the main upholders of European security. The Europeans, starting with the Germans, need to do more for themselves. Unfortunately, the Germans chose to ‘go green’ on energy, and so they’re looking to us to shoulder the load on Ukraine, as well as defense in general. We spend close to 4 percent of our GDP on defense, and the Germans spend barely over 1 percent. Ukraine is in their backyard, not ours. If the Germans and other European countries can’t or won’t produce their own energy, they should buy natural gas from Louisiana and Texas—and from Pennsylvania and my home state of Ohio.

Foreign policy is all about prioritization, my top two foreign policy priorities are to Declare Independence from Communist China and to annihilate the Mexican drug cartels.

The main thing should be the main thing: focus on China. China wants the Ukraine war to last as long as possible to deplete Western military capacity before invading Taiwan. It’s working: we think we appear stronger by helping Ukraine, but we actually become weaker vis-à-vis China.

We’ve spent 20 years droning people in caves in the Middle East and Central Asia and have little to show for it. We should be taking out the people who have caused the death of more than 100,000 Americans every year–the Mexican drug cartels.”

What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it?

“Our objective in Ukraine should be to respect any prior legal treaty commitments the U.S. has made, so as to preserve our credibility when it comes to commitments in the future, which I believe we have already fulfilled – and indeed gone beyond. (I make a clear distinction between commitments to which Congress was made aware and approved, and whatever secret deals the Biden administration might have cooked up.)

The Budapest Memorandum, signed by Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the U.K., was supposed to assure Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons, a massive stockpile, and received security protections–but not an alliance or pledge to go to war, just a commitment to respect the sovereignty of existing borders. Whether that was the right decision to make in 1994 is a point of reasonable debate, but it is in our long-term self interest to stick by our word. And we have.

But now it’s time to move on.”

“A key objective has already been achieved by revealing Russia to be a “paper tiger.” Russia’s military capabilities are far weaker than the U.S. defense establishment previously had assumed (their track record of being blatantly wrong about “intelligence” assessments only grows each year): recall how they predicted that Ukraine would fall within days–the same defense establishment who wrongly predicted that Kabul would not fall to the Taliban. Time to find a different term for our “intelligence experts.”

Our second objective is to deter Putin from aggression against other European nations, including NATO powers. But we can achieve that goal in part by guaranteeing America’s energy independence, which our own President has unilaterally undermined. It is stunning that Biden lobbied against the EU adopting its Russian oil ban, while simultaneously sending $113 billion in aid to Ukraine to fight against Russia. In other words: Biden helps fund Putin’s war machine with one hand, and yet he sends money to Ukraine with the other. More importantly, if you want to deter Putin from invading Poland, then move the idle tens of thousands of troops we have from Germany into Poland to send a signal – not by fighting a war in Ukraine.

A third objective is nudging—shaking, if necessary—the Europeans to take care of themselves. I believe in America First 2.0, and we should at least get the Europeans to Europe First 1.0. We actively undermine this very objective by offering a bottomless pit of aid to Ukraine.”

What is the limit of funding and material you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine?

“Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s wise to telegraph our ends, and I believe the facts in January 2025 may be very different from where they are today. But let me be clear: if I were president right now, I would limit any further funding or support to Ukraine.

Ukraine isn’t in the top five of American foreign policy priorities right now, and yet merely questioning whether the money we’ve spent on the war is being done effectively or perhaps even prolonging the war is seen as disloyal. We get accused by both Democrats and Republicans of being “Putin sympathizers.” The Washington uni-party and defense contractors want this conflict to go on forever; for the sake of the global economy and peace, we should be doing everything we can to end it tomorrow.

As I mentioned, Biden gives $113 billion in aid to Ukraine while he lobbied against the EU ban on Russian oil imports on the other hand. The U.S. has shot itself in the foot with its own production capabilities. It’s unclear who wins this game, but the loser is clear: America.

I’ll say again: the Europeans need to do more, a lot more — it’s their backyard, it’s their borders. The Europeans have gotten used to freeloading, and we know what happens to freeloaders — they become dependent, even lazy. We can’t be the nanny of Europe forever; we have too much to take care of here at home. We have a swiss-cheese of a southern border that pours in fentanyl killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. It’s time to secure our border before taking care of someone else’s. This would be an appropriate and morally justified use of military force: secure our southern border and annihilate the drug cartels responsible for countless American deaths on our own soil.

We’ve discovered a big problem on our end—the weakness of our industrial base. I’m disturbed by reports that our aid to Ukraine has drained away munitions and other material that we could potentially need for our own defense.”

“There is opportunity cost in depleting these defense resources–especially in protecting our own soil and border from Mexican cartels or in the case of Communist China. Critics of this view would say that these defense capabilities are different–that we need enhanced naval capabilities to counter China and defend Taiwan. That’s a hubristic view that we shouldn’t indulge when we have major future unknowns–opportunity costs are opportunity costs, period.”

Should the United States support regime change in Russia?

“No. We’ve seen this movie before–Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, the list goes on. History shows the U.S. is abysmal at effectuating regime change. And, even when we do, we usually end up regretting it. Regime change is riddled with unintended consequences. The bigger risk we need to worry about is driving Putin into Xi’s hands. Our policies are having precisely that effect right now.”

Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective?

“Clearly not. Russia is stronger because of higher oil and gas revenue owing to higher prices. The lesson for the U.S. and the West should be to abandon the climate cult that shackles the West while leaving Russia and China untouched. We restrict our own energy while the Russians and Chinese go pedal-to-the-metal on their own energy, including coal. The Biden administration jovially sacrifices our energy dominance on the altar of green goals—some mythical target in the far future that the world will never hit. As President I will end that foolish and self-destructive game.”

Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?

“The risk of nuclear war goes up the more that China begins to back Russia – which is happening now before our eyes. This is the #1 risk factor to the U.S. taking an aggressive posture towards Russia while going soft on China: we drive Putin straight into Xi Jinping’s hands.

The foreign policy establishment has demonstrated weakness time and time again when it comes to Russia–including in our nuclear arms negotiations with the Russian Federation, which continues even now. Putin and the Russians, and the Soviets before them, not only brazenly violated every nuclear arms control treaty we have with them, but the U.S. gives up any semblance of negotiating leverage. It’s humiliating. The Trump Administration, rightly, began to walk away from the New START Treaty as the Biden Administration swooped in and stopped that process, squandering all negotiating power and absurdly signed a five-year extension.

Russia may be a third-world gas station with an economy the size of Pennsylvania. But, they are a third world gas station with more nuclear warheads than any other nation on the planet, including the U.S. The global defense establishment must dig its head out of the sand and buck up to the fact that China, who is not constrained by any nuclear arms treaty, is secretly building up its nuclear stockpile. They are nearing nuclear parity.

For these reasons, it serves US national security interests to move ahead with full-spectrum missile defense to protect US soil. We cannot afford a bottomless pit of military spending and need to focus on the priorities that actually advance our national defense interests.”

South Dakota Governor Kristin Noem

South Dakota Governor @govkristinoem answers our Ukraine questionnaire:

Q: Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?

A: “The primary external threat to the United States in Communist China. Our opposition to Russia has heightened this threat for a number of reasons. One, it’s pushing Russia into an alliance with China – meaning Russia may soon draw from China’s large weapon arsenal. Two, we’re weakening our own military by sending weapons to a corrupt country. And three, we’re taking our eyes off the ball and allowing China to put favors in their bank. This should be Europe’s fight, not ours. We should not waste taxpayer dollars at the risk of nuclear war.”

Q: What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it?

A: “The American people didn’t get us into this war – Joe Biden did. Biden has this fantasy that he can do the same kind of thing to Russia that Ronald Reagan did to the Soviet Union; that, somehow, through American military weight, we’re going to bring Putin to his knees. His fantasy is wasting a lot of American money and killing too many people.

If we had a President who pursued peace through strength, Putin never would have dared to invade Ukraine. The only way to avoid these kinds of conflicts is to project strength. That’s why voters must remove Biden and the Democrats from office.”

Q: What is the limit of funding and materiel you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine?

A: “We’ve already over-extended ourselves in our largesse to Ukraine. And the Ukrainian government is not made up of angels – they have a long history of corruption scandals, and recent news indicates that this issue is ongoing.

The federal government is closing in on $200 billion in aid to Ukraine. We haven’t spent that much to protect our border in the last 5 years combined. We must question whether we should prop up a corrupt regime to our own financial detriment.”

Q: Should the United States support regime change in Russia?

A: “Not at this time, as it could lead to an even more destabilized Europe and cause escalation up the nuclear ladder.”

Q: Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective?

A: “The United States has come to rely far too heavily on financial sanctions as a weapon of deterrence. Now, nations that hate America are consciously moving away from the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Sanctions against China, Iran, and Russia have bolstered the Russian ruble and enabled China to establish trade in Chinese money rather than in US dollars.

One of the worst side effects of these sanctions has been the skyrocketing cost of oil and natural gas in America and around the world. Russia is selling less of its oil and gas, but they are doing so at a much higher price.

It’s counterfactual to say that Russia’s economy is stronger in the wake of the war. The more appropriate phrase here is “more resilient.” Russia has ridden out the sanctions remarkably well, but its economy remains weak. And it’ll get sucked into the global recession that it helped cause.”

Q: Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?

A: “The Biden regime is taking us quickly up the escalatory ladder with a series of provocative actions and statements. We cannot back down from any legitimate threat that Putin makes against the United States. We are closer now to the use of tactical nuclear weapons than we have ever been. That would be what Putin would use first. This is not about dropping “the big one” on New York or Los Angeles. Putin would slaughter thousands of souls in a contained fighting environment.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Governor @GregAbbott_TX on Ukraine:

“President Biden’s blank check foreign policy in Ukraine has drawn nothing but ridicule and disdain from our adversaries and has diverted funding from essential needs in the United States. Throwing money at Ukraine with no accountability or objective is clearly failing. Worse is that President Biden’s approach to Ukraine has been at the expense of underfunding, or ignoring, priorities at home. Before he sends any more money or assets to Ukraine’s border, he must enforce our immigration laws and secure our southern border. As Governor of Texas, I am focused on responding to this Biden-made border crisis and delivering real results for Texans this legislative session.”

Senator Tim Scott

@SenatorTimScott on Ukraine:

“You have Americans who are frustrated because of the lack of leadership on domestic issues that only exacerbates the situation we see today in Ukraine. Here’s where we need the president to lead: what is our nation’s vital interest in Ukraine? And it should start with degrading the Russian military is in our vital national interest. In addition to that, we are not going to simply degrade the Russian military. We are gonna have accountability for every single dollar spent. There is no such thing as a blank check. We are going to make sure that there’s accountability. And the last point I’d make on the Ukraine front is that China has chosen a side. They are partnering, they are partnering with Putin, which means it’s enmity with us. China is a risk that continues to rise, an adversarial position they have taken against the American people. We should hear what they’re telling us. Believe them and act accordingly.”

Chris Christie

Former @GovChristie on Ukraine:

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a national security issue that threatens our alliances and our standing in the world. Our objective is to assist Ukraine sufficiently to enable them to defeat Russian forces and restore their sovereignty. This effort is not about regime change in Russia; it is about respecting the sovereignty of free nations. Also, this is a proxy war being waged by Russia’s ally China against the United States. Due to their assistance to Russia and China’s recent action in the Middle East, it would be naïve to call this anything but Chinese aggression. Our allies and our enemies are watching us. It is on us to assist our democratic allies in defending themselves against authoritarian aggression. If we do not, this aggression will spread and the void we leave will be filled by authoritarian regimes like China, Iran, North Korea and an empowered Russia if they triumph over Ukraine.”

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

Justice Department Prosecutors Respond To Tucker Carlson’s Capitol Riot Footage

Federal prosecutors responded to Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson’s newly released Capitol riot footage in a court filing Sunday.

Prosecutors rejected Carlson’s argument about the Justice Department (DOJ) withholding evidence from defendants and accused him of cherry-picking footage of “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley.

“In fact, the videos of Chansley’s movements throughout his time in the Capitol are highly inculpatory of Pezzola, Chansley, and other rioters captured on them. Pezzola’s argument seems to be that the snippets of Chansley’s movements that were televised by Carlson establish that there was no emergency necessitating the suspension of proceedings,” prosecutors argued in the court filing.

“The televised footage lacks the context of what occurred before and after the footage. Chansley entered the building as part of a violent crowd that gained access as a result of Pezzola’s destruction of a window and he traveled with Pezzola during the initial breach.”

The filing was connected to Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola’s motion to dismiss the government’s seditious conspiracy case against him based on Carlson’s footage of Chansley. He argued the DOJ was monitoring his communications, destroyed evidence and fabricated evidence involving confidential human sources.

“The televised footage shows Chansley’s movements only from approximately 2:56 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Prior to that time, Chansley had, amongst other acts, breached a police line at 2:09 p.m. with the mob, entered the Capitol less than one minute behind Pezzola during the initial breach of the building, and faced off with members of the U.S. Capitol Police for more than thirty minutes in front of the Senate Chamber doors while elected officials, including the Vice President of the United States, were fleeing from the chamber,” prosecutors continued.

Carlson’s footage appeared to show Capitol Police officers escorting Chansley through the Capitol building. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger on Tuesday accused Carlson of airing selective footage and coming to “misleading conclusions.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, led the criticism of Carlson for airing the footage and his commentary about the Capitol riot. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy provided Carlson with the footage and defended his decision to do so Wednesday.

Chansley’s former defense attorney Albert Watkins told the Daily Caller on Thursday that he is calling for the Justice Department to publicly state it failed to provide Chansley with all of the footage during his prosecution. He told various outlets he did not receive the footage of his client aired by Carlson.

Prosecutors rejected accusations of withholding footage taken by the Capitol Police’s surveillance system (CCTV) in the filing. “First, all the footage of Jacob Chansley that aired on Tucker Carlson earlier this week has been produced to these defendants in discovery,” the prosecutors said.

“While discovery in this case is voluminous, the government has provided defense counsel with the necessary tools to readily identify relevant cameras within the CCTV to determine whether footage was produced or not. Accordingly, the volume of discovery does not excuse defense counsel from making reasonable efforts to ascertain whether an item has been produced before making representations about what was and was not produced, let alone before filing inaccurate and inflammatory allegations of discovery failures,” they added.

Chansley was sentenced in November to 41 months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release for his role in the Capitol riot. His charges included disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Pezzola’s charges include seditious conspiracy; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; and robbery of personal property of the United States, according to a superseding indictment. He allegedly used a stolen riot shield to smash windows of the Capitol building and threatened to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Pezzola is on trial with four other high-ranking members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group known for violent demonstrations.

“Our team’s review of available surveillance footage of Mr. Chansley is consistent with our reporting,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight” senior executive producer Justin Wells said in a statement to the Daily Caller.





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

Two Commentaries on the McElroy Controversies

Note: Two articles by Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego have caused a major stir in the American Church, even leading another American bishop, Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, to “imagine a heretical cardinal” quoting from, without naming, McElroy. Much further commentary has occurred, and much more is needed, which is why we publish here two columns that we think help to illuminate what’s at stake in the Synodal Process currently underway and the future of the worldwide Catholic Church. – Robert Royal

Are Sexual Sins Mortal Sins?

John M. Grondelski

Among Cardinal Robert McElroy’s seemingly multiple objections to Catholic teaching is its sexual morality.  For McElroy, besides being unwelcoming and off-putting, Catholic sexual ethics distorts Christian moral life as well as makes assumptions that he rejects, by misusing in this context the old category parvitas materiae (“lack of serious matter”).

In plain English, he rejects the notion that sins against the Sixth Commandment by their nature are mortal sins.

In plain English, Cardinal Robert McElroy is wrong.

It’s hard to know where to start with this somewhat complex point of moral theology, given that all the background and merits of the issue cannot fit in the brief space of a column. But one could start with the structure of a moral act.  Moral acts have moral value independently of their agent’s intentions.  That’s what we mean when we say an act is “intrinsically evil” or even “intrinsically disordered.”  It means there is a real moral order prior to action.

One could claim that sexual sins – in comparison to the foundational sin of pride, for example – are not among the “most serious.”  But, as the Catholic philosopher Edward Feser has aptly noted, not being among the most serious sins doesn’t make them not serious.  And why this allergy to using the quite useful term “mortal sin?”

McElroy distorts history because, while the term parvitas materiae may be of 17th-century vintage, the concept has historically deeper roots.  When Scholastics such as Thomas Aquinas spoke of sexual sins or when the notion of “sins crying to heaven for vengeance” (which traditionally included sodomy) was taking shape even in the Patristic Age, nobody suggested those authors thought the sins they rejected were venial.

All those theologians and churchmen insisted sexual sins were serious because they violated the very ends of human sexuality: procreation and mutual support.  Put bluntly, because sin involves primordial values like life and a particular form of interpersonal relations, the violation of those values has to be serious.

As Karol Wojtyła put it sixty years ago, in Love and Responsibility a human person is to be the object of love in all that person is (including his potential parenthood).  One can either love that person or use him/her: there is no middle ground or sliding scale on use.

It’s hard exactly to pinpoint Robert McElroy’s complaint.  Is it with the whole idea of a preexistent moral order, a real Christian anthropology, and an understanding of conscience that recognizes conscience does not create but mirrors that objective moral order?

Or is it (also) with specific issues?

Most people today blithely separate sex from marriage, as everything from “hookups” to pretended “pre-nuptial commitments” attest.  But in all these cases, physical intercourse speaks a language of unity, permanence, and commitment that may be denied by current mores, but reveals a fundamental dishonesty.  Is that not always serious?

And when that commitment is needed, as when an “unplanned” pregnancy occurs, doesn’t this attitude towards sex fuel what Vatican II calls a “crime against God and man” – abortion?  And doesn’t it also reinforce a double standard, a denial of the sexual asymmetry between women and men, leading to claims women “need” abortion to be “equal to men?”

The separation of sex from marriage doesn’t only involve fornication.  Masturbation – an exceedingly difficult habit to break and one reinforced today by widespread online pornography – already ingrains an understanding of sex as primarily a question of erotic pleasure rather than sex as a form of responsibility – the intimacy between spouses and the begetting of children.

Further, the separation of parenthood from marriage subordinated the real good of children to “parental projects,” so that the fundamental truth that a child has a right to a biological relationship with a mother and a father is increasingly seen as quaint, if not outright discriminatory.  Hasn’t it led to couples deciding they are the “lords and givers of life” in terms of what they do with their intercourse, with practically no awareness of their subordinate co-Creatorship with God?

And the separation of procreation from mutual support has undermined understanding of the Divine design of sexual complementarity, leading to efforts of rewrite Scripture and Tradition to accommodate mores clearly alien to them.

Let me try to anticipate what could be McElroy’s objection.  Fifty years ago, many confessors often heard penitents confess “impure thoughts” and had to instruct people on the difference between temptations and willfully entertained thoughts.  We’re told people today are no longer “repressed.”  But how often do those willfully entertained thoughts lead first to an intellectual rationalization for, and then an actual commission of, such acts?  Even Christ teaches that what makes someone impure begins in “the heart,” i.e., in our thoughts. (Mt 15:18-19; see also 5:28)

Sexual sins, in and of themselves, are inherently mortal sins.  Subjective factors – habit, emotions, compulsion, fear, force, addiction – can affect a person’s subjective culpability, which is to say diminish responsibility for an otherwise serious act.  But that’s not the same thing as saying that the act in itself might not be serious or even “pre-moral.” That kind of revisionist morality is rejected in the whole of the Church’s tradition and restated in John Paul II’s Veritatis splendor.

That this is received Catholic teaching really was not disputed until the 1960s.  It was an unprecedented revisionist moral theology that suddenly found no serious sin in the sexual realm. But that was never a position the Church affirmed, even if large swaths of priests and bishops practiced a studied omertà after the sexual revolution of the 1960s when it came to teaching people about sexual morality.

If McElroy wants a different sexual ethic, one that does not engender guilt because of “objectively grave sins outside of marriage,” he’s welcome to advocate for it.  But he should at least admit what he wants is not Catholic.

McElroy’s ‘Conscience’ Trap

Leila Marie Lawler

Using rhetoric borrowed from some third-rate, uninspired Marxist handbook to expound on Synodality, Cardinal McElroy has proposed a perverted future for the Catholic Church. He makes one assertion, however, that is correct, albeit subversively sprinkled amongst dubious clauses. He writes of “reverence for conscience in Catholic faith” and says that “it is conscience that has the privileged place.”

His words (and those of his allies, on a mission to upend the faith) are a trap, luring us to react by rejecting the “primacy” of conscience. But as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it: “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment.”

Ever since Humanae Vitae, unfortunately, the mention of conscience has rattled the teeth of faithful Catholics. That encyclical marked the beginning of current public dissent, from prelates and even whole bishops’ conferences, who abandon conscience as the voice within, informing about a law conscience does not create, then warning us about the path to follow. They forget that, in its avenging mode, conscience wreaks havoc on the person and finally on the community.

As J. Budziszewski says:

Avenging conscience explains the remark of G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown in “The Flying Stars”: “Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down.” Pursued by the Five Furies, the man becomes both more wicked and more stupid: more wicked because his behavior is worse, more stupid because he tells himself more lies.

Given that we lost the Humanae Vitae fight on the field – that virtually all Catholics today practice contraception (and abort at the same rate as the general population) – the authentically Catholic approach needs to be reassessed. Appeals to the authority of documents and even to rational arguments lack the strength of straightforward teaching; obedience to a magisterium in flux can be turned against the faith when authority becomes corrupt, as recent years and events ought to have taught us.

Catholics have developed an unsatisfying response to the claim that sinners are simply taking a noble stand on the basis of some twisted principle; we ourselves have unwittingly enabled this claim by denying conscience’s real power.

Conscience can’t be outsourced; it is interior to man. “His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths,” the Catechism rightly states. St. Augustine teaches, uncomfortably for some, that it is the voice of God within. We leave the high ground to dissenters by making that divine voice into something like “things you learn about decision-making from books written by theologians and apologists.”

Even the phrase “the well-formed conscience” – though true enough in the abstract – is notable for its mistrust of the immediate power of objective truth and Christ’s call to repentance to move the soul. We have become detached from our own experience of knowing in a flash that we have done rightly or wrongly.

Only by challenging the McElroy faction with the plain and simple truth of conscience can we escape the trap set by the Church’s enemies. The Catechism of the Council of Trent speaks simply of clean or guilty consciences. Scripture insists on a clear conscience and deplores a defiled one.

Cardinal Caffarra, one of the authors of the still unanswered Dubia presented to the pope after Amoris Laetitia – and no friend of the McElroy faction – urged the restoration of man by reclaiming the centrality of conscience in the poignant work now known as his Final Testimony, written just before his death: “Moral conscience. . .is the place where God addresses his first, original, permanent word to man: the place where God is revealed as man’s guide. If you turn off this light, man will blunder around in the dark.”

He added, “The most unmistakable pathological symptom. . .is the counterfeiting which the concept and experience of moral conscience has undergone. . . .We have to start from our daily experience. It attests to the fact that the judgement of conscience possesses a completely singular force: that of compelling our decisions, our freedom, in an absolute and not just a hypothetical way.”

Prayers in the liturgy exhort us without ceasing to ponder and study God’s Law and to follow His precepts. Teaching God’s Commandments is the normal way to inform and awaken conscience. Do our clergy in general and the episcopacy in particular know these Commandments by heart and obey Scripture’s exhortations? They mention them only rarely.

Conscience, embedded in man’s soul, exists. It has rights and duties. As J. Budziszewski puts it, there are things we cannot not know. Hearing sound moral precepts clarifies the voice within, calling the person to repentance. We must trust in this; our faith is based on its possibility.

The suffering souls McElroy claims to represent are desperate for relief from their accusing and avenging consciences. They exist in a state of objective moral disaster, but his emptying of conscience robs them of the essence of personhood – a grave crime.

Conscience is indeed primary, and we are uneasy if our consciences accuse us, as McElroy’s accuses him, of depriving misguided wrongdoers of the way out of sin: repentance that leads to redemption in Christ, who is the Good. McElroy seeks to impose, in the name of conscience, a regime that withholds the very thing that conscience craves.

You may also enjoy:

Howard Kainz’ The End(s) of Marriage Since Vatican II

Anthony Esolen’s Imagine . . . What We Already Are


John M. Grondelski

John Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) is a former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. All views herein are exclusively his.

Leila Marie Lawler

Leila Marie Lawler is the author of The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in Family Life, a three-volume work on the home and the woman’s role in it, and God Has No Grandchildren, a guided reading of Casti Connubii. She co-authored The Little Oratory with David Clayton. She writes at Like Mother, Like Daughter and Happy Despite Them.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2023 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Another Bank Shutdown: Signature Bank Closed

There will be no accountability and no correction because it is Democrat malfeasance.

Barney Frank was the US Rep behind the Dodd-Frank bill put in place after the 2008 bank crash. The government arguably caused the failure and then turned around and put in a massive amount of regulations in response to the failure.

The monstrosity was the Dodd-Frank bill, named in part for Barney Frank.(TPG)

This is the same Barney Frank whose boyfriend, Stephen Gobie (whom Frank had once hired as a male prostitute) was running a male-brothel out of his home.

The US government shut down Signature Bank on Sunday.

On Friday, regulators closed Silicon Valley Bank, sparking panic among startups and VCs.

By: Yahoo Finance, March 13, 2023:

Both banks had a huge amount of customer deposits that were not insured by the FDIC. There are others.

A second bank was shut down by the US government on Sunday. This time it was Signature Bank.

What does this financial institution have in common with Silicon Valley Bank? They both had huge amounts of customer deposits that were not insured by the FDIC.

The FDIC insures US bank deposits up to $250,000 per account to prevent bank runs and failures. The demise of SVB, and now the collapse of Signature Bank, have stretched this system to a breaking point.

On Sunday, the US Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC said in a joint statement that all depositors of SVB will be made whole on Monday. The authorities are completely ignoring the $250,000 insurance limit. SVB had $173 billion in total deposits and roughly 88% of that was not covered.

That’s more than $150 billion in extra deposits that the FDIC has suddenly decided to insure.

The authorities are giving the same special exemption to Signature Bank, so all depositors will be made whole there too. Signature had $89 billion in total deposits, and 90% of those were not insured by the FDIC. That’s another $79 billion that this agency is taking on its shoulders.

“By insuring all deposits at SVB and Signature, regulators judged the risk of cascading effects to other regional banks and the broader economy to be more significant than the moral hazard of increasing FDIC limits,” said Rich Falk-Wallace, CEO of data analytics firm Arcana and a former portfolio manager at hedge fund Citadel.

In the case of SVB and Signature, the high percentage of uninsured deposits is partly a function of having a relatively small number of clients with large balances. At SVB, for example, Roku revealed it had almost $500 million in deposits at the bank, extending far beyond the $250,000 guarantee.

Keep reading.



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