Searching For Reason Among The Rubble Of War

Satire: Why did Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine? And why are there wars anyway? Well, we know this about wars: They are usually fought over energy-producing resources such as oil, gas, coal, and uranium. And they always end in some kind of negotiated settlement.

Recall, the parties to the Peace of Westphalia (1648) at the end of the Thirty Years War hated each other so much they would not meet to discuss peace terms in the same German town. Using the forerunner of the Bundespost, the parties gave us the world’s first All Mail-in Peace Treaty.

But what was the origin of violence between members of early Humankind? Professor Jared Diamond recounts how roving bands of hunter/gatherers would come into violent conflict with other hunter/gathering bands. Knowing the “why” behind their violence may be the key to understanding why wars begin.

Let’s say Fred and Wilma Flintstone are in pursuit of a Woolly Mammoth. They run into Og and Ogla who are after the same entrée. By Christian-Judeo standards (which, of course, had yet to be established), the two families should enjoy a Kosher BBQ together. But maybe False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR) overcame both families and they felt the need to attack each other.

Did Fred fear that Og fancied Wilma? Or, wanted to re-gender little Pebbles? Did Og fear that Fred fancied Ogla? Who knows? For sure, they were in fear of each other.
But, as they evolved from roving hunter/gathering bands into stay-at-home agricultural tribes, Fred, Wilma, Og, and Ogla, grew weary of violence. Their solution was to appoint a Chief, an arbiter to decide when violent aggression or self-defense was justified. Or, not.

But wait. While the Chief system cut down on the violence, some Chiefs decided to become hereditary Kings, and thus, the State, complete with Police and Military, was born. Fortunately, Fred and Og forced the King to adopt a Magna Carta, including a 2d Amendment that insured their right to keep their stone axes for hunting, for self-defense, and for in case the King got too big for his loincloth.

Archeologists can ID the gravesites of Kings by how much cool stuff is buried with them. Actually, many Kings were running a profitable protection racket. In exchange for taxes, Kings provided the masses with protection from each other and with secure borders to protect them from invading Kings and illegal migrants.

Thus, Feudalism was born — a system that employed a lot of stone masons until Chinese gunpowder was imported and put the stone masons out of work. Then, even though one of the King’s sons left a Slabtop lying around revealing how the King and his family were ripping off the masses, the Police hid the Slabtop, and the Metamorphic Media refused to inform the masses.

Maybe the genesis of violence is related to “recognition.” When God recognized Cain’s gift less worthy of praise than Abel’s gift, Cain, in a fit of jealousy, slew Abel. Maybe Putin, like Rodney Dangerfield, feels he gets no respect and not enough recognition. Maybe Putin is jealous of others with whom he must share the spotlight. Putin should note that God assigned Cain the off-camera role of wandering in perpetual darkness.

Suggested reading: The World Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond, 2012. Genesis 4:11-14., RSV.

©2023. William Hamilton. All rights reserved.

DeSantis Announces Plan To Squash ‘Equity’ At New College Of Florida And Restore Merit

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plan to overhaul the ideological education system at New College of Florida (NCF) and restore its original mission.

DeSantis will appoint six new members of NCF’s board of trustees: activist Chris Rufo, Dr. Mark Bauerlein, Dr. Matthew Spalding, Dr. Charles Kesler, lawyer Debra Jenks and educator Jason “Eddie” Speir. The Florida Board of Governors will also appoint a seventh member.

The 13-member board now has enough members to reshape the public college’s ideological courses and campus environment.

“As Governor DeSantis stated in his second inaugural speech: ‘We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth.’ Starting today, the ship is turning around. New College of Florida, under the governor’s new appointees, will be refocused on its founding mission of providing a world-class quality education with an exceptional focus on the classics,” Bryan Griffin, the press secretary for DeSantis, said in a statement.

NCF currently lists among its values “a just, diverse, equitable and inclusive community,” echoing the progressive ideology of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), better known as critical race theory. The school is “actively working toward eliminating outcome disparities for underrepresented and underserved groups,” it says in its values section.

“It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South,” James Uthmeier, Chief of Staff for DeSantis said.

The school provides certain services, like its Office of Inclusive Excellence, a gender studies program and its Gender and Diversity Center. It celebrates “latinx” history month through films, workshops, concerts and lectures, its website says.

NCF’s Office of Inclusive Excellence, the DEI office on campus, documents “outcomes and learnings from Phase I of the Inclusive Campus Climate initiative” and develops “campus-wide DEI key metrics and milestones, and support departmental implementation,” according to its page.

The NCF gender studies program offers courses in queer studies, queer history and feminist philosophy as part of its curriculum. It lists “community relations and organizing” among its potential career paths.

It also provides students with “gender identity affirmation resources” to assist students with legal name changes and updating their pronouns, according to a resource form.

In 2001, the Florida legislature separated NCF from the University of South Florida (USF) system and outlined a mission “combining educational innovation with educational excellence,” and to “provide a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating.”

DeSantis’ promised to challenge ideological education in his inaugural address Tuesday.

“We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology,” DeSantis said

AUTHOR

JAMES LYNCH AND HENRY RODGERS

Contrubutors.

RELATED ARTICLE: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Insiders Speak Out On His Real Views About DeSantis

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

J6: What we knew then, and what we know now

We take a lot of heat for what we do at the Center for Security Policy, but our eyewitness account of the violence at the U.S. Capitol two years ago provoked an especially intense response.

The Center’s report concluded that a handful of agents-provocateurs executed the violence, which was planned and coordinated in advance, and exacerbated by a lack of intelligence, poor discipline, and poor leadership from Capitol Police. We also directly confronted the false narrative of “thousands of armed insurrectionists.”

How does our first-person report, written by our senior analyst for strategy hours after the event took place hold up after two years of criminal investigations, congressional hearings, and media reports?

The Federalist reprinted the report the day after we posted it. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) read portions into the record at the first Senate investigative hearing.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, co-chairman of the Senate panel investigating the violence, called our report and Johnson’s questions “disinformation.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer foamed that it was “mindless garbage.” CNN slammed our evidence as a baseless conspiracy theory.

Not the first time the willingness of the Center to call it as we saw it has provoked hysterics among those pushing false narratives.

But Johnson asked a senior FBI official if our analysis made sense and FBI Assistant Director Jill Sanborn surprised Johnson by confirming Center’s report “absolutely” reflected what the Bureau had found. There were no tens of thousands of armed insurrectionists. There were a small number of provocateurs.

The report also told of suspected fake anti-Trump militants, but we didn’t suspect the FBI.

Then, some of those arrested and charged with leading the violence were identified as FBI informants and assets. When others posted videos of an apparent provocateur named Ray Epps goading people to attack the Capitol and leading the first confrontation at the outer security perimeter, the Center pushed for answers.

The break came when Sanborn, recently promoted to Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, was again scheduled to testify at a January, 2022 Judiciary Committee hearing. We worked with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to shape questions that would get to the bottom of the allegations.

Cruz asked Sanborn directly: “Did any FBI agents of confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th? Yes or no?”

Sanborn: “I can’t answer that.”

Cruz kept pressing hard. A simple “no” would have ended the matter. In the 3-1/2 minutes of questioning, the FBI official would not budge.

The FBI never provided senators with an answer afterward. And the Bureau has obfuscated ever since. Cruz’s questions – and the FBI’s reaction – changed the terms of debate about who was behind the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

The evidence now suggests that the FBI knew about the prospect for violence well in advance but did not inform the U.S. Capitol Police or the Secret Service, which was at the Capitol on January 6 to provide security for Vice President Mike Pence.

And at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the FBI official in the best position to know refused to answer if the FBI itself was involved in “criminal acts of violence” at the Capitol on J6.

The video of Senator Cruz grilling the FBI made C-SPAN’s Top 10 most-watched videos for 2022.

We have hundreds of new questions for Congress to ask in 2023.

AUTHOR

J. Michael Waller

Senior Analyst for Strategy

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

EXCLUSIVE: Agent Shot Near Border Days Ahead Of Biden’s Visit

A Border Patrol agent was shot near Lordsburg, New Mexico, along a local highway ahead of President Joe Biden’s expected trip to the southern border, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

“Border Patrol agents made a vehicle stop. In the course of the vehicle stop a suspect shot a Border Patrol agent in the chest and I believe also in the arm,” Judd said, adding that the bullet didn’t penetrate the agent’s protective vest.

“The vehicle then fled and a pursuit took place where it’s my understanding that the vehicle then crashed and rolled with the suspect fleeing,” Judd continued.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed the incident occurred in a subsequent statement to the DCNF, where the agency said the agent had been shot “multiple” times in the chest.

“The agent was able to return fire as the suspect’s vehicle sped away. Ultimately, the fleeing vehicle was involved in a rolled over accident a few miles down the road and agents took six persons into custody. Two occupants required additional medical attention and were flown to a trauma center in El Paso, Texas,” CBP said.

The agent who was shot was medically evaluated and released. The FBI, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the New Mexico State Police are conducting probes into the incident, according to CBP.

Agents later apprehended the suspect, who Judd said may have been a smuggler.

Biden is set to visit El Paso, Texas, which is in the same sector as Lordsburg, in the coming days. Border Patrol agents have recently seen a record surge in illegal immigration, with more than 2.3 million migrants encountered by CBP in fiscal year 2022.

Biden said Wednesday that he wanted to travel there to see “peace and security” and to “see what’s going on.” The president last visited the border in 2008, when he drove by the area, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in 2021.

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

AUTHOR

JENNIE TAER

Investigative reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

VIDEO: SCOTUS Update on Case 22-380 Brunson v Adams et al with Raland Brunson

This week, on the cusp of J6, Defend Florida is excited to bring on Raland Brunson. Raland is the actual plaintiff on the case that is docketed at SCOTUS. If you recall, two identical cases were filed, one under Loy, the other under Raland.

In this interview, we will cover the case, Q&A’s and hear Raland’s unique insight into the what is next to come. Please mark your calendars for Thursday, January 5th at 9:00 PM EST so you can join the Brunson Charge coalition.

Thank you for being part of this initiative, our country needs you more than ever. Now that you have written your letters, please invite your friends and family to watch so they too can become participants in this historic lawsuit. For instruction on the letter writing campaign, go to The Brunson Charge.

As a reminder, the addresses are: Supreme Court of the United States, Case 22-380 Brunson v Adams et al, 1 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20543

And a copy should be sent to: Loy & Raland Brunson, 4287 South Harrison Blvd., #132, Ogden, Utah 84403

©Defend Florida. All rights reserved.

Rep. Matt Gaetz Votes For Trump For House Speaker

Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz cast a vote on Thursday for former President Donald Trump to be speaker of the House.

House Republicans failed to elect a speaker on the seventh ballot, with opponents to Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy refusing to increase his vote tally. McCarthy received 201 votes, Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds garnered 20 votes, and Gaetz was the sole representative to vote for Trump.

The race for the speakership will continue until a candidate reaches a majority of 218 votes.

Gaetz said he would vote for Trump for speakership in March.

“Give us the ability to Fire Nancy Pelosi, take back the majority, impeach Joe Biden and I’m going to nominate Donald Trump as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives,” Gaetz said at the time.

Trump urged Republicans to vote for McCarthy on Wednesday to “close the deal, take the victory” and “watch Nancy Pelosi fly back home to a very broken California.”

“Republicans, do not turn a great triumph into a giant & embarrassing defeat. It’s time to celebrate, you deserve it,” Trump said on Truth Social.

He also said if Republicans are going to fight, they should be fighting against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

AUTHOR

DIANA GLEBOVA

White House correspondent.

RELATED ARTICLES:

House Rejects Kevin McCarthy For Seventh Straight Vote

‘VOTE FOR KEVIN’: Trump Doubles Down On McCarthy’s Speaker Bid

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

The Pentagon’s Pronoun Wars

Our woke military brass don’t know how to win wars, but know their pronouns.


In 2020, the Air Force conducted a classified war game which showed Communist China launching a biological attack and then invading Taiwan.

And we lost.

“At that point the trend in our war games was not just that we were losing, but we were losing faster,” Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote stated.

With abysmal readiness rates that have an average of only 7 out of 10 planes operational, and down to 50% for the F-22 stealth fighter, 50% for the CV-22 Osprey and 40% for the B-1 Lancer, the Air Force isn’t even trying to win a possible war, but it’s fighting one for pronouns.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a two-time losing congressional candidate who wasted millions before being appointed by Biden as Air Force Undersecretary, declared that adding pronouns to the emails of air force personnel will make them “a more inclusive force”.

”An inclusive force is a mission-ready force,” she contended, all evidence to the contrary.

This proposal was cheered by Lt. Col. Bree (Bryan) Fram, LIT Transgender Policy Team co-lead. He describes himself as a “Rocket Scientist, Author, Advocate, Nerd”. Warrior does not make the list. But he was in attendance when Biden signed the Disrespect for Marriage Act, abolishing religious freedom and marriage.

“The use of correct pronouns is an easy way to show care and respect,” Mr. Fram insisted.

It’s a short hop from pronouns being voluntary to becoming mandatory.

Pacific Air Forces went further by warning its personnel not to use “he/she” pronouns. The Air Force Academy, always in the vanguard of wokeness, told cadets to stop referencing “mom and dad”, and to ask people for their gender identity. This was described as a “warfighting imperative”.

The Navy, like the Army, has jettisoned the use of ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’ for drill instructors.

Earlier this year, the Navy released a video teaching personnel to use proper gender pronouns. An editorial at the Naval Institute complained about the use of such terms as “manpower, manning, man overboard, man the rails, sideboy, man hours”.

The authors even urged replacing “man overboard” with “shipmate overboard.”

Now when a man falls overboard, there will have to be a debate about gendered language and what he identifies with before he can be rescued. And by then he’ll probably have drowned.

The Navy’s Special Ops creed changed its wording from  “elite brotherhood of sailors” to “elite group of maritime warriors”. SEALs no longer mention “brave men who have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold.”

Nor do they say, “I am that man.”

There are no female operators because none have met the standards. But it’s only a matter of time until those standards are lowered.

Chris Beck, the retired Navy SEAL who became the poster boy for the transgender movement when he spent a decade claiming to be a woman, has returned to his senses, and calls it the “worst mistake of my life.”

Beck describes getting a prescription for hormones after a brief consultation at the VA.

“I got propagandized. I got used badly by a lot of people who had knowledge way beyond me,” he admitted. “They knew what they were doing. I didn’t.”

The VA, whose delays are still killing veterans, offers a special field for gender identity and a list of pronouns for “nonbinaries” that include xe/xem. Earlier this year, House Democrats blocked an effort to expose VA delays in veteran care. Some VA facilities still have delays that drag on for months, but pronouns remain a leading priority. Patient care takes a back seat to wokeness.

As it does across the military in the Obama and Biden eras.

Military policy demands that personnel “should be sensitive to the use of pronouns when addressing others.” There is no expectation that the men who wake up one morning and decide that they’re women should stop putting their fetishes and neuroses ahead of the mission.

The United States is following in the footsteps of the Canadian Armed Forces which mandates the use of gender neutral pronouns and the British Ministry of Defence which orders officials to state their gender pronouns.

“Pronouns aren’t just used inside the 2SLGBTQI+ communities but are used by everyone,” Canada’s Department of National Defence states.

The only people who use pronouns are ordered to use them by their employer or institution. With control of the military, the Trudeau regime and other woke governments have a sizable class of personnel that, to their endless delight, they can order to do anything they want.

Western nations can’t think of any better use for their militaries than performative dogma.

NATO has a 38-page manual on “gendered language” which emphasizes that it is “important to distinguish between grammatical gender and gender as a social construct.” What would have been an obscure dilettante academic’s thesis in the 80s are now military marching orders.

During the Cold War, NATO focused on tactics and strategy while the Russians wrote papers on Marxism-Leninism. Now NATO is stuffed with personnel writing papers on cultural Marxism.

We no longer have a serious military leadership and so we’re not ready for a serious war.

But that’s because our ideologically captured institutions have no interest in fighting one. If China invades Taiwan, South Korea or Hawaii, they’ll issue a strong statement, supply some weapons to the remaining defenders and go back to emphasizing pronoun discipline.

These are the preoccupations of ideologically captured institutions which are not interested in winning military conflicts, only ideological ones.

As Clausewitz suggested, war is politics by other means. Inversely, politics is also war by other means. The Left is fighting a political civil war and has little interest in foreign wars. Leftist control over any institution transforms it into another battalion in its culture war against us.

While China and other enemy nations expand outward, America is stuck in a civil war. That’s why we continue to lose to China in our war games. Instead of being prepared for a war, our woke military brass, men like Secretary of Defense Austin, Gen. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Air Force Chief of Staff, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, and others have made it abundantly clear that their priority is enforcing wokeness.

They have no plan to fight or win a war against any substantial enemy. They’re here to enforce the identity politics mandates on the military in between schmoozing at D.C. cocktail parties.

Ask them how to beat China and they don’t have an answer, but just ask them their pronouns, ask them about green energy, systemic racism and abortion and they’ll talk your ears off.

The woke military brass with its pronouns and allegiance to the ideals of the same enemy they were tasked with fighting during the Cold War is a national security threat to our nation.

AUTHOR

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

VIDEO: Study—The More Vaxxed You Are, The Higher The Risk Of Getting Covid

In what will almost certainly be Dr. John Campbell’s last YouTube video, he reveals the real stats on mRNA injections and your risk of getting Covid. This of course doesn’t deal with the risks of other things from the mRNA.

The risk of COVID-19 also varied by the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses previously received. The higher the number of vaccines previously received, the higher the risk of covid infection.

Download free high-res PDFs of the posters, download free copies of Dr. John Campbell’s two text books. Any donations using this link help the work of Dr. Campbell’s teaching.

Order a hard copy Physiology book in the UK.

Vaccine doses versus risk of Covid during the 3-month study period,

  • One dose, 1.7 times more likely to test positive for Covid
  • Two doses, 2.63 times more likely to test positive for Covid
  • Three doses, 3.1 times more likely to test positive for Covid
  • More than three doses, 3.8 times more likely to test positive for Covid

So compared to the unvaccinated,

1, x 1.7

2, x 2.36

3, x 3.1

4, x 3.38

P = 0.001 means 999 out of 1,000 likely to be a genuine result.

That 99.9% likely to be a genuine result.

Effectiveness of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bivalent Vaccine

In 2020 (published in 2021)

Evidence that vaccines prevented Covid infection

This was when the human population had just encountered the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus

Things Have Changed (Dylan)

Bivalent antigens

Original vaccine and BA.4/BA.5 lineages of Omicron.

(Approved without demonstration of effectiveness in human clinical studies)

(Approved without demonstration of safety in human clinical studies)

Background

To evaluate whether a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine protects against COVID-19.

Methods

Employees of Cleveland Clinic, n = 51,011

Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was examined over the following weeks.

Protection provided by recent and prior vaccination was evaluated

First bivalents given, 12 September 2022

Three-month study results among 51,011 employees,

20,689 (41%) had had a previous documented episode of COVID-19,

42,064 (83%) had received at least two doses of a vaccine.

10,804 (21%) were bivalent vaccine boosted

COVID-19 occurred in 2,452 (5%) during the study.

(Pfizer 89%, Moderna 11%)

Risk of COVID-19 increased with time since the most recent prior COVID-19 episode

Risk of COVID-19 increased with the number of vaccine doses previously received. Note, this is based on large numbers:

Doses, 0 = 6,419 (12.6%)

Doses, 1 = 2,528 (5%)

Doses, 2 = 14,810 (45.9%)

Doses, 3 = 23,396 (45.9%)

Doses 4, 3,757 (7.4%)

Doses 5, 85 (less than1%)

Doses 6, 16 (less than 1%)

The bivalent vaccinated state

Was independently associated with lower risk of COVID-19 (HR, 0.70)

(over the 3 months of the study)

Leading to an estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) of 30%

CDCs latest variant data

Things Have Changed (Dylan)

RELATED ARTICLE: Covid Vaccines Fueling New Covid Variants

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog post by Eeyore is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Want a Better Life? Go to Church

Is religion good for society? One man who would answer in the affirmative is Gourverneur Morris, the founding father who spoke at the Constitutional convention more than anyone else. He originated the phrase “we the people of the United States.”

He once said something that virtually all of the founding fathers would have agreed with: “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God.”

How is the church good for society? Through the years I have asked Dr. Byron Johnson of Baylor about the impact of faith on society. He has taught at Vanderbilt, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton. For the last several years, he has headed up Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR).

The website describes its mission:  “Baylor ISR exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum.”

In a radio segment, Dr. Johnson told me, “Churches are phenomenally important to society and important in so many different ways.” That includes volunteering and charitable giving. He told me that Americans give more than a billion dollars a day to charities—much of that coming from church-goers.

Johnson added, “If you just look at dollars and contributions, it’s staggering. One study shows that religion brings about 1.2 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy each year.”

Johnson keeps abreast of the psychological and sociological studies on the impact of church on society. For example, Oxford University Press published a study two years ago showing the positive impact of church-going on the health of individuals.

They found that “compared with those who never attended religious services, individuals who attended services at least once per week had a lower risk of all-cause mortality by 26%…heavy drinking by 34%…and current smoking by 29%.”

The study also found that depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and loneliness—as well as physical maladies like hypertension, heart disease, and strokes—were lower in those who regularly attended church, while satisfaction with life, social connection, and a feeling of purpose were higher.

In short, living for Christ is good for you. Not that we live for Christ in order to live longer or lives with a higher quality. But that apparently is a happy by-product.

We live for Christ because He who is divine became human, lived a perfect life, and died in our place, so that we might be forgiven for our sins through faith in Him. He sealed the deal by rising from the dead and will one day return.

Dr. Johnson has written a scholarly book highlighting the kind of research featured in the study cited above. It’s called “Objective Religion.” The ignorant may rail against church—and surely there are many who have bad experiences at church because of abusive leadership. But the studies show that, all things being equal, the Gospel really is good for you.

Another man who studied the impact of religion on society came to Baylor because of Johnson. Dr. Rodney Stark, who died in July, wrote many books documenting religion’s impact.

One of my favorites was his 2012 tome, America’s Blessings: How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists. On a vacation once, I read the book carefully and took many notes.

Stark writes, “Americans benefit immensely from being an unusually religious people—blessings that not only fall upon believers but also on those Americans who most oppose religion. In America, militant atheists are far less likely to have their homes broken into or to be robbed on their way to work than they would be in an irreligious society, because of the powerful deterrent effects of religion on crime.”

He also adds, “Religious Americans also enjoy superior physical health, having an average life expectancy more than seven years longer than that of the irreligious”

Another scholar who has also been studying the impact of faith on society for years is author Dr. Joseph Loconte. He has written for the Heritage Foundation, taught at The King’s College in New York City, and is now a distinguished visiting professor at Grove City College.

He told me, “Skeptics and secular critics of Christianity have to circumvent an awful lot of history to argue that political societies are better off without it. The rights and freedoms that our secular friends take for granted—freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, government by consent—grew from philosophical soil that was watered by biblical religion….Take away the Christian ethic of love of neighbor—even love of enemy—and you sweep away nearly everything that makes modern life tolerable and humane.”

Atheists like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris see the increasing secularization of our culture as a good thing. But in reality, ostracizing faith and marginalizing churches will ultimately only harm all of us. Literally.

©Jerry Newcombe, D.Min. All rights reserved.

UPDATE: McCarthy Loses Sixth Speaker Vote As Conservatives Stand Strong

UPDATE: House delays seventh speaker ballot until Thursday following raucous vote to adjourn

No sooner had lawmakers reconvened to vote for the seventh time for speaker of the House than Republicans put forward another motion to adjourn to keep negotiating with the conservative hard-liners keeping Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from winning the gavel.

Democrats objected in a voice vote, asking for a roll call vote on whether to adjourn. The contentious vote ended with 216 votes in favor of adjourning and 214 against, while two lawmakers from each party did not vote. The body will reconvene at noon Thursday.

The four Republicans who joined Democrats in trying to force another vote Wednesday night were Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Lauren Boebert (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), and Matt Gaetz (FL). The clerk’s attempts to end the vote were met with yelling as lawmakers apparently took their time deciding which way they would vote. Democrats hollered “One more vote!” as the clerk tried several times to end the count after time ran out.


Kevin McCarthy lost a fourth speaker ballot Wednesday after GOP leadership considered filing a motion to adjourn.

The House initially adjourned Tuesday night until noon on Wednesday, following three unsuccessful speaker ballots. McCarthy was 16 votes short on the third ballot, as 20 fellow Republicans supported Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. After a night of negotiations, Republicans considered adjourning the House again, but did not move to do so after Democrats whipped against the move.

After voting for Jordan on Tuesday, anti-McCarthy conservatives coalesced behind Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds. Donalds received 20 votes, with all of his supporters previously voting for Jordan on the third ballot.

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries again received all 212 Democratic votes, while McCarthy garnered 201. Republican Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz, who previously supported McCarthy, voted “present.”

“There’s an important reason for nominating Byron. And that is, this country needs a change. This country needs leadership that does not reflect this city, this town, that is badly broken,” Texas Rep. Chip Roy said in a floor speech nominating Donalds. “We’re not at the place where we need to be to guarantee that we stand up to the swamp that steps over the American people on a daily basis.”

Donalds mounted an insurgent campaign against New York Rep. Elise Stefanik for Republican conference chair. He received 74 votes at the November conference meeting.

McCarthy supporters maintain that he is the only Republican who can get the necessary votes to ascend to the speakership.

“I am a retired Navy SEAL enlisted guy. I’ll let you in on a few universal truths. Rocks are heavy. Trees are made of wood. Gravity is real. No other Republican can pull 218,” incoming Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden told the Daily Caller.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

AUTHOR

MICHAEL GINSBERG

Congressional correspondent.

RELATED ARTICLE: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Byron Donalds Outlines Plan To Transform Republican Messaging

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Senator Ben Cardin: Sieg Heil!

I have a group that pushes back whenever we see anyone trashing the Constitution.  This time, my Champions of the Constitution Grassroots Network pushes back against Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland.

Last week, he said: “If you espouse hate, if you espouse violence, you’re not protected under the First Amendment. I think we can be more aggressive in the way that we handle that type of use of the internet.” Wrong, but he later doubled down, saying, “Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, unless it incites violence.”  Wrong again.

Senator Cardin doesn’t understand the First Amendment and shows very little fidelity to free speech.

Let’s start with hate speech.  You might not like it, but the First Amendment protects my right to stand on a street corner and say, “I hate Pollocks and you should hate them, too,” just to pick a group and ethnic slur at random.  In fact, I can organize a whole neo-Nazi parade and march right down the main street of Skokie, Illinois – a Jewish suburb of Chicago – to express hatred of Jews.  That was a famous case in the 1970s.  So, regardless of what you hear these days, hate speech is protected under the First Amendment.

Espousing violence is also protected.  The Supreme Court drew a line in 1969 that is still in place today.  In the case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Court ruled that espousing violence is protected speech.  Contrary to what Ben Cardin says, I can get up on a street corner and say, “Violence, generally speaking, is a good idea.  People should throw rocks through store fronts and beat up the owners because violence is the only way we will ever throw off the capitalist system of oppression.”  But what I can’t say is, “Alright, people, pick up some rocks and throw them through the store across the street and beat up the owner, right now.”  That’s the incitement of “imminent lawless action” where the Supreme Court drew the line in Brandenburg.  Cardin forgets the “imminent” part.

So, Ben Cardin is just wrong when he says “If you espouse hate, if you espouse violence, you’re not protected under the First Amendment.”  He’s also wrong in saying, “Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, unless it incites violence.”  These statements are wrong because hate speech, espousing violence, and inciting violence in general do not cross the line the Supreme Court drew in Brandenburg at “imminent lawless action.”  It would take an amendment to the Constitution to give Cardin what he wants.

Why do I say Senator Cardin shows little fidelity to free speech?  Because he wants to be “aggressive” in curbing hate speech and general incitement to violence on the Internet.  This is not a man who loves freedom.  This is a man who wants to make everyone jump to his tune.  This is a man who doesn’t want to hear certain speech and wants to stamp it out.  He has the instincts of an authoritarian.  Like former leftist David Horowitz says, “Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out.”  To Cardin, we say, keep your hands off our Internet and our free speech.

People in my Network had instructive things to say about this.  One said, “Using Ben Cardin’s interpretation of the 1st Amendment, he and most other Democrats, not to mention the violence prone Antifa and BLM, would be immediately arrested for their blatant hate and encouragement of violence against real Americans.”

Another wrote a parody constitutional amendment along the lines Cardin suggests, which includes a definition of hate speech:

  • “Hate speech” as used in this article shall consist of any speech deemed to offend Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat from the State of Maryland, or his replacement in his seat of Congress as long as the replacement obtains a greater than 51% approval rating from the Congressional Progressive Caucus….

This person also reinforces the point Ben Cardin should be checked for authoritarian tendencies, so I’ll give them the last word:

  • It is amazing to behold the hubris of the radical left as they announce this and similar plans to impose their authoritarian utopia on the American citizenry. That they do so without a hint of hesitation or uncertainty as to the constitutionality of their plan is breathtaking.

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

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A Child’s-Eye View of Communism’s Absurdities

Candid childhood memories of life behind the Iron Curtain


It is a truism to say that children have a grasp of reality different from adults; a clearer and more honest grasp that in most cases they lose with maturity. Rare is the man or woman who retains that innocent capacity to see through grown-up hypocrisy and pretence, presented to us so vividly in Hans Andersen’s memorable fairy-tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

In this humorous memoir of growing up in a city (unidentified) of 40,000 in the southern Urals of the Soviet Union in the 1970s-1980s, Fr Alexander Krylov, of Russian-German origin, manages to retain the undeceived eyes of childhood as he relates the absurdities and contradictions of life under Communism.

God and family

So many memoirs of living under the Soviet regime are, understandably, riven with bitterness and anger; the suffering has been too great to forget. The young Krylov, an only child, was protected from this by the love and faith of his family: his Catholic mother and grandmother and his Orthodox father.

The latter died when he was aged seven; showing unusual understanding for his age, Krylov realised that he was now “the one man in the family.” A certain independence of outlook seems to have characterised him from the start — probably because, despite the constant atheist propaganda impressed on him at school and in the wider society, “God’s presence in everyday life was… self-evident for our family.”

Much of this was owing to his grandmother’s influence for, as the family breadwinner, his mother had to work long hours outside the home. This grandmother, who had grown up in a German-speaking colony in Russia, resembled a traditional Russian “babushka” in her fortitude, her generosity and her strong faith that years of living in Leonid Brezhnev’s decrepit Soviet society could not erase.

In this world, all its citizens were officially atheist yet, as Krylov relates, everyone in his neighbourhood “knew” who the believers were and what religion they followed. His grandmother “saw an ally in every human being who was seeking God — Jews, Orthodox and Muslims” because — especially in death — “common prayer was much more important than any disagreement.”

There were no churches in his city and he only saw the inside of an Orthodox church (in western Ukraine) before starting school, aged six. Overwhelmed by its icons, candles and awe-inspiring atmosphere, Krylov told his mother, “Let’s stay here forever.” Undeterred, his grandmother erected a homemade altar in their small apartment, with its holy pictures, holy water, hymns and secret celebrations of the great Christian feasts. A candle would be lit in the window at Christmas; it was “somehow implicitly clear that God does not abandon human beings as long as a light is burning in at least one window on Christmas Eve and at least one person is waiting for the Christ-child.”

Economic woes

The author takes a gentle swipe at western society, obsessed with dietary fashions, when he explains, in a chapter titled “Healthy Diet”, why Soviet citizens had no choice but a healthy diet. Trying to survive in a corrupt and inefficient command economy, almost all families had an allotment with fruit trees and vegetables, to compensate for what they could not buy in the shops: everything possible was pickled, canned, stored or preserved. For some reason chickens were plentiful:

“Thanks to the poor work of the chemical industry, they were raised with no additives and usually looked as though they had walked by themselves from the chicken factory to the grocery store.”

I laughed aloud as I read this and other reminiscences, narrated in the candid way of a man who has not lost the artless gaze of a child. (After a distinguished academic career in Moscow, Fr Krylov decided to become a priest aged 42, on Easter Monday 2011 and was ordained in 2016.)

Another anecdote describes how he briefly worked in a grocery store where the shelves were often lacking common items buyers craved. Organising the shop’s store room, he noticed many such items, piled them on a trolley and wheeled it through into the shop, to the delighted surprise of the customers. The teenage boy could not understand why the manageress looked so discomfited and why his employment was suddenly curtailed.

Inner life

Just as the late Russian poet, Irina Ratushinskaya, who spent four years in the Gulag for writing “subversive” poetry, commented she was told so often as a child “there is no God”, that she began to believe in Him, Krylov reflects: “The prohibition against owning a Bible in the Soviet Union could only confirm its importance.”

In a telling incident in his teens, he describes a classroom meeting where these young Soviet citizens planned “to put socialist democracy into action.” This meant denouncing a fellow student who would not obey the rules. Krylov, who had befriended him, defended him in front of his classmates. They then turned on him, aware that he too was somehow “different.” The author comments, “Although I was always present, I lived my own life”. This hidden, inner life, which they sensed though it was never made explicit, presented an existential threat to his fellow student ideologues.

Inevitably, Lenin’s image was everywhere. Joining the Communist youth group, the Young Pioneers, one wore a red neckerchief and star. “Depicted on this star were the head of Lenin and three tongues of fire. I shared with no one my impression that this star depicted the head of Lenin burning in hell.” This was the response of a child whose private faith, never mentioned in class, helped to protect him against the atheism he was forced to listen to in public.

Finally, aged 15, overhearing the jocular remark of a friend’s father that vodka was “opium for the people”, Krylov comments: “Suddenly my eyes were opened: [I realised that] Communism had simply become a new religion.”

If the Emperor in this case was not exactly naked, nonetheless the short, discrete chapters of this kindly memoir remind readers that his clothes were uncomfortable, unsuitable, ill-fitting and threadbare.

This review has been republished with the author’s permission from The Conservative Woman.

AUTHOR

Francis Phillips

More by Francis Phillips

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

Self-Determined Gender Opens Up A Can Of Worms

An Ecuadorian man has changed his gender to gain custody of his children.


Self-determined gender is a cornerstone of a person’s identity. The resulting obligation of States is to provide access to gender recognition in a manner consistent with the rights to freedom from discrimination, equal protection of the law, privacy, identity and freedom of expression.”

So says the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a sterling affirmation of gender fluidity as a human right.

However, the possibilities arising from liberation from cisgender normativity have still not been fully realised in the United States and other Anglophone countries. People have been changing their gender on passports, ID cards, and birth certificates to validate their authentic gendered self. It’s part of a patchwork of solutions to gender dysphoria. Boring.

In Latin America people have been far more creative in exercising these new-found freedoms.

In 2021 a new party, Fuerza por Mexico (FxM) was having trouble meeting gender parity requirement for electoral lists. Fortunately, 18 of its candidates in the state of Tlaxcala, to the west of Mexico City, were courageous enough to embrace their true gender identity. Appearances notwithstanding, they always had been women.

Some people churlishly alleged that this was just a self-serving charade. However, the Tlaxcala electoral commission declared that it was wrong to doubt the reality of the candidates’ gender self-identification. How could you? Only the candidates know whether they are male or female or whatever. Biology has nothing to do with it.

And now an Ecuadorian dad caught up in a messy divorce case has declared that he is really a woman, and therefore a mother of his two daughters. The possibility of changing gender came as godsend to him, because a judge had declared that she could only grant custody to the children’s mother.

As El Universo reports, just after Christmas René Salinas Ramos legally changed his gender in the registry office of the city of Cuenca. René, a journalist, is confident of her true sex, but was willing to sacrifice the sex she was assigned at birth to subvert a legal system which gives women more rights in custody cases. “This is a proof of my love for my children,” says Ms Salinas.

Ecuador appears to be far more progressive than the United States. Since 2015, its citizens have been able to change their gender, provided that they are of legal age and that two witness can testify to the autonomy of their decision. Unfortunately they can only do this once and it has to last for at least two years, unlike the even more progressive state of Victoria, in Australia, where genders can be changed every 12 months.

Hopefully this will bring to an end a very sticky situation. He, or rather she, has not seen one of her daughters for a year and a half. The other, she alleges, is being physically mistreated. She would like custody of the girls.

However, the court has declared that until the case is resolved, the children must remain with “su mamá”, their mother.

No sooner said than done. René is now a mother of her daughters.

“Now that I am a woman, I can be a mother and I am on an equal footing to fight for my daughters’ parental rights,” Salinas told La Voz de Tomebomba.

“I haven’t seen my daughters for more than five months. I can be a mother too, I know how to cook, give love, do the ironing and other motherly things,” explained Salinas.

With respect, it does appear that René Salinas is trying to game Ecuador’s law on gender recognition. It’s impossible to know the real story behind this custody dispute. However, René’s tactic is more honourable than the one used by male criminals masquerading as women who live in women’s prisons to have more lenient conditions and access to sex.

Or mediocre athletes who break women’s sporting records.

Once reality is abandoned as the basis for law, there’s no telling how gender fantasies will be exploited to gain power, adulation, or sex.

AUTHOR

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia. More by Michael Cook

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

TWITTER FILES VIII: DoD’s Covert Online Psyops Campaign & FBI’s ‘Belly Button’

1.THREAD: The Twitter Files Twitter and the FBI “Belly Button”

2. Here is a great thread on Pfizer. Not sure if its part of the Twitter Files dump or just someone putting together public source, but either way, its good things to be reminded of. Like Pfizer’s stunning criminal history and the hundreds of people they killed by covering up bad medical products.

3. Twitter Files part VIII

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‘Florida Is Where Woke Goes To Die’: Ron DeSantis Sworn In As Governor For Second Term

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was sworn into his second term as governor of the state during a ceremony at the Florida State Capitol building Tuesday.

After being sworn in, DeSantis gave a speech touting his accomplishments during his first term as governor, saying Florida is now number one in a number of different categories, including educational freedom. He also mentioned the number of people who decided to move to the Sunshine State during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the “liberty” and “sanity” the state offers.

“We reject this woke ideology. We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!” DeSantis said.

“Freedom lives here, in our great Sunshine State of Florida,” DeSantis continued. “It lives in the dreams of the historic number of families who have moved from states across this country because they saw Florida as the land of liberty and the land of sanity.”

WATCH: 

The ceremony took place after Florida’s Cabinet members were sworn in outside the state Capitol building.

(This post will be updated as more information becomes available.)

AUTHOR

HENRY RODGERS

Chief national correspondent. Follow Henry Rodgers On Twitter.

RELATED VIDEO: Governor Ron DeSantis’ second inaugural address at Florida capitol on January 3rd, 2023.

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