Sunday, December 31, 2023

Giorgia Meloni named ‘Man of the Year’ by right-wing Italian newspaper

Feminists say they want women to be able to do anything a man could do but conservative women such as Margaret Thatcher and Georgia Meloni don't count, apparently, showing that destructive policies are the sole aim of Leftist campaigns

An Italian right-wing daily newspaper provoked an outcry on Friday after naming the country’s first female prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, its “Man of the Year”.

Libero ran a lengthy tribute on its front page and featured a large portrait of Meloni wearing a double-breasted white blazer and a look of determination.

Under the headline “Man of the Year”, the article said Meloni had won “the war of the sexes” in Italy and had “not only broken the glass ceiling, she dissolved it”.

The article was quickly received as a snub by political opponents and women’s rights activists who have accused Meloni of not doing enough to protect women from violence and promulgating regressive views around their role in society.

On Thursday, a senator in her party said that a young woman’s “first aspiration” should be to have a child.

The article was written by Mario Sechi, the paper’s Rome bureau chief, who led the prime minister’s public relations team between March and September of 2023 before taking his position at the daily.

“In our society of weak thinking, we have recognised strong ideas,” Sechi wrote.

“In excessive diversity, we have reversed gender. In times of war, we have chosen someone who has shown she knows how to fight.”

Sechi said the prime minister had confronted two wars, multiple geopolitical shocks, a changing Europe and a world order that was now being reinvented.

She was elected as Italy’s first female prime minister in October 2022.

“Giorgia Meloni for Libero is ‘Man of the Year’ because above everything she has cancelled the war of the sexes by winning it, by thinking differently, being divergent, overcoming the arrogance of men and the defeatism of women. She has not only broken the glass ceiling, she has dissolved it.”

“This is a surrender”

Elly Schlein, secretary of the centre-left Democratic Party, criticised the newspaper’s editorial decision, saying the prime minister had abandoned Italian women.

Italian food historian cooks up carbonara controversy
“Today a right-wing newspaper is explaining to us that politics and power are for men,” Schlein said. “I don’t think my aspiration as a politician is to become ‘Man of the Year’. On the contrary, I think this is a surrender”.

Elisabetta Piccolotti, an MP from the Alleanza Verdi e Sinistra (Greens and Left Alliance), described the cover as “an affirmation of male superiority” and called on the prime minister to reject it.

“At this point, prime minister, please clarify: are you a woman, are you a man or are you non-binary?” Piccolotti wrote on Facebook.

However, the culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, a former deputy director of Libero, told journalists in Naples that the title ‘Man of the Year’ was well-deserved as he also took a swipe at the “barbarism” of “cancel culture”.

Since it was elected in 2022, the Meloni government has sought to defend the traditional family and national identity, protect cultural heritage and restrict migrant arrivals.

Meloni, a single mother who recently separated from her partner, TV presenter Andrea Giambruno, has been known for her strong stance on the concept of the traditional family.

She has so far made no comment on the Libero article.


Georgia Police Officer Resigns After Being Put on Leave for Facebook Post on Traditional Marriage

A Georgia police officer has resigned after he was told by superiors that he could not share his personal religious views on social media.

“If someone somewhere considers an opinion I have—that isn’t a direct quotation from Scripture—to be offensive, then that would be a fireable offense,” Jacob Kersey, the former officer, told The Daily Signal.

Kersey, 19, who began working last May at the Port Wentworth Police Department in a jurisdiction just outside Savannah, says “everything was going well” until the start of the new year.

On Jan. 2, Kersey posted a 20-word message about his view of marriage on Facebook.

“God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church,” he wrote, paraphrasing the Apostle Paul’s teaching in the Book of Ephesians. “That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.”

The next day, Kersey said he received a phone call from his supervisor, who told him that someone had complained about the post and to take it down.

When Kersey refused, the supervisor warned him that failure to delete the Facebook post on marriage could result in his termination.

Kersey said he then was contacted by Lt. Justin Hardy, who told him that the Port Wentworth Police Department didn’t want to be held liable in a “use of force” situation involving someone in the LGBTQ community. Kersey still refused to delete the post.

The police officer received a phone call later that day from the police department’s Maj. Lee Sherrod, ordering him to come to the office the following morning, Jan. 4, and turn in everything he had that belonged to the city.

Kersey told The Daily Signal that he believed he was going to be terminated.

When he arrived at the police station, the young officer met with Sherrod, Hardy, Capt. Nathan Jentzen, and Police Chief Matt Libby.

He was told that he was “being placed on administrative leave while the city investigated to see if I could keep my job,” Kersey said. “I was told that I was wise beyond my years, an old soul, and that they brag on me all the time, but that I couldn’t post things like that.”

Kersey said Libby told him that his Facebook post on marriage was the “same thing as saying the N-word and ‘F— all those homosexuals.’” Kersey said his captain told him that his free speech “was limited due to my position as … a police officer.”

The Port Wentworth Police Department, which serves a city with a population of just under 11,000 in 2020, did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

After a week of paid administrative leave, Kersey met again with the leadership of the police department. He says he was informed that he no longer was on administrative leave and would not be fired, but that he could not share opinions on social media that could be considered offensive.

Kersey says he was told he could post Scripture verses, but could not work as one of the department’s officers if he continued to share his “interpretation or opinion on Scripture if it was deemed offensive.”

“Separation of church and state” was the reason given for why he could not post such views, Kersey said.

Kersey said police officials told him that they were developing a new policy to guide officers on what they were and were not allowed to post on social media.

Next, Kersey received a “letter of notification” from Sherrod dated Jan. 13. The letter explained that although Kersey is entitled to his own personal beliefs, he should be “reminded that if any post on any of your social media platforms, or any other statement or action, renders you unable to perform, and to be seen as [unable] to perform, your job in a fair and equitable manner, you could be terminated.”

Four days after the date on the letter, on Jan. 17, Kersey formally resigned from the Port Wentworth Police Department.

“I decided to resign … because I just didn’t think it wise to go back and play their game,” Kersey told The Daily Signal, adding that “the way things went down, I didn’t feel as if my command really had my back.”


Mazi Melesa Pilip: A Fantastic Republican to Replace George Santos

A special election will be held in New York’s 3rd Congressional District on Feb. 13 to replace George Santos, world-class conman, who Republicans recently expelled on ethics charges.

Republicans have picked a uniquely exciting candidate to run for this now open seat in Mazi Melesa Pilip.

Pilip is a Black Orthodox Jew and a mother of seven children who arrived to Israel at age 12 from Ethiopia, grew up there, served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces and continued on to earn a degree in occupational therapy at Haifa University, where she met her husband, and then earned a master’s in diplomacy and security at Tel Aviv University.

Her husband immigrated to Israel from Ukraine, and subsequently they moved to the U.S. where he continued his medical studies and now works as a cardiologist. With five children and pregnant with twins, she ran two years ago for a seat in the Nassau County Legislature, won the seat — defeating a Democrat incumbent — and then was reelected, winning 60% of the vote.

Pilip effervesces her belief in the “American dream” and the importance to keep government limited, keep taxes low and fight crime. As an immigrant, she is particularly passionate about this issue and the importance to control our border.

She will run against Democrat Tom Suozzi, who held the seat for three terms before leaving in 2022 to enter the race for New York governor.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Israel Today, Pilip explained that she became motivated to enter American politics when flare-ups with Hamas produced antisemitism endangering her children to walk freely and openly as Jews in their neighborhood in New York.

“My story is the story of America and Israel together. Israel is a diverse state, there is not just one color, and in the U.S., any dream can become reality. … This is my second immigration. I had to learn culture and a new language twice. It wasn’t easy for me.”

Pilip is a poster child who speaks forcefully, disabusing distortions and ignorance about Israel being spread, particularly on university campuses.

Recently, for instance, a program was held at UCLA labeled as an “Emergency Teach-In on the Crisis in Palestine.” One of the UCLA professors depicted Israel as a “colonial power driven by an exclusionary racial ideology.”

Just looking at this impressive Black Ethiopian Jewish woman, who grew up in Israel, who speaks warmly about her love for and the beauty of the country where she grew up, says everything about the absurdity of such outrageous allegations.

I recall on my own first trip to Israel noting the full spectrum of color in the population — white, brown, black.

Israel literally was founded as an ingathering of Jews dispersed in the four corners of the globe.

The parents and grandparents of today’s Israelis came from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, North America, Latin America, North Africa and Asia. Pilip arrived to Israel as part of Operation Solomon in 1991 in which, over the course of 36 hours, Israel airlifted over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel out of concern for their safety as result of political instability in Ethiopia.

There is now an estimated more than 160,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

Around the same time, 1990-91, after considerable pressure, the Soviet Union released over 300,000 Jews to leave for Israel.

How Jews who returned to their historic homeland from all over the globe, after so many years of oppression, persecution and murder, could be accused of either racism or colonialism should give everyone great pause regarding what is happening on our college campuses.

Meanwhile, Mazi Melesa Pilip is a presence Republicans and all Americans need in the U.S. Congress.

Let’s hope and pray that in February she will be adding her important voice to those on Capitol Hill.


Left/Right policy switches

TIMOTHY LYNCH notes below that what were once conservative policies have become Leftist and vice versa. So is there any condistency in ideologies? There is but it is not at the policy level. The lasting Left/Right identities are at the psychological level. The essence of conservatism is caution. The essence of Leftism is anger. Applying those attitudes to differing life circumstances will produce different policy preferences

The first woman I ever loved was an eco-feminist. She was radicalised by the 1984 British miners’ strike, listened to Billy Bragg on a C90 cassette tape, marched for women’s rights, admired communist East Germany and refused on principle to visit the US. In the 33 years since she dumped me, I don’t think she ever has.

In those decades, the left of which she was a proud and, I thought, typical member has been transformed.

Barbara (name changed) would now march not to keep coalmines open but to close them. Bragg would be too old/white male/working class (and thus need decolonising). The women’s rights marches Barbara joined in the 1980s she would now condemn as anti-trans. Only her anti-Americanism – the second most durable hatred on the left, after anti-Semitism – would endure.

The right has switched, too. Not as completely as the left but in important ways we often elide. This transposition of left and right conditions much of our contemporary politics but goes mostly unremarked.

In the ’80s, the Conservatives effectively closed the British coal industry. Barbara sent the picketing men blankets and goodwill. Today, “beautiful, clean coal” (Don­ald Trump’s phrase) is deified by those on the right. It speaks to man’s independence from the forces of cold nature. Scott Morrison held aloft a lump in parliament.

In the 2020s, it is the left that has assumed the four-decade-old Conservative position.

In Australia, Anthony Albanese and Energy Minister Chris Bowen vilify coal. Like Margaret Thatcher and Ian MacGregor, Thatcher’s head of the National Coal Board, Labor is plotting to throw every miner out of work.

Then, the right stood for middle-class values: marriage, family, low taxation, strong defences. Now, Australian Liberals trade on their working-class bona fides. In the US, Republicans tell defenestrated coalminers that they will be their voice. Democrats blame them for climate change. Barbara wept with the injustice of Thatcher’s assault on mining communities. Hillary Clinton now derides them as deplorables.

The right stood against the sexual revolution, free love and the consequences of the pill. Now it is the left that polices sex. Brittany Higgins, a young conservative woman (at least until Network Ten got to her), has become a poster child of the left’s obsession with sexual misconduct. The sex re-education programs on every university campus, warning of the perils of physical intimacy, are mandated by progressives, not by conservatives.

It used to be the religious right that told us to avoid sex. Now it is the cultural left. It was conservatives who criticised feminism. Now it is trans activists on the left. Indeed, it is Liberal women (such as Moira Deeming) who have paid the highest price for upholding a traditional conception of women’s rights. Many left-wing feminists have gone missing in action.

The left-right transposition is especially evident when it comes to race. It was small-C conservatives (often southern Democrats) in the US who wanted to maintain racial distinctions. Now it is the left that upholds race as the basic determinant of societal relations.

Conservative segregationists scoffed at Martin Luther King’s vision of a colourblind constitution. Now it is the left that condemns the reverend for his colour-blindness. We should hire, fire, promote and condemn based on race. MLK, left-wing anti-racists now tell us, was guilty of “content of character racism”.

Yes campaigners for the Indigenous voice wanted race written permanently into the Australian Constitution. No campaigners, representing most conservative voters, wanted it written out. When I was growing up near Leicester, then and still one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Britain, the far right demanded rights for indigenous Brits. In modern-day Australia, it is the left that makes the equivalent claim for First Nations people.

In Britain, asserting “indigenous rights” is racist. Here it is anti-racist. I have never been able to hear an acknowledgment of country here without thinking how bizarre it would sound in the English Midlands. “Sovereignty was never ceded!” sounds like an anti-EU Brexit slogan.

Why this ideological transposition? Losing wars changes the loser. And the left lost the biggest in its history in 1989.

My year with Barbara began the night the Berlin Wall fell (the other 9/11: November 9). We drank Blue Smirnoff, she in bemused sorrow, me in joyous irony; vodka was one of the few things the Soviet Union did well.

That night, the left lost the key economic argument of the 20th century: command economies don’t work, free-market ones do. People crave the opportunities of the latter. They will flee the former when given the chance.

My bearded university lecturers spent the ensuing years in a state of deep agitation. For many, the fall of communism coincided with their own midlife crises. It was wonderful. Today, zealously held but weak arguments are protected by speech codes and de-platforming. Then, men and women who had backed the Soviet project were subject to debate. Many did not like it.

The game plan thereafter was to establish a leftist catechism, grounded in a cultural revolution, the challenging of which would be heresy.

This “long march through the institutions”, as Rudi Dutschke, the young disciple of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, described it, is reaching some sort of destination now. And what a scene of tedium and enervation it is.

Instead of debating big questions, we fly rainbow flags. Safe spaces have taken precedence over dangerous ideas.

When class war didn’t work, new kinds of oppression, to paraphrase the Communist Manifesto, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones, were found.

Climate, race and gender have replaced class as the source of left-wing fervour. These wars have been waged much more effectively. Their dialecticism – you are with us or against us, anti-racist or racist, pro-trans or transphobic – has enabled their colonisation of social media.

Marx claimed class war was inevitable. It proved not so. But culture war may well be. The US has been in a protracted one since Roe v Wade in 1973. Australia is flirting with its own version because of the voice debacle.

Climate denialism, structural racism, rape culture and transphobia. Collectively, these progressive priorities now have the quality of crisis. They are spectres haunting the West, to again adapt Marx’s rhetoric. Their negation now mobilises whole campuses and workplaces. Denying their salience, let alone standing against them, is hard to impossible.

In the US, if you want a university job, you will likely have to affirm, in writing and at interview, your contribution to their fighting. Australia is not quite there but we are inching closer. It is one of the forms of American cultural imperialism to which we are most susceptible.

I don’t know what Barbara would make of this transformation of the left. Sadly, dear reader, finding out would be a research project too far for me. I suspect she would be in sympathy with some of it. But much of it she would not recognise as the natural evolution from her 1989 platform.

She did teach me something vital, a lesson too few on the right imbibe. Those on the left are not bad people. They are not evil. But they are naive. They insist on realities that are fantasies. They seek final solutions to problems insoluble. They imagine better worlds while creating worse ones.




Thursday, December 28, 2023

This gender ideology is nothing less than a crime against a generation


When I was a child in the 1960s and 70s, I wanted to be a boy. I could see from a very early age that boys were given very much more freedom than girls.

They didn't have to wear uncomfortable tights and dresses, they got better toys and, best of all, they didn't have to play within sight of their parents because of 'stranger danger'.

My brother, meanwhile, wanted to be a dinosaur and even used to tell people he was one. No one seemed to mind because everybody knows children have rich interior lives – which is why the fantasy worlds created by the likes of Roald Dahl and JK Rowling have attracted such massive followings.

This is all healthy and good as long as the children concerned are happy, loved and supported.

But I know from four decades of campaigning to end child abuse and hearing heartbreaking individual stories that children who are unhappy often try to run away from their pain by divorcing themselves from reality.

Such behaviour is often observed in girls who are being sexually abused. Others do it simply because they feel they don't fit in. If they have been picked on for being more interested in football than Barbie, they might convince themselves that all their problems would be solved if only they became a boy.

Similarly, many boys are not interested in the physical and stereotypically male world of rugby or climbing trees and might prefer being at home cooking or crocheting.

It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them, or even that these kids will grow up gay or lesbian, just that they think differently.

Over the last generation, our society has thankfully moved away from compelling children to be 'proper' boys and girls. But now all that has changed in a very disturbing way.

Because what is this current mania for gender reassignment, genital mutilation and harmful hormone treatment but a return to the bad old days of forcing children into gender-specific roles – only now, any sign of being 'different' is medicalised.

That's why yesterday's revelation in the Daily Mail that more than 70 children, aged just three and four years old, have been referred to the controversial NHS Gender Identity Development Service has shocked me to my core.

It's crazy to think that children of that age will have any clue about gender identity or gender dysphoria. Ask them what they identify as and they'll say the first thing that comes into their heads. Of course, some kids will say they want to be the opposite sex, life has always been like this. But it's simply wrong to think that 'tomboy' girls or boys who reject rough and tumble in favour of traditionally 'feminine' pursuits need medical intervention.

All they really need is care, understanding, support and the freedom to be themselves. Even those rare children with more serious problems need psychological help, rather than be sent on a path that almost always leads to being prescribed puberty blockers and subsequently cross sex hormones and surgery.

But shockingly these pre-school children are being set on a path that could ultimately lead to them being prepared for either castration or irreversible genital mutilation when they reach the age of 18. It's nothing less than a crime against an entire generation.

Advocates of early intervention point to the fact that the number of people seeking reassignment has increased more than 350-fold in the last few years as evidence of pent-up demand.

But it's nothing of the sort, it's a kind of social contagion fuelled by activists, right-on parents, social workers and, naturally, social media sites such as TikTok.

Do-gooding adults who refer their children for gender reassignment would hate to be described as back-to-the-1950s bigots. But what other explanation could there be for seeking to socially transition a child aged three and begin to refer to it as the opposite sex?

Even worse is the plight of troubled children whose social workers make the decision for them. The statistics show that the town with the most young people referred for gender dysphoria is not trendy Islington or Brighton, but working-class Blackpool.

The seaside resort has a lot of social problems, including very high numbers of children in care, shocking teen suicide figures and a disproportionate amount of children who have social workers supposedly looking after their best interests.

My research (and that of others) has found that social workers often buy into gender ideology, and therefore can seek to 'solve' the problems of troubled children by suggesting they might be trans.

It's hardly surprising that these impressionable, mixed-up youngsters would grab on to the latest fad they think can solve their problems – gender reassignment.

Sadly it's not surprising either that ideologically driven social workers push them towards the Tavistock Clinic, which seeks to pathologise their confusion and unhappiness and often suggests that pausing puberty with drugs is the answer when what they really need is support, love, understanding and help to work through their problems.

It's a national scandal that hundreds of our young people are being pushed towards irreversible surgery in the name of progressive ideology.


Senator Blocks Air Force Colonel’s Military Promotion Over ‘Divisive DEI Policies

When the U.S. Senate unanimously approved 425 military promotions earlier this month, one person was missing from the list: Col. Ben Jonsson, the Air Force officer who espoused controversial views on race and diversity.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., stepped in to hold Jonsson’s ascension to brigadier general after a 10-month blockade of all military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. When fellow Republicans threatened to join Democrats to circumvent Tuberville by changing Senate rules, the senator withdrew his objection.

As a result, military officers who were singled out for their “woke” views on race, sexuality, and COVID-19 had their promotions swiftly approved Dec. 5—except for Jonsson and about a dozen other high-ranking generals. Senators then voted Thursday to give the promoted military officers retroactive pay for the time they waited.

The Daily Signal first reported in August on Jonsson’s views on diversity, equity, and inclusion—and his endorsement of a book on critical race theory. The story prompted The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project to request and obtain a Defense Department “climate” assessment of during Jonsson’s leadership of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)

The assessment included blistering criticism of Jonsson from his subordinates at MacDill, where he served as commander from 2020 to 2022. It paints a picture of his tenure and concerns about his views on DEI and CRT.

Following publication of the November story, The Daily Signal obtained more information about Jonsson’s time at MacDill, including an official DEI policy memo and email from a field-grade officer promoting a diversity agenda to his wing. For the first time, both can be read in full below.

“I worked under Col. Jonsson when he was the wing commander at MacDill Air Force Base and witnessed many troubling things,” said a veteran Air Force officer, who asked for anonymity to speak openly without facing retribution. “When [President Joe] Biden was elected, he said elatedly in a meeting with all squadron commanders, ‘Now we can start doing diversity training again.’ He also forced the COVID vaccine and masking harder than any other commander I am aware of. At a time when no one in Florida was wearing masks off base, he routinely would keep the base in heightened state of Health Protection Condition.”

Missouri’s Schmitt, in a statement to The Daily Signal explaining his decision to block Jonsson’s promotion in the Senate, said he objects to military leaders who promote DEI.

“It is long past time to root out divisive DEI policies and their advocates from our apolitical military,” Schmitt said. “Leaders must emphasize unity of mission and purpose, not our immutable differences, if we are to maintain our military as the greatest meritocracy in the world. I cannot in good faith allow the confirmation of individuals who advance this divisive DEI ideology to proceed by unanimous consent.”


Gender Dysphoria Is About Confusion. So Is Its Latest Claim for Disability Status

Many individuals who underwent gender-transition procedures are now warning others against using puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery.

Despite these warnings and the solid empirical evidence demonstrating the harms of “gender-affirming care,” there are those who insist upon mislabeling the psychological issue of gender dysphoria as a physiological disability that requires physiological intervention.

One of the latest twists in this unfolding story occurred in Missouri, one of 22 states whose legislators have enacted laws to protect children from irreversible medical interventions.

Even though Missouri’s law grandfathered in patients currently being treated, University of Missouri Health announced in August that it would no longer provide puberty blockers and hormones to minors for the purpose of “gender transition.”

That set the stage for a lawyer filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of two minor female patients in the midst of “gender treatment” to appear more like boys.

Filed on Nov. 16, the suit seeks to force MU Health to resume prescribing puberty blockers and testosterone for the “gender transition.” One girl has been taking testosterone for 18 months; the other has been taking puberty blockers since she was 9 years old.

Their prescriptions are running out, and neither MU Health nor any other provider in Missouri will refill them.

The suit argues that gender dysphoria is a disability causing “physical impairment.” But to be clear, the gender dysphoria diagnosis was created to describe a psychological condition, not a physical one. Those formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria are supposed to have been given this designation based on psychological distress, not a physiological condition.

In reality, the “physical impairments” associated with a simple determination of gender dysphoria are the result of the off-label use of drugs that are dispensed in service to the diagnosis, not because the body is missing a necessary chemical or because of an abnormal growth that must be removed.

Puberty-blocking medication and cross-sex hormones have never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of gender dysphoria.

Its use is an experiment on children, based on speculation that it provides some benefit. In fact, recent studies have shown no benefit in minor patients who took them for this purpose. Instead, the drugs have shown to have serious and injurious side effects.

The lawyer and his clients in the Missouri case seem to be unfamiliar with those effects. The risks and harms of using puberty-blocking medication include the following:

Liver damage, bone thinning, and skeletal damage. Mental health problems.

Brain swelling and vision loss in children (FDA 2022).
Infertility, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
The risks and harms associated with cross-sex hormone use include:

For females taking testosterone: heart attacks and strokes, liver dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, male pattern baldness, deepened voice, and facial and body hair.

For males taking estrogen: blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, breast cancer, weight gain, and insulin resistance.
The effect of using puberty blockers followed by long-term use of cross-sex hormones is near-certain sterility.

Given these harms, the only real case to make for a disability claim is for detransitioners. Those are the girls and boys, men and women, who were subjected to “gender-affirming care” and must now live with the resulting damage to their bodies.


Christianity is not dead yet

Here’s one way of looking at Christmas. In order to get our attention, eternity, in the person of Jesus, pierced the veil of time. CS Lewis said that God entered the world so quietly, so secretly, because he was, in entering the Roman Empire, the empire of temporal power and earthly cruelty, infiltrating behind enemy lines.

Theologian Teilhard de Chardin had a different image, that God came into the world as an artist enters his studio. GK Chesterton imagined human life as a play that has gone wrong, so the playwright comes on stage to get it back on track.

I take the first two images from a sublimely handsome volume, the Word on Fire Bible, produced by US Catholic bishop Robert Barron.

It’s a truism that in the West, Christianity is in social and statistical decline. In most of the rest of the world, religion is on fire. But the West, mainly North America, Western Europe and Australia and New Zealand, have trapped themselves in a strange, dark little oubliette of paradoxical credulousness, in which they’ll believe anything at all except the religious realities almost all humanity hungers for all the time.

Feminist Louise Perry, author of The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, argues that Western society is repaganising. The folks who typically do worst in pagan societies are the least powerful, the poor, the dispossessed, the weak, childless widows and, compared with men, women and girls generally.

But this strange, atomised, denatured cultural moment in the West produces its own prodigies and wonders. Among these are the countless green shoots of new Christian life.

One such wonder is Bishop Barron and his Word on Fire mission. No one, really, could be designed worse for becoming a social media sensation reaching hundreds of millions of people than an orthodox Catholic bishop whose habitual attire is the black suit and Roman collar of Catholic clergy, and who is, by profession, an academic, specialising in the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas, with a deep expertise in Augustine of Hippo, the fourth century North African bishop who wrote formative texts for Christianity. Though, to be honest, Barron is a pretty handy authority on Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan and Clint Eastwood too.

Remark these figures. Barron and his WOF mission have sold more than five million of their books, while they’ve had more than 150 million YouTube views, many more than 22 million WOF show video views. Barron has more than three million Facebook fans, 400,000 Instagram followers, nearly 700,000 YouTube subscribers, a quarter of a million X (Twitter) followers and more than half a million regular email recipients.

Those numbers don’t prove Barron’s message is true, or that he’s a super genius, or has stumbled on some secret formula. Lots of bad folks, spreading bad mes­sages, have huge social media numbers. Nonetheless, Barron is the most successful and probably important Catholic communicator other than the Pope himself, and one of the half-dozen most influential Christian communicators of any kind.

The WOF media story started small, in 1999. It started with a complaint. Barron was grousing to a fellow priest that Catholics were rotten at media communication, the legendary Fulton Sheen, a bishop with a huge TV following in the 1950s and ’60s, was great but there hadn’t been much since then. The friend replied: so what are you going to do about it?

Barron was a seminary academic and working priest. He went to WGN radio station in Chicago and they told him for US $50,000 he could have a weekly sermon show of 15 minutes at 5.15am on Sundays. He raised the money to do it for three years.

It was an astonishing success. A colleague told him he should promote it through a website. Barron had no idea what a website was. Friends set one up for him and they agreed to call it Word on Fire. And it caught fire.

Barron still expected his life to be mainly that of an academic priest. Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George had different ideas and prevailed upon Barron to turn down prestigious academic posts at prestigious universities, to become instead head of his seminary and to keep on with Word on Fire.

I achieved an ambition of many years standing to meet and talk to Barron in London a few weeks ago. Barron was the surprise star at the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference, convened by Jordan Peterson and Australia’s John Anderson. Barron’s quite scintillating address argued that many contemporary social problems derive from old theological disputes.

The West, he argued, is obsessed with freedom but misunderstands its nature. Thomas Aquinas asked the question: if God is all powerful, can he sin? The answer is no because God’s will is perfectly attuned to his nature and his nature is goodness.

A later theologian, William of Ockham, stressed God’s unlimited power. He can do whatever he likes, even sin. Under Aquinas, freedom and goodness are united, under William, they’re divorced.

“Freedom,” Barron argued, “is about the discipline of desire to make the achievement of the good first possible, then effortless.”

He illustrates his point. If we speak English well we’re free to say anything we like. How did we get that freedom? Not by a lack of rules and purpose but by listening to good English spoken, reading good English well written, internalising its rules and rhythms. When we learn a language, at first we’re not free to say much at all because we haven’t learnt its inner rules. We don’t master them simply by being free of outside influence.

“Look at our culture today,” Barron told the conference.

“The default position is that I am the sovereign source of value, of meaning. Why are so many of our young people so lost, depressed and unhappy? It’s because freedom has become divorced from truth and from responsibility. If we’re the inventors of all value, we’ll live in an increasingly dull and dangerous world.”

These are deep intellectual waters but represent Barron’s characteristic style. He speaks clearly, in a conversational way, with great warmth and friendliness, but he doesn’t dumb things down, he gives you full value intellectually.

There are roughly 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. I thought the ARC conference was clever in picking the right one to address them. Barron is neither pompous nor unapproachable, or an egomaniac. But a lot of people want a bite of his time. He’s hard to get. He had just travelled to ARC from the Pope’s synod in Rome, which consisted mainly of selected bishops but with some lay people too.

I kidnapped him in the ARC green room and wickedly, ruthlessly, exploited his innate politeness and sense of compassion. Can we do the interview here, he suggested.

No, Bishop, we’ll be constantly interrupted. Let’s go across the road to a nearby hotel where we can talk better. I think there’s a lunch I’m supposed to attend, he offered plaintively to his aide. No, no, no, we can get some lunch at the hotel, I assured him.

Naturally, being London, and God always enjoying a mild joke, it poured with rain as we trudged across the open air to the nearest hotel. No good turn, as the bishop must surely know, goes entirely unpunished. He didn’t even get lunch, just coffee and a biscuit.

Barron is a normal sort of person. He’s learned, clever, very relaxed now in front of a camera, but he doesn’t come across as a force of nature hurled down from another planet. Many of the things he does could be emulated, in some manner, by other folks.

So here’s one question, among many, I’ve always wanted to ask him. What lessons does the astonishing success of his WOF mission offer for other Christians trying to win a hostile culture?

It’s a tribute to Barron that he doesn’t have a pat formula for that. Instead he thinks a bit, then offers this: “I’ve been talking and thinking about the rise of the ‘nones’ (those who express no religious belief). In the course of my lifetime (he’s 63) it’s gone from about 3 per cent of America to about 25 per cent claiming no religion.

“The (church) scandals of the last 25 years certainly haven’t helped. They’ve accelerated the institutional decline. And there’s a general decline of trust in institutions.

“But here’s where I find your question interesting. There are just so many people who do respond to something like the Word on Fire mission, to the work I’m doing. When you put religion out there in a fresh way, there’s still an audience. They might be sceptical, but yet they’re paying attention. There’s something so self-defeating about the self-invention culture, as I call it. There’s a responsive audience. People will return, they will come back, to these great values.

“Religion’s just got to be there, even though people are mocking us, and for ages they’ve been predicting our decline.”




Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Two teenage girls visiting from South America were attacked and stabbed while having lunch in the dining concourse of Grand Central Terminal

This animal had a long record so should have been kept in jail. It is Leftist leniency towards criminals that is responsible for this attack. Fortunately, the victims lived

Two teenage girls on vacation from South America have been stabbed while eating at Grand Central Terminal's dining concourse by a suspect saying 'I want all the white people dead.'

The girls, aged 14 and 16, were touring the city with their parents when they were suddenly attacked.

The stabbing happened around 11:25am on Christmas when the family had stopped for an early lunch.

The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Steven Hutcherson of the Bronx, allegedly told the girls, 'I want all the white people dead.'

Hutcherson is believed to have gotten into an argument with staff at Tartinery who told him he could not sit in the restaurant's seating area. That argument led to the attack on the innocent girls.

When Hutcherson complained that the two victims were being allowed to sit in the restaurant, he allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed them both.

Hutcherson was arrested in under a minute as MTA police swooped in from their nearby posts.

One of the girls was stabbed in the thigh while the other was stabbed in the back, nicking her lung.

Both victims were taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Hutcherson has an extensive criminal record and has been charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is known as an emotionally disturbed person with an arrest record by both the MTA police and NYPD.

In his most recent brush with the law, Hutcherson was arrested twice in the last six months for intimidating people while brandishing a gun in the Bronx.

He pleaded guilty to both his weapons possession arrests from November 7 and July 24.

For his July office he was given a 15-day jail sentence, while for November he was given a conditional discharge together with a temporary restraining order against his victim.


Old Glory Bank May Be More Necessary by the Day

In a recent telephone interview and some subsequent emails with its Chief Strategy Officer Eric Ohlhausen, I learned more reasons people might want to open accounts at this bank that says they won’t let you be cancelled financially.

As they write on their website, “We stand for you. No matter where you stand.”

This seems particularly important on Dec. 18, the day the Federalist’s Sean Davis wrote on X that the administration is taking down the Reconciliation Memorial (that celebrates national unity post-Civil War) at Arlington Cemetery—yet another sign, as Mr. Davis puts it, “The modern American left has zero interest in reconciliation with anyone in this country who opposes their political agenda.”

So mind your money. They could be coming for it next in a variety of ways.

Which leads me back to the Old Glory Bank.

But before I get into the latest additions to their offerings, I have to be clear I immediately asked Mr. Ohlhausen about what many regard as the most perilous financial danger of all—the looming specter of digital currency under which the government could arguably monitor and control all our spending.

The answer, unfortunately, was they were unable to do anything about that—thus far, anyway. It would have been a big ask for any private party.

On the positive side, however, there is this to report.

Old Glory now has a “Cash-IN” program through which, using their mobile app, one can deposit cash up to $2,000 per day at any of 90,000 retail locations across the country (Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Dollar General, and others).

Mr. Ohlhausen argued this makes them considerably more convenient than traditional banks. The top five branch banks in numbers—Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PNC, and US Bank—have fewer than 20,000 locations where cash can be deposited.

This should be particularly useful to those who earn significant portions of their income through tips, the gig economy, and so forth.

Regarding those big banks, there is much about which to be concerned. According to the New York Post (May 2019), JP Morgan Chase has been accused of purging the accounts of conservative activists Enrique Tarrio, Joe Biggs, Laura Loomer, and Martina Markota.

The same bank cancelled well known activist and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s business credit card.

But it’s more than Chase. Citigroup and Bank of America have cut ties to the gun industry.

A yet bigger problem may be the vaunted PayPal that is nearly ubiquitous.

Three of its hugely successful entrepreneur founders—Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and David Sacks—have turned critical of the platform they helped invent, and for good reason.

According to Rupa Subramanya of the Free Press, PayPal has been cancelling such accounts as Freedom Phone, various COVID-19 and gender critics, including Gays against Groomers. I no longer use PayPal myself.

Old Glory Bank has come up with a solution, initiating their own system, Old Glory Pay. This is a closed-door loop, peer-to-peer payments platform for Old Glory Bank customers with no other financial institutions involved.

As the bank expands, and it is, nationally, this will become increasingly useful as no industries are excluded, as PayPal does with firearms manufacturers.
This system may end up the most important contribution of Old Glory Bank.

Mr. Ohlhausen reassured me his bank is doing the other normal things that banks do—make small business loans, have various checking and savings accounts, write mortgages and so forth.

Regarding the mortgages, I was told their rates were “competitive.”

No help there, alas.


Hallelujah! Congress is barely passing ANY new laws — and that’s a good thing

The DC-obsessed crew at Axios just flagged the current, 118th, Congress as the “most unproductive in modern history,” having only passed 20 bills this year (with four more on President Biden’s desk).

Weirdly, they treat that as a bad thing.

Sure, the country has plenty of problems, but “more bills” almost always means more trouble for the American public — a conveyer belt of pork-filled legislation that increases the ever-growing debt and hands more power to government bureaucrats.

Just look at the highly “productive,” Democratic-led 117th Congress (2021-3), which enacted an eye-popping 364 laws while enabling Joe Biden to spend more than any president in history.

The hilariously misnamed American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act set taxpayers back several trillion bucks, triggering inflation unseen in this country for decades, to splurge on progressive priorities including “green” subsidies that alone could cost an estimated $1.2 trillion — largely enriching connected insiders without getting America significantly closer to the carbon-free utopia of lefty dreams.

There’s a reason Democrats from Biden on down have stopped using the word “Bidenomics.”

Plus, of course, voters in late 2021 chose a (barely) Republican House and an (also barely) Democratic Senate, an excellent recipe for standoffs that makes passing any laws beyond difficult.

That the prez generally refuses to compromise with the GOP except when it lets him spend more only further gums up the works.

The job of Republicans in Congress is to rein in spending, taxes and all other federal overreach — and if they can’t, to at least slap Democrats’ hands when they try to reach deeper into Americans’ pocketbooks.

Passing the bare minimum of bills to keep the country chugging along (along with more bills that the Dem Senate rejects because they’d shrink spending) is a pretty fine record for Republicans who only control half of a single branch of the federal government.

We’d love another Reagan Revolution, but the last thing America needs right now is Washington-business-as-usual booming.

By comparison, gridlock is great. Least productive? Take it as a compliment.


‘Two-Parent Privilege’ author sounds off on concerning marriage trend’s harmful impact on children

One author is explaining why the ultimate privilege is being born into a two-parent household and why the decline in marriage should cause concern.

“This is something as an economic matter, not as a value-laden or moral proposition we should all be really concerned about,” Melissa Kearney stressed during her appearance on Fox News Thursday.

The “Two-Parent Privilege,” author and economist suggests that the decline of two-parent households is driving “class gaps in kids’ opportunities, experiences and household resources.“

“We have mounds of evidence and data and objective studies showing that kids who grow up with the benefit of two parents in their home, their homes are characterized by higher levels of resources,” Kearney told “America’s Newsroom.”

She went on to explain that “more parental supervision and more stability” yield better outcomes for children.

“This is why, from an inequality perspective, this matters so much, because the class and racial gaps in kids’ access really to having a stable, highly resourced two-parent home are driving a lot of these class and racial gaps in society,” the author said.

“If we don’t break this, we should not be surprised that we’re sort of cementing advantage and disadvantage across race and class groups in America.”

Kearney argued that the way to move forward is to “commit to strengthening families” so “more kids are set up on a path to reach their human capital potential.”

If given the opportunity to change this downward trend across the U.S., Kearney suggested an increase in public funding, research and throwing support behind a policy committed to helping families.




Monday, December 25, 2023

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Is the Pope a heretic?

He blesses practices that are "an abomination unto the Lord" (Leviticus 18:22). There have been other bad Popes

Conservative Catholic bishops in various countries have objected to Pope Francis’ recent permission on blessings for gay couples, underscoring the divisiveness of the issue in the global church.

The bishops of Zambia, Malawi and the principal archdiocese of Kazakhstan prohibited their priests from offering such blessings. The bishops of Ukraine lamented what they called a recent Vatican declaration’s wording, which they warned could suggest approval of gay behaviour.

Meanwhile, bishops in some European countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland welcomed the new policy.

On Monday, the Vatican issued guidelines for the blessing of gay couples, saying that such ceremonies are permitted as long as they don’t imply that same-sex relationships are the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. Monday’s declaration confirmed and elaborated on a letter by the pope released in October.

The Zambian bishops declared in response that they would not implement the new Vatican guidelines, “in order to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same sex unions and activities, and while listening to our cultural heritage which does not accept same sex relationships.” In his Christmas speech to Vatican officials on Thursday morning, Francis didn’t mention the policy on blessings, but called for vigilance “against rigid ideological positions that often, under the guise of good intentions, separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward.”

Francis has taken a conciliatory approach to LGBTQ people, without formally changing church teaching, which holds that gay acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” In 2021, he approved a Vatican statement prohibiting blessings on the grounds that God “cannot bless sin,” but he reversed the ban this year.

Catholic priests in Germany and some other northern European countries have for years held ceremonies to bless same-sex couples, in defiance of the Vatican’s earlier ban.

In March, Germany’s Catholic bishops voted in favour of adopting formal ceremonies to bless same-sex relationships. Bishop Georg Bätzing, head of the German bishops’ conference, expressed gratitude for the new Vatican guidelines this week, even though they specify that blessings of gay couples must be spontaneous and not part of the official liturgy.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which largely opposes Francis’ liberalising agenda, issued a terse response to Monday’s guidelines from the Vatican, stressing that the document didn’t change the church’s teaching on marriage.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minn., described the declaration as speaking “about offering blessings to people who currently live outside of the way of life commanded by Jesus.” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, one of the progressive minority in the US episcopate, said: “Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, we welcome this declaration, which will help many more in our community feel the closeness and compassion of God.” Some Catholic prelates have warned that the issue could provoke a schism, or permanent split in the church, pointing to the more stark divergences over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion.

Conservative Anglican churches, including some in Africa that include nearly half of the world’s estimated 100 million Anglicans, have broken off relations with sister churches that espouse liberal teaching and practice on homosexuality, including the Episcopal Church in the US.

In February, a dozen leading Anglican archbishops, mostly from the global South, called for a break with the Church of England, the historical progenitor of the denomination, after it decided to allow the blessing of same-sex relationships.


Children of conservative parents are at lower risk of mental illness, study finds: Just 55 percent of adolescents with liberal guardians report 'good or excellent' mental health - compared to 77 percent of those from a right-wing household

Leftists are angry people who hate the world they live in. No wonder their children are unhappy too

A new report shows children raised by conservative parents are at a lower risk of having mental problems than those with progressive upbringings.

The nonpartisan study was conducted by the Brookings Institution, Gallup and the Institute for Family Studies and notes that while, ultimately, a parenting style most determines a relationship with kids, there are differences in liberal and conservative parents.

When asked, only 55 percent of the adolescents of liberal parents reported good or excellent mental health, whereas 77 percent of those with conservative or very conservative parents said they had good or excellent mental health.

'Adolescents with very conservative parents are 16 to 17 percentage points more likely to be in good or excellent mental health compared to their peers with very liberal parents' as a result,

There's is also a gap of 14 percentage points between 'very liberal' and 'very conservative' parents when it comes to whether they are in a good relationship with their adolescent child.

'Very conservative parents, on average, enjoy the strongest relationships with their adolescent children, and liberals experience the worst,' Rothwell claims.

The study tried to research the parent-child relationship from both sides, asking both parents and children survey questions.

'This relationship between conservativism and parenting remains significant even after controlling for an extensive list of parental demographic and socio-economic measures,' he writes.

Rothwell claims conservative parents are more likely to use more traditionally effective parenting strategies than liberals. Conservatives are more likely to 'effectively discipline their children, while also displaying affection and responding to their needs.'

The study believes conservative parents also value their own marriages more which provides a better relationship with kids as they grown into teens.

Parents who use an 'authoritative' parenting style have more mentally healthy kids, which conservatives are more likely to use.

There are two parenting styles that Rothwell says leads to bad outcomes, defined as 'authoritarian' and 'permissive.'

'Authoritative' is described by the study as 'warm, responsive, and rule-bound, disciplined parenting.'

'Authoritarian' is seen as more 'cold or harsh.'

The study was done after the Children's Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declared 'a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health' in 2021.

They found that 42 percent of all high school students experienced 'persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness,' including 60 percent of teen girls.

From 2007 to 2021, youth suicide skyrocketed a staggering 62 percent.

They also argue that COVID has been detrimental to adolescent mental health, with teenagers dying 18 times more from despair than the virus between 2020 and 2023.

'Mental health problems in early adolescence predict mental health problems in adulthood, with wide-ranging implications for individuals, families, communities, and society,' Rothwell writes.

'One's capacity for developing and maintaining relationships and participating productively and competently in social affairs' is largely dependent on that individual's mental state during adolescence.'


The Rise of Black Support for Trump

Fearing backlash, some black people feel they can only whisper, "I'm voting for Trump." But others are becoming louder and prouder in voicing support for former President Donald Trump.

Mark Fisher, co-founder of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) group in Rhode Island, made waves recently with his endorsement of the former president. "I knew I was going to pay a price for it," Mr. Fisher told The Epoch Times, "but I felt like the benefit of doing it far outweighed the cost of me playing it safe."

Mr. Fisher said he felt obligated "to clear a path" for those who think the way he does. He and other pro-Trump black people are considered renegades.

That's partly because President Trump's foes have tried to brand him as a racist unworthy of votes from black Americans. But it's also because he's a Republican.

For generations, black leaders and churches have encouraged black people to vote for Democrats, including President Joe Biden.

But the tide seems to be turning. Opinion polls are showing that more black people are willing to break rank, as Mr. Fisher did.

Since President Trump's win in 2016, black support for him has more than tripled, now exceeding 20 percent in some surveys.

Polling suggests that black people and other minorities who once spurned President Trump now appear willing to give his candidacy a fresh look—a trend that could help spell the difference between victory and defeat in the 2024 election.

Three main factors appear to be spurring black people to pivot toward President Trump, according to Mr. Fisher and others who spoke to The Epoch Times: the economy, the criminal justice system, and the influence of other black people going public with their support.

Americans are continuing to feel the pinch of economic conditions under President Biden. Just about everyone, regardless of skin color, feels the weight of higher prices for groceries, gasoline, housing, and other essentials; for months, polls have been showing that a vast majority of citizens disapprove of the president's economic policies, dubbed "Bidenomics."

People are also noticing the justice system's seemingly unjust treatment of President Trump—a fate many black people have experienced.

"They're saying to themselves: 'Now wait a minute; this looks very familiar,'" Mr. Fisher said. "Subconsciously, that's a powerful thing."

Black people also lament that authorities are letting violent crime and illegal immigrants run amok, while they're targeting President Trump and others for alleged nonviolent offenses.

Having prominent black people, including musicians, revealing pro-Trump opinions, has emboldened others to do the same.

Mr. Fisher said these endorsements made him feel he wasn't alone; those trailblazers inspired him to come out of the shadows.

"I saw other black people expressing themselves, displaying courage and independent thought, not being afraid of what other people think about them," he said. "And I felt that my community needed me to do that too."

Strong Reactions

Although Mr. Fisher said he "took a lot of heat" for endorsing President Trump, he also got "a lot of powerful, impactful, and profound messages from people all around the world," along with interview requests from as far away as Japan.

President Trump thanked Mr. Fisher with a surprise phone call and a dinner invitation. Some people excoriated the former president for doing so, considering Mr. Fisher's history with BLM.

President Trump and BLM have accused each other of sowing seeds of hatred and violence.

"I feel like the white racists hate me and the black racists hate me," Mr. Fisher said. "But what I'm doing is separating the wheat from the chaff. I'm creating a safe space for all those who want to be on the right side of history, who want to come together for the betterment of America and improvement of the people of America.

"People are welcome to join in on that vision, or walk away from it. It's that simple."

This fall, before Mr. Fisher revealed his support for President Trump, black rapper Waka Flocka Flame posted a profile picture of himself alongside President Trump on X, formerly Twitter. Separately, he posted: "TRUMP2024."

The photo attracted at least 13.5 million views. It also sparked controversy for the rapper, who had previously made derogatory remarks about the former president.

Top Trump adviser Bruce LeVell told The Epoch Times that the musical artist had quietly begun shifting toward the former president some time ago; Mr. LeVell and Waka Flocka Flame met in 2022 and posed for a photo together.

Being Informed

Other black people, whether prominent or not, are starting to realize that Big Tech companies and government agencies worked together to suppress and twist information about President Trump, other political figures, and many hot-button issues in society, Mr. LeVell said.

“This is, as I call it, ‘The Season of Exposure,’" he said. "And the great lies are being exposed."


Mealy-mouthed slacktivists fail Israelis and Palestinians

On the night of April 14, 2014, Islamic terrorists stormed a government girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapping 276 mostly Christian young girls aged between 16 and 18. This horrendous act gave rise to a global movement identified primarily by the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Oh, it was a thing all right. All of Hollywood and its hangers-on lent their names to the cause.

In a shocking plot twist, the terrorist group Boko Haram did not capitulate when confronted with the full force of highly stylised Instagram posts. #BringBackOur girls was a campaign stellar in visibility, negligent in terms of impact. It was also a powerful example of slacktivism at its finest. As of 2021, 112 of the Chibok schoolgirls were still missing.

Slacktivism: The appearance of standing for something but with absolutely nothing of substance at play and zero cost to the individual or organisation. It usually comes with a healthy dose of signalling virtue.

This is what we’re seeing play out in Australia and across the world as the war against Hamas continues. From a range of social media and reality TV stars who fancy themselves as geopolitically savvy, whose ignorance is matched only by hubris, to governments who talk a big game but can’t back it up.

Free Palestine. From the river to the Sea. All lives matter (more on that one in a moment).

Israel paid the greatest price on October 7 and continues to do so. What nobody seems to have the courage to say is that Israel is doing what the West has been to weak, possibly too lazy and too cowardly to do for decades – confront and eliminate Hamas. The same Hamas that hasn’t held an election in Gaza since 2006. The same Hamas that this government declared to be a terror organisation last year.

Free Palestine? Yes! From the tyranny of a terrorist government and if you think that will happen via diplomacy or without conflict, you are no student of history.

Israel is doing the world’s heavy lifting. To deny that is to deny the truth and by extension to say that countries such as Australia, Britain, New Zealand, the US, liberal Western democracies, would willingly invite Hamas to our shores, into our schools, homes and parliaments.

If that is your view, then you are not my countryman. You have a different hope for Australia’s future than I do.

Imagine if in the days following October 7 the global community had immediately demanded Hamas return all hostages, surrender those responsible and have them tried in The Hague for war crimes. This war would be long over and so many civilian lives in Gaza saved.

But slacktivism. The world said: we condemn this brutality. It also said: Israel, go easy on them because all lives matter. Sure, they do. Until of course they don’t. Do the lives of the 138 hostages still hidden in Gaza matter more than those of the Hamas animals keeping them captive? Did the lives of the slain Nova concertgoers matter more than those of the savages who gleefully filmed themselves committing wholesale rape and slaughter?

Does the life of a Palestinian child matter more than terrorists who use his school as a cover? I could go on.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people, displaced more than two million in the past decade. In Syria, the Assad regime systematically murders its citizens without so much as a hashtag to contend with.

According to the Syrian network for Human Rights, 501 civilians, including 71 children and 42 women were murdered by documented events of torture in the first half of this year. That’s before you go back over the past decade and count the thousands of victims, many being Palestinians.

Their lives mattered, but not enough to spark a global movement against Syria. No boycott, divestment and sanctions movement; no protests. Nobody saying that Syria shouldn’t exist.

Obviously, Palestinian lives matter. But Palestinian lives in Gaza matter more than the ones in Syria, and more than the Christian girls taken hostage in Nigeria – am I doing it right? The only lives that have been devalued are Israeli dead and the still languishing hostages.

It is unquestionably clear that there is a singular reason the professional activist class has galvanised behind Palestinian Gaza, post-October 7.

I want to propose it’s not for the love of a people, it’s because of an incomprehensible hatred of Israel. A free Palestinian people cannot happen without the end of Hamas and the only nation committed to that outcome is Israel.

Oh, but the fear and (self) loathing in Australia and elsewhere (Ie, writ large in word, deed and indefensible actions of hatred and anti-Semitism. The absolute nonsense, historically illiterate silliness coming out of the mouths of so many. It’s easy, I suppose, when there’s no price to pay.

This is a level of blindness that has nothing to do with the biological function of sight. This is what it looks like. It’s what causes people to say that Israel has no right to defend itself. What great price, their freedom.

There is always a cost, for everything. It’s like the person who wants to run a marathon but instead of training, lies on the couch eating chips, or the person who wants a loving healthy relationship but won’t face their own heart and do the work.

Life is full of these complex situations but rarely has one been so clear in the line between right and wrong. An email I received this week, one of many, broke my heart and I share it with permission.

“My kids have grown up thinking it’s normal to have armed guards and policemen manning the doors of our synagogue. How shocking is that in Australia? … Now I lie awake at night wondering how to keep my children safe. Racists will always be around. But when our government, academic, artistic and education institutes start apologising and enabling intolerance … it’s terrifying.”

Each day this war continues, there is more collateral damage like this family. Half a world away, innocent Palestinians are failed by an international community that has chosen words over action at every step.




Thursday, December 21, 2023

"Healthy" eating won't save you

The study below is very desperate to come to politically correct conclusions. They looked at extreme quintiles only, which means that they ignored the majority of their data. And even after that they found only minute Hazard Ratios.

The real conclusion of the study is that "healthy" eating confers no health benefits. It is doubtlful if anyone knows what healty eating is. There have been many records of people thriving on quite extreme diets -- Traditional Eskimos, for instance

Healthy Eating Patterns and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality

Zhilei Shan, MD et al.

Question Is there an association between Dietary Guidelines for Americans–recommended dietary patterns with total and cause-specific mortality?

Findings In this cohort study of 75 230 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2020) and 44 085 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2020), greater adherence to several healthy eating patterns was associated with a lower risk of death. These associations were consistent in different racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White individuals.

Meaning These findings support the recommendations of Dietary Guidelines for Americans that multiple healthy eating patterns can be adapted to individual food traditions and preferences.

Importance The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend multiple healthy eating patterns. However, few studies have examined the associations of adherence to different dietary patterns with long-term risk of total and cause-specific mortality.

Objective To examine the associations of dietary scores for 4 healthy eating patterns with risk of total and cause-specific mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants This prospective cohort study included initially healthy women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 1984-2020) and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS; 1986-2020).

Exposures Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015), Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED) score, Healthful Plant-based Diet Index (HPDI), and Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI).

Main Outcomes and Measures The main outcomes were total and cause-specific mortality overall and stratified by race and ethnicity and other potential risk factors.

Results The final study sample included 75 230 women from the NHS (mean [SD] baseline age, 50.2 [7.2] years) and 44 085 men from the HPFS (mean [SD] baseline age, 53.3 [9.6] years). During a total of 3 559 056 person-years of follow-up, 31 263 women and 22 900 men died. When comparing the highest with the lowest quintiles, the pooled multivariable-adjusted HRs of total mortality were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.79-0.84) for HEI-2015, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.79-0.84) for AMED score, 0.86 (95% CI, 0.83-0.89) for HPDI, and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.77-0.82) for AHEI (P < .001 for trend for all). All dietary scores were significantly inversely associated with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. The AMED score and AHEI were inversely associated with mortality from neurodegenerative disease. The inverse associations between these scores and risk of mortality were consistent in different racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White individuals.

Conclusions and Relevance In this cohort study of 2 large prospective cohorts with up to 36 years of follow-up, greater adherence to various healthy eating patterns was consistently associated with lower risk of total and cause-specific mortality. These findings support the recommendations of Dietary Guidelines for Americans that multiple healthy eating patterns can be adapted to individual food traditions and preferences.


Lauren Sanchez shows off her enviable curves in an orange bikini and TINY tweed shorts as she strolls hand-in-hand with Jeff Bezos in St. Barts

image from

Her boob job has certainly been a great investment for her

Lauren Sanchez showed off her toned physique in an orange bikini top and tiny shorts while enjoying a pre-holiday getaway in St. Barts with her billionaire fiancé, Jeff Bezos.

The former news anchor and the Amazon founder were spotted walking hand in hand on the French-speaking Caribbean island on Sunday, a few days before her 54th birthday.

Sanchez initially had on a Chanel Formula 1 T-shirt that retails for a whopping $4,450, which she had altered into a crop top to reveal her stomach.

She paired the tee from the French luxury label's Cruise 2022/23 collection with pink and tan tweet shorts that also appeared to be Chanel.


Progressive Dem who defunded Austin Police ripped for requesting police patrols at home: 'Height of hypocrisy'

A progressive congressman associated with "The Squad" who proudly voted to defund the Austin Police Department as a city council member and blasted the department just last week for alleged racist practices is under fire after requesting a police patrol at his home from the same department.

"It’s come to our attention that Anti police king of the defund movement in Austin @GregCasar who only last week called APD an agency with racist practices has requested enhanced patrols around his house for the next week," the Austin Police Retired Officers Association posted on X Tuesday.

"We want everyone in Austin to feel safe," the post added. "But this seems to us as the height of hypocrisy from the congressman. Maybe he should hire private security like his fellow squad members do. Sure seems like he wants the police in his neighborhood just not yours."

Casar's request was made through the United States Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., which forwarded the request to the Austin Police Department.

Casar was perhaps the most vocal driver of defunding the Austin Police Department in 2020 while he was a member of the city council. It led to a police shortage and a wave of officer retirements that critics say the city has still not recovered from.

"We did it!!" Casar posted on X in August 2020. "Austin City Council just reduced APD's budget by over $100 million *and* reinvested resources into our community's safety and well-being."

Additionally, Casar sent a letter last week to the Justice Department criticizing practices within the Austin Police Department, highlighting the "need for systemic reforms to the Department's policies and practices of excessive and lethal use of force, racial discrimination, and discrimination against people with mental health conditions."

News of the request for the security detail, which was confirmed by Fox News Digital, drew immediate criticism from Austin residents on social media, many suggesting the request was an example of hypocrisy.

"So @GregCasar believes APD is a racist institution that requires DOJ oversight but then requests more APD patrols around his house," Austin personal injury attorney Adam Loewy posted on X. "Interesting juxtaposition."

"Greg Casar is a fraud," Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak posted on X.

Dennis Farris, president of the Austin Police Retired Officers Association, told Fox News Digital he believes Casar should receive extra protection if there are officers available to do it and there is a credible threat but added the request is the "height of hypocrisy."

"A week ago, he was calling the Austin Police Department a racist department that targeted Black and brown people, and this week he's asking the exact same department to do enhanced patrols around his house," Farris said.

"It doesn't matter what political party they're in. If they ask us for our help, we will give it to them," Farris added. "The last thing we want is something happening to them. My issue with it and the issue that most of my members are going to have with it is the fact that this guy, you know, it's the whole squad thing, right? It's the whole, 'We hate the cops, we hate the cops, we hate the cops. Oh, please, come help us now.' He is the architect. He is the architect of defund the cops in Austin. He started this whole mess."


Authoritarian? Conservatives Want to Restore the Constitution. The Left Can’t Handle It.

The Constitution created three branches in the federal government: the legislature to make the laws, the executive branch to enforce the laws, and the judiciary to settle disputes about the laws. Yet the federal government we know and very much do not love doesn’t operate the way the Constitution says it should.

Instead, unelected bureaucrats write more rules than Congress does, the president cannot fire bureaucrats who oppose his efforts to keep his promises to the people, and the Supreme Court has unilaterally rewritten the Constitution on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender ideology.

Conservatives have launched many efforts to restore the federal government to the way the Constitution says it should work, but the Left has increasingly demonized those efforts as backward, racist, or—more recently—a form of authoritarianism.

In The New York Times, Maggie Haberman wrote: “Why a Second Trump Presidency May Be More Radical Than His First.” Among other things, Haberman warned that former President Donald Trump, were he to win the presidential election next year, “would seek to expand presidential power in myriad ways—concentrating greater authority over the executive branch in the White House, ending the independence of agencies Congress set up to operate outside of presidential control and reducing civil service protections to make it easier to fire and replace tens of thousands of government workers.”

Haberman seems not to remember how Trump’s administration fought against him in unjustified ways, operating as a “deep state” to prevent him from fulfilling his campaign promises. Preventing the executive branch from operating in this way is not a form of authoritarianism but an effort to bring bureaucrats back under the control of the voters’ elected representative.

Trump’s Agenda 47 and Project 2025, a conservative movement project led by The Heritage Foundation, aim to empower a conservative president to fire executive branch workers who would oppose the president’s goals. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)

Another key conservative reform, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS Act, would require Congress to pass regulations that would significantly impact the U.S. economy.

President Joe Biden’s White House pledged to veto the REINS Act if Congress were to pass it. The Office of Management and Budget said the act “would undermine agencies’ efforts by inserting into the regulatory process an unwieldy, unnecessary, and time-consuming hurdle that would prevent implementation of critical safeguards that protect public safety, grow our economy, and advance the public interest.”

While the Left frames these conservative reforms as “authoritarian,” Biden tried to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for certain borrowers, with the stroke of his pen. The Education Department estimated that this would cost $305 billion in the next 10 years. Had the Supreme Court not ruled the plan unconstitutional, the student loan bailout would have inflated college costs, hindered economic growth, rewarded increasingly woke universities, and benefitted upper-income earners at the expense of those who didn’t go to college or who paid off their loans.

Biden has made similarly unilateral moves to push his transgender orthodoxy and his climate alarmist agenda. Ironically, the president faces his own kind of “deep state,” bureaucrats who are opposing his pro-Israel rhetoric.

Meanwhile, the Left has orchestrated a campaign to delegitimize the Supreme Court, with outfits like ProPublica targeting justices such as Clarence Thomas.

The Left has attacked Thomas in part because the court’s majority now supports originalism, the view that the Supreme Court should uphold the original public meaning of the Constitution, as opposed to reinterpreting the text to achieve the Left’s goals.

Originalism grew as a reaction to the court’s decisions in cases such as Roe v. Wade (1973) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which twisted passages in the Constitution out of recognition to create new rights that the Founders and those who later amended the Constitution at the time of the 14th Amendment would have opposed.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., unwittingly revealed why the Left opposes originalism. He tweeted in 2020, “Originalism is racist. Originalism is sexist. Originalism is homophobic. Originalism is just a fancy word for discrimination.”

Markey’s problem isn’t Originalism—it’s that he isn’t willing to get his efforts opposing “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” and “discrimination” through Congress, the body that makes law, according to the Constitution. He’d rather have the Supreme Court dictate his preferred agenda, and he opposes the good-government reforms that make it harder for nine unelected judges to create new laws.

The Left’s attacks on the Supreme Court represent an obnoxious tantrum after the nation’s highest court has—at least for now—rejected its old modus operandi of writing the Left’s agenda into the Constitution. Now, the court increasingly calls balls and strikes, in ways that frustrate both sides of the aisle but more closely represent the Founders’ vision.

Efforts to rein in the deep state and encourage Congress to make laws, rather than passing off that duty to bureaucrats, echo the originalist movement in the judiciary. These reforms aren’t aimed at authoritarianism or gumming up the works—they’re aimed at making the federal government more accountable to the people once again.


"Believe the woman": Innocent Australian men prosecuted as a result

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions is a woman, Sally Dowling SC.

A third man accused of sexual ­assault by a woman who has made multiple “pattern” rape ­allegations will walk free after NSW’s Office of Public Prosecutions discontinued proceedings, just weeks after a damning court judgment called on prosecutors to re-examine her claims.

Charges against the accused – known as JM – are set to be formally withdrawn in court amid scrutiny on the ODPP, which has been accused of taking a “lazy and perhaps politically ­expedient” approach to prosecutorial decisions.

The prosecution of JM follows the acquittal of two other men who faced near-identical ­allegations they had sexually ­assaulted the complainant, who claimed she was too drunk to consent.

But a District Court judge earlier this month found the woman had an “idiosyncratic” and erroneous view of what constituted sexual assault which was not challenged by prosecutors, who put the cases before a jury in what was labelled a miscarriage of justice. The woman had earlier ­pursued other criminal complaints against a string of other men.

After confirming late on Monday that the case against JM was proceeding despite District Court judge Robert Newlinds calling on prosecutors to “join the dots” and critically analyse the woman’s claims, the ODPP has now confirmed the prosecution has been discontinued.

“The reasons for discontinuing an individual prosecution are privileged and will not be disclosed,” the office said in a statement. “The ODPP is not aware of further prosecutions currently on foot involving the same ­complainant.

“The decision to proceed with or terminate any prosecution is taken carefully and in accordance with the Prosecution Guidelines. Factors taken into account include matters relating to the victim, the accused and the offence.

“Factors which are irrelevant to the decision include political, individual or sectional interests, including media coverage or public sentiment.”

The discontinuance of the prosecution against JM comes after Judge Newlinds registered a “deep level of concern” over the abrogation of the prosecutor’s duty to interrogate complainants’ allegations amid concerns the ODPP was putting hopeless cases before juries and called upon prosectors to stop further prosecutions of men as a result of allegations levelled by the complainant who had gone to police about a string of men, at least six of whom faced charges in court.

“I think the prosecution took the lazy and perhaps politically expedient course of identifying that the complainant alleged she had been sexually assaulted and without properly considering the question of whether there was any evidence to support that allegation, and just prosecuted so as to let the jury decide,” he said in a costs judgment in the case of R v Martinez, which was dismissed by a jury after one hour of deliberation earlier this month.

“This must stop. Justice has not been served and will not be served by repeated cases being ­prosecuted based on obviously flawed evidence.”

In the Martinez case, the complainant had alleged she was sexually assaulted because she had been drunk and could not remember the evening in question. However, the court heard that she had initiated sex and enthusiastically consented.

Another case against a defendant dubbed AS also went before a jury in November, with that accused also acquitted. The case against AS involved a very similar scenario, and Judge Newlinds said the men could not receive a fair trial because the jury was prevented from hearing details of the complainant’s history of accusing multiple men.

NSW DPP Sally Dowling SC, responded angrily to the criticism levelled by Judge Newlinds, issuing a statement saying the ODPP would make a complaint to the Judicial Commission.

“The ODPP unequivocally rejects any suggestion that it makes prosecution decisions lazily or on the basis of political expedience, or that it operates according to ‘some sort of unwritten policy’, as the judge has speculated,” the ODPP said in a statement.

“Such remarks unfairly impugn the integrity of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the staff of the ODPP.”