Spiraling Violence in Chicago: Causes and Solutions

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 28, 2022, at the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship on Hillsdale’s Washington, D.C. campus, as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.


For several years prior to 2020, violent crime in America’s major cities was on the decline. But since the riots that summer following the death of George Floyd, it is heading in the opposite direction.

Murders nationwide in 2020 rose a stunning 29.4 percent over the previous year, the largest annual increase since the FBI began tracking that data in the 1960s. The number of murders in Chicago climbed even more sharply, rising 55 percent. It was as if a switch had been flipped. At least ten major U.S. cities hit new murder highs in 2021, but Chicago led the way with 797, the city’s highest number in 25 years.

Chicago’s violent crime epidemic is not limited to murder. The city’s 3,561 shooting incidents in 2021 were up 63 percent over 2019. Expressway shootings in Chicago-Cook County rose even more dramatically, from 51 in 2019 to 130 in 2020 to 273 in 2021. These expressway shootings pushed Chicago’s actual 2021 murder total north of 800.

Expressway killings aren’t counted in the official city numbers because expressways are under state jurisdiction. But try telling that to Chicagoans. “It’s almost like a modern, 21st century form of dueling,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. “[People get into fights with] each other on social media, they threaten one another and they say . . . ‘Let’s take this out to the expressway.’”

One of Chicago’s expressway murder victims was a dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother, and special education teacher named Denise Huguelet. Sixty-seven years old, she was being driven home from a White Sox game last summer when she became collateral damage in a shootout on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Then there are the carjackings, 1,836 of them in Chicago in 2021—a 204 percent increase over 2019. One victim was a Democratic state senator. Her husband had a gun and returned fire. In another incident, a Cook County judge had to pull her three-year-old son to safety before the carjackers drove off.

Will McGee was 18 and looking forward to joining the military after graduating from Excel Academy on the South Side, where he’d been voted homecoming king. He had saved up to buy a new Chevy Equinox and was behind the wheel when he was carjacked last November. He surrendered the vehicle and tried to run away but was shot dead in the back. The SUV was found abandoned shortly afterward.

Gangs have stoked the carnage with a sub-genre of hip hop music called “Chicago Drill.” Rival gangs call each other out in Chicago Drill raps, and bullets often fly as a result. Chicago’s gang world used to be dominated by a small handful of gang leaders, and homicides were usually tied to drugs and territorial conflicts. But as the federal government took down the older generation of leaders, gangs fractured and multiplied on a block-by-block level. Today’s gangs are run by young knuckleheads who throw down angry words on little screens and use shooters who in some cases have barely reached puberty and struggle to hold and aim their weapons.

The fact that violent crime increasingly leads to the deaths of innocent citizens is a major reason for the exodus of Chicago’s black population, down one-third since 1980. It also explains why increasing numbers from the surrounding suburbs—and tourists in general—are shunning the city.

So there’s violent crime aplenty in Chicago. But punishment? Not so much.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that in 2020, police made carjacking arrests in only eleven percent of cases. And Cook County prosecutors working for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx approved felony charges in less than half of that eleven percent.

Chicago reported a 53 percent rate of “clearing” or solving murders in 2019. But that number was inflated. A misguiding technical term was applied to nearly six in ten “cleared” murders: “cleared, closed exceptionally.” The term “closed exceptionally” means that a murder has been declared solved, but without the filing of criminal charges—usually because prosecutors decide police evidence is insufficient.

Too many Chicagoans are dead due in part to a broken criminal justice system.

Denny Zheng was 24. He’d recently completed a master’s degree in statistics at the University of Chicago. Last November, as he walked near the campus in Hyde Park, he was robbed of his laptop computer and cell phone, then shot dead. The charged suspect was 18 years old and on probation for aggravated carjacking and armed robbery. Before his arrest, he sold the laptop and phone for $100.

Ella French was 29 and a Chicago police officer. She was killed during a traffic stop last August. The charged suspect was on probation for felony robbery.

In July, 73-year-old Keith Cooper, a grandfather and a veteran, died of a heart attack after being punched in the head during an attempted carjacking in Hyde Park. The charged suspect, by then an 18-year-old adult, had been on probation for juvenile carjacking.

In December 2020, retired Chicago firefighter Dwain Williams, 65, was slain during a carjacking attempt by a group of young men. One had five juvenile convictions and four pending cases, including one for an alleged home invasion and kidnapping. Another was out on bail before trial for stolen vehicle possession and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

In January of this year, eight-year-old Melissa Ortega was shopping with her mother on 26th Street, the main drag of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. She was shot and killed in a gang-related shooting gone awry. The charged suspect was a 16-year-old on probation for three armed carjackings within the previous year.

Easy probation has become a license to kill. Why won’t judges properly assess risk, even in juvenile cases? The answer is all too clear: criminal justice has morphed into what advocates on the bench and in prosecutors’ offices describe as “social justice.” But where is the justice for the victims and their families? The rush to empty out jails and prisons is costing lives.

The movement for bail reform only compounds the problem. Since 2017, under Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ direction, suspects charged with felony gun violations and overtly violent felonies are often released on low-cash or no-cash bail.

Evans has repeatedly argued that only a small percentage of released felony suspects have been charged again before trial. But he has not always been trustworthy in his use of data. In 2020, he released a report claiming there was no significant increase in crime after bail reform was enacted in Chicago. Only 147 felony defendants released before trial on low-cash or no-cash bail within the previous year and a quarter, he asserted, had been charged with new felony offenses. But the actual number was at least four times higher than that according to a Chicago Tribune analysis, which it was able to complete only after winning a public records appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Evans’ office had failed to count at least six different felony crime categories as felonies.

What can be done to address Chicago’s violent crime epidemic? Here are some ideas for legal reform suggested by the cases cited above:

  • Reapportion the county budget to build and operate more courtrooms with more judges for speedier trials.
  • Stop releasing people charged with violent felony crimes—including juveniles charged with armed carjacking—on low-cash or no-cash bail.
  • Repeal state legislation that will outlaw most cash bail by 2023.
  • Repeal the 2016 statute that severely restricts the ability of county prosecutors to charge juveniles with felony armed vehicular hijacking.

Unfortunately, the last two recommendations would require action by the Illinois Legislature, which has been under one-party (Democratic) rule for decades and has shown no serious interest in stopping crime.

Chicago should also employ smarter policing tactics, which would need to go hand-in-hand with stronger political support for the police. Residents of black neighborhoods say they want better police and more of them—and contrary to what too many Chicago politicians seem to believe, improved police accountability isn’t incompatible with supporting police in their efforts to make the streets safer.

One way to improve policing is by returning to regular foot patrols in high-crime districts. In February 2013, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Chief Garry McCarthy, Chicago launched a foot patrol program called Operation Impact in the city’s 20 highest-crime hot zones. After 14 months, murders in those zones dropped by almost half, shootings by 43 percent, and overall crime by 25 percent. Police said targeted gang and narcotics interventions may also have helped.

But Operation Impact didn’t last. Today such a program might require three or four cops to walk a beat together, with back-up in nearby cars. This in turn would require more police funding, not defunding, and real support for the police by Chicago’s mayor and city council.

Chicago politicians, like city politicians elsewhere, too often blame “gun violence” for the city’s murder epidemic, as if guns shoot themselves. Chicago police, to their credit, took more than 12,000 illegal guns off the streets in 2021 alone. But the supply is endless, and now includes “ghost guns”—guns without serial numbers made from mail-order parts. The vast majority of Chicago residents are law-abiding, and they should be able to defend themselves with legally obtained firearms.

In addition to legal reforms and improved policing, it’s time to stop making excuses for what one brave Chicago alderman, Ray Lopez, has called “the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods” and the effects of “generational gang life.” Political leaders need to stop walking on eggshells when it comes to talking about the breakdown of the nuclear family in low-income black communities. Young men need fathers—without fathers they flounder.

According to City of Chicago data, in every year from 1999 to 2009, more than 80 percent of all black women who gave birth were single. Among Latinos, that figure rose from 45 to 55 percent during that period, while for whites and Asians the numbers were dramatically lower.

More broken homes are directly correlated with more violent crime. Annual Chicago Police Department reports show that the neighborhoods with the highest murder rates are the same neighborhoods in which births to single mothers are highest. Among children raised in households headed by two biological parents, regardless of race, studies find greater educational attainment, higher adult income, and lower rates of incarceration.

Failing public schools also contribute to Chicago’s violent crime crisis. Fewer than two out of ten black fourth- and eighth-graders achieve the “proficient” level in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. High school SAT results are equally dismal.

A bright spot worth mentioning is the achievements being made by public charter schools. A University of Chicago study found that students at public charter high schools had better attendance and test scores than those at non-charter public high schools. More was required of them to advance to the next grade and to graduate. Teachers reported a higher level of trust and collaboration with their colleagues and a greater willingness to innovate. Classes were more academically demanding.

Sadly, however, the Chicago Teachers Union has used its broad powers to strike—powers granted by state lawmakers—to restrict competition, insisting on a charter school growth cap in their last two contracts. When the current cap expires in 2024, it should not be renewed by Chicago’s mayor and school board.

What Chicago ultimately needs are school vouchers, which must be enacted by state legislation—an unlikely prospect—or by a voter-approved constitutional amendment.

Another means of curtailing violence in Chicago is through poverty remediation and neighborhood economic development—which doesn’t simply mean government dispensations.

In Woodlawn, at 63rd and Martin Luther King Jr., is a fast-food dive where men step up to passing cars and collect cash in return for drugs. Walking south on MLK, I passed a woman with a thousand-yard glassy-eyed stare. Other pedestrians were loping around in little circles, looking lost.

Investment in such neighborhoods is a wager, and no one likes long odds. But just down the street on MLK, Pastor Corey Brooks is placing his bet. Brooks heads New Beginnings Church and its non-profit arm, Project H.O.O.D., which offers parenting classes, remote learning co-ops, online financial education lessons, and a popular construction industry training program. Eighteen black female electricians graduated from a certification course last summer. Brooks is in the midst of raising millions of dollars for a state-of-the-art community center equipped for career and technical training.

Trade skills are important, but so is meeting workplace expectations. On Halloween in 2020, Brooks’ church organized a Harvest Party for parents and children. I came across Brooks there counseling an agitated young man who was in the Project H.O.O.D. construction training program. The man was upset because his Latino job site supervisor confronted him about being late to work and not filling out timecards. It was a heated conversation, but Brooks held his ground, telling the young man that to keep a good construction job you’ve got to be on time and do what the boss says. He also told him he’d better get used to Latinos, because they’re skilled in the building trades.

In November 2020, I visited Chicago’s Roseland district, southeast of Woodlawn. The same Michigan Avenue that’s home to the Magnificent Mile shopping district downtown looks a lot different on the city’s South Side. Much of it looks like a war-torn city in Syria.

Dutch settlers in the 1840s referred to Roseland as High Prairie. In the 1850s it became an important stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to freedom in Canada. As recently as the early 1970s, Michigan Ave. in Roseland was a robust marketplace with distinctive architecture. Subsequently, however, as gang violence increased, the area came to be known as the Wild One Hundreds. During my visit, nearly every building on Michigan Ave. was trashed or empty.

Antoine Dobine lives in neighboring West Pullman. Interviewed by NBC News, he recalled that Roseland was

a beautiful area in the 70s. It was like a family atmosphere. But . . . a lot of families left, and a lot of families moved in and didn’t have those same values. . . . We need all these parents who got these gun toters and gangbangers on their couches . . . to say, “Hey, child, get out of my house and put that gun down.” . . . I know there’s people living in these homes that’s sick and tired of things going on like I’m sick and tired, [but they] won’t . . . speak up.

Political change in Chicago is essential. Year after year, two-thirds of the city’s registered voters fail to vote in local elections. The main group that does vote consistently is a group that benefits greatly from the status quo: public employee union members. Voting is suppressed by the fact that local elections are held in odd years during cold winter months, but until the majority of citizens—who are being harmed by the status quo—seizes control of their own destiny, little will change.

Change at the family and individual levels is equally essential. Malik Tiger made such a change, and in doing so came to understand the true meaning of self-determination. He grew up in Roseland, and his father served ten years in jail. By age 17, Malik was charged in his first gun case, and a spiraling pattern of crime, gunshot wounds, and jail time followed. Then he decided he had had enough.

“I feel like at the end of the day, change has to come from within. You have to get tired,” Malik said. “You have to look at yourself in the mirror and be disgusted with who you are.” Through a violence prevention program, he turned things around and landed a job at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“I just had a newborn son,” Malik said. “I have my own apartment. I’m doing good for myself.” Bumping into the judge who sentenced him in 2013 on juvenile gun charges, he received encouragement for the changes he’d made. “The judge looked at me as an individual, as a strong black man who was trying to go forward and trying to do the right thing to take care of his family.”

The Left today has badly misappropriated the word “equity,” using it to mean equality of outcome—something to be achieved through affirmative action and economic redistribution. But real equity, in the old sense, cannot be given. Real equity requires the old fashioned virtues. It is inextricable from full ownership of your own course in life.

COLUMN BY

Matt Rosenberg

Matt Rosenberg is a journalist, author, and former Yellow Cab driver in Chicago, where he lived for 30 years. He has worked for numerous publications, including the Seattle Times as an op-ed columnist and the Chicago-Sun Times, where he worked on the Pulitzer-finalist Mirage Tavern investigation. A former senior fellow at the Cascadia Center, he has written for numerous publications, including The Open StandardCity JournalNational ReviewJewish World ReviewAmerican Greatness, the Chicago Tribune, and the Denver Post. He is the author of the recent book, What Next, Chicago? Notes of a Pissed-Off Native Son.

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

TRUMP RISING: Coming to ‘Joe Rogan’ show, 5M views in 24-hours on ‘Nelk Boys’ interview & Russia banning Facebook as ‘Extremist Organization’

What do they say about Karma? It seems that efforts to deplatform, defund, censor, malign, criticize, label and destroy President Donald J. Trump, the TRUTHsocial app and Trumpsters in general is going downhill fast.

There’s a growing thirst to hear from President Trump and groups like Canada’s Nelk Boys and Joe Rogan are getting huge benefits from having President Trump on their shows to talk about Biden and his Build Back Worse agenda.

The Nelk Boys interview with President Trump had 5 million views within 24-hours on YouTube, before Google took the video down.

The people of tired of Biden’s America last policies and want to hear what President Trump thinks about what is happening in America, the economy, the invasion of Ukraine, China and Taiwan, Iran nuclear deal and many other global issues impacting the United States.

Here’s some news that Trump is scheduled to appear on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

YouTube deleted the wildly popular Nelk Boys interview with Donald Trump after it got 5 Million views in 24 Hours.

Not to worry, the Nelk Boys uploaded it to Rumble.

The NELK Boys are a YouTube group from Canada that makes videos centered around pranks, college culture, and lifestyle vlogs. Their main channel currently has over 7 million subscribers.

Watch Trump’s full interview with the Nelk Boys:

The Epoch Times, in a March 11, 2022 article titled “Russia to Brand Facebook Parent Company an ‘Extremist Organization’ Jack Phillips reports:

Russia’s Prosecutor General asked a court to formally designate Facebook and Instagram owner Meta as an extremist organization.

“Consistent with the Federal Law on Countering Extremist Activities, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office has lodged a motion with a court for designating Meta Platforms Inc. as an extremist organization and banning its operations in the territory of the Russian Federation,” said the office on Friday, according to the Interfax news agency.

At the same time, the Russian Investigative Committee said it was probing the social media company “in light of unlawful calls for violence against citizens of the Russian Federation by employees of the U.S. company Meta.”

Finally, remember when German Delegation at the UN laughed at Trump when he warned them about dependence on Russia’s natural gas and oil?

Watch:

We’re guessing that the Germans aren’t laughing now that they are getting 50% of their oil and natural gas from Putin.

President Trump warned,

Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline, so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs…Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

The Western Journal noted,

Trump chose not to give hostile actors power over the U.S., especially when he was the president of an energy rich country. Understanding how essential energy independence is to national security, he wisely set out to achieve it.

One again, Trump was right!

It appears that despite efforts by Democrats, Biden, the Biden administration, the legacy and social media and TV hosts President is more popular and more sought after than ever.

Go figure.

To answer the question we asked at the beginning of this column – “Karma is a bitch.”

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

Disney Sexualizes Little Kids As ‘Woke’ CEO Bob Chapek Advocates For Sex Ed And Transgenderism in Kindergarten

Sick. Truly sick. Even for the an irreligious, one cannot help seeing biblical undercurrents in the current low state of the America and the world.

In the meantime, remove Disney for possible family vacations.

I am a capitalist. I always stand with business but when businesses get political, all bets are off.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday slammed “woke” Disney CEO Bob Chapek over his criticism of a parental rights bill that progressives claim is anti-LGBTQ.

“When you have companies that have made a fortune off being family-friendly and catering to families and young kids, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom,” DeSantis told Fox News.

“You have companies, like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten in first-grade classrooms,” he continued.

“If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP.

“And so in Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musing of woke corporations,” he added.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, which bans school employees or third parties from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade, passed the state Senate Tuesday after passing the House last month.

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Kamala Harris Slammed for Cackling Wildly After Question About Ukrainian Refugees

KARMA’S A BITCH: Russia to Brand Facebook An ‘Extremist Organization’

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

Quick note: Tech giants are shutting us down. You know this. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adsense, Pinterest permanently banned us. Facebook, Google search et al have shadow-banned, suspended and deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here. We will not waver. We will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail. Freedom will prevail.

Subscribe to Geller Report newsletter here — it’s free and it’s critical NOW when informed decision making and opinion is essential to America’s survival. Share our posts on your social channels and with your email contacts. Fight the great fight.

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Americans Can’t Afford Gas, Congress Just Gave Itself a 21% Raise

The $1.5 trillion omnibus bill has plenty of inflationary spending, and the honorable members of the legislature didn’t leave themselves out.

As part of the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill released Wednesday, the $5.9 billion fiscal 2022 Legislative Branch funding portion would substantially boost the office budgets of House members to pay staff more…

This legislation would provide $774.4 million for the Members Representational Allowance, known as the MRA, which funds the House office budgets for lawmakers, including staffer salaries. This $134.4 million, or 21 percent, boost over the previous fiscal year marks the largest increase in the MRA appropriation since it was authorized in 1996, according to a bill summary by the House Appropriations Committee. For paid interns in member and leadership offices, the House would get $18.2 million.

It’s not technically a pay hike for congressmembers, but, in particular House members, are notorious for putting family members on the payroll. And for using staffers to run their errands and handle assorted personal projects for them.

In August, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced staffers’ salaries could exceed those of lawmakers. Members in both the House and Senate, with the exception of leadership, make an annual salary of $174,000. Staffers can make up to $199,300.

That’s convenient since it can act as a pay hike without the negative press.

MRAs tend to be between $1.2 and $1.4 million. A massive MRA increase has all sorts of political and potentially personal benefits. It’s also completely indefensible during an economic crisis.

House Dem leaders are cheering the disgusting pork sandwich as a victory for diversity.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) and House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), released the following statement this morning on the inclusion of a 21% increase in Member Representational Allowance (MRA) funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus legislation.

Leader Hoyer and Chair Jeffries have long advocated for this increase to the MRA in order to ensure that Members, leaders, and committees can attract and retain the best and brightest to help them serve the American people while promoting a more diverse workforce.

Is there any obscenity that can’t be justified in the name of diversity?

“We join in thanking Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger as well as the Members on the Appropriation Committee for producing a bipartisan omnibus package that includes this increase in office budgets so that Congressional staff pay can be a priority and enhance this institution’s ability to deliver For the People.”

For the People.

Ask not what Congress can do for you, ask what you can do for Congress.

COLUMN BY

RELATED VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi Comforts Zelensky With an Offer of Help From … Billie Jean King

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

VIDEO: Stop Russian Gold? Sure! Create Global Economic Disaster

The war in Ukraine is helping drive the price of oil through the roof, but the economic problems in the United States were created way before Putin’s personal, psychotic “manifest destiny” began to unfold. The Federal Reserve has painted the U.S. economy into a corner.

And now, Washington, D.C. wants to throw gasoline on the financial and fiscal fire by proffering the STOP RUSSIAN GOLD ACT. Insanity!

In this edition of the Ledger Report, Graham speaks with Peter Schiff about the economic mess, Barry Nussbaum about the Russian mess, and Michael Cutler about the mess at the border.

Please subscribe free to The Ledger Report by clicking here: www.GrahamLedger.com

©The Ledger Report. All rights reserved.

Buttigieg’s ‘Husband’ Leads Kids in Pledge to Gay Pride Flag

In a video recently unearthed from 2019, Chasten Buttigieg, “husband” of Department of Transportation diversity hire Pete Buttigieg, is seen leading children in a pledge of allegiance to the Gay Pride flag.

Buttigieg had the young children recite: “I pledge my heart to the rainbow of the not so typical gay camp, to the gay agenda for which it stands. One camp, full of pride, indivisible, with affirmation and equal rights for all.”

Buttigieg ended the pledge by waving the LGBT rainbow flag. The video is reportedly from a Democrat presidential primary campaign stop during Pete Buttigieg’s failed 2020 candidacy.

The video shows Buttigieg wearing a shirt that reads “not your typical gay camp.” That is the slogan of Iowa Safe Schools’ Pride Camp, whose mission “is to provide a safe and affirming place for LGBTQ & allied youth to learn valuable life skills and network with other LGBTQ youth in a supportive and nurturing environment.” The five-day long camp is open to children as young as 14.

This is nothing less than the sexual grooming, not to mention the political indoctrination, of children. It is unconscionable, and any Republican whose spouse was caught on video doing the equivalent would rightfully be crucified in the media and drummed out of a political career.

But there will be no such outcry toward Pete Buttigieg from the Left because grooming and indoctrination are an essential part of the Marxist agenda to subvert the traditional family and brainwash children to become woke foot soldiers for the Democrats.


Pete Buttigieg

8 Known Connections

Policy Positions

Pete Buttigieg believes that:

  • all women should have an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy – subsidized by taxpayers, in cases of economic hardship;
  • public and private employers alike should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
  • the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an excellent statute that can serve a strategic stepping stone toward the eventual implementation of a government-run, single-payer healthcare system;
  • more guns in the hands of private citizens inevitably result in higher levels of crime, thus the availability of firearms should be restricted by whatever means are effective;
  • restrictions on immigration are basically racist because they tend to prevent Hispanics and other non-whites from entering the United States;
  • voter ID laws are racist and are intended to suppress voting by nonwhite minorities;

To learn more about Pete Buttigieg, click here.

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

Banned Film ‘Planet Lockdown’ Exposes the Real Reason for the COVID Pandemic

The filmmakers of Planet Lockdown are allowing a free viewing of this film (for a limited time).

CLICK HERE to learn more about their important mission and see how you can help!


STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The film Planet Lockdown explores this unprecedented time in history, speaking with epidemiologists, scientists, doctors and other experts to uncover the real motives behind the increasing totalitarian control taking over the globe
  • Dr. Scott Jensen, a family doctor and former member of the Minnesota Senate, received an email from the Department of Health that coached him to use COVID-19 as a diagnosis incorrectly
  • The notion of asymptomatic spread turns virtually anyone you meet or encounter on the street into the enemy or a threat, furthering fear and control
  • The artificially imposed state of incoherence that’s been enacted during the pandemic is described as a torture tactic, designed to get people to submit to vaccine passports and COVID-19 shots
  • Many of the experts in the film bring up the Nuremberg Code, which is being violated as people are forced to get experimental shots
  • Civil disobedience, boycotting businesses that are requiring vaccine passports, participating in rallies and fighting illegal mandates in court are ways that everyone can get involved in protecting freedom

Prior to 2020, if you heard the term “lockdown” you might think of something that happens in a prison — not in a free society. This mechanism of control has since become commonplace — not among prisoners but among the free — with repercussions that are only beginning to be understood.

The film Planet Lockdown explores this unprecedented time in history, speaking with epidemiologists, scientists, doctors and other experts to uncover the real motives behind the increasing totalitarian control taking over the globe. Already banned by Facebook and YouTube,1 the film starts at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were told lockdowns were necessary to “flatten the curve.”

This was supposed to be a short-term, 15-day event in the U.S., but the narrative soon changed to ongoing restrictions. As Michael Yeadon, Ph.D., a former vice-president and chief scientific adviser of the drug company Pfizer and founder and CEO of the biotech company Ziarco, now owned by Novartis, explained, people have historically quarantined the sick, but quarantining healthy people, as has occurred for the past two years, has no scientific backing or historic precedence.2

“Given this virus represents, at most, a slightly bigger risk to the old and ill than seasonal influenza, and a less risk, a smaller risk, to almost everyone else who’s younger and fit,” Yeadon says, “it was never necessary for us to have done anything. We didn’t need to do anything — lockdowns, masks, testing, vaccines even.”3

Questionable Practices Urged for COVID-19 Diagnosis

Dr. Scott Jensen, a family doctor and former member of the Minnesota Senate, received an email from the Department of Health that seemed to be coaching him to use COVID-19 as a diagnosis in situations where he wouldn’t have previously used influenza or any other specific viral diagnosis without first testing for it. He said:4

“What struck me right away was I felt like I was being coached to go ahead and use COVID-19 without using the same standards of precision that I would for other things. If I’m going to make a diagnosis, I believe as a physician I have an obligation to use the tools available to me to nail it down with as much certainty as possible.

And it seemed to me that the Department of Health, and the link to this CDC document that said you could diagnose COVID-19 as a cause of death on a death certificate … those two documents, in tandem, went against everything that I had been taught or doing for the last 35 years.”

Even Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Health, is featured in the film stating that even if you died of a clear alternate cause, if you had COVID-19 at the same time, it would still be listed as a COVID death. “Everyone who is listed as a COVID death, doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death,” she says.5

In January 2020, the PCR test for COVID-19 came out, which allowed health officials to define COVID-19 “cases.” If the test was positive, it counted as a case — it didn’t matter if you have symptoms or not. Reiner Fuellmich, global fraud attorney, founder of the Corona Investigative Committee, pointed out, “It’s never, in the history of mankind, in the history of medicine, there’s never been testing of healthy people.”6

Yeadon agrees that mass testing of people with no symptoms has no scientific basis. Rather, he says, “It’s just a way to frighten people.”7 The rising “cases,” based on PCR testing, is what built the crisis. But counting cases was only measuring the activity of testing; the more that testing occurred, the more cases that were found.

‘Fear Everyone’ Became the Message

June 8, 2020, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that asymptomatic people could transmit COVID-19. That same day, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for the COVID-19 pandemic, made it very clear that people who have COVID-19 without any symptoms “rarely” transmit the disease to others. In a dramatic about-face, WHO then backtracked on the statement just one day later.8

In the days that followed, media and health officials ramped up fear by claiming that you could be sickened by virtually anyone, even when they appeared to be healthy. “This idea that … you can be ill even though you have no symptoms and you can be a … virus threat to someone else even though you have no symptoms, that’s also invented in 2020,” Yeadon says.9

Alexandra Henrion-Caude, geneticist, former director of research with the French National Institute of Health, is among those who have noticed something off from the start. “I was very puzzled since the very beginning … I was alert to the fact that what we were living was not quite right.”10

She notes that the notion of asymptomatic spread is terrifying because it turns virtually anyone you meet or encounter on the street into the enemy, because they could be exposing you to SARS-CoV-2. “This is actually terrible because it denies the capacity of a person to be a healthy person. Because if asymptomatic [spread] exists, then who is healthy? No one.”

What’s more, the “proof” of asymptomatic spread is flawed and fraudulent. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article suggesting the transmission of COVID-19 is possible from an asymptomatic carrier in January 2020.11

It was based on a 33-year-old businessman who had met with his business partner from Shanghai, then developed a fever and productive cough. The next evening, he felt better and went back to work January 27.

The writers reported the partner had been “well with no signs or symptoms of infection, but had become ill on her flight back to China, where she tested positive for 2019-nCoV on January 26.” From this case study, they theorized the virus could be transmitted from asymptomatic carriers. An important point was left out, which is that the researchers did not speak with the partner from Shanghai before publication.

However, Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), did speak with the woman on the phone, and she reported she did have symptoms while in Germany.12 So she was not asymptomatic after all.

In a State of Incoherence, People Crave Normalcy

The pandemic has twisted reality, leaving the public in a mental fog. “You’re regularly pledging obedience to things which are not logical,” Catherine Austin-Fitts, assistant secretary, Bush Sr. administration and investment adviser with Solari, Inc., says.13 WHO has changed definitions of herd immunity and pandemic, literally altering reality, and this is just one example.

Censorship and campaigns to discredit those who speak out against the narrative are additional control mechanisms that distort the truth. Bishop Schneider of Kazakhstan says the pandemic measures are very similar to Soviet times where he lived, in that there was only one narrative, and if you said there was another meaning, you were declared an enemy.

“When you had another opinion, they said, ‘You are a conspiracy group. You have a conspiracy theory. You have hate speech. This expression, hate speech, came from the communists.”14 It’s psychological manipulation, based on fear, which makes people act totally irrational. The artificially imposed state of incoherence was even described by Austin-Fitts as a torture tactic, designed to get people to submit to vaccine passports and COVID-19 shots:15

“Human beings crave coherence. And so if you can put them in a state of incoherence they will literally do anything they can to get back to coherence. It’s a typical torture tactic. ‘If you just do what I want, I will allow you to go back to a state of coherence.’ So, if you just accept the [vaccine] passports, you’ll be free. Or if you get the vaccination, you’ll just be free.”

Further, by declaring small businesses as “nonessential” during lockdowns, they get shut down, while Amazon, Walmart and other big box stores can take over their market share. A major transfer of wealth occurred away from small family-owned businesses to very large, publicly owned businesses that benefited from the digital economy. In the meantime, Austin-Fitts explains:16

“The people on Main St. have to keep paying off their credit cards or their mortgage, so they’re in a debt trap and they’re desperate to get cashflow to cover their debts and expenses.

In the meantime, you have the Federal Reserve institute a form of quantitative easing where they’re buying corporate bonds, and the guys who are taking up the market share can basically finance — or their banks can — at 0% to 1%, when everyone on Main St. is paying 16% to 17% to their credit cards, without income.

So basically now you’ve got them over a barrel and you can take away their market share, and generally they can’t afford to do what they say because they’re too busy trying to find money to feed their kids.”

New Control Systems Are Being Engineered

If a few people want to control many, how can you get the sheep into the slaughterhouse without them realizing and resisting? “The perfect thing,” Austin-Fitts says, is invisible enemies, like viruses.17 This ramps up fear so the public believes they need the government to protect them. Another effective tactic is “divide and conquer,” and the media plays an important role in this, dividing people over shots and masks, for instance.

“What COVID-19 is,” Austin-Fitts explains, “is the institution of controls necessary to convert the planet from the democratic process to technocracy. So what we’re watching is a change in control and an engineering of new control systems. So think of this as a coup d’état. It’s much more like a coup d’état than a virus.”18

Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, a former public health official and member of German parliament, agrees, stating that pandemic responses have “nothing to do with hygiene. It has to do with criminology.”19 The global injection campaign is another form of control, one that’s forcing the public to receive experimental shots.

Many of the experts in the film bring up the Nuremberg Code, which spells out a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation. This set of principles was developed to ensure the medical horrors discovered during the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II would never take place again.

But in the current climate of extreme censorship, people are not being informed about the full risks of the shots — which are only beginning to be uncovered. People are being forced into the shots due to mandates and loss of jobs and personal freedoms, like the ability to travel freely and attend business and social events.

In the End, Truth Will Win

A revolution is occurring, and the experts are hopeful that people will awaken to common sense and resist the totalitarian control that is threatening to take over the globe. Instead, society can be regenerated if people come together and fight back against the encroachment on our liberties.

Civil disobedience, boycotting businesses that are requiring vaccine passports, participating in rallies and fighting illegal mandates in court are ways that everyone can get involved in protecting freedom. “If they want to make us a machine, if they want to make us slaves, we say no,” Wodarg says. “… We don’t need you anymore, we are many … we don’t have to be afraid of any pandemic.”20

About the Director

I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the filmmaker, James Patrick, from “Planet Lockdown.” Here is a little more about him and what went in to making this film. Thank you James for sharing with us.

What was your inspiration for making this film?

I was in Spain when the lockdowns started, studying a PHD in economics. I escaped to southern France and a week later back to the states. I immediately saw the lockdowns as an economic takedown of the middle class rather than a virus mitigation strategy.

I looked into the academic reference of lockdown as a strategy and they were only mentioned twice and strongly recommended against as the damages would be worse than any benefit.

As an ancestor of Patrick Henry and passionate lover of human liberty, I was so upset by the lockdowns and what they meant for our future, I needed to do something about it. Within a few months I embarked on making a documentary film. The situation developed so quickly I began putting the full interviews out and it became an interview series as well.

I was able to get the best and brightest experts in the world to sit down and tell me their story. It is a high level, intimate look at what happened these last two years, from 2 weeks of lockdown to flatten the curve to Lockouts for the unvaccinated.

What do you hope people take away from the film?

The film takes the viewer on a journey through the whole COVID saga. The film and the full interviews forms an educational body of work that helps the public understand what is going on, how we got here, where are we and where this is headed if we don’t put a stop to this. Enough damage has been done. We have to make sure this never happens again or a lot worse things will happen.

Where do the proceeds to your film go?

Proceeds to the project go to cover the expenses of the film and ongoing interview series. These include travel, equipment, and payment for cameramen, sound, edits, audio technicians and web hosting expenses. We have done this project on a shoestring budget and donations are critical to keeping this high quality content coming to earn the public about what is happening and what is to come.

No other film project is addressing the situation from an international perspective, which is required to have a full understanding of what is happening. This is a global operation. We work with colleagues in UK, EU and Africa to capture the situation. We are doing this project as a public service and it isn’t free. To date it has been driven by people contributing their time unpaid, myself especially, so donations help covers these out of pocket expenses incurred.

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

The Unfaithful Are In Control: Fidelity, Fidelity where art thou Fidelity?

“Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.” – Spoken by Ruth to Naomi, her mother-in-law on fidelity.


My wedding ring has inscribed on it “whither thou goest.” My marriage, as in my life, fidelity has been key to how I live, love and prosper.

Today, I ask where is our fidelity as individuals, families, communities and a nation?

The Marine Corp motto is Semper Fidelis which is Latin for always faithful. According to the U.S. Marine Corps website:

Latin for “Always Faithful,” Semper Fidelis is the motto of every Marine—an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside. Established in 1883, this motto distinguishes the bond developed and shared between Marines. It goes beyond words that are spoken, as it is a warriorhood that is lived.

Today our nation is in dire need of those who serve us to have fidelity to our nation. Without this fidelity our nation is adrift in the world. Others see our lack of fidelity as a sign of weakness and history tells us our enemies are always ready to take advantage of our lack of fidelity.

This is not new in our history. Before WWII our people did not want to get into another land war in Europe. Still reeling from the aftermath of WWI and in the midst of a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States, America was weak.

On Sept. 1, 1939, after previously seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia, Nazi Germany invaded neighboring Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany and thus kicking off World War II in Europe.

As all of this was unfolding, in a poll conducted Sept. 1-6, 1939, Gallup asked Americans to what degree they supported assisting England, France and Poland. Americans supported providing material assistance to these three countries but were overwhelmingly opposed to sending military forces to fight Germany.

1939 Gallop Poll Question: How far should we go in helping England, France and Poland? 
Yes No
% %
Should we sell them food supplies? 74 27
Should we sell airplanes and other war materials to England and France? 58 42
Should we send our Army and Navy abroad to fight against Germany? 16 84
GALLUP, SEPT. 1-6, 1939

This American half heartedness to help fight Nazi Germany in 1939 lead directly to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by naval and air forces of Imperial Japan. A date that has gone down in infamy.

Actual or perceived U.S. weakness makes our enemies stronger, history tells us so.

Fast Forward to 2022

America is now facing a war in the Ukraine. If an Iran nuclear deal is reached which allows the mullahs to obtain nuclear weapons then a war in the Middle East between Iran and other Arab nations in partnership with Israel is a real and present danger. Add to this China’s clear intent to intimidate, if not provoke a war in the Pacific theater, over Taiwan rearing the ugly Communist dragon’s head.

China, Russia and Iran feel our lack of fidelity. We predict Iran and China will follow Russia’s lead in testing our fidelity as a nation.

Do we need to send U.S. troops to the Ukraine? No, however, we need to do all we can to help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people defeat the Russians. Not to do so will cause a humanitarian tragedy and potentially encourage Russian military action beyond the Ukraine.

What is Biden doing to prepare America and our military? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Biden and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are more concerned about diversity, inclusion, equity than winning wars. While Russian was invading Ukraine our military was holding mandatory classes on  “gender identity”. To understand watch this U.S. Army recruitment ad:

Today Americans are fast approaching yet another depression that may be worse than that during the 1930s. One caused by Biden and his administration’s policies. The price of food, gasoline, clothing, cars, homes, and consumer goods in general are rising at an alarming rate.

Question: Does America need war fighters or a military that is well versed in gender identity?

The Unfaithful Are In Control

In a November 10th, 2021 article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Inflation and Building Back Worsethe Editorial Board warned,

For something we’re told is “transitory,” inflation sure is persistent. The latest evidence arrived with a jolt Wednesday when the Labor Department reported that consumer prices jumped 0.9% in October, or 6.2% from a year ago and the fifth straight month higher than 5%.

That’s also the fastest rate since 1990, despite reassurances since March from the White House, Federal Reserve and Keynesian economists that inflation would soon vanish. It follows Tuesday’s report that wholesale prices rose 0.6% in October, or 8.6% from a year earlier. Producer prices flow into consumer prices, assuming businesses believe they have enough market power.

QUESTION: Why aren’t Biden, his administration and the majority of Democrats in Congress and the Democratic Party concerned about this?

ANSWER: They have neither an eternal nor a collective commitment to the success and progress of our Nation. They simply don’t put Americans first.

The unfaithful are now in control in the United States of America.

Indicators of our unfaithfulness as a nation began in Ferguson, Missouri. The Ferguson unrest (a.k.a. Ferguson uprisingFerguson protests, Ferguson riots) involved protests and riots which began on August 10, 2014, the day after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. This lead to the myth that black lives are more important than everyone’s lives. Which led to professional athletes taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem, to individuals, corporations and non-profits funding organizations like Black Lives Matter. This in turn led to teaching Critical Race Theory on public schools across the nation. A curriculum that paints Americans as racist.

Finally, this led to Democrats appeasing Black Identity Extremists (BIE).

Black Identity Extremists were identified by the FBI as a threat to our national security. A report published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on August 3rd, 2017 stated, “The FBI assesses it is very likely that BIEs’ perceptions of unjust treatment of African Americans and the perceived unchallenged illegitimate actions of law enforcement will inspire premeditated attacks against law enforcement over the next year. This may also lead to an increase in BIE group memberships, collaboration among BIE groups, or the appearance of additional violent lone offenders motivated by BIE rhetoric. The FBI further assesses it is very likely additional controversial police shootings of African Americans and the associated legal proceedings will continue to serve as drivers for violence against law enforcement. The FBI assesses it is likely police officers of minority groups are also targeted by BIEs because they are also representative of a perceived oppressive law enforcement system.” Black Identity Extremists include Black Lives Matter, which was co-founded by a self-identified Marxist, some members of the Democrat Black Caucus and black members of the Biden administration and cabinet.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Francis Collins, former NIH Director and current “science advisor” to Joe Biden in a newly leaked audio, obtained by The Daily Wire’s Meg Basham, demonstrates how Biden, his administration and the Democrat Party are unfaithful to America.

Dr. Collins claimed, even though science journals were already reporting that vaccinated people were just as likely to spread the then-dominant Delta variant as those who were unvaccinated,

The US government does have the authority to mandate vaccinations if there is an outbreak that is threatening people, because it’s not just about you, it’s about the people you’re going to infect.” 

Collins went on to ask,

“Do [mandates] convince people who otherwise wouldn’t get them? Oh yeah, especially if it means losing your job.” 

Collins then said evangelicals, in particular, have over-emphasize notions of personal liberty when it comes to mandates, saying they have so,

“wrapped themselves in the flag and wrapped themselves in this concept of personal freedom, that public health just grates on them.” 

Here’s a list of things Democrats love to hate:

The Bill of Rights. The Constitution of the United States of America. The American flag. Parents who push back at school board policies. Jews who voted for and continue to support Trump. Blacks, Hispanics and other people of color who voted for and continue to support Trump. Donald J. Trump and his entire family, e.g. his wife, sons, daughter and grandchildren. Canadian and American truckers driving home the anti-vaxx message, e.g. Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” and America’s “The Peoples Convoy.” Those who are not vaxxed. Those who have natural immunity to Covid and refuse to get jabbed. The 79 million Americans who voted for Donald J. Trump in 2020. The patriots who held a peaceful protest in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, 2021. Americans who know that gender is binary, male=XX and female=XY. Straight men. Straight women. Mothers. Fathers. Families consisting of a husband, wife and their biological children. Also known as parents with children. A constitutional Republican form of government where the governed have the power, not the government. Those who believe in an all mighty and all powerful God, e.g. Jews, Christians and Muslims. Those who believe government is not God. Anyone who shouts out, posts, shares on social media, has a bumper sticker or wears t-shirts with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon.”

The bottom line is Democrats hate America, the American people and our Judeo-Christian roots.

You see the danger to America is not Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Biden presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Biden, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.

Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Biden, who is, after all, merely a fool. The Republic is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president!

Question: As the foundations of America are crumbling, what are the faithful and righteous to do?

Answer: There’s nothing that the faithful and righteous cannot do.

Stand up and be counted. Semper Fidelis!

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Fake viral footage on Ukraine: How to spot it

Amid the alarming images of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the past few days, millions of people have also seen misleading, manipulated or false information about the conflict on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

One example is this video of military jets posted to TikTok, which is historical footage but captioned as live video of the situation in Ukraine.

Visuals, because of their persuasive potential and attention-grabbing nature, are an especially potent choice for those seeking to mislead. Where creating, editing or sharing inauthentic visual content isn’t satire or art, it is usually politically or economically motivated.

Disinformation campaigns aim to distract, confuse, manipulate and sow division, discord, and uncertainty in the community. This is a common strategy for highly polarised nations where socioeconomic inequalities, disenfranchisement and propaganda are prevalent.

How is this fake content created and spread, what’s being done to debunk it, and how can you ensure you don’t fall for it yourself?

What are the most common fakery techniques?

Using an existing photo or video and claiming it came from a different time or place is one of the most common forms of misinformation in this context. This requires no special software or technical skills — just a willingness to upload an old video of a missile attack or other arresting image, and describe it as new footage.

Another low-tech option is to stage or pose actions or events and present them as reality. This was the case with destroyed vehicles that Russia claimed were bombed by Ukraine.

Using a particular lens or vantage point can also change how the scene looks and can be used to deceive. A tight shot of people, for example, can make it hard to gauge how many were in a crowd, compared with an aerial shot.

Taking things further still, Photoshop or equivalent software can be used to add or remove people or objects from a scene, or to crop elements out from a photograph. An example of object addition is the below photograph, which purports to show construction machinery outside a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine. The satirical text accompanying the image jokes about the “calibre of the construction machinery” — the author suggesting that reports of damage to buildings from military ordinance are exaggerated or untrue.

Close inspection reveals this image was digitally altered to include the machinery. This tweet could be seen as an attempt to downplay the extent of damage resulting from a Russian-backed missile attack, and in a wider context to create confusion and doubt as to veracity of other images emerging from the conflict zone.

What’s being done about it?

European organisations such as Bellingcat have begun compiling lists of dubious social media claims about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and debunking them where necessary.

Journalists and fact-checkers are also working to verify content and raise awareness of known fakes. Large, well-resourced news outlets such as the BBC are also calling out misinformation.

Social media platforms have added new labels to identify state-run media organisations or provide more background information about sources or people in your networks who have also shared a particular story.

They have also tweaked their algorithms to change what content is amplified and have hired staff to spot and flag misleading content. Platforms are also doing some work behind the scenes to detect and publicly share information on state-linked information operations.

What can I do about it?

You can attempt to fact-check images for yourself rather than taking them at face value. An article we wrote late last year for the Australian Associated Press explains the fact-checking process at each stage: image creation, editing and distribution.

Here are five simple steps you can take:

1. Examine the metadata

This Telegram post claims Polish-speaking saboteurs attacked a sewage facility in an attempt to place a tank of chlorine for a “false flag” attack.

But the video’s metadata — the details about how and when the video was created — show it was filmed days before the alleged date of the incident.

To check metadata for yourself, you can download the file and use software such as Adobe Photoshop or Bridge to examine it. Online metadata viewers also exist that allow you to check by using the image’s web link.

One hurdle to this approach is that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter often strip the metadata from photos and videos when they are uploaded to their sites. In these cases, you can try requesting the original file or consulting fact-checking websites to see whether they have already verified or debunked the footage in question.

2. Consult a fact-checking resource

Organisations such as the Australian Associated PressRMIT/ABCAgence France-Presse (AFP) and Bellingcat maintain lists of fact-checks their teams have performed.

The AFP has already debunked a video claiming to show an explosion from the current conflict in Ukraine as being from the 2020 port disaster in Beirut.

3. Search more broadly

If old content has been recycled and repurposed, you may be able to find the same footage used elsewhere. You can use Google Images or TinEye to “reverse image search” a picture and see where else it appears online.

But be aware that simple edits such as reversing the left-right orientation of an image can fool search engines and make them think the flipped image is new.

4. Look for inconsistencies

Does the purported time of day match the direction of light you would expect at that time, for example? Do watches or clocks visible in the image correspond to the alleged timeline claimed?

You can also compare other data points, such as politicians’ schedules or verified sightings, Google Earth vision or Google Maps imagery, to try and triangulate claims and see whether the details are consistent.

5. Ask yourself some simple questions

Do you know wherewhen and why the photo or video was made? Do you know who made it, and whether what you’re looking at is the original version?

Using online tools such as InVID or Forensically can potentially help answer some of these questions. Or you might like to refer to this list of 20 questions you can use to “interrogate” social media footage with the right level of healthy scepticism.

Ultimately, if you’re in doubt, don’t share or repeat claims that haven’t been published by a reputable source such as an international news organisation. And consider using some of these principles when deciding which sources to trust.

By doing this, you can help limit the influence of misinformation, and help clarify the true situation in Ukraine.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

COLUMN BY

Dr T.J. Thomson is Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication & Media, Queensland University of Technology More by T.J. Thomson

Daniel Angus is Professor of Digital Communication, Queensland University of Technology More by Daniel Angus

Paula Dootson is Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology More by Paula Dootson

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

Biden’s ‘science advisor’ trashes Christians, dismisses individual rights, says government can force vaccine

America’s future as a free society is in serious peril because there are so many authoritarians in positions of power and influence who have contempt for the American people and their values.

LEAKED: Audio Shows Former NIH Director Trashing Christians at Event Hosted

by Christianity Today,” RedState, March 8, 2022:

Dr. Francis Collins, former NIH Director and current “science advisor” to Joe Biden, has long proclaimed himself and Dr. Anthony Fauci as “not political figures.” But newly leaked audio, obtained by The Daily Wire’s Meg Basham, tells a far different story.

The audio was taken on October 26th, 2021 at an event hosted by Christianity Today in conjunction with the Institute of Politics (a leftwing organization founded by David Axelrod). Russell Moore, a favorite among socially left-leaning “evangelicals” like David French and Beth Moore, conducted the interview portion that included Collins.

What followed was the mocking of Christians, the dismissal of individual rights, and false assertions about the legalities involved with vaccine mandates. But rest assured, none of this was political per Collins’ self-description.

“The US government does have the authority to mandate vaccinations if there is an outbreak that is threatening people, because it’s not just about you, it’s about the people you’re going to infect,” Collins claimed, even though science journals were already reporting by that point that vaccinated people were just as likely to spread the then-dominant Delta variant as those who were unvaccinated.

Collins went on to ask rhetorically, “Do [mandates] convince people who otherwise wouldn’t get them?” He answered himself, “Oh yeah, especially if it means losing your job.”

Perhaps Collins should opine less on legal issues because that turned out to be objectively false. As most are aware, the Supreme Court ended up striking down the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate. Collins tried to cite Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, a 1905 case that involved state-level mandates, in the interview, again showing his lack of knowledge of the topic. The lack of empathy shown to those losing their jobs over a mandate that was scientifically pointless (everyone spreads COVID) is also striking.

Later, Collins would go on to outright mock Christians who value personal freedom from the government.

Collins said evangelicals, in particular, over-emphasize notions of personal liberty when it comes to mandates, saying they have so “wrapped themselves in the flag and wrapped themselves in this concept of personal freedom, that public health just grates on them.”

“[Evangelicals] have forgotten many times that freedom is not just about rights,” Collins contended. He then employed a mocking caricature of a Southern accent, asking the students, “How many times have you heard, ‘Muh freedom means I got rights’? Well, okay, you also have that other R-word: responsibilities. That’s what freedom is supposed to incorporate.”

I’m not sure what planet this man lives on, but freedom is actually about rights. There can be no freedom without rights, and anything that violates those rights is logically not freedom. The nod to “responsibilities” is a weak, commonly used excuse by government apparatchiks to force their agenda on others. Even tackling Collins’ claim on the merits, what responsibility to others does someone have to get vaccinated if the vaccine does not stop the spread of COVID?…

Arguably the most politically pointed portion of Collins’ remarks came when Moore asked him about the political opinions of his fellow Christians. Collins answered by referencing an Atlantic article by anti-Trump pundit Peter Wehner, another member of his and Moore’s book club, that argued evangelicals have “embraced the worst aspects of our culture and our politics” and that “churches [have] become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized.”

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

Confirmed: There Was No January 6 ‘Insurrection’

A Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times reporter spills the truth on an undercover Project Veritas video. New in FrontPage:

The real journalists today aren’t working in propaganda mills such as the New York Times and CNN. The real journalists, the indefatigable hunters for truth of myth and legend, live on today in groups such as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. Feared and hated by the establishment media that it exposes for what it really is (and really isn’t, i.e., a genuine news source), Project Veritas scores coup after coup by getting establishment “journalists” talking, and recording what they say. This time, New York Times National Security Correspondent Matthew Rosenberg has inadvertently blown the cover off the entire January 6 “insurrection” hoax, confirming what we knew all along, but couldn’t say over the din of media lies: there was no “insurrection.” There was hardly even a disturbance.

The entire January 6 narrative is a Democrat Party/media fiction.

Rosenberg was caught on video saying everything that patriots have long suspected about January 6, and much more. He acknowledges that “there were a ton of FBI informants among the people who attacked the Capitol.” In these days of a rogue, partisan FBI that aided in efforts to frame a duly elected president of the United States for collusion with Russia when no collusion took place, that isn’t at all hard to believe. The entire Washington establishment was dead set against Donald Trump and determined to destroy his presidency, and the FBI is an integral cog in that Washington machine.

As Project Veritas notes, in acknowledging this, Rosenberg contradicted his own report, in which he dismissed the idea that FBI informants were among the protestors as a “reimagining of Jan. 6.”

Project Veritas also caught Rosenberg saying that January 6 was “not a big deal as they [media] are making it, because they were making too big a deal. They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t.” However, as recently as January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the insurrection that wasn’t, Rosenberg was one of three Times writers credited with an article entitled: “The Next Big Lies: Jan. 6 Was No Big Deal, or a Left-Wing Plot.”

In that piece, Rosenberg, along with fellow propagandists Jim Rutenberg and Matthew M. Grynbaum, wrote:

“Over the last year, that same self-nourishing loop — connecting the extremely online Trumpian grass roots to close Trump allies with national soapboxes and finally to the former president himself, plotting his comeback from Palm Beach exile — has circulated a furious array of rumor, innuendo, partial facts and outright lies to fill the right-wing media with alternative narratives of the first interruption in the peaceful transfer of power in American history.”

Rumor, innuendo, partial facts and outright lies such as the assertion that January 6 wasn’t really an insurrection, which Rosenberg is now on record admitting.

According to O’Keefe, this Times article “was written around the same time as he was making contradictory statements to a Project Veritas undercover reporter.” In his conversation with the undercover Project Veritas operative, Rosenberg dismissed the idea that January 6 was the terrorist rampage of Leftist myth, saying: “It was like, me and two other colleagues who were there outside and we were just having fun. I know I’m supposed to be traumatized, but like, all these colleagues who were in the [Capitol] building, and are like, ‘Oh my God it was so scary!’ I’m like, ‘f*ck off!’” He adds, “I’m like come on, it’s not the kind of place I can tell someone to man up but I kind of want to be like, ‘dude come on, you were not in any danger.’ These f*cking little dweebs who keep going on about their trauma. Shut the f*ck up. They’re f*cking b*tches.”

They’re worse than that. They’re authoritarian propagandists who embody David Horowitz’s adage, “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” They’re engaged in a large-scale attempt to stigmatize and ultimately criminalize all dissent from the Leftist agenda. That, in fact, makes them the real “insurrectionists,” and if future free people write the history of the United States, they will be recognized as such. Matthew Rosenberg himself would have been among them, but now, with one unguarded conversation, he has done a great deal to blow their cover and destroy their whole endeavor. We can only hope.

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

That Crumbling You Hear is Not an Earthquake

Here’s a hint: God-fearing patriots don’t retreat!


Here’s this week’s Shout Out Patriots Show: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

The foundations of God are under assault, and we don’t have to look far to find the evidence.

A woman can become a man. Two men can marry each other. A father can give birth to a baby. An unborn baby is not human. And a mother is now a “birthing person.”

While living under the ruthless law of Saul, King David also saw the foundations of God being destroyed. His advisers even suggested that he “flee like a bird to your mountain,” making him scoff.

Though David didn’t flee, he was aware of the dangers of standing his ground. He saw “the wicked bend their bows” and “make ready their arrow upon the string.”

Their focus?

To shoot “the upright in heart.”

In Psalm 11, David asks the pointed question that Christians today are forced to answer:

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Our team attempts to answer that uneasy question in this episode of Shout Out Patriots.

To help us consider the answer, we invited Dr. Rich Swier to join us.

Dr. Swier is a 23-year Army veteran who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is also a former radio talk show host and is one of our nation’s leading pro-family advocates.

I hope you find time to watch or listen to this important podcast as we debate how to rebuild God’s foundations in America.

©Martin Mawyer. All rights reserved.

American Fascisti: Looking For Fascism In All The Wrong Places

“Well, then, arrest him. You can accuse him of something or other afterward.“ —  Isaac Asimov

“Friends ask you questions; enemies question you.” – Criss Jami


Since the rise of Antifa, which gained prominence in the United States after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-12, 2017, there has been a concerted effort to designate selected individuals and groups, who don’t fit the definition of fascists, as fascists. Love of ones country is not fascist.

Today patriotism has been equated to fascism.

These falsely labeled groups include parents, peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, 2020, members of certain political parties (Independents, Libertarians and the GOP) and followers of a former President of the United States (#45).

We expected Antifa, and other anarchist groups, to go quietly into the night but they haven’t.

The cost of civil disorder has risen to alarming levels. Civil disorder has turned into a political, philosophical and a number of social movements that are gaining power to the point that they are now a new breed of fascists – we call them “American Fascisti.”

Costliest U.S. civil disorders

On May 26, 2020, after the death of George Floyd in police custody, protests and riots broke out in Minneapolis, Minnesota and spread over the weeks that followed to another 140 U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The National Guard was deployed in at least 21 states and Washington, D.C.

Axios’ Jennifer A. Kingson reported on the history of the costliest insurance claims due to civil disorders in 2020 that exceeded $1-2 billion. Here’s the cost of these protests and riots:

Includes riots and civil disorders causing insured losses to the insurance industry.

Dates Location Dollars 2020 dollars
May 26-June 8, 2020 20 states across U.S. $1-2b $1-2b
Apr. 29-May 4, 1992 Los Angeles, CA 775m 1.42b
Aug. 11-17, 1965 Los Angeles, CA 44m 357m
Jul. 23, 1967 Detroit, MI 42m 322m
May 17-19, 1980 Miami, Fl 65m 204m
Apr. 4-9, 1968 Washington, DC 24m 179m
Jul. 13-14, 1977 New York, NY 28m 118m
Jul. 12. 1967 Newark, NJ 15m 115m
Apr. 6-9, 1968 Baltimore, MD 14m 104m
Apr. 4-11, 1968 Chicago, IL 13m 97m

These riots are indicative of a new Fascism in America. The 2020 riots are more dangerous and costly than the Vietnam War protests and all others combined.

This article will shed light on the origins of Fascism in America from 1930 to 2022.

The legacy and social media, the Democrats and Biden’s DOJ, DOD and FBI continue to seek out Fascists in America.

What our research found is that they’re looking for Fascists in all the wrong places.

Merriam-Webster defines Fascism as:

1. political philosophy, movement, or – (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition;
2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

Through the Looking Glass: American Fascisti

We used four key benchmarks to find Fascism in America: 1. Those who are for a centralized autocratic government, 2. Those who exalt race over the individual, 3. Those who are implementing severe economic and social regimentation and 4. those who use suppression and oppression against those who oppose them and their political philosophy.

NOTE: We found during our research that today’s American Fascisti lack any love of America as a nation, or its people or its Constitutional Republican form of government. We found today’s American Fascisti actually hate America, its flag, the U.S. Constitution and all that America stands for. We also found that the American Fascisti are not right wing at all. Rather they trend toward the Marxist side of the political spectrum.

Based upon the above four benchmarks we present to our readers the following list of American Fascisti:

    1. Lawrence Dennis – was a leading light in the American fascist movement of the 1930s. He was a fan of Hitler and a self-avowed anti-Semite. A book titled “The Colour of Fascism” by Gerald Horne revealed that Dennis was actually black – although even his wife didn’t know. The BBC reported, “Lawrence Dennis was, arguably, the brains behind American fascism. He attended the Nuremberg rallies, had a personal audience with Mussolini, and met Nazi leaders; throughout the 1930s he provided the intellectual ballast for America’s bourgeoning pro-fascist movement. But though his work was well known and well appreciated by the intelligentsia and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic, there was one crucial fact about him that has never emerged until now: he was black.” So, history tells us that the first American Fascisti was a black man. Hold on to that thought as you will see a connection to what is happening in America today.
    2. The Ku Klux Klan – In Madison Square Garden, New York City, from June 24 to July 9, 1924, at the Democratic National Convention, a dispute during came up revolving around an attempt by non-Klan delegates, led by Forney Johnston of Alabama, to condemn the organization for its violence in the Democratic Party’s platform. But Ku Klux Klan delegates defeated the platform plank in a series of floor debates. To celebrate, tens of thousands of hooded Klansmen rallied in a field in New Jersey, across the river from New York City. This event, known subsequently as the “Klanbake”, was also attended by hundreds of Klan delegates to the convention, who burned crosses, urged violence and intimidation against African Americans and Catholics, and attacked effigies of Smith. The final vote was 546.15 for the Klan, 542.85 against it. The KKK was and remains American Fascisti.
    3. The 34 members of the KKK over time including one Supreme Court Justice, 11 members of the U.S. Senate, 3 House members, 6 governors, 1 Federal Judge. The KKK elected officials were all Democrats with the exception of David Duke who ran for president as both a Democrat and Republican. The most recent member of the KKK was Democrat Senator Robert Carlyle Byrd from West Virginia for over 51 years, from 1959 until his death in 2010. Byrd also served as a U.S. Representative for six years, from 1953 until 1959. Byrd was a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan while in his 20s and 30s, rising to the title of Kleagle. Among those who gave eulogies at Byrd’s funeral were: Bill Clinton, Barack and Michele Obama. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., during the memorial service held for Byrd, said, “Bishop, Reverend Clergy, Mona and Marjorie, the entire Byrd family — if you didn’t already know it, it’s pretty clear the incredible esteem your father was held in.  I know you’ve known that your whole life…Well, if there was ever a senator who was the embodiment of his state, if there was ever a senator who, in fact, reflected his state, it was Robert C. Byrd…After I was elected 1972 as a 29-year-old kid, I was number 100 out of 100 in Senate seniority.  And Leader Byrd offered up — he was then the whip — he offered his office to me to come down from Delaware so I could have a place to interview staff members… I said of him when I learned of his death, I was on an errand for the President [Obama] in Cleveland, and I said, ‘You know, to paraphrase the poet, we shall not see his like again.‘”
    4. EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Reagan, who is black like Lawrence David, recently used the power of his office to impose “stronger standards.” In remarks made by Regan on March 7th, 2022 Regan said, “Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing new, stronger standards to promote clean air and reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles and engines starting in model year (MY) 2027. The proposed standards would reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines and set updated greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for certain commercial vehicle categories.  This proposed rule would ensure the heavy-duty vehicles and engines that drive American commerce and connect people across the country are as clean as possible while charting a path to advance zero-emission vehicles in the heavy-duty fleet.” Regan’s “Clean Trucks Plan” proposed revisions to existing GHG standards for MY2027 and beyond would “set updated GHG emissions standards for subsectors where electrification is advancing at a more rapid pace.  These sectors include school buses, transit buses, commercial delivery trucks, and short-haul tractors. In a separate action, EPA will be setting new GHG emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles as soon as model year 2030. This action will more comprehensively address the longterm trend towards zero emissions vehicles across the heavy-duty sector.” Regan is the embodiment of severe economic and social regimentation. 
    5. Democrat Pete Buttigieg’s husband Chasten led elementary school children in a pledge of allegiance to the rainbow flag. The Biden administration is filled with LGBTQ persons and supporters. Among them is Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Pete’s partner, Chasten James Glezman Buttigieg, is an American teacher, writer, LGBTQ rights advocate. On March 7th, 2022 The New York Post reported, “Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were criticized Monday for a “tone-deaf” event focused on promoting electric buses as gas prices soared for most Americans. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, tweeted, “The Biden Administration could not be more tone-deaf.” “Vice President Kamala Harris and [Transportation] Secretary Pete Buttigieg spent the afternoon promoting electric vehicles and Green New Deal policies. “Are you kidding me?” Mullin wrote. Pete Buttigieg said, “you don’t have to worry about gas prices if you buy an electric vehicle.” Pete and Chasten Buttigieg are the embodiment of severe economic and social regimentation and Chasten exalts the LGBTQ flag over the American flag.
    6. Dr. Francis Collins, former NIH Director and current “science advisor” to Joe Biden. A newly leaked audio, obtained by The Daily Wire’s Meg Basham, demonstrates how Dr. Collins is truly an American Fascisti. Collins claimed, even though science journals were already reporting by that point that vaccinated people were just as likely to spread the then-dominant Delta variant as those who were unvaccinated, ““The US government does have the authority to mandate vaccinations if there is an outbreak that is threatening people, because it’s not just about you, it’s about the people you’re going to infect.” Collins went on to ask, “Do [mandates] convince people who otherwise wouldn’t get them? Oh yeah, especially if it means losing your job.” Collins said evangelicals, in particular, have over-emphasize notions of personal liberty when it comes to mandates, saying they have so “wrapped themselves in the flag and wrapped themselves in this concept of personal freedom, that public health just grates on them.” Collins is clearly one of those who are implementing severe economic and social regimentation and using suppression and oppression against those who oppose them and their political philosophy.
    7. Black Lives Matter (BLM). On February 6th, 2022 a Black Lives Matter speaker encouraged protesters to burn police precincts and show “absolute hate” toward their “oppressors” in a violent tirade during a protest in Minneapolis over the police shooting death of 22-year-old Amir Locke, who was killed after police executed a no-knock warrant in an apartment. “Fill your anger fully. Be mad. Be mad! Because your anger is justified,” the young man shouted into a megaphone. The BLM speaker continued with, “Build barricades. Burn precincts! Reappropriate everything that they have stolen from us for generations! Power to the looters, power to the rioters!“ Recently, a private school in D.C. marched kindergartners through halls holding BLM signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter.” BLM puts race above the individual and law and order. BLM stands for a centralized autocratic black government and their members forcibly suppress any and all opposition.
    8. Anti-Fascists are the new American Fascisti. reported, “The suspect arrested over the car-ramming attack against “Freedom Convoy” anti-vaccine mandate protesters in Winnipeg is an Antifa member with a long history of far-left militant activism in Canada. David Alexander Zegarac, 42, of Headingley, Manitoba, allegedly sped off in his Jeep Patriot to try to escape after the incident last Friday, which injured four people and was caught on camera. Zegarac ran multiple lights and resisted arrest when he was finally caught around 40 minutes later, according to the Winnipeg police.”

The Bottom Line

As time goes by we see a growing number of American Fascisti coming out of the political closet under Biden and his administration. These American Fascisti are being put into key cabinet and government positions to push an agenda of oppression.

The new American Fascisti support:

  1. A centralized autocratic government,
  2. Exalting race over individual liberty and Constitutional rights,
  3. Implementation of severe economic and social regimentation via the Red/Green/Rainbow/Build Back Better alliances,
  4. And, finally, suppression, oppression, imprisonment and torture against those who oppose them and their political philosophy.

The legacy media (NYT, WaPo), social media (FB, Twitter, Google), corporations (Apple, Walt Disney) and the Democrat Party are the new American Fascisti.

They are open about their agenda to fundamentally transform America into a Fascist regime that fits their political philosophy and movements. Watch:

If you don’t see it your looking in all the wrong places.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

Inflation Soars To Another Four-Decade High

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.8% in February, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The CPI reached another four-decade high throughout February, with prices increasing nearly 8% on a year-over-year basis, the BLS reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the index to have grown just 7.8%.

The core price index, which measures inflation of goods less food and energy, increased 0.5% in February, the BLS reported. Food prices reportedly grew 7.9% on a year-over-year basis as of February, the BLS reported, and energy prices soared 25.6%.

Economists projected inflation would ease in the spring, when the Federal Reserve begins its interest rate hikes, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has threatened higher prices, especially in energy, wheat and precious metals, the WSJ reported.

“We thought that inflation would come down, especially due to the untangling of the global supply chain, but we don’t know how what’s happening in Ukraine will re-tangle that,” Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics LLC, told the WSJ.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expects the central bank to raise rates by one-quarter of a percentage point after its March 15-16 meeting, according to the WSJ.

“I do think it’s going to be appropriate for us to proceed along the lines we had in mind before the Ukraine invasion happened,” Powell said, the WSJ reported. “In this very sensitive time at the moment, it’s important for us to be careful in the way we conduct policy simply because things are so uncertain and we don’t want to add to that uncertainty.”

COLUMN BY

HARRY WILMERDING

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Will the Music Go Silent in Kiev?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century” was the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today Putin is moving hard to “reclaim,” as he would it see it, an important part of Russia—neighboring Ukraine.

Thus, the fallout from the Communist atheists’ disastrous takeover of Russia in 1917 continues to this day. Now the world is witnessing the incredible human suffering caused by Putin’s evil ambitions, as he follows in Lenin’s and Stalin’s footsteps.

How this story will end is unknown. But there is an angle that ought to be considered. There are millions of devout Christians in Ukraine, and they are fiercely committed to their independence.

To get a better understanding of the Ukrainian people, I spoke at length with Roger McMurrin. Though now retired, he and his wife Diane pioneered a work in Ukraine that continues to this day. It is called Music Mission Kiev, which they officially founded in 1994.

In many ways, Russia began in Kiev c.780 by the Vikings. By the 1200s, Kiev had a population of 50,000—in contrast to London at 20,000 and Berlin at 10,000, according to McMurrin.

He even points out that the Russian Orthodox Church, which was born in Kiev, decided to build a monastery in a forest faraway—and thus Moscow was born.

McMurrin was a music conductor of large church choirs, including the well-known Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in the 1970s and 1980s when Dr. D. James Kennedy was the senior pastor. My wife sang in that choir and always appreciated Roger’s musical genius.

In the early 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when religious freedom was allowed in Russia and Ukraine, Roger and Diane got to visit there and even came up with the idea to re-introduce sacred music to be performed by professional Ukrainian musicians—many of whom were out of work.

The first piece Roger had them perform was Handel’s Messiah, which had not been heard in at least 70 years there. It was a major success.

Thus was born, Music Mission Kiev, the home of the Kiev (actually, Kyiv) Symphony Orchestra and Chorus—which has gone on many tours in the region and even in the U.S. Diane McMurrin has written the fascinating story of their work in Ukraine and God’s call on their lives to work among the Ukrainians in her 1998 bookThe Splendor of His Music.

The Music Mission Kiev website notes that their organization “began performing sacred masterpieces of classical music in 1993…[pieces, which] were banned under Communist rule.”

Roger told me that that included “almost 65 great Christian Classics”—works such as Hayden’s Creation, Bach’s St. John’s Passion and St. Matthew’s Passion, Beethoven’s “Hallelujah” from Christ on the Mount of Olives, Mozart’s Ave Verum, Schubert’s Ave Maria, etc.

Roger and his team were even able to perform many sacred works by classic Russian composers—again, works not heard since the Bolsheviks started taking over Russia beginning in 1917. That includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture.

Even the famous 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky has some church-based musical themes in the original version—which were altered during the days of the Soviet Union, with its anti-Christian purging of anything church-related.

When Roger and his team first started in the early 1990s, everybody they hired, including the musicians, were atheists and agnostics.

Roger told me the Ukrainian people they encountered in general were unbelievers, and their lives were desperate and depressed. Men died at the average age of 56 (largely through alcohol and tobacco use), and the average lifespan for the women was 75.

Although their ministry was focused on classical music, very soon after starting, they began weekly feeding of widows. At last count, Music Mission Kiev feeds about 550 widows a week.

Through the work of various Christian ministries throughout Ukraine, including Music Mission Kiev, Roger said that today there are millions of Christians there.

And now comes Putin’s invasion. The Music Mission Kiev website says: “‘It is a nightmare from hell’ is how our staff and friends in Kyiv are describing the situation….Even after the fighting stops, we know there is a refugee crisis coming. Estimates are there will be close to 4 million refugees and 12 million people in Ukraine in dire need of humanitarian aid.”

Roger McMurrin added that the history of Ukraine is filled with foreign invasions. Through the centuries, they were ruled by the Mongols, the Tatars, the Ottomans, the Swedes, and, of course, Russia beginning around 1919 (with an interval during World War 2 under Nazi Rule), until the Soviet Union imploded in 1991.

He said that the Ukrainians are brave. They love their country, and they will fight to the end.

Perhaps Putin has bitten off more than he can chew in this invasion. The Ukrainian people are resolved to stand up against this tyranny. Pray for them in this hour of crisis.

©Jerry Newcombe. All rights reserved.

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