Monday, January 30, 2023

Where to Get Help - Addictions and Mental Illness

Mental illness is reaching record proportions. Not surprising considering everything going on in our society. It is almost as if it is being done on purpose. But that is a topic for another article. In this article, I simply want to point out some places of possible help for those who need it. Please share this directory of help sources with others.

Where to Get Help*
❗ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

❗ Veteran's Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255

❗ Anxiety and Depression Association of America Website:

❗ SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 1-877-726-4727  (Get general information on mental health and locate mental health & treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.)

❗ Refer to the article Finding Help: When to Get It and Where to Go on the Mental Health America website. 

❗ Local clergy (pastors, priests, rabbis) often will be able to refer you to local programs, support groups, and counselors that can help.

❗ Addicted to Tobacco? See Quitting Smoking (on the American Cancer Society website)
❗ Alcoholics Anonymous
❗ Narcotics Anonymous 

❗ Opioid Addiction
See GoodRX Article: 7 Resources to Help with Opioid Addiction

* Having relationship with God is a very important part of getting help. I encourage everyone to pray and read the Bible daily, and to fellowship with other believers regularly. 

Ad: The Scriptures - This new English translation includes Genesis through Revelation, and restores the Name of our Creator to the text in each place it occurs. This new version in English is a literal translation by Institute for Scripture Research, overseen by Dr. Chris Koster. New in this 2009 edition: Improvements to the text - seeking a yet closer equivalent to the literal meaning of the original language. Quotations / Allusions from the Old Testament are in bold type in the New Testament, and are accompanied by the text references - aiding your understanding of the original contexts, and how they influence the writers drawing upon them.


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Friday, January 27, 2023

A (renewed) Declaration of Independence

Back in 2020, TJ Morris (aka "Bear" of Bear Independent YouTube channel) posted the following video and text to his Patreon channel, along with permission to share both the video and text. I think it is worth sharing. I will add a full list of Bear's links at the bottom.

Watch the video on YouTube:

SEP 17, 2020 AT 6:22 PM

A (renewed) Declaration of Independence

Many were asking for the text of my message; here it is. Feel free to share (THIS video and THIS text only, accredited appropriately, please).


I believe we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the Image or our Creator, to serve Him through headship, leadership, and stewardship. We were made specifically for THIS time to be the hands and feel of Messiah and shepherd the Father's Kingdom. I believe that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. I believe that governments are instituted among men, and they derive their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government.

I belong to the Creator, and I assert here and now that governments may not, for any reason, hinder my God-given rights to protect myself and my family (2nd Amendment and Luke 22:36); to worship our Creator (1st Amendment and Hebrews 10:25); to speak truth to power, to peacefully assemble, and to not be censored or throttled; to provide for my family (Article 13 U.S. Constitution and 1 Timothy 5:8); and to teach and lead my family as I see fit (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). I come before you as a broken sinner, redeemed only by the blood of the Lamb, in submission to my Creator to humbly state that I will love the Lord my God, YHWH my Elohim, with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. And I will love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:37). I believe we are called to walk in the footsteps of our Messiah (1 Peter 2:21) to be the light of the world, to rescue mankind from darkness. Not because we are great, but because HE is Good.

I believe that we cannot fill the gaps in our armor with American patriotism alone, but that we must first be right with God, and then we must lead our homes, our wives and children; that our homes might form strong communities; that our communities form strong towns and cities; that our towns and cities form strong counties; and out of strong counties comes a strong state; and that only strong states, subordinate to the will of the Creator, can form a strong nation. For we are not "One Nation Under God" any longer. We are divided, and therefore cannot stand. We have placed ourselves and our country above God. And if the Creator doesn't judge these United States, and soon, He SURELY owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

So I beg you, countrymen, repent, turn from your wicked ways, seek the Father in all that you do, and please HIM, not yourselves (Hebrews 10:26-31). I believe we are capable of good and must be purveyors of it to withstand the enemy and his wicked schemes. I believe that our country is at a crossroads, a turning of the page. I believe there is an active insurgency in the United States of America, fomented and supported by international bad actors with cooperation from the American grassroots all the way to Washington, D.C. I believe that we are already in both WWIII and Civil War 2, however most Americans will choose to turn a blind eye to these uncomfortable truths, as they do not fit the narrative of the day. And I believe bad actors within our own government have enjoyed the strength of unchecked tyranny for too long, and I fear that they will never willingly acquiesce.

I believe that chaos is coming and that it will reign for a time, but I know our Creator is a mighty warrior (Exodus 15:3) who fight for His people, and that He is the author or order not of chaos. I fear that we, the American people, have subcontracted our personal responsibility to the lowest bidder for too long. We have enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, which has served to, unfortunately, make unprecedented cowards of us all. I believe that hard times are coming. Things will get worse before they get better. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But I believe we can, and should, HARDEN UP.

BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. Have I not commanded you?

We were created for this time. We are not here by accident. You are a key player in Divine Providence. I confess that the only thing that scares me more than wearing armor is my son having to wear it instead. So let us stand. I pledge allegiance to the Father and His Living Word, with wisdom and discernment for all, one family guided by His hand, with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

So what comes next? I submit we lay ourselves at the foot of the timbers upon which Messiah hung and beseech the Creator for His wisdom and direction. And with fullness of understanding and conviction of hearth, we begin to steward this land again. For if we are to be in submission to authority, let that authority flow from the Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And Him I will serve with fear and trembling to the best of my broken ability. And in that, perhaps, we might achieve a more perfect union. 

Bear's Links:

Ad: The Scriptures - This new English translation includes Genesis through Revelation, and restores the Name of our Creator to the text in each place it occurs. This new version in English is a literal translation by Institute for Scripture Research, overseen by Dr. Chris Koster. New in this 2009 edition: Improvements to the text - seeking a yet closer equivalent to the literal meaning of the original language. Quotations / Allusions from the Old Testament are in bold type in the New Testament, and are accompanied by the text references - aiding your understanding of the original contexts, and how they influence the writers drawing upon them.


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Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

 An article from a decade ago, but a topic that is still timely...

Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

This article is from the March 2013 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage). 

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

Co-Author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration

We are currently mired in a frantic debate about the rights of gun owners. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.”

Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them.

Now it’s undeniable, Senator Dianne Feinstein to the contrary notwithstanding, that semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense—especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion. Over the past two decades, gun ownership has increased dramatically at the same time that crime rates have decreased. Combine this with the fact that most gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegally obtained weapons, and the formula to decrease crime is clear: Increase the number of responsible gun owners and prosecute to the greatest extent possible under the law those who commit gun-related crimes or possess weapons illegally.

Consider also that assault rifles are rarely used by criminals, because they are neither easily portable nor easily concealed. In Chicago, the murder capital of America—a city with draconian gun laws—pistols are the weapon of choice, even for gang-related executions. But of course there are the horrible exceptions—the mass shootings in recent years—and certainly we must keep assault weapons with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of people who are prone to commit such atrocities.

The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that “there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder.” But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence. From the point of view of the progressives who oppose involuntary incarceration of the mentally ill—you can thank the ACLU and like-minded organizations—it is better to disarm the entire population, and deprive them of their constitutional freedoms, than to incarcerate a few mentally ill persons who are prone to engage in violent crimes.

And we must be clear—the Second Amendment is not about assault weapons, hunting, or sport shooting. It is about something more fundamental. It reaches to the heart of constitutional principles—it reaches to first principles. A favorite refrain of thoughtful political writers during America’s founding era held that a frequent recurrence to first principles was an indispensable means of preserving free government—and so it is.

The Whole People Are the Militia
The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The immediate impetus for the amendment has never been in dispute. Many of the revolutionary generation believed standing armies were dangerous to liberty. Militias made up of citizen-soldiers, they reasoned, were more suitable to the character of republican government. Expressing a widely held view, Elbridge Gerry remarked in the debate over the first militia bill in 1789 that “whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia.”

The Second Amendment is unique among the amendments in the Bill of Rights, in that it contains a preface explaining the reason for the right protected: Militias are necessary for the security of a free state. We cannot read the words “free State” here as a reference to the several states that make up the Union. The frequent use of the phrase “free State” in the founding era makes it abundantly clear that it means a non-tyrannical or non-despotic state. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), rightly remarked that the term and its “close variations” were “terms of art in 18th-century political discourse, meaning a free country or free polity.”

The principal constitutional debate leading up to the Heller decision was about whether the right to “keep and bear arms” was an individual right or a collective right conditioned upon service in the militia. As a general matter, of course, the idea of collective rights was unknown to the Framers of the Constitution—and this consideration alone should have been decisive. We have James Madison’s own testimony that the provisions of the Bill of Rights “relate [first] . . . to private rights.”

The notion of collective rights is wholly the invention of the Progressive founders of the administrative state, who were engaged in a self-conscious effort to supplant the principles of limited government embodied in the Constitution. For these Progressives, what Madison and other Founders called the “rights of human nature” were merely a delusion characteristic of the 18th century. Science, they held, has proven that there is no permanent human nature—that there are only evolving social conditions. As a result, they regarded what the Founders called the “rights of human nature” as an enemy of collective welfare, which should always take precedence over the rights of individuals. For Progressives then and now, the welfare of the people—not liberty—is the primary object of government, and government should always be in the hands of experts. This is the real origin of today’s gun control hysteria—the idea that professional police forces and the military have rendered the armed citizen superfluous; that no individual should be responsible for the defense of himself and his family, but should leave it to the experts. The idea of individual responsibilities, along with that of individual rights, is in fact incompatible with the Progressive vision of the common welfare.

This way of thinking was wholly alien to America’s founding generation, for whom government existed for the purpose of securing individual rights. And it was always understood that a necessary component of every such right was a correspondent responsibility. Madison frequently stated that all “just and free government” is derived from social compact—the idea embodied in the Declaration of Independence, which notes that the “just powers” of government are derived “from the consent of the governed.” Social compact, wrote Madison, “contemplates a certain number of individuals as meeting and agreeing to form one political society, in order that the rights, the safety, and the interests of each may be under the safeguard of the whole.” The rights to be protected by the political society are not created by government—they exist by nature—although governments are necessary to secure them. Thus political society exists to secure the equal protection of the equal rights of all who consent to be governed. This is the original understanding of what we know today as “equal protection of the laws”—the equal protection of equal rights.

Each person who consents to become a member of civil society thus enjoys the equal protection of his own rights, while at the same time incurring the obligation to protect the rights of his fellow citizens. In the first instance, then, the people are a militia, formed for the mutual protection of equal rights. This makes it impossible to mistake both the meaning and the vital importance of the Second Amendment: The whole people are the militia, and disarming the people dissolves their moral and political existence.

Arms and Sovereignty
The Preamble to the Constitution stipulates that “We the people . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States.” It is important to note that the people establish the Constitution; the Constitution does not establish the people. When, then, did “we the people” become a people? Clearly Americans became a people upon the adoption of its first principles of government in the Declaration of Independence, which describes the people both in their political capacity, as “one people,” and in their moral capacity, as a “good people.” In establishing the Constitution, then, the people executed a second contract, this time with government. In this contract, the people delegate power to the government to be exercised for their benefit. But the Declaration specifies that only the “just powers” are delegated. The government is to be a limited government, confined to the exercise of those powers that are fairly inferred from the specific grant of powers.

Furthermore, the Declaration specifies that when government becomes destructive of the ends for which it is established—the “Safety and Happiness” of the people—then “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” This is what has become known as the right of revolution, an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right. And if the people have this right as an indefeasible aspect of their sovereignty, then, by necessity, the people also have a right to the means to revolution. Only an armed people are a sovereign people, and only an armed people are a free people—the people are indeed a militia.

The Declaration also contains an important prudential lesson with respect to the right to revolution: “Prudence . . . will dictate,” it cautions, “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” It is only after “a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object,” and when that object “evinces a design to reduce [the People] to absolute Despotism,” that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Here the Declaration identifies the right of revolution, not only as a right of the people, but as a duty as well—indeed, it is the only duty mentioned in the Declaration.

The prudential lessons of the Declaration are no less important than its assertion of natural rights. The prospect of the dissolution of government is almost too horrible to contemplate, and must be approached with the utmost circumspection. As long as the courts are operating, free and fair elections are proceeding, and the ordinary processes of government hold out the prospect that whatever momentary inconveniences or dislocations the people experience can be corrected, then they do not represent a long train of abuses and usurpations and should be tolerated. But we cannot remind ourselves too often of the oft-repeated refrain of the Founders: Rights and liberties are best secured when there is a “frequent recurrence to first principles.”

The Current Legal Debate
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that for the first time held unambiguously that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia quoted Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, a work well known to the Founders. Blackstone referred to “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” which necessarily entailed “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.” Throughout his opinion, Justice Scalia rightly insisted that the Second Amendment recognized rights that preexisted the Constitution. But Justice Scalia was wrong to imply that Second Amendment rights were codified from the common law—they were, in fact, “natural rights,” deriving their status from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In his Heller dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens boldly asserted that “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” In a perverse way, Justice Stevens was correct for the same reason Justice Scalia was wrong: What the Framers did was to recognize the natural right of self-defense. Like the right to revolution, the right to self-defense or self-preservation can never be ceded to government. In the words of James Wilson—a signer of the Declaration, a member of the Constitutional Convention, and an early justice of the Supreme Court—“the great natural law of self-preservation . . . cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution.”

Justice Stevens, however, concluded that because there is no clause in the Constitution explicitly recognizing the common law right of self-defense, it is not a constitutional right and therefore cannot authorize individual possession of weapons. What Justice Stevens apparently doesn’t realize is that the Constitution as a whole is a recognition of the “the great natural law of self-preservation,” both for the people and for individuals. Whenever government is unwilling or unable to fulfill the ends for which it exists—the safety and happiness of the people—the right of action devolves upon the people, whether it is the right of revolution or the individual’s right to defend person and property.

Justice Scalia noted that those who argued for a collective-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment have the impossible task of showing that the rights protected by the Second Amendment are collective rights, whereas every other right protected by the Bill of Rights is an individual right. It is true that the Second Amendment states that “the people” have the right to keep and bear arms. But other amendments refer to the rights of “the people” as well. The Fourth Amendment, for example, guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure.” But there seems to be universal agreement that Fourth Amendment rights belong to individuals.

And what of the First Amendment’s protection of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances?” Justice Stevens argues that these rights are collective rights. After all, he avers, “they contemplate collective actions.” It is true, the Justice concedes, that the right to assemble is an individual right, but “its concern is with action engaged in by members of a group, rather than any single individual.” And the right to petition government for a redress of grievances is similarly, he says, “a right that can be exercised by individuals,” even though “it is primarily collective in nature.” Its collective nature, he explains, means that “if they are to be effective, petitions must involve groups of individuals acting in concert.” Even though individuals may petition government for redress, it is more “effective” if done in concert with others, even though “concert” is not necessary to the existence or the exercise of the right.

With respect to assembly, Justice Stevens argues, there cannot be an assembly of one. An “assembly” is a collection of individual rights holders who have united for common action or to promote a common cause. But who could argue that the manner in which the assemblage takes place, or the form that it takes, significantly qualifies or limits the possession or exercise of the right? We might as well argue that freedom of speech is a collective right because freedom of speech is most effectively exercised when there are auditors; or that freedom of the press is a collective right because it is most effectively exercised when there are readers. Justice Stevens’ argument is thus fanciful, not to say frivolous.

The Court in Heller did indicate, however, that there could be some reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. “Longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” for example, will continue to meet constitutional muster. Laws that forbid “carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” are also reasonable regulations, as are “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The prohibition on “dangerous and unusual weapons”—including automatic firearms—fall outside Second Amendment guarantees as well.

But the Heller decision is clear that handgun possession for self-defense is absolutely protected by the Second Amendment. Can handguns be carried outside the home as part of “the inherent right of self-defense?” The Court indicated that handguns can be prohibited in “sensitive places,” but not every place outside the home is sensitive. And if carrying weapons in a non-sensitive area is protected by the Second Amendment, can there be restrictions on concealed carrying? These are all questions that will have to be worked out in the future, if not by legislation, then by extensive litigation.

The Supreme Court took a further important step in securing Second Amendment rights in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), ruling that these rights as articulated in Hellerwere fundamental rights, and thus binding on the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We have to remember, however, that both of these cases were decided by narrow, 5-4 majorities, and that new appointments of more progressive-minded justices to the Court could easily bring about a reversal.

For the moment, Second Amendment rights seem safe, but in the long term a political defense will be a more effective strategy. As Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “Whoever moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” Shaping and informing public sentiments—public opinion—is political work, and thus it is to politics that we must ultimately resort.
* * *
In the current climate of public opinion, Congress will have little appetite for passing an assault gun ban. More likely, it will be satisfied with passing legislation aimed at gun trafficking and tightening background checks. We must remember, however, President Obama’s pledge: “If Congress won’t act then I will.” He has already issued 23 gun-related executive orders, and some of them are rather curious. One of them notes that there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that prevents doctors from asking patients about guns in the home; another directs “the Centers for Disease Control to research the cause and prevention of gun violence.”

The President’s power to act through executive orders is as extensive as it is ill-defined. Congress routinely delegates power to executive branch agencies, and the courts accord great deference to agency rule-making powers, often interpreting ambiguous legislative language or even legislative silence as a delegation of power to the executive. Such delegation provokes fundamental questions concerning the separation of powers and the rule of law. Many have argued that it is the price we have to pay for the modern administrative state—that the separation of powers and the rule of law have been rendered superfluous by the development of this state. Some of the boldest proponents of this view confidently insist that the triumph of the administrative state has propelled us into a post-constitutional era where the Constitution no longer matters.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 gives the President the discretion to ban guns he deems not suitable for sporting purposes. Would the President be bold enough or reckless enough to issue an executive order banning the domestic manufacture and sale of assault rifles? Might he argue that these weapons have no possible civilian use and should be restricted to the military, and that his power as commander-in-chief authorizes him so to act? Or perhaps sometime in the near future he will receive a report from the Centers for Disease Control that gun violence has become a national health epidemic, with a recommendation that he declare a national health emergency and order the confiscation of all assault weapons. Congress could pass legislation to defeat such an executive order; but could a divided Congress muster the votes?—and in any case, the President could resort to his veto power. Individuals would have resort to the courts; but as of yet, we have had no ruling that assault weapons are not one of the exceptions that can be banned or regulated under Heller. We could make the case that assault rifles are useful for self-defense and home defense; but could we make the case that they are essential? Would the courts hold that the government had to demonstrate a compelling interest for a ban on assault rifles, as it almost certainly would have to do if handguns were at issue?

Are these simply wild speculations? Perhaps—probably! But they are part of the duty we have as citizens to engage in a frequent recurrence to first principles.

Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

The above article is from the March 2013 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage). 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Congo: Church Bombing by Muslim Rebels Kills 17, Injures Dozens More

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). Please check out their website at for more on the persecution and genocide of Christians around the world.

Church Bombing Kills 17 in the Congo

1/17/2023 Democratic Republic of Congo (International Christian Concern)Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels detonated a homemade IED, killing at least 17 and injuring dozens more at a church in Kasindi, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Sunday morning. Hundreds of Christians were gathered for prayer and baptism when the blast went off at 11 a.m.

One of the first responders, a pastor of a nearby church, reported the attack to International Christian Concern (ICC).   

“The church next door has been attacked,” he said. “We heard a loud blast while in the middle of our service and dashed out to see what was going on. The area was chaotic since the believers were screaming, and smoke filled the whole place. We stopped what we were doing and came here to help. We knew it was an attack, so we carefully approached the scene.”  

He continued, “Limbs and other body parts are scattered everywhere as more dead bodies are being retrieved from the rubble. Many people have been injured, and they are being evacuated. We are not able to ascertain how this attack happened or how many Christians have been killed, but I can confirm that this is a gruesome terrorist attack.” 

A survivor spoke to ICC, saying, “The attack was the last thing we ever thought would happen in our church today.” 

Volunteers informed us that dozens of injured survivors were admitted to different hospitals in Kasindi.  

“The scene of the incident has been cordoned off to allow experts to save more lives and calm the survivors, but we are moving between hospitals to help where we can. So far, 15 people have been confirmed dead, and several are in critical condition. Others do not have legs and hands. We aren’t sure if they will survive,” said the local pastor. 

Over the years, Kasindi, a town near the Uganda border in the Eastern region of Nord Kivu, has never been hit by insecurity posed by the Congolese Islamic rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), due to the highest presence of security officers.  

The Community of Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (CEPAC) was gathering for the New Year’s prayer meeting and baptism of 60 new converts. 

“We are in deep shock and confusion,” said one survivor. “We were on our third and last day of the New Year’s prayers and service to witness the baptism of sixty new Christians from our different branches. The church was filled to capacity, and others were seated outside. I survived because I was sitting on the other side of the congregation, right opposite the side where the bomb exploded. It threw the people up and sideways and killed about ten people on the spot.”  

The Anglican archdeacon and the leader of the pastor’s fellowship in Kasindi, Reverend Kasereka, consoled with the victims and families that lost dear ones, urging Christians in Kasindi to remain calm and vigilant as the government fights the terror meted by the rebels that hate God and Christianity.  

He said, “This has happened when we least expected it, but it is a reminder that the enemy lives within us and we need to remain in prayer and hold unwaveringly to the hope we have in Christ.” 

Ad: The Scriptures - This new English translation includes Genesis through Revelation, and restores the Name of our Creator to the text in each place it occurs. This new version in English is a literal translation by Institute for Scripture Research, overseen by Dr. Chris Koster. New in this 2009 edition: Improvements to the text - seeking a yet closer equivalent to the literal meaning of the original language. Quotations / Allusions from the Old Testament are in bold type in the New Testament, and are accompanied by the text references - aiding your understanding of the original contexts, and how they influence the writers drawing upon them.


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Thursday, January 12, 2023

Dr. Robert W. Malone On The Need To Build Alternative Systems

By Tim Gamble

"We have to build alternate systems.  I don't think we can stop them, but we can chose not buy their food, take their drugs or mRNA vaccines. We can chose to not use their "health care providers."  We can be our own - independent people outside of their hellscape." -- Dr. Robert W. Malone, MD, in a tweet made on Jan. 11, 2023

In a discussion on Twitter regarding mRNA vaccines in livestock and companion animals (yes, they are real and happening), Dr. Robert Malone made a brilliant suggestion. "We have to build alternative systems" (full quote above).  

YES! I could not agree more with Dr. Malone. Because, frankly, I have been saying that for at least the last eight years. In fact, I have gone far beyond Dr. Malone's advice to build alternative agricultural and healthcare systems. I have been saying we need to get out of the worldly system altogether. Not just get out of the world's food and healthcare systems, but out of its education, entertainment, financial, and every other worldly system. This includes the modern worldly Church. 

This starts with developing self-reliance through preparedness, as I pointed out in a recent article on my Dystopian Survival website: Preparedness - More Important Than You Think. Basically, the more prepared and self-reliant we are as individuals, families, and communities, the less we need government and the world's Elites. This is the start of removing their power and control.

I've written many other articles on building alternatives to worldly ways and systems. Here are just a few:
These articles are relatively long and detailed, with lots of ideas and food for thought. Please read them as you have time, if you haven't already. If you think they are worthy, please pass them on to others by posting links on social media, or emailing the links to people you know. Dr. Malone's idea of alternative systems is our only real hope in fighting the global elites. I'm glad I thought of it first. 😎 


AD:  Benjamín Franklin Quote T-Shirt - "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Available in men's, women's, and youth sizes, and in multiple colors. 


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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Economic Disaster of the Pandemic Response

Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

This article is from the October 2022 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage). 

The Economic Disaster of the Pandemic Response

Jeffrey A. Tucker 
Brownstone Institute

The following is adapted from a talk delivered at Hillsdale College on October 20, 2022, sponsored by the student group Praxis.

On April 15, 2020—a full month after President Trump’s fateful news conference that greenlighted lockdowns to be enacted by the states for “15 Days to Flatten the Curve”—the President had a revealing White House conversation with Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

“I’m not going to preside over the funeral of the greatest country in the world,” Trump wisely said, as reported in Jared Kushner’s book Breaking History. The promised Easter reopening of the economy had not happened, and Trump was angry. He also suspected that he had been misled and was no longer speaking to coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx. 

“I understand,” Fauci responded meekly. “I just do medical advice. I don’t think about things like the economy and the secondary impacts. I’m just an infectious diseases doctor. Your job as president is to take everything else into consideration.”

That conversation reflected the tone of the debate, then and later, over the lockdowns and vaccine mandates. The economy—viewed as mechanistic, money-centered, mostly about the stock market, and detached from anything truly important—was pitted against public health and the preservation of life. The assumption seemed to be that you had to choose one or the other—that you could not have both.

It also seemed to be widely believed in 2020 that the best approach to pandemics was to institute massive human coercion—a belief based on the novel theory that if you make humans behave like non-player characters in computer models, you can keep them from infecting one another until a vaccine arrives to wipe out the pathogen. 

The lockdown approach in 2020 stood in stark contrast to a century of public health experience in dealing with pandemics. During the great influenza crisis of 1918, only a few cities tried coercion and quarantine—mostly San Francisco, also the home at the time of the first Anti-Mask League—whereas most locations took a person-by-person therapeutic approach. Given the failure of quarantines in 1918, they were not employed again during the disease scares—some real, some exaggerated—of 1929, 1940-44, 1957-58, 1967-68, 2003, 2005, and 2009. In all of those years, even the national media acted responsibly in urging calm. 

But not in 2020, when policymakers—whether due to intellectual error, political calculations, or some combination of the two—launched an experiment without precedent. The sick and well alike were quarantined through the use of stay-at-home orders, domestic capacity limits, and business, school, and church shutdowns. This occurred not only in the U.S., but worldwide—with the notable exception of perhaps five nations and the state of South Dakota. 

Needless to say, the consequences were profound. Coercion can be used to turn off an economy. But given the resulting trauma, turning an economy back on is not so easy. That is why, 30 months later, we are experiencing the longest period of declining real income since the end of World War II, a health crisis, an education crisis, an exploding national debt, 40-year high inflation, continued and seemingly random shortages, dysfunction in labor markets, a breakdown of international trade, a dramatic collapse in consumer confidence, and a dangerous level of political division. 

Meanwhile, what happened to COVID? It came anyway, just as the best epidemiologists predicted it would. It had a highly stratified impact, consistent with the information we had from the very early days: the at-risk population was largely the elderly and infirm. To be sure, almost everyone eventually came down with COVID with varying degrees of severity: some people shook it off in a couple of days, others suffered for weeks, and many died—although, even now, there is grave uncertainty about the true number of COVID deaths, due both to faulty PCR testing and to financial incentives given to hospitals to attribute non-COVID deaths to COVID. 


Even if the lockdowns had saved lives over the long term—and the literature on this overwhelmingly suggests they did not—it would be proper to ask the question: at what cost? What are the tradeoffs? 

Because economic considerations were shelved for the emergency, policymakers failed to consider tradeoffs. Thus did the White House on March 16, 2020, send out the most dreaded imaginable directive from an economic point of view: “bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.” And the results were legion. 

For one thing, the lockdowns kicked off an epic bout of government spending. COVID-response spending amounted to at least $6 trillion above normal operations, running the national debt up to 121 percent of GDP. For comparison, our national debt in 1981 amounted to 35 percent of GDP—and Ronald Reagan correctly declared that a crisis.

The Federal Reserve purchased this new debt with newly created money nearly dollar for dollar. From February to May 2020, the total money supply (what economists call M2) increased by an average of $814.3 billion per month. The peak came early the following year: on February 22, 2021, the annual rate of increase of M2 reached a staggering 27.5 percent. 

At the same time, as one would expect in a crisis of this sort, spending plummeted. Since a severe decrease in spending puts deflationary pressure on prices regardless of what happens with the money supply, the bad effects of printing all this new money were pushed off into the future. 

That future is now. The explosion in M2 has resulted in the highest inflation in 40 years. And this inflation is accelerating, at least according to the October 12, 2022, Producer Price Index, which is more volatile than it has been in months and is running ahead of the Consumer Price Index—a reversal from earlier in the lockdown period. This new pressure on producers has heavily impacted the business environment and created recessionary conditions. 

Moreover, this has not just been a U.S. problem. Most nations in the world followed the same lockdown strategy while attempting to substitute government spending and printing money for real economic activity. The Federal Reserve is being called on daily to step up its lending to foreign central banks through the discount window for emergency loans. It is now at the highest level since spring 2020. The Fed lent $6.5 billion to two foreign central banks in just one week this October. The numbers are scary and foreshadow a possible international financial crisis. 

The Great Head Fake 

Back in the spring and summer of 2020, we seemed to be experiencing a miracle. State governments around the country had crushed social activity and free enterprise, and yet real income was soaring. Between February 2020 and March 2021, a time of low inflation, real personal income was up by $4.2 trillion. It felt like magic. But it was actually the result of government stimulus checks.

Initially, people used their new-found riches to pay off credit card debt and boost savings. In the month after the first stimulus, the personal savings rate went from 9.6 to 33 percent. Also, since people were being coerced into living an all-digital existence, there was lots of spare time and a need for new equipment. So companies like Netflix and Amazon benefited enormously.

After the summer of 2020, people started to get the hang of having “free money” dropped into their bank accounts. So by November, the savings rate had dropped back down to 13.3 percent. When the Biden administration unleashed another round of stimulus in 2021, the savings rate at first nearly doubled. But fast forward to the present and people are saving only 3.5 percent—half the historical norm dating back to 1960—and credit card debt is soaring, even though interest rates are 17 percent and higher. 

In other words, all the curves inverted once inflation came along to eat out the value of the stimulus. In reality, all that “free money” turned out to be very expensive. The dollar of January 2020 is now worth only $0.87, which is to say that the stimulus spending covered by the Federal Reserve printing money stole $0.13 of every American dollar in the course of only 2.5 years. 

This was one of the biggest head fakes in the history of modern economics. The pandemic planners created paper prosperity to cover up the grim reality they had brought about. But paper prosperity is false prosperity. It could not and did not last. Between January 2021 and September 2022, prices increased 13.5 percent across the board, costing the average American family $728 in September alone. 

Even if inflation were to stop today, the inflation already in the bag will cost the average American family $8,739 over the next twelve months. 

Lingering Carnage

While Big Tech moguls and urban information workers thrived during the pandemic lockdowns, Main Street suffered. The look of most of America in those days was post-apocalyptic, with vast numbers of people huddled at home either alone or with immediate families, fully convinced that a universally deadly virus was lurking outdoors. Meanwhile, the CDC was recommending that “essential businesses” install countless Plexiglass barriers and place social distancing stickers everywhere people would walk.

This sounds ridiculous now, but for many it wasn’t then. I recall being yelled at for walking only a few feet into a grocery aisle that had been designated by stickers to be one-way in the other direction. There were reports of people using drones to identify and report neighbors who were holding prohibited parties, weddings, or funerals. Parents masked up their kids even though kids were at near-zero risk, and nearly all schools were closed. A friend of mine arrived home from a visit out of town and his mother demanded that he leave his “COVID-infested” bags on the porch for three days. 

Those were the days when people believed the virus was outdoors and we should stay in. Oddly, this changed over time to where people believed that the virus was indoors and we should go out. It eventually became clear that we had moved from government-mandated mania to a popular delusion for the ages. 

The resulting damage to small business has yet to be thoroughly documented. At least 100,000 restaurants and stores closed in Manhattan alone. Commercial real estate prices crashed, and big business moved in to scoop up bargains. Hotels, bars, restaurants, malls, theaters, and anyone without home delivery suffered terribly. The arts were devastated. During the deadly Hong Kong flu of 1968-69, we had Woodstock. This time around we had to settle for YouTube. 

It may seem odd, but the health care industry suffered as well. The CDC strongly urged the closing of hospitals to anyone not facing a non-elective surgery or suffering with COVID. This turned out to exclude nearly everyone who would routinely show up for diagnostics or other normal treatments. As a result, health care sector employment fell 1.6 million in early 2020. Even stranger is the fact that total health care spending fell off a cliff. From March to May 2020, health care spending collapsed by $500 billion or 16.5 percent. This created an enormous financial problem for hospitals in general.

This is not to mention dentistry. I know from personal experience that in Massachusetts, you couldn’t get a much-needed root canal. Why? Because a root canal required a preliminary cleaning and examination, and those were prohibited as “nonessential.” I looked into traveling to Texas for a root canal, but the dentists there were required by law to force out-of-state patients to quarantine in the state for two weeks. 

This virtual abolition of dentistry for a time was in keeping with the injunction of a headline in The New York Times on February 28, 2020: “To Take on the Coronavirus, Go Medieval on It.” What better way to describe the institution of a feudal system of dividing work and workers across the nation in terms of “essential” and “nonessential”? 

The New York Times wasn’t affected by the lockdowns, of course, because media centers were deemed essential. Thus for two years, it was able to keep its presses running and instruct its Manhattan readers to stay home and have their groceries delivered. Delivered by whom, The New York Times neither said nor cared. It was apparently unimportant if the working classes were exposed to COVID in service to the elites. And then afterwards, when the working classes had natural immunity that was superior to the immunity offered by the so-called COVID vaccines, they were subjected to vaccine mandates. 

Millions across the nation eventually quit or were fired due to those vaccine mandates. Highly qualified members of the U.S. military are still being discharged for noncompliance. 

We are told that unemployment today is very low and that many new jobs are being filled, but most of those are existing workers getting second and third jobs. Because families are struggling to pay the bills, moonlighting and side-gigging are now a way of life. The full truth about labor markets requires that we look at the labor-participation and worker-population rates, both of which are low. Millions have gone missing. Most are working women who still cannot find child care because that industry has yet to recover from the lockdowns. Labor participation among women is back at 1988 levels. There are also large numbers of 20-somethings who moved home and went on unemployment benefits. Many more have simply lost the will to achieve and build a future. 

The supply chain breakages we are seeing today are also a lingering result of the stoppage of economic activity in early 2020. By the time the lockdown regime was relaxed and manufacturers started reordering parts, they found that many factories overseas had already retooled for other kinds of demand. This particularly affected the semiconductor industry for automotive manufacturing. Overseas chip makers had turned their attention to personal computers, cellphones, and other devices. This was the beginning of the car shortage that sent prices through the roof. It also created a political demand for U.S.-based chip production, which has in turn resulted in another round of export and import controls. 

These sorts of problems have affected every industry without exception. Why, for example, do we have a paper shortage? Because so many of the paper factories shifted to plywood and cardboard after prices sky-rocketed in response to the housing and mail delivery demand created by the lockdowns and stimulus checks. 


We could write books listing all the economic calamities directly caused by the disastrous pandemic response. We will be suffering the results for years. Yet even today, too few people grasp the relationship between our current economic hardships—extending even to growing international tensions and the breakdown of trade and travel—and the brutality of the pandemic response.

Anthony Fauci said at the outset: “I don’t think about things like the economy and the secondary impacts.” Melinda Gates admitted in a December 4, 2020, interview with The New York Times: “What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts.”

There is no wall of separation between economics and public health. A healthy economy is indispensable for healthy people. Shutting down economic life was a singularly bad idea for taking on a pandemic. 

Economics is about people making choices and institutions enabling them to thrive. Public health is about the same thing. Driving a wedge between the two, as happened in 2020, ranks among the most catastrophic public policy decisions of our lifetimes. 

Health and economics both require the nonnegotiable called freedom. May we never again experiment with the near abolition of freedom in the cause of mitigating disease. 

Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

The above article is from the October 2022 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage). 
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