Some Days You Just Have To Cry

If you’re anything like me, there are news items that just blow your mind; you think, ‘How could this be?’

I’ve had a few of these days recently. Many of you can relate, I’m sure.

Do you, like me, shake your head in disbelief when you mention the abhorrent practice of abortion to a group of Christians online, perhaps on your Facebook page, and are confronted with almost deafening silence?

It’s very discouraging, to say the least.

After all, if Christians don’t stand up for the unborn, who will?

The Canberra Declaration proudly supports all pro-life organisations, including Cherish Life and the Walk For Life. In the video below, you can hear from Senators Matt Canavan, Ralph Babet, and past member of parliament George Christensen. George was instrumental in proposing the ‘Babies Born Alive’ bill. They are men of compassion and love.

Questions

Next time you see a politician on TV, ask yourself this question: will this person protect the unborn baby, the victims of paedophilia, or the right to refuse a medical concoction you don’t want? Will they call out the madness of LGBTQ+ agendas, or the support of racial discrimination under the guise of ‘inclusivity’?

Will they stand against grooming our children to think that the colour of our skin is the defining factor of our character? Or do they support genital mutilation of children due to the influence of the evil agendas of gender change activists?

Upping the Ante

Just when you think you might have seen or heard it all… wait! There’s more!

This afternoon, hubby and I watched an episode of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News. What we saw just broke our hearts and spurred the need to write this article.

According to the news site Townhall, there’s a story that’s pretty much been glossed over, if not suppressed by the mainstream media. It’s a story that a mere five years ago would have had the country exploding in righteous outrage and disbelief; instead, it’s a by-line in tomorrow’s fish-and-chip paper.

The headline reads: “TAPES: We investigate a Suburban Paedophile Ring. Here’s What We Found“. This is a four-part series that contains a ‘Content Warning’. This article contains graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse. Reader discretion is advised. Let me reinforce this warning now.

Here’s the outline of Part One, and a quick summary of each part of the investigation will follow. Kudos to brave and intrepid reporter Mia Cathell:

A months-long Townhall investigation reveals disturbing new details about the affluent LGBTQ activist couple accused of sodomizing their young adopted sons-now ages 9 and 11-and distributing ” homemade” child pornography of the sexual abuse.

Half a year after the shocking story made national news, Townhall is the only outlet following up on the criminal case in Georgia that has seen zero headlines written about it. We’ve found that is far, far worse than what was first reported.

Not only did the married men allegedly rape the two boys who were adopted through a Christian ‘special needs’ adoption agency, but they were pimping out their children to nearby paedophiles in Atlanta suburbs, Townhall’s follow-up investigation discovered.

Recorded jailhouse calls reveal a trove of never-before-seen court documents, and testimony from a family member who spoke exclusively with Townhall uncovered the extent of the physical and emotional trauma that two elementary school-aged brothers endured, as well as the red flags that the state overlooked during the same-sex couple’s “faster than expected” adoption process.

As reported in August, the suspects were darlings of the LGBTQ media. They were part of an anti-gay hate campaign promoting “NOH8”, and Out magazine, which holds the nation’s highest circulation among LGBTQ monthly publications, repeatedly asked them if its website’s Pride page could feature their photos taken at the Atlanta pride parade.

Charges

The adoptive fathers, 33-year-old government worker William Dale Zulock Jr. and 35-year-old banker Zachary Jacoby Zulock (who was previously accused of raping a child) from Oxford, Georgia, have been indicted by a grand jury on charges of incest, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, felony sexual exploitation of children, and felony prostitution of a minor.

William and Zachary are each facing over nine life sentences. They’ve pleaded not guilty.

“Records indicate that the child sexual abuse stretches back to as early as late 2019 and intensified in January 21 March 21 and December 21 as the offence dates are listed.

… an updated criminal affidavit says the child sexual abuse was filmed by William’s husband Zachary, with whom he “routinely engaged in sexually abusive acts” on the boy. Zachary, the household breadwinner, confessed to being the cameraman, and authorities allegedly found folder in his cell phone labeled “us”-that contain videos of William sexually abusing the child.

The indictment also charges Zulock co-defendants with soliciting two other men, through the use of popular social media platforms, in the greater Atlanta metropolitan region to “perform an act of prostitution” with their child, who suffered physical injuries from being brutally raped. Townhall is the first to publicly identify these two alleged members of a paedophile ring in the heart of the Peach state. 27-year-old Hunter Clay Lawless and 25-year-old Louis Armando Vicaro-Sanchez, both of Loganville.

The accusations are horrendous, heartbreaking and sadly more common than we could ever imagine.

Zachary, who lists his Snapchat name in his Instagram bio, where the self-described activist brags about being “Papa to our two wonderful boys”, admitted to sending such material “to less than a dozen people”.

There are other potential co-defendants under investigation that are “out there circulating videos of the Zulock boys”.

According to District Attorney Randy McGinley, “They just viewed underage boys as sex objects.”

More than Meets the Eye

Since their arrest, the married men’s assets have been seized, their vehicles have been forfeited, and their home is now the property of the state, with a lien filed against it. In jailhouse recordings in May, they are heard complaining about the raid that took place upon their home, and “how unfair it is that their assets were seized.” William said, describing the custom-built home he designed:

“I think they took our house because they think there was extra money coming in from somewhere, and we are, like, in our 30s and have this big, giant house. And they didn’t think we could afford it.”

The couple’s dream home sits on a two-acre secluded cul-de-sac in a private prestigious upscale neighbourhood, where pre-existing houses are selling for as much as US $900,000. Construction of the mansion from the ground up took only half a year in 2020. They said:

“The kids loved the forest behind us and the playroom for all their toys.”

Before, the Zulocks lived out of a small house in Snellville, which neighbours Loganville, at the time the boys were adopted. The couple’s lavish lifestyle began to materialise about a year after the Zulock men obtained the boys, the family insider told Townhall.

In addition to the mansion, the Zulocks considered purchasing the adjacent property, Zachary told friends, and they were looking to buy a condominium over the next few years somewhere in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach along the southern tip of Alabama’s white sand coastline.

It appears the funds for this massive mansion nestled within a suburban paradise were probably funded by wealthy outside influence. It was a house of horrors, with surveillance cameras installed on every square foot of the property. There was a secret windowless room the size of a closet without any doors, hidden behind a movable bookcase in the home office that the cops left open, which felt like something out of a horror movie, a relative said. Another creepy interior room devoid of windows was purportedly used as a “home theatre”. LGBTQ Pride paraphernalia littered the family’s extravagantly furnished four-bedroom, five-bathroom house, plus a packed three-car garage. A neon sign, “love is love”, adorned the kitchen’s granite countertop.

Doormats proclaimed: ‘Gayest place in town” and ‘it’s basically a zoo in here’.

“Our business is our business. What happens in our home, stays in our home,” the gay couple allegedly told their abused sons.

Beyond the sexual abuse, as punishment during after-school hours, the Zulock boys were forced to stand in a corner for eight hours straight over back-to-back days, only being allowed to move either to eat or to use the bathroom. William was also witnessed slapping their younger son hard in the face. “They were just abused every possible way,” the relative told Townhall. “The boys were just another commodity to them.”

The family is questioning, in hindsight, how a low-level civil servant and a small-town bank teller could indulge in such niceties openly on display in their home. After an application was submitted for representation by the public defender, a letter addressed to William shows that the county’s indigent defence program found them to be ineligible, citing equity ownership and his spouse’s whopping $7500-a-week income. A similar denial memo was also sent to Zachary, who handles their money, pointing to his supposed well-to-do weekly earnings.

Part 2: Just How Big Was the Operation Led by the LGBTQ Couple Who Abused Their Adopted Sons?

Covering the crimes of the co-defendants Lawless and Vicario- Sanchez could be the tip of the iceberg. People are still under investigation and out there distributing videos.

Could the Zulock couple face federal charges? How far-reaching is the paedophile ring, and will other members be unmasked?

“We decline to comment,” a public affairs officer in the US attorney’s office replied when Townhall inquired if the US Justice Department had any interest in investigating and prosecuting a federal case against these co-defendants.

Last year Georgia’s DOJ office pursued a handful of child sex crimes-related cases in this jurisdiction. Now as Townhall previously reported, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice is preoccupied with targeting peaceful pro-life leaders and rounding up elderly Christian preachers who stand up for innocent unborn life. One father, who protested outside an abortion clinic in Georgia’s northwest neighbourhood of Tennessee, was arrested at home by a swarm of armed FBI agents in front of his children.

Townhall goes on to explain the intricacies of the American judicial system, where child pornography is illegal contraband under federal laws of child exploitation and the obscenity section. Child sex trafficking is prohibited by 18 USC 1591. They talk of the Rico Act, which is basically racketeering.

For the Zulocks, living outside of their visible means was certainly a matter of boasting on social media, where their pages were full of gay pride family trips. They enjoyed lengthy AirBnB stays in Chicago, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Gulf Shore’s Alabama, listed as a go-to vacation spot for gay tourists.

In May 2018, they attended a Gulf Shores pizza place, where Zachary had drawn a rainbow circle around a portion of the children’s menu for kids aged 12 and under that jokingly quipped, “Children unattended will be sold as slaves!”

Other destinations over the years included New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN. The nationwide road trip also took the Zulocks to the national capital in September 2019, in addition to a White House tour where the family took a selfie in front of the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington DC.

Part 3: How Did An Accused Child Rapist Adopt Two Children?

This instalment exposes everything they learned about the faith-based special needs adoption agency that the same-sex couple used to adopt the two boys; the role that Georgia’s child-welfare system played in placing the children in an abusive home, and the lack of accountability across the board.

Red Flags

Seven years prior to the adoption, Zachary was accused of being a child rapist, but never charged. The 2011 probe into paedophilic behaviour covered the accusation of luring a 14-year-old boy to a residence and having sexual intercourse. The probe was closed without a full investigation. Townhall was denied a copy of the incident report.

The boys could have been rescued as early as June 2020.

Zachary affectionately calls his husband, “My #partnerincrime for life.”

How was this previously accused child rapist allowed to adopt two children with his new husband? Apparently with ease!

In 2018, the Zulock co-defendants adopted the two brothers through All God’s Children, Inc., a now-defunct private special needs agency. They specialised in matching more difficult-to-place children. As well as undergoing police background checks, the men were required to attend mandatory pre-adoption classes called “Parents as Tender Healers”. A case worker completed the assessment, and the children were in the hands of these monsters 8-12 weeks later.

The usual jargon of how the process was managed came forth from Georgia’s DFCS.

“Everything seemed fine, I actually thought DFCS would scrutinize them more, being a same-sex couple, but it seems they passed with flying colours. The process moved faster than expected,” a family source told the reporter.

The agency closed in October 2022, and not a moment too soon; the couple were considering applying to adopt a daughter! Zachary asked the executive director for further references to other agencies. Ms Bailey cited two agencies ‘open to same-sex families.’

Fast forward to last summer, the county’s DFCS office was notified about the need for emergency protective placement for the two children and joined Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program advocates, who provided forensic medical attention to the abused boys during the midnight July rescue operation at the family’s mansion.

The narcissistic nature of the paedophiles continues unabated, when William complained: “They made us sign over our parental rights, I really don’t want them back in foster care; they really don’t deserve that.” He criticised the former foster parents, saying, “They were only in it for the money.”

Part 4: What it’s Like In Jail For Two Accused Child Rapists

Frankly, who cares?

Evil rises all around us; the destruction of the family unit is a top priority for the communist/Marxist system that the world seems to heartily embrace.

I have included some links for your perusal.  It’s becoming patently obvious that some VERY powerful people are behind promoting paedophilia as a ‘new normal’ as society evolves. Scotland Police are calling the perpetrators Minor Attracted People (MAP). These are the folks we used to call upon to protect our kids! What the heck is going on?

Thank God that some journalists still have a backbone and righteous anger! Here’s Sky NewsRowan Dean’s take on it.

Perhaps you might think, oh well, there are always some bad apples. True. However, it becomes apparent with some research that the foster care system is broken in the USA, and the rot doesn’t stop there.

German authorities reported on an ‘experiment’ that placed foster care children with paedophiles! Are you kidding me? When you read the article, you soon realise that the man at the centre of this diabolical practice was himself a paedophile. Cosy.

Sin as Old as Time

When we search ‘sexual immorality’ in the Bible, 69 verses come up with the phrase. People perpetrating these acts and seeking to ‘normalise’ them are the same ones pushing abortion, LGBTQI+ and the genital mutilation of our children.

Make no mistake — this enemy, this anti-Christ, anti-human agenda is from the pit of hell.

Let’s recognise it for what it is and treat it as such. Anything less is unbecoming a follower of Jesus Christ. After all, He told us plainly how He loved and cared for the children brought to Him (Mark 10:13-16).

___

Photo: The Trumpet

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Bakhmut has been encircled trapping nearly 25,000 Ukros and supplies cut off

Bakhmut has been encircled trapping nearly 25,000 Ukros and supplies cut off
By Cossack Colonel YURI KOMONYISKI

It would appear that Zelensky has lost favour with the west and is on the way out. His government is falling to pieces, numerous high-profile resignations are now frequent. It all started with the death of his internal affairs minister when the chopper carrying him with 9 others (presumed NATO) was shot down presumably by his own. The EU looks to be scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ammunitions, all of the old stores have been bled dry. Apparently, the EU/Germany will not be handing over planes at this time. The German chancellor was recently reminded that during WWII (1941) German tanks never reached Moscow but the Russian tanks did end up Berlin, will history repeat?

An old foretelling seems to be on track, following easter and about the 5th of May 2024 there will be a great hunger based on the foretelling the war will stop in 2024, perhaps following this war the China / US war will start!! In the meantime, Kim Jong-un officially stated that “North Korea will always stand together on the same battle field as Russia”.  Nearly 80% of the ex-convicts that joined Wagner’s to fight for their freedom and survived, have returned to their brothers to continue fighting this is the essence of the Russian fighting spirit. 

Two weeks ago, the Poles were eager to carve up the Ukraine keenly intent on reclaiming primarily the Ivano-Franko, Lvov regions that border Poland and western Ukraine. However, Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia has indicated this will not be permitted and that the RF may yet retrieve the historical lands absorbed by Poland. The US may exchange western Ukraine with Poland if Poland pays off Kiev’s debt which has amassed $150 billion (and counting).

The Ukrainians rate of surrender in Bakhmut has increased 8-fold. It is clear that the Ukros are experiencing a severe deficit of Ukro fighters Perhaps that’s why Zelensky has dictated that every male between the ages of 20 thru 55 years of age is to be conscripted, regardless of family status, profession, physical or mental health, or any other consideration. Lists are to be prepared by every employer, organization, or institution (the document concerns the Kiev region specifically).

The numbers surrendering are becoming staggering, Kadyrov has organised a psy-op where they are reconditioning the surrendering men to fight against the Ukro-NATO militants, to date 6000 Ukros have reoriented their support against NATO’s Zelensky. These men receive the same pay, treatment, equipment as the RF soldiers do. Zelensky’s conscription crews continue to kidnap people off the streets, grocery shops, medical centres etc. this only adds to the Ukros low moral on the frontline. Hence many men stay hidden indoors and the granny does the shopping on their behalf.

Bakhmut encircled

Unofficial news from the front line is that Bakhmut has been encircled. Approximately 25000 Ukros are now trapped and supplies to them cut off. Right about now they’ll be wishing they had stayed at home. The RF soldiers are finding decapitated and handless bodies of fallen soldiers, the RF believes such men are NATO soldiers and that this is how the Ukros hide the evidence. The RF had gathered many of the corpses littering the streets of Soledar. It was actually 22 trucks worth of corpses. The RF offered them up to the Ukros as a ‘gesture of good will’ providing guaranteed safe passage for the Ukros to come and collect them. Many of these corpses have been feeding the local dogs and in some instances pigs. (Cairns News has seen photos of these gruesome events.) The Ukrainian Armed Forces losses, according to data provided to the Pentagon by AFU Chief of Staff Zaluzhny, amount to 232,000 dead. According to “Stratfor Forecasting”, Ukraine’s losses have exceeded 305,000 dead.

The US has indicated that the Abrams will be delivered to the Ukraine in August. That’s interesting considering the Ukros need to be taught how to use them unless of course they intend to place NATO personnel behind the driver’s seat. We are all wondering where these guzzlers intend to find the kerosene needed to run them. They are also designed to fire Uranium depleted shell, not so good for the country. This has the Poles concerned and rightly so.

Ukraine has no defence against 9K720 Iskander (SS-26) missiles

The German and UK Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 tanks, weigh 65–70 tons each, and are not well suited for use on narrow roads or in cities. They will require significantly more fuel and maintenance, as well as new types of 120-mm ammunition, currently not in Ukraine.

Moscow will regard Ukraine’s use of uranium-tipped projectiles for Leopard 2 tanks as the use of “dirty” nuclear bombs. We know that the Leopard 2 tank, as well as the Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, are armed with uranium-core armour-piercing projectiles, the use of which leads to contamination, NATO’s gift to Yugoslavia and Iraq. If NATO supplies such shells to Kiev, we will consider this as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia, with all the ensuing consequences.

One of our retired generals recently commented that all transport routes used by the enemy are identified and that the RF is ready to destroy them all ie., critical roads, rail, bridges, tunnels etc. Senior RF officials have indicated to the Poles that the RF if pushed will use tactical weapons. Such weapons can have an impact zone of a radius of 50 klm.

Some Swedish zealots have been publicly burning the Koran in their demonstrations. This is a major sin in the eyes of the Muslin world. In response the Turks will not ratify Sweden’s NATO application, the Turks may even exit NATO this would be detrimental to NATO whom will lose access to the Black Sea. Something the west is still to learn about the Turks they have a very long memory.

Moldovia recently sent an emissary to Russia to plead for Russian gas. They were kindly told to revert to NATO whom is obligated to supply you with everything you could want. The citizens of Moldavia want Sandu’s head on a spike. She now has UK special forces functioning as her personal body guards and dirty operations specialists. About 5 days ago they roughed up some locals, in response the locals later caught three of these mercs killed them and staked them on to a fence. Of course, no mention by the Main Stream Media (MSM).

The RF has strengthened the forces in Transnistria, currently the Ukrainians will not be able to manage 2 fronts unless NATO enters the fray. The Moldavians are strictly against the Romanians entering their country. Should they enter, many Romanians will die the locals remember the Romanian Marauder squads of days past. The Romanian Marauder squads served the Nazis by exterminating Slavs. Stalin gave the command not to take any of these marauders’ captive to this day the Moldavian soils are well fertilised with Romanian marauders.

The government of the Trans-Baikal Region of Russia will use the regional budget to finance and reward serviceman for the capture or elimination of the new NATO tanks during the SMO, the cap is set at USD 43,000 for an operating Leopard tank. The RF expects that at these prices the Ukrainians will personally deliver the tanks together with its NATO operator, the offer is open to Ukrainians. 17,200 Ukrainian troops are now deployed on the border with the Republic of Belarus. France and the republic of Australia agreed on joint production of shells for use in the Ukraine.

According to the west arms supplies to Ukraine do not make Paris, Germany or NATO a party to the conflict, really!! They arm the Nazis to the teeth, including heavy equipment and tanks, finance them, train them, provide intelligence, deliver ammunition, help with the repair of equipment and treat their wounded, their military advisers and mercs are fighting amongst the Nazis BUT they are not a party to the conflict, really!

With respect to SRBMs (short-range ballistic missiles) and the reason why Ukraine has no defence against them. In addition to the different trajectory (a ballistic, ie. a parabolic trajectory), whereby the missiles do not fly parallel to the surface, like cruise missiles, but come down in a steep downwards curve. The key factor is the tremendous (in comparison to most common cruise missiles) terminal velocity of SRBMs, which is the velocity on the final approach to the target. Gravity works in a ballistic missile’s favour, and it is what makes it such a potent weapon.

The terminal velocity of an SRBM like 9K720 Iskander, for instance is 2100–2600 m/s (Mach 6–7), making it hypersonic on approach to the target, whereas most common cruise missiles, like the Kalibr, are pre-sonic. Cruise missiles avoid air defences and radar detection by flying low, manoeuvring, and hugging the terrain. SRBMs have no need for this. An ICBM is even faster, reaching a terminal velocity of 3.3 km/s.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service: “report that the Ukrainian army is stockpiling weapons and munitions provided by the West on the territories of nuclear power plants. Ukrainian NPP’s now house missiles for HIMARS and foreign air defence systems, as well as large calibre artillery ammunition. In the event that a large-scale detonation at Ukrainian NPP, Kiev will blame Moscow. The Ukro-NATOs assume the Russian Armed Forces, will not strike such nuclear power plants. Ukrainian intelligence noted the RF’s use of blowup-mockups of military equipment ie., tanks as decoys. Each decoy has a heating device that simulates a working engine, visible to infrared.

The Colonel has just returned to active service, convalescing from wounds. He has lost many from his detachment.Translated Feb2

Source

Pfizer knew its vaxx was a killer when it was rolled out by the D of D Operation Warp Speed

Pfizer knew its vaxx was a killer when it was rolled out by the D of D Operation Warp Speed

By Lyndesy Symonds

The bioweapon for the Australian CoVID Regime of the United [Communist] Nations is working just fine.

It is being deployed in within the legal, judicial, health and military framework of ‘the Kill Box’ . This is a military term which describes a construction that every member nation of the United [Communist] Nations is engaged in putting together under the WHO so that the bioweapon of the CoVID vaxx can be deployed as part of a military operation.

Contrary to popular imagination, the WHO is not a ‘Health’ Agency but is the military arm of the UN. And it has been tasked with depopulation in accordance with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The multi-lateral partners like WEF, Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, manufactured billionaire foundations are tasked with sections of the Operation only.

In Australia, a essential piece of legislation for the construction of the Australian ‘Kill Box” was the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020. This law amended the Defence Act 1903 (Defence Act) and the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (DRSP Act). Its purpose was to enable Operation CoVID Shield, to enable foreign security forces to be deployed on Australian soil and to task and indemnify them from all criminal and and civil liabilities under Operation CoVID Shield. Its cover-story in Big Jew msm and the government was to facilitate the streamline for calling out members of the ADF Reserves, provide the Minister with certain powers to direct use of the ADF in an emergency, and to provide immunities to certain personnel while they are performing duties to support civil emergency and disaster preparedness, recovery and response.

The trail of contracts / contacts involved in this world-wide operation began to come into view with the discovery of evidence when the Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency filed suit against the FDA for its refusal to provide the PHMPT with its data on Pfizer’s CoVID-19 ‘vaccine biological product file’.

Sept 16 , 2021.  PHMPT filed suit against the FDA in the US District Court, Northern District Texas.
https://phmpt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/001-Complaint-101021.pdf

United States District Court Northern District of Texas
Case 4:21-cv-01058-P
Document 1 Filed: Sept 16 2021
Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, Plaintiff
against
Food and Drug Administration, Defendant

Most of the comment on this case has centred around the release of the secret FDA-Pfizer report on the adversities of the vaxx. And it is shocking what Pfizer absolutely, positively knew when the vaxx was rolled out in the US under Operation Warp Speed.

But the Texas Court found that the FDA had no case to answer. That is the real eye-opener. Why?

The FDA successfully defended the case brought against them by the PHMPT.  They received  a ‘no case to answer’ judgement on the basis that they had no contractual obligation to test their vaxx for anything.  Their contract was only to deliver the vaxx.  Nothing more. Pfizer’s contract was with the Department of Defense, not the FDA or CDC or any health agency of the government.

And I will bet you any money that Pfizer’s contract will be the same here in Australia.

These health agencies and regulatory agencies are running cover for defence departments which are tasked under the WHO – the military arm of the United [Communist] Nations. And they are making a Kill Box.

The DOD Global Experiment
https://www.bitchute.com/video/ndG3QwHanVAa/

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No One is Calling Out NASA on Artemis Extravaganza

There is no rational explanation for this extravagant waste of public money, particularly when there are so many issues that need to be dealt with in the US, including crumbling infrastructure and a poor national health system, and, more generally, throughout the developing world where billions of people still live in extreme poverty.

It is hardly surprising that the Greens and their allies, so insistent on stopping the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, are completely silent on the extraordinary waste of energy and other scarce resources involved in the Artemis mission.

It is perhaps more surprising that centres of knowledge including the universities, and centres of moral authority such as the churches, should remain totally silent in the face of this obscene and scandalously wasteful project.

There is a very practical reason why it has been 50 years since the US last sent astronauts to the moon: the cost was unsustainable, the risks were high, and the benefits were non-existent.

We will hear much more about the Artemis mission as billions of dollars are spent on this wasteful and extravagant project. But the sooner it comes to an end, the better.

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Originally published in News Weekly. Photo by Pixabay.

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Excess Death Spike Now Seen Simultaneously in 30 Western Nations

Data from across the Western world shows an unusual excess death spike that demands an explanation.

At least 30 Western nations are experiencing a coincidental spike in excess deaths years after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics from national databases.

Examples of the national data in question have been circulating for months on social media. This week, up-to-date statistics were collated and summarised by Covid commentator Dr John Campbell. A retired Ph.D. nurse educator from northern England, Campbell has had over 600 million views on his popular YouTube channel.

Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, as well as 25 European countries or subnational regions, all have rising excess mortality data showing hundreds of thousands of collective excess deaths during the latter half of 2022.

“I think we are in somewhat of an international emergency,” the usually understated Campbell tells viewers in his most recent video.

Despite heavy interest from the legacy press in daily deaths during the pandemic, mainstream news outlets are yet to show any interest in the highly unusual spike in worldwide excess mortality.

What the Excess Death Statistics Say

In the United States, excess deaths throughout 2022 total more than 242,000, per CDC and census data. According to Campbell, this is the opposite of what should be expected since so many of the nation’s vulnerable already died during the pandemic and immunity should be higher now than in recent years.

Excess mortality also remains high in Canada, though currently, Statistics Canada only provides data until August 2022.

In Australia, the most recent provisional mortality statistics show almost 20,000 more deaths than the historical average — a 16% spike. Less than half of these, or 8,160, are attributable to Covid-19. The remainder are yet unexplained, though a significant number have been referred to coroners.

New Zealand has seen a 10% rise in deaths between 2021 and 2022 per StatsNZ data.

Excess Death Data in the UK and Europe

Statistics bureaus in the United Kingdom are releasing particularly worrisome data. During a single week in January, almost 20,000 deaths were recorded, or 20.4% more than the historical average. As Campbell points out, in raw numbers that week more UK citizens died than there were victims in the 2001 World Trade Centre terrorist attack, yet the press has responded with “a deafening silence”.

As elsewhere, in the UK, Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations are going down and intensive care admissions remain low, even as excess deaths are up, indicating that the vast majority of these excess deaths are not attributable to Covid-19. Indeed, only 5.3% of UK deaths involve Covid-19, per the Office for National Statistics.

According to EuroMOMO data, all-cause mortality is significantly up in 25 European nations or subnational regions. Elevated levels of excess mortality are seen in all age groups compared to average levels from before 2020.

Excess Deaths and the Bradford Hill criteria

In summarising the worldwide data trend, Campbell refers to the Bradford Hill criteria, a set of principles widely used in epidemiology to establish a causal relationship between an effect and its presumed cause.

According to Campbell, the Bradford Hill criteria has been met in the excess deaths fiasco, though he stops short of naming the probable cause for fear of violating YouTube’s so-called COVID-19 medical misinformation policy.

“I really hope this stops soon,” Campbell laments, adding, “But even if it did stop tomorrow, this demands an explanation.”

Image via Unsplash.

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Arguments For and Against Abortion

According to the World Health Organisation, every year there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions worldwide. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.

In the US, about 45% of all pregnancies are unplanned. About 40% of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion, while the other 60% result in a birth, meaning one-third of all births are unplanned. In 2018, about 31% of all pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion. In 2020, about 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in abortion in the US.

Abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. The debate regarding it is a long one. In fact, the first known abortion dates back to 1550 BC. But this says nothing about the moral value of the issue. Murder is far more ancient — in fact, in Biblical tradition, it is one of mankind’s first sins. That its origins are ancient does not prove that it is moral.

With the overturning of Roe v Wade, talk of abortion has been difficult to avoid for any person online. Due to the tidal wave response, many have been exposed to a wide array of arguments for abortion — none of which, I believe, justify upholding abortion as a right.

As we inspect the different arguments for and against abortion, it will become apparent that much discussion is rights-based, and that there are many presumptions about humanness and values that underlie the debate. [Note that this post will be focussing primarily upon the moral worth of abortion, not whether everything immoral should be illegal (though in this case, I would think so).]

“It’s my choice!”

Some will say that you can’t support freedom and simultaneously be anti-abortion. We live in a culture obsessed with control, and it claims: “People should be free to do whatever they want! As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, it doesn’t matter!”

Now, as many abortion-opposers would object, it does hurt somebody — but we will address that point later. First, we should remark that just because certain persons have the capacity to choose, does not mean that all choices are equal, or that there is no wrong choice, or that there are no choices you cannot make. Your choices aren’t virtuous just because you chose them freely.

Having a choice is empowering, but not every choice made is an empowered choice. A person might choose to get drunk every night — this is clearly not an empowered choice, but a disempowered choice. Anything built on a disempowered choice will simply be an extension of disempowerment.

A person might choose to kidnap and murder someone else. Should we praise them simply because they made a choice? Just because they acted freely, should we congratulate them for their bravery? Surely not!

There’s a limit to any privilege. Do enough things wrong, and you’ll have freedoms taken away from you. Freedom and rights are accommodated by responsibility. Your right to choose does not trump your responsibility to consider the well-being of your fellow man. An abortion-opposer might go further and add that your right to choose does not trump your responsibility to be a good mother to the child in your womb.

Regarding reproduction, a truly empowered choice would be for women to have good discernment and solid boundaries regarding who they have sex with in the first place! Take control over your body by controlling your sexual desires.

“It’s my body!”

The baby, though being in a relationship of dependence upon the mother, is not part of the mother. To be a fully mature female does not depend upon the existence of a baby in the womb. That the child is a separate body is implicitly admitted by those who justify abortion by calling the baby a “parasite.” Such a claim is in tension with the idea that only the woman’s body is present.

But, accepting (for a moment) that it is just your body — can you morally mutilate your own body? Just because something is yours (or you), it does not mean you can do anything you want to/with it. We have already established that choices are not moral or allowable simply because they were chosen.

Suppose a woman takes a pregnancy test, not wanting to be pregnant. Of course, she will only go to an abortion clinic if the test comes out positive, but why? What is it that the positive test tells her that the negative test does not? The negative test tells her that it’s just her body. But the positive test tells her that it’s no longer just her body — another body is present. I know of no woman with twenty fingers and four feet — someone else is there.

The fact that one goes to an abortion clinic is an acknowledgement of another body present. A supporter of bodily autonomy cannot then allow a pregnant woman to get an abortion, for that would impact another body. If it isn’t your body, then you certainly cannot harm it, just as a landlord cannot murder a tenant just because they live on his property.

Conceding that there is another body involved, other abortion-supporters may argue that the right to bodily autonomy trumps the right to life. Indeed, this even applies to corpses. In many countries, you cannot legally take the organs of the deceased without their prior consent.

Some will bring up the “violinist argument” to demonstrate that the woman is not obliged to carry the fetus to term, even if it is another body. This argument was made famous by Judith Jarvis Thomson, who posited that a person can be equal to another without having the right to another person’s body. She defended this with an analogy:

“… imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own.

The director of the hospital now tells you, ‘Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you — we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.’”
(A Defence of Abortion, 1971)

Thomson’s point was this: even though the violinist is a human person, with the same dignity and right to life, he does not have the right to use your body without your consent. Just as you can reach around and unplug the violinist, so can a pregnant woman “unplug” the fetus.

This analogy, however, is not as strong as it first appears — it is guilty of false equivalence. For most women who become pregnant, they have consented to the act of sex, which brought about the pregnancy. In that vein, the analogy only works for rape victims. [See later section: “It’s not my fault if I get pregnant!”]

And there is yet another false equivalence: Thomson’s analogy ignores the moral responsibility of a mother. Parents have a responsibility for their offspring that they do not have for strangers. You are not morally responsible for the well-being of some random guy, but you are morally responsible for your child. As a parent, you have a parental role that should move you to make great sacrifices for the sake of your offspring.

Even as a rape victim, by virtue of being the parent, a mother is duty-bound to carry the child to term. It’s nice of you to give food to the poor in your city, but not to do so would not be breaking the law. But to neglect and fail to feed your child, in your home, is against the law. There’s a moral and legal difference between a stranger-stranger relationship and a mother-child relationship.

The pro-abortion argument might respond with this analogy: “Imagine you’re a parent of a child, whom you love, who gets very sick. They need a kidney transplant or else they will die. Suppose you are the only one in the world who meets the conditions for such a kidney donation. It would be nice, and it would save your child’s life, to donate your kidney. It wouldn’t kill you. Should the law force you to give your kidney to your child?” Just as a parent does not have a legal duty to give their born child their kidney, a mother should not have a legal duty to give her preborn child her uterus.

But again, we have another false equivalence. Consider: What is the nature and purpose of a kidney and how does that differ from the nature and purpose of a uterus? The kidney exists in my body for my body. The uterus exists in my body for someone else’s body.

The uterus is unique from all other body parts. It is the woman’s most selfless organ. It exists more for my offspring than for me. And with that knowledge, the preborn child has a right to the womb in a way that the born child does not have a right to the kidney.

At the bare minimum, there is a parental responsibility to meet the basic needs of one’s child. We might distinguish these ordinary needs from extraordinary needs, for which there is no duty to meet them. The uterus is the food, shelter, and clothing of the preborn child.

Ordinary care (i.e., the basic care required for regular human growth and development) is an obligation. However, the sacrifices required for the violinist are above the call of duty — it is extraordinary care. It’s heroic and admirable to meet extraordinary needs, but it is not an obligation.

“Men want to control us!”

By itself, this claim just assumes the worst of the opposing side. It also ignores the fact that there are women on the opposing side — women who might even be feminists also! A more comprehensive construction of an abortion-supporters egalitarian point may be this: “A woman who is denied an abortion is required to sacrifice educational and work opportunities. Because men cannot become pregnant, they can pursue their professional goals freely. Therefore, abortion restrictions make women unequal with men.”

Anthony McCarthy responds that the practice of abortion actually creates inequality between the sexes because it does not respect the experiences which are unique to women (such as pregnancy). Some on the pro-abortion side will dismiss pregnancy as a harmful condition that reduces pregnant women to “incubators.” But true gender equality involves respect and support for what makes women different.

Some will automatically dismiss any male contribution to the debate, saying, “No uterus, no opinion!” But this just ignores the possibility of a woman holding the exact same view. It also suggests that pregnancy is something a woman does to herself and that it is purely a woman’s issue. This, of course, is ridiculous, for there would be no pregnancy if not for the man’s contribution.

“It’s not my fault if I get pregnant!”

Some on the anti-abortion side of the debate will argue that women should take responsibility for the pregnancy. If a woman gets pregnant from consensual sex, even if she was using contraception, it’s still her fault and should accept the consequences — she knew the risks.

A pro-abortion response may be this: “Suppose I get hit by a car while crossing the street at a crosswalk. Cars are meant to stop, but they don’t, and I get hit. Is it my fault? If I cross a road, there’s always a chance that I could get hit by a car. But just because I know there’s a risk, does not mean I consented or should be blamed for that risk being realised!”

Now, as you might be able to tell, there is a false equivalence here. When crossing a road, you have a justified belief in the ability and autonomy of the drivers on that same road — they are intelligent beings with a moral responsibility not to hit you. It’s perfectly reasonable to suppose that nobody’s going to hit you when you legally cross a road. There are moral agents (i.e., drivers) who are motivated to ensure this. Suppose you are hit by accident — the responsibility falls upon the driver.

Now, when having sex, you cannot expect the same of pregnancy. The fertilisation of an egg is a biological process. There is no agent with a moral responsibility to make sure you are not impregnated – no agent, that is, other than the couple participating in sex. You cannot hold the biological process accountable. You are the “driver” here.

If there is a risk in an act, that is not dependent upon (or influenced by) any other autonomous being, then you are the one to blame if that risk becomes realised. A better analogy might be this: Suppose you run by a cliff, an acceptable distance away from the cliff’s edge, but a rock gives way, and you tumble, fall, and perish. Who is to blame? The rock? How can you blame an inanimate object?

Similarly, for a less gruesome analogy, suppose you hit a baseball ball through your neighbour’s window. Surely you cannot then say to them, “I consented to baseball, but I didn’t consent to smashing your window, so I’m not paying for it!” Your neighbour can rightfully argue that by entering the game, you embraced the risks associated with it. In both analogies, the consequences are unexpected, unintended, you didn’t consent to it — but the blame can only be attributed to you. (Similar logic can be applied to child support. A man may have consented to sex, but not a child — should he then have to pay child support? Yes! By virtue of engaging in sex, he must accept the consequences.)

The idea that somehow the responsibility does not lie with the mother is born from the dishonest and dangerous view that sex and procreation are unrelated phenomena.

Fetal DevelopmentFetal Development - without abortion

Before we consider arguments regarding life at conception, let’s investigate how a child develops in the womb. There are a number of different dating systems for pregnancy, the most commonly used being “gestational age” (ga.), which begins from the start of the woman’s last menstrual period and dates fertilisation at two weeks along. “Fertilisation age” (fa.) begins on the day of fertilisation, and “implantation age” begins at implantation.

1. Germinal Stage

This stage begins at conception, when the sperm and egg cell unite in a fallopian tube and become a zygote. It’s interesting to note that, within the first two hours after fertilisation, the zygote releases 2-3 (even up to 5) sparks of light. This is due to an increase in calcium and rapid release of zinc, which joins itself to small molecule probes, creating a microscopic flash of light. (This, obviously, proves nothing about whether life begins at conception — but it may be considered symbolic for those who hold this view.)

The zygote begins to travel to the uterus, and about 24 hours after fertilisation, cell division begins — from one cell, to two, to four, etc. Cells begin to take on certain characteristics, and will separate into two masses, eventually becoming the placenta and embryo.

While journeying to the uterine wall, the zygote develops into a blastocyst, which is made up of three layers: (1) The ectoderm: skin and nervous system. (2) The endoderm: digestive and respiratory system. And (3) the mesoderm: muscle and skeletal system.

The blastocyst then attaches to the uterine wall (i.e., implantation). A large number of conceptions will have failed to reach this point, failing to survive through various processes. But if all goes according to plan, the blastocyst essentially takes over hormonal control of the whole uterus, and implantation finishes about 7 days after fertilisation (3 weeks ga.).

2. Embryonic Stage

Weeks 3-10 ga. mark the embryonic period, playing an important role in the development of the brain. At 3-4 weeks fa., a heartbeat can be detected. About 4 weeks fa., the neural tube forms (and with it, brain vesicles form), later to develop into the central nervous system (i.e., the spinal cord and brain).

Around 4 weeks ga., the head begins to form, soon followed by distinct facial features. The blood vessel (later to become the heart) begins to pulse, and a heartbeat can be detected later by ultrasound at 6-7 weeks ga.. During week 5 ga., stubs appear that will form arms and legs. It is around this time that most women become aware of their pregnancy (4-7, or more commonly 5-6, weeks ga.).

Around week 7 ga., the embryo begins to develop their first sensetouch. By week 8 ga., fingers have begun to form, the embryo has all of its basic organs (aside from sex organs), and the production of brain cells begins. In week 9 ga., the embryo can suck her thumb, open and close her jaw, stretch, and sigh.

By the end of the embryonic stage, cell differentiation is mostly complete. The basic structures of the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system have been established, and rudimentary neural networks begin to form as neurons form connections with other neural cells.

Most abortions take place during the embryonic stage, and a remaining 20% take place later.

3. Fetal Stage

The remainder of the pregnancy is termed the “fetal stage.” Systems/structures established in the previous stage continue to develop. Between 9-12 weeks ga., reflexes begin to emerge, and the fetus begins to make motions with its arms and legs. By the end of the third-month ga., all parts of the body are formed. This marks the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.

During the second trimester, the fetus increases six times in size. The heart grows stronger, body systems develop further, and hair, lashes, and nails form. By the end of the trimester, the central nervous system becomes more responsive, and brain activity resembles that of a sleeping newborn. A baby born at this stage has a slim, but possible, chance of survival. In fact, fetuses born too early have been known to be saveable at as early as 21 weeks ga.

The third and final trimester continues development and growth, and muscles in the lungs prepare for breathing. Childbirth, on average, occurs at 40 weeks ga.

If you’re wondering when pain comes into the picture, there is no consensus. The matter is still debated by medical professionals, who have together argued that fetal pain comes to exist somewhere within the wide range of 7-24 weeks ga.

The Procedure

There are two types of abortion: medical and surgical. Medical abortions can be performed up to 9 weeks ga. and involve taking pills to induce a miscarriage. Surgical abortions use suction to remove the preborn child. Some abortion procedures are as follows (you may desire to refer to the previous section and note the child’s development at each stage):

Abortion pill (4-7 weeks ga.): The woman is given pills to kill the embryo. If this does not work, she is given a second drug to cause cramps and expel the embryo. The woman will experience cramps and bleeding.

Manual vacuum aspiration (up to 7 weeks ga.): The abortionist uses a thin tube, inserted into the uterus, and a syringe to suck out the embryo. The vacuum suction is weak, so the child is ripped apart slowly.

Suction curettage (weeks 6-14 ga.): The most common surgical abortion. An abortionist uses rods (or medication) to dilate the woman’s cervix in order to get their instruments through to the uterus. A tube is inserted into the uterus and is connected to a suction machine — the force of the suction is 10-20x that of a normal house vacuum. Baby does not come out whole, but is sucked out piece by piece — arms, legs, hands, etc. The abortionist may use a loop-shaped knife tool to scrape the remaining parts out of the uterus. They may then take the contents and piece back the body, to make sure all body parts have been removed and nothing is left in the mother.

Dilation and evacuation (weeks 13-24 ga.): A second-trimester abortion. The preborn baby is too large for suction. An abortionist dilates the cervix (larger than previous) by inserting rods a least a day before the abortion. The mother is given anaesthesia for the pain, and a suction tube is used to remove the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Inserting forceps (i.e., a sopher clamp), the abortionist then twists, dismembers, and pulls out parts of the fetus — an arm, leg, etc. Because the head is larger (maybe the size of a plum), it is crushed, white material (i.e., brain) runs out of the cervix, and a rotating technique is employed to avoid cutting the woman upon removal. The abortionist then scrapes out any remaining tissue and assembles the baby’s parts on a tray, to determine if any part of the body is missing.

Dilation and extraction (from 20 weeks ga.): Like the previous method. Days are dedicated to dilating the cervix with various dilators. The abortionist uses ultrasound to locate the legs and begins to remove the fetus starting from the feet to the head. Scissors are inserted into the base of the skull, creating an opening for a suction tube to remove the brain. The skull collapses and is removed. This, and similar procedures, have also been termed a “partial-birth abortion.”

Intracardiac injection abortion (from 25 weeks ga.): A third-trimester abortion. The preborn baby is injected with a drug to cause cardiac arrest, usually killing it. Dilators are used to open the cervix so that the baby can be delivered. The baby is later checked, and if alive, is injected again. The woman will eventually have contractions and deliver a dead baby.

There are many stories of babies who survived abortion attempts and were left to die after being born. Melissa Ohden is the product of a failed abortion. A toxic saline solution was injected into her mother’s uterus, intending to burn and poison the baby. When she was born alive, she was left to die — fortunately, a nurse heard the baby crying and rushed the child to the NICU. Melissa suffered severe respiratory problems, jaundice, and seizures — but she was eventually adopted out and today lives to speak out against abortion.

“How do you know life begins at conception?”

The moment a preborn child comes into existence, so too do a mother and father come into existence. But when does such a child come into existence? For the abortion-supporter, it is often the case that their beliefs about when life begins synchronises with their beliefs about when abortion should be banned.

But by arguing, for example, that life begins at six months, the supporter implicitly concedes that something significant happened six months earlier that causes us to count the passage of time (i.e., fertilisation) — so, one must ask, why draw the line at six months at all? Why not point back to time zero?

But suppose a supporter does not know when abortion should be banned, should they not then err on the side of caution? Surely you would not proceed with a building demolition without being sure that the building had been properly evacuated. Anything else is a blatant disregard for life.

But the pro-abortion side might respond, why stop at fertilisation? “Sperm and egg cells are alive too!”

Dr Maureen L Condic expertly responds to such a claim, making a case for life beginning at the beginning of fertilisation (fertilisation being a process). She explains: Scientific distinctions are made between various cell types, based on two relatively simple criteria: cells are known to be different from each other because they have different compositio … and because they exhibit distinct types of cell behaviour. (When Does Human Life Begin? 2008). That is, what it is made up of and what it does.

A sperm has the genetic material of the father, while an egg has the genetic material of the mother — via their composition, we can tell that these are two different cells. A sperm swims to find and fertilise an egg, while an egg lays around and awaits fertilisation — via their behaviour, we can tell that these are two different cells.

Now apply this to the fertilised egg. Even before the chromosomes have combined within the cell, the zygote has the genetic material of both mother and father — a unique composition distinct from that of sperm or egg. And, upon the entry of the sperm, the zygote is quick to prevent the entry of any further sperm — again, this is behaviour distinct from that of sperm or egg. The zygote, quite unlike the sperm and egg, will then proceed along the stages outlined in the previous section (i.e., Fetal Development).

By these distinctions, we can conclude that, upon fertilisation, there is something new that we didn’t have before. This new thing, it can then be argued, is the offspring of the parents. And if parents are morally responsible for their offspring, parenthood begins here, and they ought to protect that child from that point forward.

Personhood Debate

One of the key issues in the abortion debate is the matter of personhood. One may distinguish between a human and a person. A human is more to do with biological classification and what makes Homo sapiens distinct from other things/creatures. A person has moral and legal consideration (such as the right against inviability) and cannot be harmed without good reason. However, what qualifies as a person is up for debate. “Human” is a scientific term, while “person” is a philosophical term. A fetus is certainly alive, it is certainly human, but is it a person? [Discussion of this matter is long, complex, and continuing — naturally, many aspects will not be addressed here.]

Understandably, many people define “person” as “human,” and use the terms synonymously. That which is human is a who. This however poses a problem. Surely my hair, blood, limbs, etc are not considered persons apart from myself. A bag of blood is human, but it is not a person. The definition must be more specific than this. A way to expand the definition might be to say that a person is the primary sum of a distinct human being. This, of course, goes for twins — who, despite being biologically identical, are distinguishable in the eyes of physics.

But one might respond that this is also problematic. If I were to be cut in half, each half would not then be counted as separate persons, despite having a different location within space-time. Perhaps a simpler definition of personhood is as follows: “the primary sum of that which begins as a human zygote.” This definition even includes the dead — which is not so problematic when one considers the great amount of care usually taken when dealing with dead bodies. But if one were opposed to the dead being persons, all one would have to do is insert the conditional of “living” into their definition.

(It may also be interesting to consider whether people with dissociative identity disorder are one or more persons. Perhaps one could employ the argument from personal identity — “the continuity between my mature, conscious self and my embryonic, fetal and childhood self and my future older, possibly demented self.” Though, on the practical level, it makes little difference, for moral consideration is attributed to the body by virtue of even a single alters personhood.)

For those who believe in a transcendent soul, a person may be defined as a human soul. The question then becomes when a human attains such a soul, to which one might return to the previous section. In this case, the body is no longer relevant to personhood upon death, as the soul leaves the body.

Some (such as Peter Singer) would claim that such definitions with the conditional “human” are speciesist, and that the definition of person should not automatically exclude animals/androids and should instead be concerned with capacity. For example, many will define personhood in terms of human consciousness, rationality, and/or self-awareness.

A fetus is not conscious, nor can it reason, it certainly isn’t self-aware, and therefore it is not a person and killing it is permissible. But this is problematic. While sleeping, you are not conscious, rational, or self-aware — are you then no longer a person? It may be objected that the mere capacity for these is all that is necessary, whether or not they are utilising them at present. But what of the severely disabled? They have no capacity for reason, they may not even be self-aware.

Similarly, a person in a coma has no such capacities. One may argue that they may gain these abilities in the future, and so must be attributed personhood by virtue of that future capacity. But how then does this differ from a preborn child? Given all goes to plan, a zygote will progress into a conscious, rational, and self-aware being also — it is its nature. Just because circumstances (e.g., one’s age) limit one’s consciousness, rationality, and/or self-awareness, does not mean one is less of a person. Is it not more intuitive for personhood to be a matter of existence, as opposed to circumstance? Indeed, human rights are not given based on circumstance or age.

One might argue that if it’s not evil to pull the plug on a brain-dead person, it’s not evil to abort a preborn child with yet no brain activity. There’s an obvious problem here — the preborn child is only in this state temporarily. They are going through the necessary and basic motions which lead to brain activity. There is no consciousness without this process.

Is it then ok to exploit that window of limited consciousness, despite knowing that greater consciousness will be realised in a matter of mere months? What if we knew that the coma patient would recover in due time? Are we then free to do as we please with the unconscious human until that moment?

Again, one might respond, what about the fact that a preborn child has never been conscious, rational, or self-aware? A grown person, prior to being in a coma, has a conscious desire to live. But why is that relevant? Even with such a view in mind, most abortion-supporters still draw a line at some point along the pregnancy. But why? The fetus hasn’t expressed a desire to live.

Even for months after birth, babies cannot be said to be rational, self-aware, or conscious (at least in any way comparable to a grown human). Perhaps it is pain perception that abortion-supporters are concerned about — but anaesthetic can nullify that. And yet killing a child then would still be abhorrent. Why?

Killing is not wrong because of pain or awareness — it is wrong because the thing killed is a human. Along a different vein, Don Marquis argues that killing is understood in terms of what killing does to us — it imposes on us the misfortune of premature death. Premature death is a misfortune because when one is dead, one has been deprived of future life.

Suppose one man falls into a coma from which he never recovers and dies after many years. Suppose another man dies suddenly. Neither scenario seems more unfortunate than the other, both were deprived of a future conscious life. Likewise, abortion deprives preborn children of future conscious lives.

Briefly, we might also consider that consciousness and rationality come in different degrees. If consciousness/rationality/self-awareness is the measure of worth, is a 10-year-old more valuable than a 2-year-old who has less awareness? Does a 40-year-old have more worth than a 90-year-old dementia patient? We seem to be equally concerned about the well-being of all persons, but if human worth is a gradient, then surely that would not be the case. Surely personhood does not slide in and out of existence like this.

But even supposing that a preborn child is not a person, does that then justify killing it? We even treat the dead with respect! How much more should we treat living humans with respect. We do not freely go around killing other mammals that inconvenience us. Are we free to butcher and inflict terrible pain upon animals? Of course not! Such a thing is abhorrent and signals the makings of a psychopath. Even a meat eater has a conscience about how animals should be treated. Most animals are not self-aware nor have the potential to be so. They have no real concept of “I” or “me,” and never will.

Some will argue that the capacity for pleasure and pain is what qualifies personhood. This excludes fetuses and coma patients but includes many animals. This definition becomes uncomfortable when one considers that, choosing between a coma patient and a bird, one would have to prioritise the bird.

But the pro-abortion position continues, claiming that even if one can argue that personhood includes the human embryo, people do not behave in a way that treats the embryo as equally valuable to a person already born. Using an analogy to illustrate this point, they posit that this proves that preborn children are not as valuable as persons outside the womb.

“Imagine you’re in a burning building. In one room there is a 2-month-old baby. In the other room, there are 20 frozen embryos. You only have the time to save the one baby or the 20 embryos, but not both.” Most would save the baby, but does this intuition prove that the embryos are sub-human? No. The fact that I would save the baby over the embryos does not prove that the embryos aren’t persons.

For example, what if you had to choose between the love of your life (i.e., your spouse) and 20 random strangers. You’re probably going to save your spouse. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the strangers aren’t persons. It just means that you have a stronger emotional attachment to your spouse (as you should), and perhaps even a sense of obligation to save them above others.

Even as you sit there reading this, people are dying in the world — and yet you are unfazed. Does this mean that the people out there dying aren’t persons with inherent worth? Obviously, no. Just because you’re unfazed by their deaths does not mean that they are not persons and does not mean you can kill them yourself.

On the other hand, if you received information that your friend had died, you would have an emotional reaction. Indeed, even if you had found out that your dog had died, you would react — and under the majority account of personhood, your dog is not even a person! The fact that we are inclined to choose the baby over 20 embryos proves nothing about the personhood of those embryos.

We might save the baby because it is more familiar to us. We have seen babies being cared for outside of the womb, but embryos are hidden and cared for within the womb. Certainly, we are more inclined to purposefully care for a baby, for (in a normal circumstance) an embryo’s care is biological and automatic, requiring no deliberate or direct action on our part. We might save the baby because we believe we are more likely to succeed in caring for it.

Chances are that the baby will keep living upon it being rescued. But upon rescuing the embryos, we must be careful to keep them frozen, or else they will die — does the mechanism require electricity? Where do I take the embryos? Who will the embryos be implanted into? Will the embryos respond well to implantation? The inability to save the embryos is not the same as directly killing the embryos. And even more than that, not saving the embryos does not serve as proof that they are sub-human.

“What about rape, incest, and teenage pregnancy?”

Oftentimes, the pro-abortion side of the debate will point to instances of rape, incest, and teen pregnancy, saying that abortions should be allowable because of these cases. However, it must be considered that maybe 1% of aborted pregnancies are provoked by rape, and less than 0.5% are in response to incest. [And these are the larger estimates! A later survey suggested that 0.3% were due to rape, and 0.03% were due to incest.] Even if exceptions were made for these two circumstances, more than 98% of current abortions would still be banned.

First, it must be stated that rape and incest are wrong — nobody disagrees with this. Rape, in particular, is horrific. It can leave life-long scars. Perpetrators of such an act should face severe penalties. But do these situations make abortion permissible? Well, it doesn’t seem so. Killing your offspring isn’t going to mend your trauma. Abortion will not un-rape a rape victim. Upon having an abortion, will the victim suddenly forget that she has been raped? Of course not! In such a sense, the child is hardly more of a reminder than the event itself.

Does such a child, conceived into this situation by no fault of their own, deserve the death penalty? Such a punishment isn’t even dealt to the rapist! If the guilty doesn’t even face execution, why should the innocent? Suppose a man commits a crime against his town and his son grows to look like him. Despite being reminded of the crime upon seeing the boy, the townspeople are not justified in attacking him, for he himself has done nothing wrong. If anything, the boy (and the preborn child) are also victims of the criminals’ actions. Rape is a crime. Being conceived is not. A child of rape is no less valuable than a child of consent.

Both abortion and rape similarly feature a vulnerable party being attacked by a stronger party. Justifiably, one might say that the death of a child at the hand of one’s own parent is just as morally depraved as rape.

Regarding teenage pregnancy, it should be noted that, in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that most women who get an abortion are in their twenties. In fact, most women who get abortions are above the age of 25, 60% have already had at least one child, and about 80% are unmarried. Less than 10% of women who get abortions are under 19 years old.

Supposing no rape or incest victim was under 19, exceptions made for rape, incest, and teen pregnancy would still result in an abortion reduction of at least 82%. Women ages 18-24 are also more likely to choose less reliable contraception — such as oral contraception and condoms. While their desire to not become pregnant can be implied by the use of contraception, the rate of unintended pregnancies suggests incorrect or inconsistent contraceptive practices.

Some will argue that if a teenager cannot adopt a child, how can she be forced to give birth to a child? But the response is similarly concerned with maturity: if a teenager is not ready for a child, then she is not ready for sex — and certainly, she is not ready to take a life. How can she be old enough to kill it but not old enough to care for it?

In fact, the care need not extend for too long. A mother not willing to care for her child need not raise her child beyond that window of time in which no one else can care for it. But during that window, there is a responsibility to care for that child’s needs. Imagine you were kidnapped. You wake up in a locked cabin alongside a newborn baby of no relation to you. There’s no means of escape, but in the cabin, there is everything you might need to care for the baby. It takes no great deed for you to support this child and meet its basic needs. And when you’re finally freed from the cabin, you don’t have to go on and raise the child. You are obliged to meet its ordinary needs (being the only one who could do so at the time), but you are not obliged to meet its extraordinary needs. Likewise, a pregnant woman is not obliged to raise her child, but she is obliged to meet its ordinary needs — such as supplying her uterus and feeding and clothing the child until suitable carers are found (i.e., adoption).

Some will baselessly argue that a child born in such circumstances will grow to be miserable. But in fact, through private adoption agencies, almost all babies are adopted within the first month after birth. In domestic infant adoption, the number of children who aren’t adopted is pretty much zero. There are an estimated 1-2 million couples waiting to adopt in the US, and Guttmacher’s latest figures state that there were 930,160 abortions in the US in 2020 (up from 916,460 in 2019). Some sources estimate that there are as many as 36 families for every one child placed for adoption.

Babies are adopted almost instantly; however, it is true that older children are slower to adopt. The average child waits for an adoptive family for about three years, and the average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is eight. The adoption system is not to be confused with the foster care system, though they do cross over. Foster care homes children who are temporarily unable to live with their family due to crisis, unsafe conditions, abuse, neglect, etc. Most children who leave foster care never return to it — many return to their parents/carer, go live with a relative/guardian, or are adopted out.

These systems aren’t perfect, but they could be worse. But the effectiveness of the adoption and foster systems are a separate issue to whether abortion is morally permissible. The next claim, that a child will be miserable and so should be aborted, is a cold one. This attempts to equate abortion with mercy killing. But how can someone assess the value of someone else’s future life?

There are those who would argue that children with severe disabilities should be aborted, but this borders on eugenics and many of these disabled people are actually very happy to be alive. Some may be born into poverty, but a chance at happiness is better than no chance at all. Happiness is not dependent upon wealth.

By being alive, a person is given an opportunity to be happy — abortion strips that opportunity away. How arrogant and anarchic for someone to judge another person’s life as not worthy of living, and then act upon said judgement.

“It’s a form of healthcare!”

Some may worry about the physical well-being of the mother. “Pregnancy is risky! So much can go wrong! What if she dies during childbirth?” However, the fact of the matter is that, by far, the majority of women are perfectly safe during pregnancy and most maternal deaths are preventable. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the maternal mortality rate in Australia in 2018 was 5 deaths per 100,000 women giving birth. Of the maternal deaths which took place from 2009 to 2018, many were only indirectly related to the pregnancy. From 2012 to 2018, women ages 20-24 were the least likely to die from pregnancy or birth, followed by ages 30-34 and 25-29 (recall that most women who get an abortion are in their twenties) — women under the age of twenty had the highest mortality rate. For the vast majority, abortion does not qualify as healthcare issue.

Abortion-supporters will often refer to instances where the pregnancy does pose a threat to the life of the mother. Chorioamnionitis is a dangerous condition involving an inflection of the placenta and the amniotic fluid. Chorioamnionitis can cause the baby to be born early and can lead to complications (and possible death). If the mother stays infected, she will die. An even more dangerous instance is an ectopic pregnancy — when an embryo implants itself outside of the womb (most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes). Ectopic pregnancy is fatal for the embryo, who cannot survive outside of the womb. It is also dangerous for the mother, causing her fallopian tube to burst or rupture and leading to life-threatening bleeding.

It must be said that directly and intentionally taking the preborn child’s life is not our only option here. Instead of doing an evil act, it is far better to do good or neutral acts to bring about an effect. To address chorioamnionitis, you need to get the infected membranes out of the mother’s body by inducing labour. Removing infection is a good action — leaving it alone would have resulted in the deaths of both the mother and child. The good effect is that the mother does not die. The bad effect is that, if it is prior to viability (i.e., the child cannot survive outside of the womb at that stage of development), the preborn baby will die. This is not an abortion — this is a response to a rapidly growing infection.

Suppose a woman is 23 weeks pregnant but has cancer and needs chemotherapy. If waiting one more week would not threaten her life, then the child could be born at 24 weeks and put into an incubator, giving the child a higher chance of survival than if the mother had chemotherapy earlier while pregnant. The mother can then go on to receive chemotherapy and both parties can, in the best instance, go on to live. But if the mother was earlier in her pregnancy and there was no time to wait, or else she will die, then it may be permissible to administer chemotherapy if the mother so chose. We’re not administering chemotherapy to harm or kill the child, but to kill the cancer.

In the case of an ectopic pregnancy (in the fallopian tube, in this instance), instead of an abortion, the mother could have a salpingectomy — a removal of a fallopian tube. If it were possible to take that embryo and implant it somewhere else, we would do so, but we lack that technology. The bad effect then is the dead embryo, and the good effect is that the mother survives. We must consider the action and intention. An abortion targets the child and intends to bring about its demise. A salpingectomy targets the fallopian tube and the intention (if the technology existed) would be to save both lives.

Imagine two people are drowning and you lack the strength to save both. You have a few options — successfully save one, don’t save either, or unsuccessfully try to save both. The best thing is to save one. Obviously, in doing so, you don’t then turn around to intentionally and directly kill the other person. You might save one, then move to save the other, but he sinks and drowns before you can do so — but you did not kill him, you just failed to save him. The result is the same, but the means are profoundly different. Likewise with an abortion and salpingectomy.

The abortion-supporter might argue that women are going to try to abort anyway — which is dangerous and unsafe. But for such cases, I have little patience. It’s like asking for murder or rape to be made legal, so that they can be committed more safely. Why should an abortion-opposer be concerned about whether or not a person is safe while they commit murder? There are so many options for women. The fact that they might then still choose to put themselves at risk, all for the sake of killing their own child, is not a good argument – nor will it gather much sympathy from the opposing side. Suppose authorities tell their people that to join the enemy is treason. They are also warned that attempting to get to the enemy requires a journey through a mine field, which is impossible to navigate through without professional assistance. Others can’t then turn to the authorities and say, “People are going to try to join the enemy anyway — and they’ll die! You might as well help them out.” Well, no. That’s on them. [Not a perfect analogy, but you get it.]

Potential Impacts

Abortion does not seem to have a positive effect upon society. 40% of minors who have had an abortion report that neither of their parents knew about the abortion — considering this, one may say that abortion fosters dishonesty. Implicitly, abortion suggests ideas such as:

  • You, as an individual, are dispensable by us. Whether or not you were born does not matter.
  • Love does not involve sacrifice.
  • I ought not to bear the consequences of my actions.
  • Might determines right. My freedom is only limited by those able to make claims of their freedom against mine.

It has been indicated that ever having an abortion, sterilisation, and/or methods of contraception increases the likelihood of divorce — up to two times. The British Journal of Psychiatry (2011) found that women who had an abortion were 81% more likely to experience mental health struggles. The American Psychiatric Association (2008) stated that they did not believe these mental health challenges would be different whether the woman had a first-trimester abortion or chose to remain pregnant and have the baby. The underlying cause of the issues may relate to the cause for pursuing an abortion, but they are correlated, not causally linked. It seems that people with mental health issues are more likely to get an abortion, which makes finding out the mental impact of abortion a little trickier. There seems to be controversy regarding the impact abortion has on mental health, and more questions must be asked and answered before we can have a better idea.

One might speculate that banning abortion may lead to people taking sex and marriage more seriously. This in turn would strengthen the family, leading to a stronger economy and society. People are also less likely to experience mental health issues while in a stable marriage.

Banning abortion, it may be said, will disproportionately affect the poor. Poor women are more likely to experience unintended pregnancy. At the same time, richer women are more likely to have abortions than poorer women. But across the board, the same proportion of women would be upset (or not upset) by unintended pregnancy. Lower-income women aren’t less concerned about the prospect of having a child. The main difference between the two is the supply of contraceptives. Women who earn less are less likely to use contraceptives, but they aren’t less likely to have sex – meaning they have more unintended pregnancy. Obviously, the answer to this is to supply contraceptives and fill in the gap (and advertising celibacy is also an option). But even if the scales were balanced, poorer women are less equipped to care for children than are wealthier women. This problem, however, does not make abortion moral. If anything, this is a case for more effective adoption services and/or more supportive child welfare systems.

“The Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion!”

Some will try to claim that the Bible is silent on abortion and therefore it is permissible for Christians to take any stance on the matter. Let it first be said that the Bible specifically prohibits murder (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5) — especially the murder of innocent and vulnerable parties (Exodus 23, Proverbs 6).

From previous sections, we have established that there is good reason to think of the embryo as a body apart from the mother and worthy of personhood. This concept of personhood can be tied into the concept of man being in God’s image — and by virtue of being made in His image, you cannot kill him for no good reason (Gn9:6). Surely then, killing a fetus is a violation of the command against murder.

Scripture also speaks of God knowing us before He formed us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 22:10) and of His active role in our formation in the womb (Psalm 139, Jb 31:15). A child is spoken of as sinful, a characteristic of the human condition, even at the moment of conception (Psalm 51). Indeed, the incarnation took place at Jesus’ conception (e.g., Luke 1:26-45) — it is at that moment that He became “the word made flesh.”

Exodus 21:22-25 explains that permanent injury to the fetus or mother evokes the principle of “eye for an eye.” If you kill the fetus, that is a capital crime. However, there is debate regarding how this verse should be translated. In many translations, verse 22 refers to miscarriage:

When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges. But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life… (NABRE, v22-23)

This verse seems to imply that the unborn child is of lesser value than the woman. If the child dies, the offender is simply fined. But if the mother dies, the penalty is “life for life.” Rabbinic tradition sides with such an interpretation. This is not to say that the preborn child has no worth (there is still a fine), but that it is not of the same moral consideration. The key issue here is the translation “miscarriage,” which implies death. But does the Hebrew carry the same meaning?

The phrase translated “she suffers a miscarriage” is יְלָדֶ֔יהָ וְיָצְא֣וּ. The first term, “yatsa”, is a verb meaning “to go or come out, depart, come forth.” The second term, “yeled”, is a noun meaning “child, young, fruit, son” — the fetus is named. By all accounts, this is better translated as “the child comes forth.” In fact, in Hebrew, there is a different word referring to miscarriage that is not used here (i.e., sakol). If anything, yatsa refers to birth or deliverance – it is frequently used to refer to live birth and is the same word used of Esau and Jacob’s birth (Genesis 25). Yatsa never refers to miscarriage, so why should this verse be an exception?

In the verse, it isn’t specified whether the mother or child is the one sustaining injury. The application is general, and so it is better for us to say that it refers to both. If there is no permanent injury to the woman or child, the offender must be fined whatever the husband demands. If there is permanent injury to either the woman or child (including death), eye for an eye applies.

Gleason Archer concludes:

There is no ambiguity here, whatever. What is required is that if there should be an injury either to the mother or to her children, the injury shall be avenged by a like injury to the assailant. If it involves the life (nepes) of the premature baby, then the assailant shall pay for it with his life. There is no second-class status attached to the fetus under this rule; he is avenged just as if he were a normally delivered child or an older person: life for life. Or if the injury is less, but not serious enough to involve inflicting a like injury on the offender, then he may offer compensation in monetary damages…
(Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1985).

Some will quote Genesis 2:7 to defend their pro-abortion argument. The verse reads:

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person. (NASB)

The argument is that life begins at first breath, and because a fetus does not yet breathe air while in the womb, it is not life. Ignoring the glaring extrabiblical problems with this take, it is a blatant instance of Scripture being used out of context. The verse is a descriptive statement, not a prescriptive statement. Adam came to life at first breath. Adam was never technically conceived — he was formed of dust and God’s breath of life. Tim Barnett writes, “The Bible doesn’t teach that every man comes to life at first breath any more than it teaches that every woman comes from the rib of a man.”

The pro-abortion Christian might take a different route, saying, “God values choice! You can’t truly love or do good without freedom!” Free will is a good. But take one look at the pattern of Scripture and you’ll see that its outcomes are not always good. When people go too far with their freedom, bad things happen — and consequences follow. Life is gift, a state of being; but freedom is a responsibility, a test, a tool. Life is something you have; freedom is something you use. For your sake, and the sake of others, your freedom is limited in many ways – you physically cannot fly, and you morally cannot commit triple homicide. Being good, God will tolerate much evil born from our will – but being good, God sets and supports limits. If we were left purely to our own devices, our lives today would be unrecognisable, and the Old Testament would be a lot grimmer. God drew a line – He hindered our will – for the good, and He often used people to do it. It’s not compassionate to pass the Samaritan by, thinking, “Ah, well, somebody willed that he be robbed and left for dead. I shouldn’t get in the way of that.” [You might notice that this paragraph resembles the first section of this post.] Abortion is the surface manifestation of a deeper problem to do with the human condition, the will, and sexuality.

The official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church opposes abortion. Their Catechism states, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception” (2270), holding that “abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (2271). Similarly, the Christian Orthodox Church is resolutely opposed to all attempts to permit induced abortion and has been since its earliest history. Among Protestant churches, opinions vary — however most find themselves against abortion. Christian tradition is largely on the anti-abortion side.

Conclusion: A Culture of Death

You may have noticed that I did not use the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” throughout this post. It is more accurate to frame the debate in terms of anti-abortion and pro-abortion (abortion opposers and abortion supporters). One may, for instance, disapprove of abortion yet believe people should have the option — “pro-choice,” as it is commonly applied, does not seem to capture this fully. They may better be described as anti-abortion and pro-choice.

The trademark of a culture of death is the use of euphemisms to disguise and soften reality — to make something appear civil when it is not. It’s not euthanasia, it’s “dying with dignity.” It’s not pro-abortion, it’s “pro-choice.” It’s not a baby, it’s “pregnancy tissue,” a mere “product of conception.” Members of such a culture will be unwilling to describe the reality honestly or in any detail. They would rather focus on their idea about the matter, as opposed to the matter itself. Carl Braaten writes:

The culture of death is essentially marked by the business of redefinition… In order to deceive ourselves about the reality we create, we cannot but buffer our killing with a language which suggests we are doing something else: hence we invest our language with academic unintelligibility… with euphemistic attributes… or a perverted grammar…
(I Am the Lord Your God, 2005)

Braaten writes that we wilfully redefine sex, family, and even life to suit our purposes, even to the point of simply contradicting ourselves in a kind of double-speak. Peter Hitchens states in an interview that, without absolute law, a person can argue himself into any appalling position without even realising it.

Such sophistry often leads to rationalising the demonisation and/or dehumanisation of those on the other side. “It’s not a person, it’s a fetus! It’s not a person, it’s a Jew!” Somehow, mankind has deceived himself into believing that he has the power to arbitrarily distort the definitions of reality. But the reality is this: In pregnancy, you become a mother, and by abortion, you become the mother of a dead child.

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Originally published at The Walk. Photo by Mart Production.

Thank the Source

The U.S. Is Already Preparing for the Next War

The U.S. Is Already Preparing for the Next War

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Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is approaching its first birthday. Top military brass in Russia have long declared that the conflict is not between Russia and Ukraine, but rather Russia and NATO. Simply put, Ukraine is a pawn in another U.S. war. Europe’s economy and military have been sacrificed on the altar of U.S. warmongering toward Russia. Winter is here and Ukraine’s prospects for getting out of the conflict with anything resembling “victory” have dissipated, if they ever really existed at all.

Such has been admitted by two of the foreign policy establishment’s most criminal members: Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates. In an op-ed with the Washington Post, Rice and Gates argue that time is not on Ukraine’s side. The U.S. must act fast or watch Ukraine suffer eventual defeat. Of course, for neocon hawks like Rice and Gates, a negotiated settlement is simply out of the question. The only option for the U.S. political and military establishment is to fortify Ukraine with the heaviest military equipment such as armored tanks to ensure victory on the battlefield.

As geopolitical analyst Brian Berletic notes, a major problem stands in the way of Rice and Gates’s demand: NATO is running out of weapons. The U.S. produces about 30,000 rounds per year for its 155 mm Howitzer long-range systems, a number that Ukraine uses in just two weeks of fighting Russia on the front lines. Russian missile strikes have made quick work of heavier equipment such as the vaunted HIMARS systems. Only larger NATO states like the U.S. and Germany have anything left to provide. So when Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky came to Congress begging for more weapons, he was likely disappointed in Joe Biden’s remark that the U.S. was not going to make promises to arm Ukraine with anything that could possibly lead to a World War III scenario between NATO and Russia.

Russia’s critical victory in Soledar has only intensified concerns among a major faction in the foreign policy establishment that Ukraine is depleting the U.S.’s capacity to wage war elsewhere. In this regard, no other matter of U.S. “national security” is more important than China. The RAND Corporation, a research arm of the Pentagon, has called China a “peer” competitor and the U.S.’s greatest long-term threat. Joe Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has also called China the greatest threat to the U.S.’s “security.” NATO labeled China a “malicious actor” in the alliance’s latest Strategic Concept document and pledged to play a larger role in curbing the so-called “threats” presented by its rise.

An article penned just after the New Year in Foreign Policy, however, has blown the lid off of any subtleties to the U.S.’s preparations for a war with China. The article features twelve essays from all corners of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Contributors include former Obama-era CIA director and US army commander David Petraeus, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and former Under Secretary of State and Trump-era NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller. Also included are representatives from a litany of think-tanks such as the US government funded Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Their essays cover twelve areas of economic, cyber, military, diplomatic and propaganda warfare. An important thread runs through each contribution: Russia has failed in Ukraine (a fabrication mixed with imperial hubris), making the present moment a perfect opportunity to prepare for an upcoming war in Taiwan against China. Foreign Policy’s chief editor Stefan Theil makes the aim of the article quite clear,

“Drawing the right lessons from the first 10 months of the Russian invasion, then, not only matters for the survival of Ukraine. It is also vital for deterring and preventing a future conflict—and, if necessary, fighting one (emphasis my own). The most obvious potential hot spot and one that involves even greater stakes is, of course, Taiwan.”

Beyond repetitive lip-service to “deterrence,” contributors make concrete suggestions on the best means to wage war with China. David Petraeus’s co-authored piece asserts that:

Ukraine points to the imperative for the United States and its Indo-Pacific allies to prioritize the near-term ability to field large numbers of relatively inexpensive, highly mobile anti-ship and anti-air missiles that can be dispersed and maneuvered throughout the first and second island chains against Beijing’s increasingly formidable naval and air forces. Large quantities of unmanned air, sea, and ground systems can amplify these missiles in the U.S. order of battle.

In other words, the U.S.’s $858 billion military budget needs to grow even larger to meet the challenge of China. Petraeus was directly responsible for targeting weddings and civilian areas during his time leading U.S. forces in Afghanistan, giving him first-hand knowledge of the capabilities of the U.S.’s military arsenal. Former Obama-era NATO Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen backs up Petraeus’s emphasis on pumping weapons into Taiwan, stating “weapons are what counts . . . With the help of its partners [Taiwan] must become a porcupine bristling with armaments to deter any possible attempt to take it by force. China must calculate that the cost of an invasion is simply too high to bear.”

However, Foreign Policy’s war stenographers clarify that preparing for war with China is about much more than weapons. Maria Shagina, research fellow on sanctions at the weapons industry and State Department-funded International Institute for Strategic Studies, argues that the U.S. and its allies should devise a coherent plan of “economic statecraft” against China as soon as possible. Elisabeth Braw of the Carlyle Group-funded American Enterprise Institute proposes that the U.S. and its allies secure control over the information airwaves to ensure citizens “know exactly what to look for” from so-called “subversive” state and non-state actors that counter U.S. and NATO talking points. Of course, these so-called “preparations” are already underway. The U.S. spends hundreds of millions in its information war against China and has recently banned Chinese semiconductor exports to compliment an already wide-ranging economic war on China.

Foreign Policy’s article was part of a flurry indications that the U.S. foreign policy establishment is preparing for war with China. Two days following Foreign Policy’s article, top U.S. General in Japan James Bierman made the stunning admission in the Financial Times that U.S. is “setting the theater of war” by goading China into a Ukraine-style war over Taiwan. The next day, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a war simulation between the U.S. and China over Taiwan. Predictably, the U.S. government concluded that Chinese efforts to invade the island would fail at a great cost to the militaries of all parties. Back in May 2022, The Center for New American Security (CNAS), which is principally funded by military contractors, showcased its own war simulation on NBC’s Meet the Press.

It’s important to note that U.S. war preparations with China have little do with Taiwan specifically. They’re a response to imperial decline and the rise of China and Russia. China and Russia both present their own specific challenges to U.S. hegemony. Russia’s growing sovereignty and political independence from the U.S.-led West has undermined the Wolfowitz Doctrine of full-spectrum dominance over all territory of the former Soviet Union. China’s massive socialist-led market economy is set to surpass the U.S.’s stagnant finance capitalist system in GDP terms by 2035.

Worse for the U.S. is that Russia and China have grown closer together. In economic terms, the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership has grown by leaps and bounds since the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was established in 2001. Bilateral trade is expected to increase by 25 percent and reach a total volume of $200 billion ahead of the 2024 target date. Surging economic ties with China have given Russia further protection from U.S.-E.U. sanctions, with agricultural and energy exports to China increasing by the month. Russia and China have also increased coordination on matters of military coordination, color revolutions, and diplomacy in the face of a common threat: U.S. imperialism.

But perhaps the biggest threat to U.S. hegemony resides in China and Russia’s leadership in the global movement for integration and de-dollarization. China and Russia are the principle leaders of multilateral institutions such as BRICS+ mechanism and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These multilateral institutions set out to strengthen investment in all sectors of economic and social development between participating countries, especially in the realm of finance. In response to starvation U.S.-E.U. sanctions and predatory loans from Western financial institutions, BRICS+ has united the largest Global South economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in an effort to develop an alternative to the U.S. petrodollar-dominated neoliberal economy.

The strength of BRICS+ grew immensely in 2022. Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iran, Argentina, and several other countries expressed interest in or applied to join BRICS+. BRICS+ is complimented by China and Russia’s own integration projects which aim to develop the infrastructure necessary to break free from the petrodollar. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) sports major cooperation agreements with more than 140 countries and consists of at least 2,000 development initiatives, many of which are completed or under construction. Talks of possibly merging Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the BRI are already underway between the two countries.

BRICS leaders take virtual group photo at 14th summit - CGTN

Virtual picture taken of BRICS 2022 Summit hosted by China. Photo credit: CGTN

The same forces preparing for war with China have expressed deep concern about the future of the dollar amid growing Eurasian integration. Foreign Policy admitted in its marathon 12-essay piece that U.S. sanctions have led China to pursue alternatives to the dollar with its trading partners. Zolton Pozsar, an economist and former strategist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, recently sounded the alarm about what he termed “BRICSpansion” and the potential of China, Russia, Iran, and the Global South uniting around a new currency system backed by the wealth of commodities in their possession. Pozsar warns of “commodity encumbrance” or the growing possibility that resource-rich nations like Russia will use their commodities as collateral to increase reserves of credit and financing. China and Saudi Arabia’s interest in trading oil in Chinese yuan, Russia’s pursuit of an international reserve currency, and the idea of “BRICS coin” are presented as major threats to Western financial dominance.

The U.S.’s answer to fading imperial hegemony is war, and more of it. War is an inherent feature of predatory neoliberalism where corporations seek favorable conditions to exploit and plunder the planet’s laboring classes and resources. War is also a permanent, and very profitable, industry dominated by a tiny few military contractors. The ruling elite has calculated that U.S. imperialism cannot compete with China and Russia, making the rise of both an existential threat to the future of U.S.-led neoliberalism and imperialism. This sentiment has been expressed by NATO’s Atlantic Council think-tank and in the U.S.’s successive national security strategies of “Great Power” and “Strategic” Competition.

That U.S. foreign policy strategists and experts are planning for the next war should come as no surprise. U.S. imperialism has does not target singular “enemies.” It targets alternative development models and the nations attempting to build them. The Ukraine proxy war is thus a testing ground for the larger U.S. agenda of imperial expansion. A common condition of peace and prosperity for humanity will depend in large part on undermining of this agenda, particularly within the citadel of imperialism: the United States.

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Featured image: Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2019. Photo credit: Xinhua

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The Future of Humanity Passes by Way of the Family (Part 2 of 2)

Although modern Western society may seem to be crumbling around us, we have cause for hope that there will be a revival of Godly living and healthy family life as people begin to discern the destructive lies of the Sexual Revolution.

This article is Part 2 of 2. Read Part 1 here.

In this second part of her address on October 25, 2022, at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne, American Catholic author and social commentator Mary Eberstadt reminds us that there is always hope, as a look at the history of renewal and reform movements shows.

Mary Eberstadt is the author of many articles on the decline of the family in the West as well as several books, including Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, How the West Really Lost God and Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics.

Never Despair of Renewal

But there is hope. And the case for hope begins, paradoxically, in the social destruction all around us that Humanae Vitae rightly warned about. History shows that social degradation has existed during other eras, often when society was on the verge of great renewal and reform movements.

The so-called “gin alleys” of 18th-century London gave rise to Victorian moral renewal. The United States has been home to a series of religious awakenings sparked by people who wanted to help others live a more human life.

Moral renaissance happens — and it happens all the time, because human nature is not simply animal nature. The U.S. social awakening that became the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s is one more example in which religious conviction challenged a toxic social order; priests and nuns and pastors were on its frontlines.

One more reason for hope is that men and women throughout history have turned to Christianity for refuge and fellowship and a home – because they can’t find refuge and fellowship and a home anywhere else. The same is true today. The overbearing, secularist culture increasingly averse to Christianity is itself drawing people to God.

From the point of view of those who defend the Church, I believe the question of what we are to do amounts to a two-word answer: don’t capitulate. Don’t soft-pedal Church teachings about the family at a time when their truth is being highlighted as never before, including inadvertently.

The arguments for standing tall are several: social, historical, moral, and theological.

First, to the social argument. Even if we were cavalierly and wholly unconcerned with theological truth, backpedalling on the traditional defence of marriage is bad for society. That is why I have emphasised the small mountain of social science out there. The fracturing of the family has empowered the predatory and further hurt the weak, including, most of all, children.

Christians do not want to send the signal that the fate of the weak is a matter of indifference. Nor does the Church want to send the signal to married people who may already be struggling that their sacrifice is now less valuable than has been held for two thousand years.

History Speaks

The historical argument is also clear. The historical fact is that, even if the Church could jettison parts of the moral code, and draw the smiley face that embarrassed Christians would prefer to draw over it, that capitulation would not help the Church. In fact, history shows the opposite: it would hurt the Catholic Church, exactly as it has hurt the Protestant churches that have been running exactly that experiment for decades now.

The churches that did most to loosen up the traditional moral code of Christianity are the same churches that have ended up suffering most for that effort — demographically, financially, morale-wise, and otherwise.

Some are on the brink of actual extinction. As a 2011 article in the Independent put it, speaking the thought for many: “Will the last person to leave the Church of England please turn out the lights?” It is a question into which other church names will soon be substituted.

Conversely, this is not a question anyone asks about certain other churches that have not rejected the traditional moral code, but have instead held it more or less fast — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example; or the traditional-minded evangelical churches; or the Pentecostals; or the Anglican churches of what is now called the Global South.

Succumbing to the temptation to abandon Church teaching about family and sex has also weakened these churches demographically. Ignoring the injunction to be fruitful and multiply has resulted in greying parishioners and empty pews across the Western world. It has weakened them financially, as the failure of worshippers to replace themselves has left those churches with an ever-shrinking base of contributors — the same problem facing the West’s aging welfare states. And it has weakened the same churches in a wider sense of mission and morale.

The moral argument for standing firm likewise could not be more obvious. The Church today is being asked to have mercy on people who struggle when they are living outside the Church’s code, and often in outright defiance of it. But this request for mercy surely must not trump other requests — for starters, mercy towards the children whose lives will be better off if their parents make the continual sacrifice of staying together. Or mercy towards the souls who will be misled, and jeopardised, by authorities who treat sin as if it is not sin.

Cloud of Witnesses

Finally, there is the mercy owed to human beings who are drawn into the Church precisely because of that code itself, who find in it a lifesaver and not a noose, who are firm in the conviction that their own very salvation depends upon it.

These now include former victims of the Sexual Revolution — the walking wounded coming in and out of those proverbial field hospitals, the people who are believers not because they want to jettison the Christian moral code, but because they want to do something more radical: own it. The Church of today and tomorrow is being built more and more by these very witnesses.

Many of these plead openly that the Church keeps being a sign of contradiction. These are witnesses who must be heard at an hour when the Church has put questions of the family front and centre, and who are terribly demoralised when other Christians act as if those moral teachings they bravely defend are on the wrong side of history.

There are people like Anny Donewald, a former prostitute recently profiled in Christianity Today, who has gone on to found a ministry for other women — Eve’s Angels — exploited by the so-called adult entertainment industry. There are organisations like the Catholic group Courage and others that do good, despite the non-stop recriminations aimed at them.

And there are witnesses elsewhere too. I think of two men who attended a conference on the social costs of pornography a few years back. Each testified before scores of strangers about what pornography had cost him personally — mainly, the loss of love. They are witnesses to the wreckage of the Sexual Revolution, and exceptionally courageous ones.

All these men and women and many others like them are living, human signs of contradiction to the times, and most especially to the new intolerance. They are part of the growing coalition of people who defend faith in all its thorniness not because they have known nothing else, but precisely because they do know the Revolution and reject its promises as false.

They have nowhere else to go but the Church — and the Church cannot abandon these people struggling to be redeemed and stay redeemed without ceasing to be the Church.

Christianity has faced enormous obstacles throughout history. The mere fact that the Roman Empire ended up largely Christian speaks to the resilience and suppleness and, it should be said, divine favour of the Church. The success of missionaries in bringing that faith to people who believed differently in almost every language on earth is also testimony to the ability of the faith to speak across time and culture straight to the human heart.

It is also true that, one by one, the overt tormentors of the faithful, and most of all those who claimed to have the mantle of history itself on their shoulders, have themselves ended up as history’s rejects. The Reformation didn’t kill the Church. The French Revolution couldn’t kill the Church. Global Marxism-Leninism, with which Christianity contended over the past century, couldn’t either.

Looked at that way, it may seem absurd to wonder whether the Sexual Revolution could inadvertently accomplish what overt adversaries could not. And yet the question is not so absurd. Unlike communism, the threat posed by the Revolution is not contained within geographical bounds. It operates within Western societies. It is the force that drives every religious-liberty case today, and the many to come — because these cases all amount to a battle over one thing only, which is the Sexual Revolution and the silencing of its critics.

How wonderful that the Church has stood on the right side of this fight unflinchingly, and for so long. What a tragedy it would be for the entire world if at this very moment, Christians themselves were somehow not to understand that vindication of longstanding teaching.

So, let us do everything in our power to tell those truths for the sake of restoring at least some of what has been lost.

Let us celebrate in the right way, and with gratitude, the Church that has done more than any force on earth to protect and defend the structure in which human beings thrive earliest and most: the family.

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Originally published in News Weekly. Photo by Kampus Production.

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