Archives For February 2020

Australia’s ASIO security chief, Mike Burgess presented the Director-General’s Annual Threat Assessment on Monday. The assessment laid out ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’ about national security, and the issues it views as threats to Australians both internally and externally.

Burgess didn’t mess around, stating from the start that he wanted ‘to move beyond the bureaucratic language of annual reports and help everyone understand the significant threats we see directed at Australia and Australians.’

The director spoke pointedly about the increasing challenges technology posed to the organizations ability to do what it does successfully. Adding that ASIO seeks to find a balance between the ‘need for new powers and privacy’, and how new laws have allowed ASIO to effectively keep up with these challenges, giving ASIO a sharper edge and ability to respond to these challenges with ‘energy and purpose.’

Burgess reminded Australians that ASIO’s ‘number one mission is to protect Australians from threats to their lives’, saying that the ‘terrorist threat remains PROBABLE [sic.]; and that it will remain unacceptably high for the foreseeable future.’ The ASIO Director made it clear terrorist elements are still ‘plotting to harm Australians; some occurring in small cells.’

Burgess noted that equally concerning is ‘the ease with which terrorists continue to use the internet to spread hateful messages, radicalize people to their cause and provide how-to-advice on committing atrocities against Australians.’ He followed this up by stating that he finds the ‘streams of hate spread across the internet by extremists of every ideology’ particularly troubling, where ‘extremists are trying to recruit children as young as 13 or 14.’ He then added that ‘violent Islamic extremism, e.g.: the type embodied by Islamic State and al’Qaida’  et.al. ‘remain ASIOs principle concern.’

Burgess’ assessment wasn’t sugar-coated, he pointed out that ‘there are now more Islamic extremists from more countries active in more places than ever before.’ He then spoke on what he called ‘other operators entering the ‘terrorism arena’, stating that the Christchurch shooting ‘had brought right-wing extremism into sharp focus.’ He labeled this ‘extreme right-wing threat real’, saying that it was on the rise in suburbs where small cells meet to salute Nazi flags inspect weapons, train in combat and share hateful ideology.’

While acknowledging the ‘low capability’ of any extreme right-wing terrorist attack, Burgess didn’t rule out the possibility of more ‘sophisticated attacks.’ Building on this he discussed the issue of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’, espionage, foreign interference, and the threat posed by extremists who are being released from prison. According to Burgess, ‘foreign espionage and interference activities are higher now, than it was at the height of the cold war.’

In his address, the ASIO director mentioned that the organization has ‘uncovered cases where foreign spies have travelled to Australia with the intention of setting up sophisticated hacking infrastructure targeting computers containing sensitive and classified information.’ Burgess also stated that ‘we’ve seen visiting scientists and academics ingratiating themselves into university life with the aim of conducting clandestine intelligence collection’ – adding that ‘this strikes at the very heart of our notions of free and fair academic exchange.’

Media responses to the threat assessment have been varied.

The Australian highlighted chief points made by the ASIO security director. Its headline read: ‘Spy Boss Comes out of the Shadows.’ The article summed up ‘Mr. Burgess’ threat stock-take, and acknowledged how the ASIO director didn’t flinch in calling out Islamic extremism, as being the No.1 concern; that the threat of espionage was far and away the most serious issue going forward.’ The article drew from The Australian’s Greg Sheridan who ‘argued on Tuesday that ASIO’s assessment showed “those folks who say that Chinese government is being demonized in Australian security discussions are simply refusing to face reality.’

The ABC went an entirely different route. Taking the opportunity to deflect the heat away from Muslims and the Chinese, The ABC  appeared to launch an opportunistic and subtle attack on anything and everything right-wing, the 1 billion dollar tax-payer funded organization choosing to run with the headline: ‘Neo-Nazis among Australia’s most challenging security threats, ASIO Boss Mike Burgess warns.

While The ABC was generous enough to note Burgess’ comments about ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’, adding a brief mention of Islamic Terrorism, and tacking a note on at the end, acknowledging China as the ‘main culprit’, the tax-payer funded behemoth chose instead to focus its attention on the small fish. This is despite the ASIO Director having very clearly stated that ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’ are related to Islamic Terrorism, and foreign interference, not just externally, but within Australia, particularly Australian Universities.

Greens senator, Mehreen Faruqi appeared to do the same. Faruqi selectively responded on Twitter to comments from Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, who answered a reporter’s question about neo-Nazism, saying,

“If somebody is going to cause harm to Australians, I just don’t care whether they’re on the far right, far left, somewhere in between, they will be dealt with…and if the proliferation of information into the hands of rightwing lunatics or leftwing lunatics is leading to a threat in our country, then my responsibility is to make sure our agencies are dealing with it and they are.”

The Greens senator seemed to deliberately misconstrue Dutton’s comments, in what could rightly be viewed as an attempt to tar and feather the Minister as a right-wing extremist.

By 9:28 pm on the same day the Greens Senator had deleted her comments, and posted this apology:

Burgess’ delivery of the Director-General’s Annual Threat Assessment was straight to the point. The Home Affairs Ministers, and ASIO security chief didn’t play with semantics, seek to placate dishonest critics, or use the assessment as a political football. They called a spade a spade. It was impossible to misunderstand him, or Peter Dutton. In not passing on that information to the Australian public correctly, and in its proper context, The ABC and Greens Senator Faruqi have placed their own self-righteous, ideological, political posturing over against the safety of the Australian public they are funded by tax-payers to serve.


References:

FULL transcript of Mike Burgess’ Annual National Security Assessment.

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th February, 2020.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash  cropped and edited by me.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

George Soros sent in a brief letter to the Financial Times, calling for the removal of Facebook’s CEO and COO, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Soros claims that Zuckerberg, who hasn’t followed Twitter in banning all political advertising, is helping Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in a ‘kind of mutual assistance arrangement with D.T.’ Soros goes on to demand Facebook take action stating, ‘Mark Zuckerberg should be removed from control of Facebook.’

The F.T. posted a copy and paste transcript of Soros’ proposition yesterday. Notably absent from the article was the lack of an introduction, and commentary from FT staff. The transcript was also published without any screenshot, or scanned image of the actual letter, which is strange for publishers who desire to maintain a rigorous level of journalism. Not validating the source of the original letter, casts doubt on its authenticity. However, if urban legend about the power of George Soros is to be believed, it’s possible this is how he intended it, and is exactly how he wanted the letter to be presented.

This isn’t the first time Soros has gone public with his desire to see the current leadership of Facebook face the business world equivalent of a firing squad.

He penned an article for the New York Times, published on the 31st January, arguing that Zuckerberg is engaged in a quid pro quo deal with Trump. As Soros sees it: the deal involves Trump protecting Facebook from government control, and in return Zuckerberg helps get Trump re-elected in 2020.

As evidence (and it’s flimsy), Soros went back to 2016, saying that ‘Facebook provided the Trump campaign with embedded staff who helped to optimize its advertising program. (Doing what Hilary Clinton’s election team declined to do).’ According to Soros, ‘Facebook gave Trump an edge, marking the beginning of a special relationship.’ He then stated that a recent meeting between Trump and Zuckerberg, ‘raised serious questions’.

The billionaire also accused Zuckerberg of only wanting to make a profit. Claiming that under Zuckerberg’s leadership Facebook was only about ‘making money’, not caring about ‘inflammatory and false content, and failing to adequately punish those who spread false information – nor does the company warn those who are exposed to lies.’

Note that Soros never mentions Facebook’s existing fact checking mechanisms when he claims Facebook isn’t doing them. Neither does Soros provide adequate examples or definitions of the terms he’s using. Perhaps what Soros means is that Facebook isn’t fact checking and blocking content that challenges his ideology, or content that he might arbitrarily consider to be false, hateful, phobic, bigoted etc.

The whole thing reeks of desperation. It’s an anti-Trump political manoeuvre. It has little to do with Facebook, and more to do with Soros’ unresolved issues over Hilary Clinton losing what was considered to be an unlosable election. If anything raises serious questions, it’s his inquisition of Trump and Zuckerberg. When a billionaire such as Soros cries victim wisdom should prompt us to ask why. There’s no doubt Soros lost money, and a special level of power because of Clinton’s election loss.

Trump isn’t protecting Facebook, Zuckerberg is. The CEO is doing what he’s paid to do. He is acting in the best interests of his customers, and company, not power-hungry would-be overlords, who think the world owes total allegiance to them, and their ideology.

Soros’ bizarre fiat shows that Zuckerberg is on the right track. This is probably why Soros wants his head. Zuckerberg is no longer buying what Soros is selling. Take for instance, Zuckerberg’s recent defence of free speech and the reforms he’s attempted to implement. They protect Facebook from the Left’s creeping arbitrary control of free speech, by labelling all opposing viewpoints as “hate speech”. Add to this the Left’s creeping arbitrary control over who is good and who is evil.

Zuckerberg appears to be diverging from the pre-approved narrative of leftism, and their zero-sum practice of achieving political goals, which only serve the interests of those who advocate political correctness, abortion, euthanasia, open borders, the imposition of new cultural laws via the LGBT religion, policing speech, thought and undermining the Biblical Christian foundation of Western Civilisation et.al.

As a result of Zuckerberg’s pro-free speech reform, Soros has called for a mutiny at Facebook. Instead of entering into a dialogue with Zuckerberg, Soros has gone behind his back in an attempt to remove him by proxy. One should ask, how this is not another coup attempt, in line with the now proven, Russian Collision hoax, and lies surrounding the attempt to impeach Trump. Soros, it would appear, is on the war path, and is seeking to take command of what he deems to be his enemy’s central communications hub.

Soros’ arrogance in presuming to control what happens at Facebook, must be blinding him to how much his reasoning and persistent demands here, confirm what many have suspected. That a) He’s too close to the Clinton’s b) He has far too much power and reach c) He funds Leftist divisive politics. Soros deliberately trying to undermine the CEO of an independent company, potentially putting that company and its employees at risk, would be enough evidence to support this.

Ironically, regardless of whether Facebook removes its CEO and COO under Soros-fiat, what he has achieved here is the opposite of what he intended. Soros has negated his questionable accusations against Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg by exposing himself as the real villain; a divisive manipulator, stamping up and down in frustration because he and others like him didn’t get their own way in October 2016. An event that, despite the lies, false accusations and hostile, undemocratic interference, coming from Soros’ own side of politics, looks set to, thankfully, repeat itself again in October, 2020.


References:

See hyperlinks embedded within the article.

First published on Caldron Pool, 19th February, 2020.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

The closing remark from The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen, in writing on the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s (ASIC) quest for more judicial power through ‘new fairness laws’, made a pointed case about the danger of being ruled by fiat and whim of the bureaucratic caste.

Citing NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Albrechtsen argued that vague edicts – based on ‘ill-defined and poorly understood laws that we imagine reflect “the moral conscience of society” – mean ‘we will be ruled by lawyers not the rule of law.’ In other words, the danger before us is a society enslaved to an interpreter’s ability to interpret vague or ambiguous laws; meaning in a nutshell that subjective moralism, not objective morality, as handed down to English common law through Biblical Christianity, rules the day.

Albrechtsen labelled ASIC’s push for ‘new [fairness] laws’ a case of ‘bureaucrats expanding their unelected empires.’ Adding to this, Albrechtsen stated, Bathurst ‘warned that lawyers who favoured these kinds of laws could lose sight of whether the laws actually worked.’ This is because fairness isn’t easily defined and ‘people need clear, precise laws so they can identify, in advance, whether a particular act or arrangement will be [in] breach of [those] laws.’

In sum, Albrechtsen called for these new “fairness” laws to be rejected. For the reason, that implementing laws based on subjective whims, and uncertain notions about the current moral consciousness of society, leads to government overreach, and oppression or the ability to oppress. This is achieved through reckless, reactionary and unclear laws. The kinds of laws, that Albrechtsen accurately states, only serves the unelected bureaucratic caste and their socio-political interests. Simply put: ‘laws based on an ambiguous idea of fairness is bad for democracy.’ Ergo, these should be rejected.

To understand how Albrechtsen’s closing remark applies to this broader context, it pays to look at how her broadside against ASIC’s apparent quest for more power, hits on an issue that not only applies to ASIC’s request for “new fairness laws”, but to the broader context of hostile activism, and the quest to appear virtuous under the banner of social justice warrior.

We the people, as a society of free men and women, bearing the duties and responsibilities that such freedom requires, will indeed rue the day where we, out of ignorance and complacency, find ourselves under the thumb of a bloated, virtue signalling bureaucracy, issuing gaol terms or death sentences for perceived crimes committed under ambiguous terms such as “love is love”, “hate speech”, “white-privilege” and “micro-aggressions”.

To lean on Jean Bethke Elshtain and her paraphrasing of Vaclav Havel [i], “when human beings play God, the wreckage grows. In this mode, the human being finds himself in the “rut of totalitarian thought, where he is not his own and where he surrenders his own reason and conscience for the sake of another uninhabitable fiction! As long as that goal is served, it is not important whether we call that fiction ‘human well-being’, ‘socialism’ or ‘peace’. He or she lives within a lie as the self is given over to the “social auto-totality” [i.e.: he or she becomes both victim of the system and its instrument]; identity is surrendered and responsibility falters. A totalitarian society counts on this, requires it.”

To expand upon Albrechtsen’s closing remarks, woe to us if we’re ever governed by this subjective man-made system of salvation and condemnation, where we are governed by the fiats and whims of lawyers, and hostile leftist activism, instead of the rule of law.


References:

[i] Vaclav Havel was a survivor. He participated in the resistance movement during the Soviet led, Warsaw Pact, and invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was an anti-communist dissident and former president.

Albrechtsen, J. 2020, ‘Fairness’ The New Frontier For a Failing Regulator, The Australian, Wednesday 12th February.

Elshtain, J.B. 1995, Democracy On Trial, Basic Books

Havel, V. 1987, Living In Truth, Faber and Faber

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th February 2020.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

The Australian Associated Press reported yesterday that Western Australia’s Labor government is proposing no-go, exclusion zones, around abortion “clinics.” This would be on top of existing conditions and limitations which require public gatherings of groups to acquire a physical permit from Police, who vet the application and approve it under the ‘Public Order in Streets Act 1984.’

Permits and protections under this act include up to $2000 fines for any deliberate breach of conditions which apply to the permit. Such as: ‘a) serious public disorder, or damage to public or private property; b) creating  a public nuisance c) obstructing traffic or streets d) placing the safety of any person in jeopardy.’ [i]

According to Western Australian Police, existing conditions and limitations apply to ‘individuals, community groups, religious groups, trade unions, RSL sub-branches ect for the purpose of public meetings where three or more persons communicate, express or procure a view where members of the public has [sic.] access or are invited.’

Labor’s proposed legislation will place further limits on law-abiding pro-life organizations. This would be a further erosion of civil liberties, punishing those who already strictly adhere to current parameters of the law; and negatively impacting the care for unborn children, and their pregnant mothers these ministries serve.

With this adherence to the current conditions and limitations under the 1984 act, the proposal makes no sense. In a leaflet produced by FamilyVoice Australia, Steve Klomp, President of Right to Life Association of W.A. stated that ‘since the pro-life vigil came to W.A. fifteen years ago there have been no arrests, let alone convictions of wrong doing, of any attendee.’

As reported by the AAP and carried, verbatim, by most of mainstream Australian media, Labor’s Western Australian Health Minister, Roger Cook stated,

“we will be moving as steadily as possible to legislate this important law, to make sure we protect the privacy and the dignity of people who are coming to abortion clinics and the staff.”

I imagine German villagers upon seeing furnace chimney’s, with black smoke drifting up into the sky, used a similar dismissal in defense of their own willful ignorance and allegiance to the prevailing ideology of the day.

In defending the alleged need for, what amounts to more government oversight, Cook argued that “Abortion is a legal process, it’s a very private process and it’s one that people should be able to undertake without the fear of being harassed.”

However, according to FamilyVoice, the health minister, and the W.A Labor government ‘never provided verifiable examples’ of where harassment has occurred, or where “protesters have been hurling around abuse” near abortion clinics.

This all appears to be a straw man argument concocted by the Labor government, in order to manipulate an outcome in their favor. To put it bluntly: it looks a whole lot like more of the same-old leftist, Trojan horse, packed with its reactionary, witches brew legislation, and its usual ignorant anti-Christian virtue signaling veneer.

For example, FamilyVoice noted that the ‘discussion paper only cites two abortion clinic directors, who allege “anxiety” and “distress” and it proposes extending exclusion zones to hospitals.’ In addition, FamilyVoice’s W.A State Director, Daryl Budge, pointed out that the government has declined to release any of the submissions to the public inquiry, stating “the government wants to deliberately silence the arguments against this censorship zone.”

He rightly called the bill a ‘proposal to restrict free speech’; and was correct in arguing that the proposed legislation was ‘unnecessary, because police already have the power to regulate public gatherings in the public interest and they can intervene if unlawful harassment occurs.’

The proposed legislation is government overreach. Designed to protect an ideology and the feelings of the servants it has enslaved, which means that they’ll steamroll anyone who opposes them, and do so with the full force of government, against whomever, wherever and whenever they can.

Protecting women under the guise of “abortion is healthcare” hides bloody slaughter of its victims. All of whom are silenced by legislation like this. If the average Australian thinks that these creeping, blood-lust, laws which empower the state to justify killing, will not, one day, affect them, then there has never been a more urgent need to revisit the history of mid-20th Century Germany, and Russia, from 1917 up until the Gorbachev reforms, and the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1989.

Believing that the violent disruption of a woman’s pregnancy and the brutal end to a child’s life inside the womb is a “medical procedure” or “healthcare” is entertaining the abuse of language. By doing so participants are borrowing from the same playbook as Nazi propagandists, who called the group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers: the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care.

As Right to Life’s Klomp said via FamilyVoice: “you are free [from] such legislation if you pray to end farming, or if you protect trees or puppies, sharks or chickens, but not if you want to defend a child.”

The proposed exclusion zone bill is a farce. It should be rejected.

(For more information contact FamilyVoice Australia, or Right to Life WA).


References:

[i] Public order in Streets Act 1984, W.A {hyperlinked}

First published on Caldron Pool, 12th February, 2020

Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

I’m not one of the beautiful people
(Front row seats are for people without broken feet);
The charmers, greasy grinners, snake-oil cliques.

I know my place, it’s in the shadows
The darkened corners of polished sanctuaries
I’m the too-hard-basket-case;
Reluctantly delegated space.

Thus, my light-less sanatorium,
My assigned placed in the Saint’s auditorium.
Distanced like a plague survivor
Because the horror of my past existence
Pierces these pews;
Turns up the noses of the middle-class,
As though I’m as putrid as a witch’s brew.

Exiled to an asylum,
High society’s life sentence for uninvited suffering.
I’m the brother of Quasimodo, and Monte Cristo,
Of priest and ashes, both betrayed and abandoned.
But as long as we stay in the dark,
We’re sure to be quietly welcomed.

My story too deep!
It’s to be quickly dismissed,
Even though I know what it feels like to
Be held by grace over the abyss.

I understand this too.

I’m not one of the beautiful people.
Sometimes the past still bleeds:
Pebbles of blood, drop from inwardly formed,
Grotesque scars which sometimes unexpectedly seep,
These old wounds make others uncomfortable,
Emotional vomit from them unavoidable.

And so the steeple chimes,
As the mechanism claps in time
The production begins,
The show. The politics. The pretence and cheers.

But in this dark corner there are no celebrities,
The broken, are not broken in.
The bruised, broke, and bent
All kneel, instead with cries of lament
All seem to be more aware of their own sin.
Cohen’s hymn of cracked glass, and ‘how the light gets in.’

Just like Lazarus we’re all carefully seated,
Assigned to rows without names,
Easily overlooked, seldom greeted.
We who don this imposed darkened gown,
Are met with suspicion, and sometimes with frowns.

I’m not one of the beautiful people.
but my name is written down by Christ through His blood.
Where I’ve been healed beyond measure,
By God’s undying Fatherly love.
Though meant to distance them from us,
My darkened corner
Appears to have saved us from them.
Which is why I’m not all that surprised when I hear people say,
“I’m thankful that Jesus is bigger than Sunday.”


Photo by Adam Bixby on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

NASA’s social media news feeds were flooded with images of astronaut, Christina Koch, today, as NASA celebrated her return to earth. The American astronaut landed safely via the Soyuz MS-13 capsule in Kazakhstan. Koch, 41, spent a record 328 days in space, marking the longest ever spaceflight achieved by a woman.

U.S. Navy Captain and former Astronaut Scott Kelly broke the men’s record in 2015, spending a total number of 340 days on the International Space Station.

On her official Twitter page yesterday, before leaving the I.S.S, Christina said that the thing she’ll miss ‘the exquisite beauty of the planet Earth and this marvel its people created.’ This was followed by post today saying ‘this journey has been everyone’s journey. Thank you to all involved in the success of our mission, and for giving me the opportunity to carry everyone’s dreams into space. I’m filled with gratitude to be back on the planet!’

ABC Australia noted the gender specific achievement, stating that Koch ‘achieved a gender milestone in a relatively routine spacewalk with fellow astronaut, Jessica Meir last October, that marked the first time two women had stepped out of the space station at the same time.’ This was followed by two more space walks in January.

However, not everyone was in a celebratory mood. Christian Davenport of the Washington Post griped about Russia having to be paid $80 million dollars a seat in order to send American astronauts into space, and reminded readers that the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was right next to the ‘site of an infamous Soviet-era Gulag labor camp.’ Equating the Soyuz spacecraft with a ‘surreal relic of some science fiction flick’, he didn’t stop there.

Ignoring Koch’s acknowledgement of the support and opportunity afforded to her (and also Jessica Meir), Davenport inserted a few paragraphs complaining about gender equality, asserting that ‘women remain an overwhelming minority at NASA, and in the aerospace industry as a whole.’

All despite his acknowledgement of astronauts Koch, Meir, Peggy Whitson, former NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, and that NASA ‘no longer officially uses the terms “manned” or “unmanned” and has updated its style guide to say that “all references to the space program should be non-gender specific (e.g. human, piloted, unpiloted, robotic as opposed to manned or unmanned).”

Revealing the perpetually angry, joyless, ravenous nature of “woke” ideology, it seems that the “woke” Washington Post couldn’t help themselves. Instead of just celebrating the opportunity, support and subsequent achievement, WaPo chose to use Koch and her achievement as an excuse to push more radical feminist manipulative propaganda, complete with its “not good enough” tantrums, and whip statements. By doing so, WaPo joined the ABC in affirming binary gender.

Not everyone on social media was as celebratory either. While most honoured the achievement celebrating what women can do, some criticised the cost, and others used the gender specific “womankind” (instead of the more “woke”, “peoplekind” or “humankind”). Then there were others who were a little more in line with the LGTB religion’s “wokeness” on gender fluidity.

Commenting on NASA’s Instragam post celebrating Koch’s return to earth, one user exclaimed: “What the absolute HELL does being a woman or man have to do with this at all?!”

To which, probably unaware that they were committing a crime against “wokeness”; or like Israel Folau, and Margaret Court, apparently putting young LGBT lives at risk by affirming binary gender (male and female biology), and not the LGBT religion’s 62+ genders, NASA replied,

“Great question! With plans to embark on long-duration spaceflights to the Moon and Mars, we need to understand how the human body adjusts to things like weightlessness, radiation, bone density loss and more. Thanks to former astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in space. Experiment, we’ve been able to observe these changes on a biological male. Now, thanks to Christina’s mission, we are able to observe these changes on a biological female.”

 

NASA hasn’t been quickly slammed for this brilliant, and brave, response in the same way the Christian hospitality industry, “no” to SSM voters, Israel Folau and Margret Court have been for asserting biological scientifically verified fact.

The political climate, however, forces us to ask, how long? How long will it be until even NASA is paralysed by political correctness, and forced to abandon or distort its work with science in the name of “wokeness”, in allegiance to Leftist ideology?

The LGBT religion’s rejection of biology, and physiology; its rejection of the man for woman, woman for man relationship, and its denying a child the right to be raised and loved by both a father and mother, or protecting the child from “gender whisperers”, contradicts gender equality. It’s here that Davenport’s criticisms of NASA’s lack of inclusion better fits criticism of the LGBT religion’s exclusion of others based on gender, or views; its “stick to your own kind, never the two shall meet”, malicious and “alien” false doctrines.

Jean Bethke Elshtain once said, ‘we either embrace caritas – the love from, of and for God, and the love of neighbour, or we are enslaved by cupiditas – a drive for more pleasure, more money, more power…’ [i]

Progress that ejects reason, and rejects a faith which seeks understanding, leads to something akin to the “woke” mob rule of Plato’s cave. It blinds, kills, devours, maims, and keeps to a selfish, established status quo, trapped by flawed human ideas, and pinned down to the floor, by chains made from the fabric of feelings over facts.  Here there is no advancement of humanity together as man for woman, woman for man – only the desperate, unrepentant and tyrannical desolation painted by P.D. James in ‘The Children of Men’.

It doesn’t liberate, but instead rejects genuine liberation. This is illustrated by Roger Scruton in ‘Confessions of Heretic’: ‘The tragedy of King Lear begins when the real people are driven out by the fakes.’ (2016, p.2).

As I wrote a few days ago, pre-Christian paganism masquerades itself as post-Christian freedom.

By embracing caritas here, we can reject the chains of cupiditas, and the mostly self-inflicted tragedy of Old King Lear. We can celebrate this achievement and the science involved, not as woman under man, or man under woman, but man for woman, woman for man. All else is warmongering.

This means keeping science and faith free of toxic ideologies, allowing us to be free to celebrate actual achievements in an honest way, without fear of dishonest critics doing their best place themselves as lords over the rest.

Well done, Christiana Koch! Well done, NASA!


References:

[i] Elshtain, J.B. 2008. Sovereignty: God, State and Self, Basic Books (p.9)

First published on Caldron Pool, 8th February, 2020.

Photo by Adam Miller on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

The only good things to be said about the burlesque ambush of the NFL Superbowl LIV’s halftime show, is that Shakira’s and Jennifer Lopez’s vocal talent hasn’t waned, the stage effects were well coordinated and the choreography never missed a beat.

Beyond this, the scant clothing, right down to the provocative dance moves, presented another “sex sells” exhibit, displaying how far the overt sexualisation of Western culture has taken society back to a pre-Christian paganism, with its excesses and its abuses.

The principal message being sent to women by the 15 minute segment is twofold. First, if you haven’t got the sex appeal to sell talent, talent is useless. Second, provocative dance and stripping before cameras is where the money’s at.

On the outside, the principal message being conveyed to men is that the objectification of women is okay, just as long you’re willing to pay handsomely for it.

Franklin Graham was among the first to raise concerns about the overt nature of the event and its consequences:

Pastor Bob Beeman, founder of the heavy metal ministry, Sanctuary International, usually cautious in his agreement with the criticism of culture by some American Evangelicals, boldly declared:

“The Super Bowl half time show was very disturbing. With so many families watching all over the world, where is the outcry? Have we really become that desensitized? We used to call that pornographic. You can’t “unsee” that. Catering to the lust of male Super Bowl fans, and continuing the degradation of women everywhere!
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16″

Likewise, Ryan Bomberger, Co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, stated:

“Unfortunately the halftime show ‘proved that cultural identification is apparently more important than character formation. Latino culture was not celebrated last night; it was exploited. Flashing and grabbing your crotch isn’t empowerment, no matter the “culture”. As a father of two girls and two boys, I want them to understand that their God-given equality, dignity and worth should be used to evoke love not elicit lust. (I understand this is my Christian worldview, and I can’t expect the world to share it; but fellow Christians *should*.) Funny how in this #MeToo era, entertainers seem to vie to be as naked and as sexual as possible–not on a director’s couch–but in front of over a hundred million sets of eyes. J-Lo, Shakira and the #NFL let down a generation of girls and boys who deserve so much better than the fake feminism on full display last night.’”

I’m not prescribing a return to a repressive, idea of Puritanism. Even though the idea of the Puritans being prudish, instead of prudent, is based on a misrepresentation, brought about by the post-modern disregard for history, which makes history too easily forgotten.

I’m simply stating that what people like to call post-Christian, is more a regression back towards the pre-Christian. Its deification of self and its subjugation of humanity to the idols of the old pagan world: money, sex and power.

Celebrity endorsement as a means to service an economic, social or political end is not a new phenomenon. Thomas Doherty calls this

‘the politics of celebrity’, writing that the ‘body of the Hollywood star had first been drafted into national service during World War One…In Leninist doctrine, the artist stood among the vanguard elite, a cadre whose shining example would lead the benighted proletariat into the dawn of revolutionary enlightenment…The Hollywood star, trading on stardom, is a valuable commodity that can drive heartfelt solicitation.’ [i]

Western society’s return to the inhumanity of paganism was brilliantly articulated in season five (2012) of the (modern day Robin Hood) TV series Leverage. In episode two, the crew have to thwart an owner of an Ice Hockey team, who’s turned a massive profit by turning the game into a blood sport – The CEO’s justification was backed up by his profits leading to him declaring: “People don’t pay to see a game; they pay to see my enforcers fight!” (slightly paraphrased).

The pattern established by participating stakeholders in recent years means viewers should know what to expect from the NFL half-time segment. So, vote with the remote. Let the TV fall silent for half-time, let the sound of silence be heard loudly by the industries represented, that they may bring back some class and self-respect to sport and entertainment.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have vocal talent. They shouldn’t need to sell their bodies, or have others sell a sexualized image of themselves, in order to showcase that talent. No woman should. The challenge for the rest of is to not buy into the voyeurism, lustful fantasy, and the greedy smiles, lies and hi-fives attached to the sex sells paradigm.

Lilly Allen’s apt sarcasm appears to have fallen on deaf ears:

‘Life’s about film stars and less about mothers. It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other; I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless ‘Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous.’ [ii]

Lying underneath all this is the question: Does this capitulation to pre-Christian paganism, and did the manifestation of it in this burlesque ambush just inadvertently declare the #metoo movement dead?


References:

[i] Doherty, T. 2013. Hollywood & Hitler:1933-1939, Columbia University Press (pp.111-115)

[ii] Allen, L.R. & Kurstin, G. 2009. The Fear, from the album, It’s not me, It’s You.  Sony Music

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th February, 2020

Cropped from a photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020