Why did Russia and the West reverse roles?

Russia, the West and persecuted Christians

 

by Don Hank

 

There is evidence that Russia is, for whatever motive, interested in protecting Christians. One article in Interfax bears the title “Putin vows Russia will defend persecuted Christians abroad.”

So how sincere are the Russians? There has been a plethora of commentaries on the subject here in the US, mostly attacking Russia for defending her own interests under the pretext of Christian concerns. Who knows?

But here are some things to contemplate:

1–Even in the atheistic Soviet Union, churches that had been bombed out in the war were lovingly and painstakingly restored, at enormous cost to the nation, as were other places of cultural value. The Russian government may have publicly criticized Christianity, but the Russian people would not have stood for the physical destruction of Russian Orthodox churches. Now, I did visit one such church in Leningrad (name now reverted to Petersburg), which was, sadly, converted to the so-called Museum of Religion and Atheism, a deplorable example of desecration and unveiled blasphemy. But the entire building and its furnishings, including the icons, were in mint condition. Unlike in Mao’s China, traditional things and antiques were not destroyed, quite the opposite.

2–The Russian opposition to Western intervention in Kosovo was also culturally/religiously rooted. The Slavic population there is and was mostly Russian Orthodox, with church services generally being held in Old Church Slavonic, an archaic Slavic dialect universally understood by the clerics. Let us recall the themes of Christian repentance in the novel Crime and Punishment, and the pro-Christian message of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Both books were printed and published in the Soviet Union and were available to the public at low prices throughout much of Soviet history (I know because I bought my copies directly from the Soviet Union, and for a pittance). The name Raskolnikov, the protagonist of the former novel, comes from “raskolniki,” a persecuted Christian sect of 17th Century Russia which stoically suffered excruciating torture for their faith. The Russian soul empathizes with persecuted Christians, particularly those of its own brand, but by extension, with all confessions of Christianity.

4–In both Moscow and Petersburg, mayors have opposed “gay” parades, refusing to issue permits and even arresting those who defied the law to hold the parades. This is as much cultural, related as it is to the Slavic variety of “machismo,” as it is religious. It is difficult to separate the Paulian doctrine on homosexuality (which has never died among the people) from a purely cultural phenomenon, but in denying permits for homosexual events, the local governments were without a doubt appealing to the Russian people’s respect and love of traditional family. Contrast that to Western schools that sell filth and perversion as if they were something divine and cherished.

5–Russia opposed Western intervention in Egypt, Libya and now Syria, specifically voicing concerns over the fate of the Christian population there.

Now you can argue that Russia is only concerned with its own Realpolitik, fearful of its own restless Muslim population and how they will respond to the Syrian outcome, or with economic issues or the like. There might be some truth to that.

But one thing is certain. While Russian officials have had the courage to publicly deplore the plight of Middle East Christians, officials of our own “Christian” nation have said nothing about it during the last 2 decades of Western military intervention and the resulting persecution, banishment and murder of Christians abroad.

For whatever reason or motive, the first is now last and the last is first.

 

Further reading:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=dujour&div=157

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9070

 

Ye shall be deceived and deceit shall make ye free?

 

by Don Hank

The Chinese Daoguang emperor in 1838 tried to oppose the British in their attempt to force opium on the Chinese people. One could say that, in doing so, the emperor was an anti-democratic despot, but he saw that the opium dens were destroying lives and families and turning productive Chinese into blobs of useless humanity — slaves to addiction.

One could also see the British as liberators, but they were anything but: they wanted to force the drug on the Chinese.

This story presents a dilemma for the libertarian because, while they can see the emperor as a despot who should have been overthrown, they can hardly see the British as bearers of the torch of liberty, since they were using force to drug another nation.

Incredibly, today, we have a similar situation. The libertarians have marshaled their forces and vast amounts of money to deceive unsuspecting people into accepting drugs.

The use of deceit is no less undemocratic and despotic than the use of other kinds of force. In fact libertarians decry the use of deceit by the media and major political parties, and they are right to do so. For example, there was a general perception in America after 9-11 that the Iraqis had attacked us. The press had not actually said that, but they implied it by focusing on WMDs and Saddam’s brutality. Libertarians and other thinking citizens cried foul. War based on deceit has left us with a mess in the Middle East.

Yet libertarians use the same deceitful tactics when pushing their pro-drug agenda.

As soon as Holland loosened up its drug laws, libertarians like Gov. Gary Johnson declared Holland to be a model for us all. Yet the truth was that many Dutch were dismayed at the aftermath of this great experiment. Their school kids started to drug themselves and the experiment got out of hand.

http://laiglesforum.com/the-young-pay-the-price-for-dutch-drug-experiment/23.htm

So much so that libertarian leaders backed away from the Dutch model and looked for another. They settled on Portugal, and the libertarian Cato Institute precipitously seized upon a dubious “study” by the Portuguese government that was published a few years into the experiment, claiming that all had worked out fine as planned and drug use was down. Gullible Cato jumped on this without a trace of critical analysis or further research and the world “learned” that drug legalization solves all our drug problems.

It was a lie, and if Cato had wanted to be honest with us, it would have listened to the Portuguese medical doctors who published a study of their own.

http://laiglesforum.com/decriminalization-of-drugs-in-portugal/2666.htm

When any group pretends to be for liberty, but deceives people in order to accomplish its goals, it is doing what the Left and the neocons have always done. Deceit is no substitute for the truth and none of our political parties are actually for freedom.

You, Fellow Citizen, are on your own.

Be careful out there!

Further on drugs:

http://laiglesforum.com/ye-shall-be-deceived-and-deceit-shall-make-ye-free/2969.htm

Breakthrough study suggests not smoking pot or drinking alcohol correlated with better college grades

by Don Hank

 No, actually no such study has made headlines lately. But there is a new study on pot that mediocre students will love.

According to UAB News, Associate professor Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama has discovered, in a longitudinal study of over 5000 marijuana smokers aged 18-30 years, that “marijuana smoke is not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke.” In fact, the research also supposedly showed that occasionally inhaling small amounts of the combustion products of this dried weed can even enhance lung capacity.

That will be good news for our sons and daughters struggling against the ignorance and superstition of our benighted generation in their efforts to supplement their alcohol intake this semester and do so without guilt.

But for me, after reading through the hype and comparing it with the actual abstract of the study, it looks like just another example of research methodology on campus used to achieve a desired result. I am not necessarily impugning the researcher as much as those who seized upon the report with enthusiasm and an uncanny display of uncritical thought. As I have shown here and here, the scientific method (that is, actually looking at data objectively for the sole purpose of finding out the truth, no matter what that may be) has long been out of favor with the media. But as evidenced by the “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, it is none too popular even among a surprising percentage of scientists.

With this realization in mind, and also having read, translated and published (here, for example) a report by Portuguese doctors debunking that government’s study fueling a Cato report “demonstrating” that drug decriminalization “works,” and further, having had a pot-smoking friend – who did not use tobacco – die of lung cancer, I immediately smelled a rat.

Now, let me tell you a little about the profession of foreign language translation, which I have plied successfully full-time for over 40 years. In that time, I have translated medical and scientific texts for about 200 clients, including the American Cancer Society (translating reports from various countries in Europe on smoking and its effects in the induction of cancer, emphysema, “smoker’s leg” and other maladies) and a fair number of drug companies (series of reports on assorted drugs). One of my clients was also the NIH (National Institutes of Health). If you guessed that that agency’s assignments were predominantly medical in nature, you are correct. For a few years of my career, reports on medical studies were the main topic. Caution: I cannot operate on your brain or prescribe liver pills for you. But I will tell you with full confidence: I know the methodology of medical studies. And I know when a research report is pulling my leg.

I can tell you with all sincerity that the media reports on Stefan Kertesz’ studies on marijuana are misleading, and that is being overly generous. Sadly, the report on these studies in UAB News, a publication generally touting successes of persons affiliated with the University of Alabama, is also misleading to say the least. (Which is not necessarily to say that the researcher himself is at fault in this regard).

The headline proclaims: “Marijuana Smoke not as Damaging to Lungs as Cigarette Smoke.” Now, did you immediately assume that the study shows equal amounts of marijuana smoke to be less damaging than equal amounts of tobacco smoke?

I did. Well, I didn’t, but I would have if I had trusted such studies on illegal drugs since I read the Cato report and its thorough rebuttal by the Portuguese MDs who have studied the issue hands-on and met the actual patients (drug users). I have yet to see such a pro-drug study that is not a wide-eyed attempt to justify a bad habit generally endorsed by libertarians and political leftists – who righteously declare drug use of any kind to be a human right that is trampled by most governments generally recognized as legitimate (they think banning anything they like to do is unconstitutional).

So I decided to get a scientific report on the study. Not being a member of AMA, I am not privileged to download articles from JAMA.

However, I was able to obtain for free an abstract of the study from their site.

And lo and behold, what did I find that did not surprise me in the least?

It seems the author has come up with a creative new concept for measuring marijuana smoke exposure. He calls it the “joint year,” and he defines a joint year as 365 joints or filled pipe bowls. He calls this a “moderately high use level.”

Now, of course, in the course of his study, Kertesz no doubt encountered a few subjects who smoked more than these 365 joints per year. But you can see from this definition of a “joint year” that the assumption was for many subjects to have smoked about one joint a day, give or take a few.

One media report quoted the Associated Press as saying that the study:

“…has concluded that smoking cannabis once a week or even more does not harm the lungs.”

The term “even more” is not defined and is therefore meaningless, except as propaganda. But aside from that, if only smoking cannabis once a week is to be compared with what smokers ordinarily do, then the conclusion trumpeted in UAB News (“marijuana smoke is not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke”) does not fly. (Most cigarette smokers smoke more than one cigarette a day. You probably knew that).

Of course, there is an outside chance that Kertesz actually did compare the results of smoking 1 joint a day for year-long periods with the results of smoking 1 cigarette a day for year-long periods, but I found no evidence of that. And I can’t imagine where he would have gotten those one-a-day smokers as test subjects.

But here is the most serious flaw in the report that cannabis is less harmful than cigarette smoke: What do we fear most about smoking? Why, cancer, right? Now, the most convincing studies done by cancer researchers are longitudinal studies done on people over a period long enough to induce cancer. Most are seniors when they are stricken–not in the range of 18-30 as used in the Alabama study. In the papers I translated from the Cancer Society, the most feared carcinogen (cancer causing agent) in cigarette smoke was always said to be benzo(a)pyrene.  Mice whose shaved backs were painted with the stuff got cancer. So if marijuana smoke contains benzo(a)pyrene, then it is carcinogenic, right? Well, to find out, I did a search. One of the sites I brought up was run by people who liked to experiment with drugs. It showed a study by the Institute of Medicine and Health.

It showed results of a chemical analysis of cigarette and marijuana smokes. You’ll never guess which smoke contained the most benzo(a)pyrene.

No, not cigarette smoke, which prompted the government to sue the cigarette industry for billions. It was the smoke that Bill Clinton said he never inhaled. Here are the results:

benzo(a)pyrene

marijuana: 31 ng

tobacco: 22 ng

Gee, marijuana contains about a third more of the chief carcinogen than cigarettes and our University of Alabama news letter declares marijuana smoke to the “less damaging.”

I predict that sometime in the not-too-distant future, after all this hype about the harmlessness of marijuana has taken its toll, persuading legions of gullible young people to indulge in this “safe” habit, someone in medical science with high powers of observation and the courage to swim upstream will do a study on marijuana smokers and cancer and discover that the older heavier users are getting lung cancer right and left. 

At any rate, I will not be advising either of my kids to smoke a joint a day while in college. However, I may tell them to study as hard as they can in a down economy when an alarmingly high percentage of graduates are failing to find jobs in their professions and are saddled for years with college loan payments.

You’d think some researcher somewhere would find the time to study the correlation between not smoking anything at all and not drinking alcohol on student grade levels and chances of graduating from college, as contrasted with a control group of students who indulge in these practices.

I won’t hold my breath for such a breakthrough study. Nor will I expect much improvement in the academic performance of US students over the next few years. At least not judging by their role models on campus.

You can contact Dr. Stefan Kertesz, the author of the Alabama pot report and encourage him to do a study among elderly persons who have smoked pot most of their lives. Tell him you would expect to see a strong correlation between lung cancer and heavy pot use:

skertesz@uab.edu

And you can contact the writer of the above mentioned article on marijuana at U. of Alabama and let her know your thoughts (or send her a link to this article):

jpark@uab.edu

 

If you like my stuff on here, you may want to be added to my regular list receiving my unpublished commentary and reader responses thereto, which goes out once or several times a day. If so, just email me at: zoilandon@msn.com

 

A day of reckoning is coming

by Don Hank

A recent article by Bob Unruh in WND shows how states are fighting back against federal encroachment – in the case in question, by declaring themselves unwilling to comply with federal detention orders under NDAA. This quiet revolution is merely an extension of other local and state muscle flexing, such as the pushback in Arizona by the state legislature and by Sheriff Arpaio, and the tough anti-invasion law in Alabama.

But I think this could be just the beginning.

The federal government has created a network of vested interests to keep the states in line, all long after the writing of the Federalist Papers and the Constitution, designed to prevent federal abuses. The biggest club they have created is grants to states. Every state gets millions of your and my money, duly shrunken after passing through the sticky fingers of Congress. This money is nothing more than a bribe, a cheap trick to make states grovel and behave like good little slaves. It has worked well thus far. And the money club is not the only weapon in the federal arsenal in its war on the states and the citizens. Obama has shown that states who fail to fall in line behind the dictator in chief don’t get needed non-monetary aid either. Texas, always a renegade stand-alone state, recently watched as its forests were reduced to cinders for lack of much-needed federal help, which eventually arrived after it was rather late.

Arizona saw a lawsuit filed against it by the lawyer in chief, who even went crying to the UN to help subdue the big bad Brewer. And some of the lower southern states found that, after they had sullied Big Daddy Washington, the illegal alien criminals and hit-and-run perps it turned in to ICE were no longer being dealt with. Some came back and killed and raped. That was the states’ payback for not liking the jackboot.

But what if:

What if the states turned the tables on the feds?

I mean, where did this federal money and power come from in the first place?

Why the people of the various and sundry states who pay taxes.

Now, what if the good people of the abused states got together and made a law that prohibited state citizens from paying the entire amount of the federal taxes in those instances when the feds were playing these dirty games? What if they were enjoined to withhold a certain percentage or a set amount corresponding to an estimate of the losses incurred?

What if the states calculated the amount of money it would take to incarcerate lawbreakers who were allowed by the feds to sneak into their state and cause trouble? And what if the states explicitly deducted this amount from the amount their state citizens were bound to pay to the feds?

What if they made it illegal for citizens of that state to pay the federal tax amount that, according to the calculations of the state comptroller generals, was owed them by the feds for dereliction of duty?

Suppose they calculated that X number of illegal aliens had entered their state as a direct result of the federal government’s failure to station an adequate number of border guards and provide them with the necessary equipment and training, and further, as a partial result of their hamstringing them with unreasonable rules of engagement and jailing those who failed to comply with said unreasonable rules.

Suppose they calculated the amount of damage to the state of improperly providing federal aid to people who repeatedly built their homes in areas repeatedly stricken by natural disasters — and then billed the feds for this?

Suppose they calculated the probable number of Mexicans fleeing their homes and entering their state due to AG Holder’s dirty game of Fast and Furious and the amount of money and human life this probably cost in that state?

Suppose they collected this money by the same method, forbidding their citizens to pay this amount to the fed and funneling it to state coffers instead.

And suppose some of the non-border states used a percentage of this money saved to help border states beef up their border security and pay for the detention and return of illegal alien criminals.

And suppose they blew off any unconstitutional and arbitrary federal laws in their state affairs that “prohibited” them from returning illegal aliens on their own? Without the intermediary of ICE, for example. A series of contiguous states could set up a kind of reverse “Underground Railroad” to return criminal aliens to Mexico.

Now, certainly some will say this is carrying things a bit too far.

Oh really?

Did you know what Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution says? Read it for yourself:

 … and [The United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence

The extent of the invasion of Mexican cartels is a well kept secret.

But there are numerous credible reports by people living in the border area showing that some areas are no longer safe for Americans to enter or live.

The Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona has areas that are closed off because the cartel has completely taken them over.

These situations fit anyone’s definition of an invasion. And the damage done by Latin gangs and drug dealers everywhere is certainly domestic violence, all traceable to a porous southern border, thanks to a negligent central government itching for a come-uppance.

The US Constitution is a contract between the States and Washington. In all of contract law, there is give and take. (Contracts with only “take” are deemed unlawful, as in the case of prenups). Each of the parties to the contract is both beneficiary and provider of rights. Whenever one party reneges on part of the contract, the counterparty who is hurt by this has a right to deny a corresponding part of its contribution to the bargain.

The states have not reneged in any way. They are a compliant partner. The US government, on the other hand, has completely reneged on parts of its contract — particularly its duty to protect the States against invasion but also with regard to undeclared — and hence unlawful — wars against countries that are not an enemy in any traditionally accepted respect, or the NDAA, which permits the federal government to detain Americans without charges or evidence. It must expect consequences, and if it won’t hold up its part of the agreement, then at least part of the agreement intended to benefit it is null and void by law.

There are 2 main things keeping the States as a counterparty from declaring part of the bargain null and void despite flagrant federal breach of contract:

1—Lack of knowledge of the law and how it applies to the parties.

2—Lack of will.

It is only a matter of time before all the states affected by the Federal government’s failure to perform its duty will understand that they are on the right side of the law and the fed is clearly in non-performance of its contract.

And in our economic crisis, as states find themselves increasingly strapped for cash, laying off employees, halting public works and closing down offices, they will eventually reach a point of desperation when a strategy such as I have outlined above will appear, if not attractive, then at least inevitable.