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Friday, October 21, 2022

Medicare Part A, B, C and D: What’s the Difference?

image: medicare late enrollment pernalty

If you miss your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The penalty goes up the longer you wait. You may also have to pay a penalty if you have to pay a Part A premium, also called “Premium-Part A.”
- When Does Medicare Coverage Start?

If you fail to sign up for Medicare Part B during your INITIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (IEP) and you do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you pay a 10 percent penalty for every full year you fail to sign up. That means you pay 10 percent for 12 months, 20 percent for 24 months, 30 percent for 36 months, and so on. You pay this extra fee for the entire time you have Medicare.
- Late Enrollment Penalty, Medicare Solutions, 2018

Medicare Part A, B, C and D: What’s the Difference?

By Felicia Wilson
Curious Minds Magazine

Medicare consists of four parts, each serving a different purpose. Here is a brief overview of each part and its basic features:

Part A

Part A is usually referred to as hospital insurance and covers inpatient services of hospital stays. Here are the services offered under the part:

Hospital services related to staying overnight in a hospital

A person can be treated in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) if he or she is limited or cannot perform daily functions on his or her own and/or needs nursing care for a maximum of 3 months.

Skilled Nursing Facility(SNF)

In order to receive benefits from Part A, the patient must recuperate after an extensive hospital stay that was medically necessary and not self-imposed in an SNF skilled nursing facility. Medicare must approve the place before receiving payment for these services.

Home health benefits

Home health benefits allow patients to receive medical services in their homes. Part A covers skilled nursing, physical therapy, and home health aide services administered under a physicians direction and for which Medicare is the primary insurer.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is designed to provide comfort and relief to terminally ill patients. Part A has specific provisions for the benefit of hospice care. It covers the costs incurred for inpatient hospice services, including inpatient and outpatient hospice care.

Medical Social Services

Services provided under the medical social services part of Medicare are provided to the elderly, disabled, and persons with a mental illness. It covers doctor’s visits and care that is rendered in an inpatient or outpatient setting. This includes but is not limited to:

Medical Services Related to Unexpected Illnesses

This part covers the cost of services provided for unexpected illnesses that occur within 30 days of admission for treatment or recovery from a new illness. These are called “non-Medicare-covered acute illnesses,” that is, illnesses that require hospitalization and treatment if the person does not have health insurance coverage or other means of coverage (not including short-term or temporary coverage).

Part A is generally paid for by a portion of the Social Security taxes paid over a person’s lifetime. The amount of the Medicare tax paid is deducted from one’s Social Security benefits.

Part B

Part B covers fees for a physician, outpatient care, and outpatient hospital care if you have a Medicare-approved home health plan. This covers the cost of the services provided by your doctor, specialist, dentist, or therapist. Part B covers:

Actual Cost of Dental Services

The actual cost is determined using a process called COST-BASED DENTAL EXAMINATIONS (CBDE).

Coverage for Preventive Services

The Plan pays 100% of the cost for some preventive services, including vaccinations, flu shots, and breast cancer screenings. This saves the patient money and can also improve their health.

Medical Equipment

The Plan covers items like walkers, wheelchairs, and hospital beds.  It also covers Hoyer lifts for people who need help getting in and out of bed. The Plan does not cover prosthetic devices or equipment like artificial teeth or eyes.  However, a separate Medicare program covers stand-alone dental plans and contact lenses. Part B is generally paid by premiums that are deducted from the Social Security check bi-weekly.

Mental health treatment

The Plan covers mental health services provided by mental health care providers. The Plan covers only certain types of mental health services such as counseling, psychotherapy, and personal care services. There are different limits on what the Plan covers for mental health treatment.

Ambulance services

The Plan covers ambulance services, including transportation to and from the hospital (ambulance fees) and emergency medical care while in transit.

Diagnostic lab tests

The Plan covers these services that are administered by a physician who works for a Medicare-approved lab. Medicare does not cover blood tests that are performed at any lab other than a Medicare-approved one. Part B is paid by monthly premiums, which are deducted from the Social Security check on a monthly basis.

Limited outpatient prescription drugs

The Plan covers these prescription drugs that are approved by Medicare only. These medicines have been determined to have a low cost relative to their efficacy and/or benefit, based on studies performed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Part C

Part C is also referred to as MEDICARE ADVANTAGE. It is the Medicare supplement program, and private insurance companies provide it. It helps save potential beneficiaries money and provides the benefits they prefer.

Preventive care

The Plan covers inpatient and outpatient services that are administered in a medical facility to help prevent illness and/or injury through prevention.

Hospital Services

The Plan has lower deductibles, among other benefits like Medicare flex cards. Visit this page to LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE BENEFITS.

Home Health-Services

The Plan takes over the entire cost of Medicare-covered home health services. This includes costs for inpatient and outpatient services, transportation, and rehabilitation services. For some beneficiaries, there is also home NURSING CARE provided by nurses that the Plan contracts. The Plan covers skilled care administered in an extended stay unit (short-term) and skilled care provided in an acute hospital setting (long-term).

Ambulance Services

The Plan covers ambulance services, including transportation to and from the hospital (ambulance fees) and emergency medical care while in transit.

Prescription Drugs

The Plan covers only medications that are approved by Medicare only. These medicines have been determined to have a low cost relative to their efficacy and/or benefit, based on studies performed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Skilled Nursing Facility Services

The Plan covers only inpatient services that are administered in a medical facility to help prevent illness and/or injury through treatment. The skilled care provided is not always nursing care but can include physical therapy and/or rehabilitation, among other things.

Part D

Part D is a program that was created as a way to help people with prescription drug coverage. The program is managed by private insurance companies that work for Medicare beneficiaries. These companies contract with pharmaceutical companies for the medical services covered by Part D. Beneficiaries pay a monthly premium deducted from their Social Security (or Railroad Retirement) check. Some beneficiaries may also have an annual deductible applied to the monthly premium payment if they choose not to use their Plans drug benefit as part of their prescription plan. Here are some of the items covered by Part D.

Mail-Order Pharmacies

The Plan uses mail-order pharmacies to provide prescriptions for their beneficiaries. However, this does not mean that beneficiaries cannot use local pharmacies.

Prescription Drug Coverage

The Plan provides coverage for these prescription drugs, which are approved by Medicare only. These medicines have been determined to have a low cost relative to their efficacy and/or benefit, based on studies performed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Some of the more popular Part D prescription plans are as follows:

Continuing Coverage

These are Medicare supplemental plans that cover certain people who were formerly covered under their original Medicare plan. Some of these groups include but are not limited to individuals who have had a late enrollment penalty applied to their Social Security check and those beneficiaries who have had a previous private Medicare supplement plan terminated by the insurance company. In some cases, a beneficiary might be ineligible for Original Medicare but can qualify for an approved Part C or Part D Plan. These supplemental plans can be valuable to individuals who want additional coverage beyond their Original Medicare coverage.

Concurrent Coverage

These are Medicare supplemental plans that cover certain people who were formerly covered under their original Medicare plan. Some of these groups include but are not limited to individuals who have had a late enrollment penalty applied to their Social Security check and those beneficiaries who have had a previous private Medicare supplement plan terminated by the insurance company. In some cases, a beneficiary maybe not be eligible for Original Medicare but can qualify for an approved Part C or Part D Plan. These supplemental plans can be valuable to individuals who want additional coverage beyond their Original Medicare coverage.

Creditable Coverage

People who have had medical coverage that they pay for themselves (e.g., prior employer-sponsored, retiree, or union) may be eligible to apply that coverage toward Part A and/or Part B. Some of these groups include but are not limited to individuals who have had a LATE ENROLLMENT PENALTY applied to their Social Security check and those beneficiaries who have had a previous private Medicare supplement plan terminated by the insurance company. In some cases, a beneficiary might not be eligible for Original Medicare but can qualify for an approved Part C or Part D Plan. These SUPPLEMENTAL PLANS can be valuable to individuals who want additional coverage beyond their Original Medicare coverage.

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the different types of Medicare Supplement Plans available, the eligibility requirements, and how these plans work to make an educated decision on which Plan is best for you.

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Posted by Elvis on 10/21/22 •
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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Social Security 2023 COLA

image: social security card

The 2023 COLA is based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) between the third quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022 meaning it looks backwards at inflation and was sealed this morning when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported September’s inflation rate. 
- Social Securty 2023 Jump, Forbes, October 13, 2022

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How the CPI-E Compares With the CPI-W for the Annual Social Security COLA

By Devin Carroll
Social Security Intelligence
October 13, 2022

If the annual cost of living adjustments to benefits would have been based on the CPI-E, instead of the current CPI-W, the benefit increase in 2022 would be 1.1% lower!

Recently, the Social Security Administration announced yet another Social Security cost of living adjustment. And once again, the amount of the adjustment left some wondering why it wasn’t higher.

The announcement ignited the same conversation and questions as it does every time. In the comments of my videos, MY FACEBOOK GROUP, and on my website, many people say things like, “My expenses have increased a lot more than this cost of living adjustment,” or, even more commonly, “There has to be a better way to measure the increases to living expenses than the way it’s being done now!|

Given that it’s such a common response to the usual Social Security cost of living increases, I want to cover the proposal that may change how these adjustments are calculated.

How Social Security Benefits Cost of Living Adjustments Are Made Today

Right now, Social Security benefits are automatically adjusted every year. The Social Security Administration uses a certain measurement of inflation to determine if benefits should be increased or not.

The measurement they currently use is the CPI-W, which stands for the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. This inflation gauge is compiled and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although they release this on a monthly basis, the Social Security Administration (SSA) only uses the data for the third quarter when making the adjustment to Social Security benefits. That means they look at the data for July, August, and September each year.

To determine a potential increase in Social Security benefits to match an increased cost of living, the SSA adds the sum of the index for the prior years third quarter and compares it to the sum of the third quarter index for the current year. If the difference between the two numbers is positive, Social Security benefits increase. If there is no increase in the CPI-W, then there is no cost of living adjustment for the year.

ItҒs really pretty simple but some folks believe itŒs not very effective.

Theres an argument against this way of determining cost of living adjustments for Social Security benefits.

Some say the CPI-W measurement method may not be the best because retirees spend their money very differently than individuals who are not retired. Retirees tend to spend more on healthcare and housing, and less on gasoline, education, and consumer electronics.

As a fix for this, it has been widely suggested that the Social Security Administration should discontinue basing the annual cost of living adjustments on the CPI-W and instead start using a measurement known as the CPI-E.

Considering Costs Specific to Retirees: The CPI-E Proposal

This version of the CPI is meant to track the expenses specifically for Americans who are 62 years of age or older. While both of these indexes measure the same categories of goods and services, they have different weightings to the categories.

So for example, the CPI-E factors in around 11% of its index to healthcare cost. The CPI-W, however, only counts 5.6% of the overall index as healthcare expenses. Since statistically, seniors spend more of their money on healthcare, an index that assigns a higher weighting should be more accurate to the way they spend money and experience inflation.

There are some other differences in weightings between the CPI-W and the CPI-E that may be significant for determining cost of living adjustments for Social Security benefits. In total, each index measures 8 main categories:

· Housing

· Transportation

· Food and beverages

· Medical care

· Recreation

· Education and communication

· Apparel

· Other goods and services (for the stuff that doesnt fit anywhere else)

As you can see from this chart the two big differences are the weightings assigned to housing expense and medical care:

image: cpiw cpi-e weighing scales

The big question here is, how does this affect the actual cost of living adjustment for benefits? Would it result in a larger benefit increase for seniors?

Using the CPI-E data available from December 1982, we can go back and do a year-by-year comparison with the CPI-W, the version thats currently being used.

When viewed side by side, you can see that there are some years where the CPI-W was ahead, those are the red bars, but in most years the CPI-E was slightly higher.

image: cpi-w cpi-e compared

If you average the difference between the two measurements since 1984, the CPI-E has been about 0.2% higher per year. So yes, in most years the CPI-E would yield a higher cost of living adjustment than the CPI-W, but there are some years (like the COLA announced for 2022) where the CPI-W was higher than the CPI-E.

The CPI-E Is Not A Magic Formula

This highlights the reluctuance of legislators to make this switch. On paper, it sounds good. An index that more accurately represent the expense of retirees should work better. But no politician wants to be responsible for making this switch in a year where the new method results in worse results.

Additionally, there are a few problems with the measurement method. First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is very blunt about this being an “experimental” index. The Government Accountability Office also released a report this year that identified several issues with the potential accuracy of the CPI, and specifically mentioned the small sample size of the CPI-E as a factor.

The CPI-E sounds great to many folks who receive Social Security benefits and feel like their costs go up more than their Social Security income does. But ultimately, there is no magic formula that works well enough to keep everyone happy.

I know that with the current fiscal challenges that the Social Security system is facing, I wouldn’t expect a more generous formula for increasing benefits. But as this conversation continues to develop, I’ll keep you informed right here.

If you still have questions, you could leave a comment below, but what may be an even greater help is to join my FREE FACEBOOK MEMBERS GROUP. It’s very active and has some really smart people who love to answer any questions you may have about Social Security. From time to time Ill even drop in to add my thoughts, too.

SOURCE

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Five things to know about todays Social Security COLA

By Tobias Burns
The Hill
October 13, 2022

Social Security payments will increase by an average of $140 per check as the national pension plan is set to receive its biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 40 years.

The hike came in at 8.7 percent, an attempt to close the gap caused by inflation that reached as high as 9.1 percent in June before tapering off slightly over the summer. Between 2010 and 2020, Social Security COLAs averaged just 1.7 percent.

Social Security is adjusted in the third fiscal quarter every year and is the primary source of income for most of AmericaҒs seniors, according to the agency. In June, nearly 50 million retired workers and their families received more than $80 billion, with the average monthly benefit totaling $1,670.

Many disabled workers are also supported by Social Security. In June, they received more than $10 billion for an average payment of $1,362.

In total, the program pays out more than a trillion dollars each year from a dedicated payroll tax, making up 17 percent of the national budget in 2021, according to the Treasury Department.

More than 70 million Social Security beneficiaries will be affected by the adjustment, which will go into effect over December and January.

Here are five takeaways from Thursdays COLA.

The COLA allows recipients to break even

While an additional $140 per month is a sizable increase for people who receive a Social Security check, the extra money is really just a break-even number to offset the cost of high inflation.

The consumer price index report released Thursday showed annual inflation increased 8.2 percent, remaining near 40-year highs and showing little sign of slowing down.

While energy prices slackened by 2.1 percent in September, theyҒre still 19.8 percent higher than they were last year. Prices for food are also continuing to increase, up 0.8 percent on the month and 11.2 percent on the year.

Consumer inflation has been above 8 percent since March, eating into paychecks and diminishing the value of Social Security payments. So while the 8.7 percent COLA will come as a relief to seniors, it will only normalize their standard of living back to where it was a year ago rather than giving them surplus income.

“This is not a benefit increase, its an adjustment to keep pace with inflation, and of course prices are rising to very high levels right now,Ҕ Nancy Altman, a Social Security advocate and co-director of the nonprofit organization Social Security Works, said in an interview. But the COLA is an extremely important feature, because without it benefits would erode over time.”

The COLA is especially important amid stock market declines

Many seniors receive benefits from private pension plans such as 401(k)s that are widely invested across the stock market in addition to Social Security.

The stock market has been performing poorly lately due to interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve that are intended to cool inflation, so the performance of many broad-based investment vehicles has been diminishing. 

This makes the COLA, which is a monetary modification thats independent of market performance, especially powerful by comparison.

|The whole concept of a COLA is a big deal,| Altman said. “It often gets ignored because theres normally just a small cost-of-living increase, or sometimes there’s none. But if inflation goes up 20 percent, you get a 20 percent increase. It’s not capped, and that’s an important concept, especially now”

Since the Fed started raising interest rates back in March, the big stock indices have seen major declines, falling more than 20 percent into bear market territory and taking many retirement plans with them.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 7,781 points, 21.51 percent, since the beginning of the year. The S&P 500 is down 26.62 percent and the technology-heavy Nasdaq index, whose companies tend to carry a lot of debt and so are particularly susceptible to interest rate hikes, has fallen more than 35.43 percent.

Medicare premiums are decreasing

ThursdayԒs COLA announcement follows a drop in the price of the premium for Medicare Part B, which covers hospital and doctor visits another boon for seniors, though a smaller one.

In September, Medicare determined that the Part B premium would be 3 percent lower in 2023, dropping to $164.90 from $170.10 in 2022. Those payments are usually taken directly out of Social Security checks, so that could mean an additional $5 dollars a month on average for seniors on top of the $140 COLA boost.

Part B deductibles will also drop to $226 in 2023, a decrease of $7 from the annual deductible of $233 in 2022.

These changes are especially significant for people who don’t have much income, since their Social Security payments can often be eaten up by their Medicare premiums as part of the same effective payment.

But the rising COLA together with the falling premium means that people on the lower end of the income spectrum could feel a significant increase in monthly payments beginning in 2023.

The COLA will help more people than just retirees

Millions of children in the U.S. with retired or deceased parents also receive Social Security benefits each month.

דEach month during 2021, we paid an average of $2.8 billion in benefits to 4 million children whose parents (one or both) were retired, deceased, or were disabled, the Social Security Administration said in a statement back in June.

And that number excludes children who are taken care of by grandparents receiving Social Security benefits. As many as 2.5 million grandparents in the U.S. have the primary responsibility of caring for grandchildren, according to research from North Dakota State University.

“Economic hardship in the U.S. and recent social challenges have contributed to the increase in multiple-family generations living together to save costs and share resources,” a 2021 report from the university found.

Grandparents living in multigenerational homes are “quite common” and are often “providing help with financial difficulties and working to provide basic needs and save economic resources,” the report found.

Congress considering inflation measurement specifically for seniors

The COLA is based on a measure of inflation called the CPI-W, which measures the spending habits of urban wage earners and clerical workers. Accordingly, experts refer to the COLA as wage-indexed.

The Labor Department also measures the spending habits of seniors in a metric known as the CPI-E - EӔ for elderly - but the Social Security Administration doesn"t use that number to figure out by how much it should adjust its checks.

Congress would need to authorize the use of the CPI-E for the COLA, which could affect how much seniors pay on important expenses like prescription drugs.

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) has one such proposal, which he says |would help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.”

In a Thursday statement released along with the COLA, Larson touted his legislation, encouraging the “new measure of inflation that takes into account actual expenses incurred by seniors.”

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Posted by Elvis on 10/13/22 •
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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

NWO - The Great Gamble

image: Yaroslavl protesters

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.
- Wolfowitz Doctrine

Their military ambitions, in other words, knew no bounds; nor, it seemed, did the money and resources which began to flow into the Pentagon, the weapons industries, the countrys increasingly militarized intelligence services, mercenary companies like Blackwater and KBR that grew fat on a privatizing administrations war plans and the multi-billion-dollar no-bid contracts it was eager to proffer, the new Department of Homeland Security, and a ramped-up, ever more powerful NATIONAL SECURITY STATE.
- Entering the Soviet Style Era in America, 2010

Russia’s nuclear doctrine calls for nuclear retaliation after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.”
- Russia’s nuclear doctrine calls for nuclear retaliation after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.”, The Blaze October 7, 2022

[W]ar fever might also serve as a new distraction from the underlying political and economic agendas that some analysts have been warning us about. Indeed, war in the Ukraine has significant potential to serve as a new enabling event facilitating the drive toward restrictions on liberties and the roll-out of agendas that, for example, the WEF has been waxing lyrical about for two years.
- NWO - The Four Horses

The 90-second public service announcement, which instructed New Yorkers about what to do during a nuclear attack, was released by the city’s Department of Emergency Management in July.
- Inside the Making of New York City’s Bizarre Nuclear War P.S.A., July 2022

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Ever wonder why news shows ON TV have something in the background swirling around, like a globe or ticker tape?

Could it be to shut off our brains from thinking?

Back in 1946 after the early days of radio, the messing of our minds STARTED ON TV.

Hypnotised by Radio LONDON (A.A.P.) - Hypnotism by television has been tried on a closed circuit in the B.B.C. studios with such success that it has been decided that it is too dangerous to put over the air. In the first test, five out of 12 of the B.B.C. staff who volunteered “went to sleep.” In the second test four out of six “went to sleep,” and the hypnotist, Peter Casson, had to wake up two of these. The B.B.C. has decided that the danger would lie in hypnotising people who would not have a hypnotist at hand to awaken them. -Reuters.

As a little kid, all us Catholic school five years olds wore the same uniforms, and learned the same religion along with reading, writing and arithmatic.  Like an INDOCTRINATION

More messing of our minds.

Religion, at its core, intends to serve the good. It brings a call to people to join the righteous path. It has the intention to shape the human being in a way that will make a better person. To achieve this, it sets forth various rules and methods.

But by nature, people think and act in different ways from each other. Moreover, they perceive the same things in so many different ways. Therefore, as a religion ages, it always splits into more factions and sects.

When the passage of time is involved; culture, politics and other corruptive influences distort the essence of religion, whether on purpose or not.

This is when religion really becomes organized religion.

New generations who are born to this distorted belief system either blindly follow it or refuse to accept most parts of it - even though they have faith in the concept of a supreme being.

Rules and restrictions become the religion itself.

This is how a cult mentality that embraces conformity is born.

[C]onformity makes it a lot easier to control (and in some cases manipulate) the masses.

[I]t is very hard to control a fully independent and liberated individual.

All rulers who want to impose their vision on others detest diversity. Therefore; scientists, philosophers and artists are the biggest enemies of status quo and mind control.

Those with slave minds tend to protect what they believe is true, and unconsciously filter out information they dont want to receive.

To this day, intolerance has caused great destruction both for the human race and for religion itself.

Only individuals with free minds can have real beliefs, lives and dreams.

Today we got those cute little videos over the internet, and some not so cute ones. 

More messing with our minds.

A deep FAKE VIDEO uses a combination of still images and videos to manufacture a video of something that never existed.

Information warfare techniques are being used by all sides of the political spectrum, and being used by all governments around the world, now more than ever, said Alex Heid, chief research officer at Security Scorecard.

What does this have to do with TODAY?

Don’t believe eveything you hear and see on the news about RUSSIA’S BRUTAL ATTACK ON UKRAINE

This is a WAR OF POLITICS, and THE ILLUMINATI may be ready to use it for their agenda. 

EIGHT YEARS AGO

[A] bipartisan committee in Washington called on the White House to stop encouraging bids by Ukraine and Georgia to join Nato. The Kremlin bitterly opposes membership for either ex-Soviet states, which it says are part of Russia’s privileged “sphere of influence.”

The unmistakable rise of Russia refocused Washington from the Middle East to Russias vulnerabilities.

Ukraine, long a constituent part of Russia, and subsequently the Soviet Union, was split off from Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse by Washington’s maneuvering.

In 2004 Washington had tried to capture Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, which failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands.

Consequently, according to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion over the following decade developing NGOs that could be called into the streets of Kiev and in developing political leaders who represented Washington’s interests.

Washington launched its coup in February 2014 with orchestrated “demonstrations” that with the addition of violence resulted in the overthrow and flight of the elected democratic government of Victor Yanukovych. In other words, Washington destroyed democracy in a new country with a coup before democracy could take root.

Ukrainian democracy meant nothing to Washington intent on seizing Ukraine in order to present Russia with a security problem and also to justify sanctions against “Russian aggression in order to break up Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe.”

In 1971,

horrified by the trajectory of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. More recently, in 2017, he published a book, THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE, revealing secret US nuclear strategies - several of which, in the 1960s, Ellsberg himself was involved in crafting - and acts dating back to the dawn of the Cold War.

Ellsberg is worried that a reinvigorated NATO, and a military-industrial complex champing at the bit to sell ever more weapons - both to sustain Ukraine in resisting invasion, and, if it were to be successfully occupied, to make possible years of insurgency - in combination with a revanchist and paranoid Russia, could plunge the world into years of conflict.

Ellsberg fears that the taboo against using nuclear weapons in a regional war is on the verge of being breached. “If that happens,” he says, “it could easily precipitate a Mad Max era of ‘small nuclear wars,’ with dozens of countries rapidly acquiring nuclear capabilities in a desperate effort to fend off atomic bullies in their geographical vicinity. An era of proliferation may be underway already.”

Information Clearinghouse in 2008 WRITES:

It is impossible to go over all of Holbrooke’s distortions, half-truths and lies in one article but, what is important is to recognize that a false narrative is being constructed to demonize Putin and to justify future hostilities against Russia.

Holbrooke’s bogus assertions are identical to Brzezinskis, and yet, these same lies are already appearing in the mainstream media.

The propaganda “bullet points” have already been determined; “Putin is a menace, “Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet empire, Putin is an autocrat.” (Unlike our “freedom loving” allies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt!?!)

In truth, Putin is simply enjoying Russia’s newly acquired energy-wealth and would like to be left alone. But it is impossible to be left alone when the US spends 24 hours a day pestering people. The world deserves a break from an extremely irritating USA.

Putin’s problems can be traced back to a speech he made in Munich nearly two years ago when he declared unequivocally that he rejected the basic tenets of the Bush Doctrine and US global hegemony. His speech amounted to a Russian Declaration of Independence. That’s when western elites, particularly at the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Enterprise Institute put Putin on their “enemies list” along with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Morales, Mugabe and anyone else who refuses to take orders from the Washington Mafia.

Here’s what Putin said in Munich:

.

    The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign - one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself, because it destroys itself from within. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.

    Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves - wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. More are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!

    Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of force - military force in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.

    We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one states legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?

    In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate. And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.

    I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.

.

Every word Putin spoke was true which is why it was not reprinted in western media.

“Unilateral and illegitimate military actions, the uncontained hyper-use of force,” the disdain for the basic principles of international law, and most importantly; No one feels safe!”

Putin’s claims are all indisputable, that is why he has entered the neocons crosshairs. He poses a direct challenge to - what Brzezinski calls - the “international system,” which is shorthand for the corporate/banking cartel that is controlled by the western oligarchy of racketeers.

South Ossetia was a trap and Putin took the bait. Unfortunately for Bush, the wily Russian prime minister is considerably brighter than anyone in the current administration. Bush’s plan will undoubtedly backfire and disrupt the geopolitical balance of power. The world might get that breather from the US after all.

SPUTNIK NEWS on 7/3/22 WRITES:

American geopolitical analyst Tom Luongo remarked that the ongoing conflict in the eastern European nation is nothing more than a “war between civilizations,” in US neoconservatives’ efforts to “forestall Russia taking control of Ukraine.”

Touching on Washington officials’ motives behind the ever-increasing aid to Kiev, Luongo told Sputnik that the American president, “as a proxy for the oligarchs in Davos, is acting on their behalf to ultimately weaken the US by sending weapons overseas and destroying US leadership and credibility.”

“This will only end when there is a real political revolution in the US,” he argued.

Ukraine was NEVER TO JOIN NATO.

In 2010, the country’s parliament passed a law banning Ukraine from joining any military bloc, effectively banning it from entering NATO though maintaining opportunities for cooperation. According to a poll conducted by Pew Research Center the fall before, just over half of Ukrainians disapproved of NATO and the idea Ukraine might try to join, while just 28% approved.

Today

Ukraine is seeking NATO MEMBERSHIP.

KYIV, Sept 30 (Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced a surprise bid for fast-track membership of the NATO military alliance on Friday and ruled out talks with President Vladimir Putin, striking back at Moscow after it said it had annexed four Ukrainian regions

Putin had to know THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, and may have something up his sleeve.

Putin casts the war in Ukraine as an existential battle between Russia and the West, which he says wants to destroy Russia and grab control its vast natural resources.

Putin warned the West he was not bluffing when he said he’d be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia. Some analysts say Putin is bluffing but Washington is taking Putin seriously.

By claiming 18% of Ukraine as part of Russia, the room for nuclear threats increases as Putin could cast any attack on these territories as an attack on Russia itself.

Whose out there PROTESTING?

Anti-NATO protests have gripped France as the country grapples with a cost-of-living crisis. The protests come amid a strike by union workers at France’s petroleum refineries.

If only we can put politics, and world domination aside and be more like France.

American Military News WRITES:

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he would not use nuclear weapons against Russia in response to a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine

“France has a nuclear doctrine, that is based on the vital interests of the country and which are clearly defined. These would not be at stake if there was a nuclear ballistic attack in Ukraine or in the region,” the French president said.

I think Putin this war would be like dangling a carrot in front of NATO’s nose.

Will President Biden take the bait?

Remember what EISENHOWER WARNED us of.

In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Will this trigger world war three that’ll do us all in?

Will NATO get crushed making way for big changes in the way the world is run?

Do Edgar Cayce’s PREDICTIONS 90 years ago apply to today’s world events?

When asked in 1932 about political and economic trends in Europe Cayce ZEROED IN on Russia:

Europe is as a house broken up. Some years ago there was the experience of a mighty peoples being overridden for the gratification and satisfaction of a few, irrespective of any other mans right. That peoples are going through the experience of being born again, and is the thorn in the flesh to many a political and financial nation in Europe, in the world.

Q. What is the name of that nation referred to?
A. Russia! (3976-8)

In Russia there comes the hope of the world, not as that sometimes termed of the communistic, or Bolshevik, no; but freedom, freedom! That each man will live for his fellow man! The principle has been born. It will take years for it to be crystallised, but out of Russia comes again the hope of the world. (3976-29)

The leaders of these countries are feeding their lusts for power and control, while us Americans are glued to our TV screens with those swirling circles, INTERESTED MORE IN FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, than saving the planet and all it’s life.

NOBODY HERE is even protesting the war we’re being led into.

Thank God President Biden hasn’t sent U.S. troops in yet.

Let’s hope the UNITED NATIONS comes up with a diplomatic solution.

Because underneath, the WEF may be ready to use this war to push the NEW WORLD ORDER, and fourth industrial revolution.

Thanks to pushback by anti-maskers and any-vaccers, the Covid scare didn’t turn out like the Davos crowd planned.  Turns out we’re not as easily controlled as they may have thought we were, so let’s try another war.  I was figuring a FAKED faked E.T. INVASION.

NATO is spending lots of resources on this war, and THE EUROZONE will be starving and freezing this winter, weakening the alliance.

Imagine if this isn’t just a game of politics, but part of a GREATER PLAN.

If so, both President Biden and President Putin deserve Oscars for their performances.

If you want to rule the world, NATO and the U.S. have to go first.

To gain political points - our president is using the stategic oil reserves to keep prices down - a dumb move if we’re in a war and NEED THAT OIL to fuel tanks, jets, etc.

President Biden said Wednesday he is tapping another 15 million barrels from the nations Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stabilize gasoline prices, sparking accusations of political gamesmanship with the stockpile before the midterms.

Mr. Biden said the barrels, which will be released sometime in December and completing a drawdown of 180 million barrels, will help to insulate the markets from shocks around the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Biden is no stranger to politics or the Davos crowd.

Neither is the guy he’s not talking peace with.

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Order Out Of Chaos: How The Ukraine Conflict Is Designed To Benefit Globalists

By
Alt-Markets
February 24, 2022

Within the next couple of months it is likely that there will be direct US military involvement in Ukraine, with Russia now openly supporting and recognizing separatist groups in the Donbass region on the eastern edge of the country and apparently moving to aid them militarily in separation. This is not the first time Russia has sent military units into Ukraine, but it is the first time since 2014 and the annexation of Crimea that the threat of military action has been overt rather than covert.

When conflict erupts, you are going to see a swarm of media stories in western nations trying to outline the complexity of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union, while ignoring certain inconvenient truths. You will see many of these stories construct a narrative which then oversimplifies the situation and paints Russia as the monstrous aggressor. The goal will be to convince the public that our involvement in Ukraine is a moral and geopolitical necessity. There will be attempts to gain American favor and a call for US boots on the ground. Joe Biden will be at the forefront of this push.

The surface trigger for the confrontation is obviously rooted in the 2009 decision by western powers and Ukrainian officials to consider the country for membership in NATO. Most of Russia’s actions when dealing with Ukraine can be owed to NATO involvement in the region, including the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. Strategically, it makes sense. Imagine if Mexico suddenly announced it was joining a military alliance with China and that Chinese military assets were going to be transferred near the US southern border? It probably would not end well.

To be sure, Russia has a history of hypocritical behavior when it comes to its involvement in the affairs of its neighbors. For example, only a few months ago Kazakhstan was facing mass protests which the government claimed were caused by “foreign manipulation.” Zero proof was presented to justify this assertion. However, the claim was enough to rationalize the deployment of 2300 Russian troops over the border to shut down the protests.

In reality, citizens of Kazakhstan were angry over a spike in inflation and high gas prices which continue to grind down the middle class and those in poverty (sound familiar?). In 2019, only 4% of the population lived under the official poverty line. In 2020, that number exploded to 14% of the population. Accurate numbers are difficult to find for 2021, but it is likely that poverty levels are now closer to 16%-20%. The reasons for civil unrest were obvious and justified, but the protesting Kazakhs were accused of being pawns of foreign enemies. As I have noted in many articles lately, this is a typical strategy of corrupt governments trying to retain power when the people rise up and rebel for legitimate reasons.

Again, imagine if the Canadian government under Trudeau asked for US military assistance in scattering the trucker protests against his draconian vaccine mandates? We need to look at these decisions in context in order to grasp how insane they really are.

Ironically, Russia is happy to support the unrest of separatists in Ukraine while also helping to silence unrest in Kazakhstan. Keep this pattern in mind because it will help in understanding how events surrounding Russia reflect a global trend that might effect Americans in the future.

The diplomatic mess between Ukraine and Russia can be blamed in part on both sides, and it’s this kind of historical ambiguity where globalists tend to thrive. The fog of war helps to obscure establishment activities and often it is hard for people to see who is truly benefiting from the chaos until its too late. It is my belief that the Ukraine problem is at least partially engineered and that it is designed as a first domino in a chain of intended crises.

I don’t think there is anything unique to the Ukraine conflict for the globalists; they could have just as easily tried to initiate a regional war in Taiwan, North Korea, Iran, etc. There are numerous powder keg countries that they have been cultivating for a couple of decades. We should not hyperfocus on who is to blame between Ukraine or Russia, we should focus on the effects that will result from any major regional disaster and how the globalists exploit such catastrophes to further the agenda of total centralization of power.

The Ukraine scenario could be easily defused if both sides took some basic diplomatic measures, but this is not going to happen. NATO officials could take a step back from their pursuit of adding Ukraine to the ranks. The US could stop pouring cash and weaponry into Ukraine to the tune of $5.4 billion since 2014. Over 90 tons of military equipment has been sent to the country in 2022 alone. Russia could stop sending covert special operations units into the Donbass and be more willing to come to the table to discuss diplomatic solutions. The reason these things do not happen is because they are not allowed to happen by the power brokers behind the curtain.

We are all aware of the globalist influences behind US and NATO leaders, we present the undeniable evidence of this on a regular basis. Biden’s penchant for globalist institutions is well known. But what about Russia?

There are some in the alternative media and the liberty movement who falsely believe that Russia is anti-globalist.  Nothing could be further from the truth. As with many political leaders Putin will sometimes use anti-globalists rhetoric, but his relationships tell another story. In Putins first autobiography, titled “First Person,” he discusses with fondness his first encounter with NEW WORLD ORDER globalist Henry Kissinger as a member of the FSB (formerly the KGB). As Putin rose through the political ranks he maintained a steady friendship with Kissinger and to this day they have regular lunches and Kissinger has been an adviser to multiple branches of the Kremlin.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Putin and the Kremlin have also kept a steady dialogue with the World Economic Forum, the project of the now notorious globalist Klaus Schwab. In fact, only last year Russia announced it was joining the WEF’s “Fourth Industrial Revolution Network.” which focuses on economic socialization, Artificial Intelligence, the “internet of things” and a host of other globalist interests which will all lead to worldwide technocracy and tyranny.

Again, the Russian government is NOT anti-globalist. This claim is nonsense and always has been. I would attribute the fantasy of Russian opposition to a steady stream of propaganda and what I call the False East/West Paradigm The fraudulent notion that the globalist agenda is a purely Western or American agenda and that countries like China and Russia are opposed to it. If you look at the close interactions between the east and the globalists, this idea completely falls apart.

It’s important to understand that most conflicts between the East and the West are engineered conflicts and the leaders of BOTH SIDES are not really at odds with each other. Rather, these wars are Kabuki Theater; they are wars of convenience to achieve covert ends while mesmerizing the masses with moments of terror and calamity. For anyone who has doubts about this, I highly recommend they read the thoroughly researched and evidenced works of professional historian and economist ANTONY SUTTON, who quite accidentally stumbled onto the facts surrounding the globalist conspiracy and went on to expose their habit of playing both sides of nearly every war over the past century from the Bolshevik Revolution to WWII and onward.

The strategy of order out of chaos is nothing new, its something the globalists have been doing for a very long time. The number of open revelations post-Covid about the GREAT RESET that globalists have publicly admitted to is so staggering that their plans can no longer be denied. Any skeptics at this point should be suspected of having a single digit IQ.

So, now that we have established the reality of globalist involvement in both the west and in Russia, we need to ask ourselves how they benefit from initiating a crisis between these powers over Ukraine? What do they get out of it?

As I have noted in recent articles, it appears to me that Ukraine is a Plan B attempt to conjure more smoke and mirrors where the covid pandemic failed to satisfy the Great Reset plan. As Klaus Schwab and the WEF has constantly asserted, they saw the pandemic as the perfect “opportunity” to force the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the world. As globalist Rahm Emanual once opined in the wake of the 2008 economic crash:

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is itҒs an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

The WEF is an old hand at this tactic. Klaus Schwab also used the same exact language right after the credit crash of 2008 as he has used after the spread of covid, always trying to sell global governance as the solution to every disaster:

“What we are experiencing is the birth of a new era, a wake-up call to overhaul our institutions, our systems and, above all, our thinking, and to adjust our attitudes and values to the needs of a world which rightly expects a much higher degree of responsibility and accountability,” he explained. “If we recognize this crisis as being really transformational, we can lay the fundaments for a more stable, more sustainable and even more prosperous world.”

Klaus Schwab on the Global Redesign Initiative, 2009

Schwab jumped the gun back then just as he jumped the gun in 2020 when he declared the Great Reset an inevitability in the face of covid. The globalists must have expected a much higher death rate from the virus because they were practically dancing in the streets, elated over the amount of power they could steal in the name of “protecting the public” from a global health threat. If you look at the WEF and Gates Foundation simulation of a covid pandemic, Event 201 which was held only two months before the REAL THING happened, they clearly expected covid to do way more damage, predicting an initial death tally of 65 million. This never happened; it isn’t even close.

It’s hard to say why an obvious bioweapon like covid failed to do the job. Viruses tend to mutate rapidly in the wild and behave differently than they do in a lab setting. I would even consider the possibility of divine intervention. Whatever the reason, the globalists did not get what they wanted and now they need yet another crisis to oil the gears of the Reset machine. With the already tiny death rate of covid now dropping even further with the Omicron variant and half the states of the US in full defiance of the vax mandates it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world asks why they are still under medical authoritarianism?

War in Ukraine and the mere threat of that war expanding beyond the region could accomplish a number of things covid has not. It provides an ongoing cover for the stagflationary collapse which is now in full swing in the US, the supply chain problems that continue globally as well as the destabilization of the European economy. In particular, the EU is strongly reliant on Russian natural gas in order to heat homes and maintain its economy. Russia has strangled natural gas supplies to Europe in the past and they will do it again. Russian oil exports also fill demand gaps globally, and these exports will be strangled by sanctions or by the Kremlin deliberately cutting supplies to certain nations.

War is always a distraction from economic sabotage. Even though the seeds of financial crashes are often planted and watered well in advance by central banks, the banks never get the blame because international conflicts conveniently take center stage. By extension, economic crisis causes mass poverty, mass desperation, and mass hysteria, and globalists will say that these dangers require an international solution that they will happily provide in the form of centralization.

In the US and in many other western nations which have a large number of people still defending individual freedom, the globalists clearly want to use tensions with Russia as a means to silence public dissent over authoritarian policies. Already I am seeing numerous instances of establishment officials and leftists on social media suggesting that liberty activists are Ғpawns of the Russians and that we are being used to Ӕdivide and conquer. This is nonsense backed by nothing, but they are trying out the narrative anyway to see if it sticks.

I have no doubt that any rebellion in the US against the globalists will be blamed on foreign interference. As mentioned earlier, the last thing the elites want is movements of free people obstructing the Reset in the name of liberty. We witnessed this in Canada where Trudeau announced unilateral emergency powers against the trucker protests, giving himself totalitarian levels of control. Even the Russian government has intervened in such public actions to prevent any kind of activist momentum. Biden will try to do the same thing, and war, even a smaller regional war, gives him a rationale to oppress dissent in the name of public security.

Interestingly, martial law in the US is also much easier to legally and historically justify for the government as long as it is done in response to the invasion of a foreign enemy. The Russian influence narrative may very well be in preparation for martial law within America. Whether or not this actually succeeds is another matter.

The consequences of a shooting event in Ukraine will be far reaching well beyond a distraction for the American public; my intent here is not to suggest only Americans will be affected. My point is that there are certain places in the world that are naturally resistant to the globalist scheme, and freedom minded Americans are a primary obstacle. If there is a large scale rebellion against the Great Reset, it’s going to start here. The globalists know this as well, which is why the US will undoubtedly be centrally involved in the Ukraine quagmire.

While the event would be disastrous for Ukrainians and probably many Russians, there are deeper and more dangerous underlying threats intended for the US and a war in Ukraine acts as an effective scapegoat for many of them.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/12/22 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America
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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Republican Redux 25 - Religious Tax Exemption

image: venagelical preacher
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners nor sit in the seat of scoffers.
- Psalm 1:1

How Republicans Conspire with Churches for Political & Social Control
Shameless radical religious leaders are breaking the law while living off you and me.
It’s time to cut them off from the “free lunch” of tax exemption

By Thom Hartmann
The Hartmann Report
October 11, 2022

For Republicans, the purpose of religion is - as it has been for authoritarians since Old Testament days - POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONTROL. It’s not about spirituality: it’s all about raw, naked, taxpayer-subsidized POWER AND THE WEALTH associated with it.

A Michigan county Republican Party just POSTED A VIDEO showing picture after picture of that state’s Democratic politicians, starting with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who rightwing terrorists have already tried to kidnap and murder.

Under each picture - including a picture of George Soros representing, presumably, the “International Jews” who Republican politicians suggest wield space lasers and secretly are trying to control the world - reads the death threat, in bold, all-caps:

GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN

The wealthy pastors of AT LEAST FOUR Republican-aligned megachurches in Georgia have invited Hershel Walker to campaign, in clear violation of their tax-exempt status.

Across the nation white evangelical churches brazenly push their parishioners to vote for Republican candidates: theyve been getting away with breaking the law since the 1980s and donҒt show any inclination to stop now.

As the University of Chicago Divinity School noted five months ago:

“In January, Walker SPOKE at Free Chapel in Gainesville, the congregation led by former Trump evangelical advisor Jentezen Franklin. In late February, Walker SPOKE during a worship service at First Baptist Atlanta. And in March, he SPOKE at Sugar Hill Baptist Church, where he MADE controversial comments questioning evolution. In each sanctuary, the pastors interviewed Walker on stage and offered their support for his candidacy in ways that appear to violate IRS rules prohibiting 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofits from engaging in partisan campaign activity.”

Its time for average Americans to stop being forced to subsidize politically radical religious leaders and their institutions.

Back during Trump’s second impeachment trial, Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and heir to the multimillion-dollar Graham fortune, PUBLICALLY SAID that the 10 Republicans voting to impeach Donald Trump in the US House of Representatives were like Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

“And these ten, from [Trump’s] own party, joined in the feeding frenzy,” he wrote. “It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”

Franklin Graham is a multimillionaire in large part because neither he nor his family have to pay any taxes on their family’s business income or even pay property taxes on the land and buildings their business owns and in which they live.

Instead, you and I and the taxpayers of his town and state pay extra taxes to subsidize Graham and his “ministry,” as we do thousands of other politically active “preachers.”

There’s a history to this political-religious-financial complex.

Back in the 1950s, the John Birch Society put up billboards all across America demanding that Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren be impeached because he’d signed off on the Brown v Board decision that required schools be racially integrated.

White churches across the country, along with wealthy industrialists like Fred Koch, helped fund the effort, arguing that school integration was the first step to full-blown communism in America and was against “God’s will.”

Preachers ranted from the pulpit about the dangers of school integration: the issue BIRTHED THE MODERN RELIGIOUS RIGHT. Bob Jones, Jerry Falwell and others started all-white schools to defy the decision, often claiming that because their schools were ChristianӔ they were exempt from federal oversight and thus didnt have to comply with the Supreme Court’s dictum.

Into this firestorm stepped Senator Lyndon Johnson, who proposed in 1954 that it was fine if churches wanted to engage in politics or argue that Jesus would have been against racial integration, but if they chose to preach and practice racism and politics the rest of America shouldnt be forced to subsidize them.

It passed Congress that year and was signed into law by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since the Reagan era, however, the law has been largely ignored. As The Washington Post NOTED in a 2016 editorial:

Indeed, more than 2,000 mainly evangelical Christian clergy have deliberately violated the law since 2008 as a form of protest against it; only one has been audited by the IRS, and none punished...”

As the IRS NOTES:

“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Churches could still participate in non-partisan political activities like a voter registration drive or organizing buses to take people to polling places, but when they took a position on candidates or political issues they lost their right to force all the rest of us pay for their roads, police, fire, and all the other public services that taxes fund.

But EVER SINCE George HW Bush brought his son George W. Bush into his 1988 campaign to reach out to white evangelical churches, many evangelists, televangelists, and churches across America have been ignoring this law.

They not only regularly preach rightwing hate, completely inconsistent with Jesus’s message, but they raise HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS - all tax exempt - to inject into political campaigns.

This is not how the Framers of our Constitution thought America should operate.

At the founding of our republic, “Father of the Constitution” James Madison was worried about government influencing and corrupting churches as had happened in Massachusetts before the Revolution.

On the other hand, his mentor, Thomas Jefferson, was worried that churches and their religious leaders could corrupt politicians and government itself.

It turns out both were right.

Their solution was written into Article VI of the Constitution, which says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”

THOMAS JEFFERSON LATER REFERRED TO THIS as a “wall of separation between church and state” that would keep both our republic and our churches independent of each other.

When he became our fourth President, James Madison’s FIRST VETO was to reject a piece of legislation that wouldve given a federal subsidy to a church in Washington DC to feed needy people.

“No American government should be giving money to churches,” he said, regardless of purpose, and the proposed law he vetoed would “be a precedent for giving to religious societies as such a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty.”

Sadly, and particularly since the Reagan Revolution, we’ve badly backslid on this principle. Churches have figured out hundreds of ways to get their hands on government money, and deeply embedded themselves in the business of lobbying and politics.

It’s hard to find a successful televangelist or major evangelical pastor who is not now a multimillionaire, presiding over a multi-million or even billion-dollar empire within America’s multi-billion-dollar-a-year religious industry. And they got there, in part, because you and I are subsidizing them.

Modern history, particularly since 1954, proves the wisdom of Madison and Jeffersons concern.

If rightwing religious leaders want to tell their followers how to believe, how to behave, and how to vote, that’s fine. Thatђs their right in a nation that celebrates both free speech and freedom of - and freedom from - religion.

Churches, after all, have been telling their members how to behave since the beginning of organized religion. Social and political control exercised through religion is nothing new: its at least as old as the Bible.

But you and I shouldn’t be forced to subsidize their political control over their followers through our tax dollars.

Its time for the IRS to tighten up their enforcement and cut these freeloaders off their free lunch of tax exemption when they engage in politics.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/11/22 •
Section Dying America
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Saturday, October 08, 2022

The Overview Effect

space.jpg image: space border=0

“The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
- Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan

The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
Video: Overview Effect, NASA

“It felt like a funeral” William Shatner says trip to space filled him with “grief”

By Tom Murray
Yahoo News
October 7, 2022

William Shatner had a surprising reaction to his 2021 space flight onboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle.

Then 90 years old, the Star Trek actor became the oldest living person to travel into space.

In an excerpt from his upcoming book, BOLDLY GO: REFLECTIONS OF A LIFE OF AWE AND WONDER, shared by Variety, Shatner revealed that the flight filled him with an overwhelming sense of “dread” and “grief” for our planet.

“When I looked ... into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold… all I saw was death,” Shatner wrote.

“I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.”

“It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered.”

SOURCE

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My Trip to Space Filled Me With ‘Overwhelming Sadness’

By William Shatner
Variety
October 6, 2022

In this exclusive excerpt from William Shatners new book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder,” the Star Trek actor reflects on his voyage into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle on Oct. 13, 2021. Then 90 years old, Shatner became the oldest living person to travel into space, but as the actor and author details below, he was surprised by his own reaction to the experience.

So, I went to space.

Our group, consisting of me, tech mogul Glen de Vries, Blue Origin Vice President and former NASA International Space Station flight controller Audrey Powers, and former NASA engineer Dr. Chris Boshuizen, had done various simulations and training courses to prepare, but you can only prepare so much for a trip out of Earth’s atmosphere! As if sensing that feeling in our group, the ground crew kept reassuring us along the way. “Everything’s going to be fine. Don’t worry about anything. It’s all okay.” Sure, easy for them to say, I thought. They get to stay here on the ground.

During our preparation, we had gone up eleven flights of the gantry to see what it would be like when the rocket was there. We were then escorted to a thick cement room with oxygen tanks. What’s this room for? I asked casually.

“Oh, you guys will rush in here if the rocket explodes,” a Blue Origin fellow responded just as casually.

Uh-huh. A safe room. Eleven stories up. In case the rocket explodes.

Well, at least they’ve thought of it.

When the day finally arrived, I couldn’t get the Hindenburg out of my head. Not enough to cancel, of course - I hold myself to be a professional, and I was booked. The show had to go on.

We got ourselves situated inside the pod. You have to strap yourself in in a specific order. In the simulator, I didnt nail it every time, so as I sat there, waiting to take off, the importance of navigating weightlessness to get back and strap into the seat correctly was at the forefront of my mind.

That, and the Hindenburg crash.

Then there was a delay.

“Sorry, folks, there’s a slight anomaly in the engine. It’ll just be a few moments.”

An anomaly in the engine?! That sounds kinda serious, doesn’t iit?

An anomaly is something that does not belong. What is currently in the engine that doesn’t belong there?!

More importantly, why would they tell us that? There is a time for unvarnished honesty. I get that. This wasn’t it.

Apparently, the anomaly wasn’t too concerning, because thirty seconds later, we were cleared for launch and the countdown began. With all the attending noise, fire, and fury, we lifted off. I could see Earth disappearing. As we ascended, I was at once aware of pressure. Gravitational forces pulling at me. The g’s. There was an instrument that told us how many g’s we were experiencing. At two g’s, I tried to raise my arm, and could barely do so. At three g’s, I felt my face being pushed down into my seat. I don’t know how much more of this I can take, I thought. Will I pass out? Will my face melt into a pile of mush? How many gs can my ninety-year-old body handle?

And then, suddenly, relief. No g’s. Zero. Weightlessness. We were floating.

We got out of our harnesses and began to float around. The other folks went straight into somersaults and enjoying all the effects of weightlessness. I wanted no part in that. I wanted, needed to get to the windowas quickly as possible to see what was out there.

I looked down and I could see the hole that our spaceship had punched in the thin, blue-tinged layer of oxygen around Earth. It was as if there was a wake trailing behind where we had just been, and just as soon as I’d noticed it, it disappeared.

I continued my self-guided tour and turned my head to face the other direction, to stare into space. I love the mystery of the universe. I love all the questions that have come to us over thousands of years of exploration and hypotheses. Stars exploding years ago, their light traveling to us years later; black holes absorbing energy; satellites showing us entire galaxies in areas thought to be devoid of matter entirely… all of that has thrilled me for years but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold . . . all I saw was death.

I saw a cold, dark, black emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on Earth. It was deep, enveloping, all-encompassing. I turned back toward the light of home. I could see the curvature of Earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her.

Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong.

I had thought that going into space would be the ultimate catharsis of that connection I had been looking for between all living things - that being up there would be the next beautiful step to understanding the harmony of the universe. In the film “Contact,” when Jodie Fosters character goes to space and looks out into the heavens, she lets out an astonished whisper, “They should’ve sent a poet.” I had a different experience, because I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s DOWN HERE, with ALL OF US. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.

It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered. The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna . . . things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind. It filled me with dread. My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral.

I learned later that I was not alone in this feeling. It is called the “OVERVIEW EFFECT” and is not uncommon among astronauts, including Yuri Gagarin, Michael Collins, Sally Ride, and many others. Essentially, when someone travels to space and views Earth from orbit, a sense of the planet’s fragility takes hold in an ineffable, instinctive manner. Author Frank White first coined the term in 1987: “There are no borders or boundaries on our planet except those that we create in our minds or through human behaviors. All the ideas and concepts that divide us when we are on the surface begin to fade from orbit and the moon. The result is a shift in worldview, and in identity.”

It can change the way we look at the planet but also other things like countries, ethnicities, religions; it can prompt an instant reevaluation of our shared harmony and a shift in focus to all the wonderful things we have in common instead of what makes us different. It reinforced tenfold my own view on the power of our beautiful, mysterious collective human entanglement, and eventually, it returned a feeling of hope to my heart. In this insignificance we share, we have one gift that other species perhaps do not: we are aware - not only of our insignificance, but the grandeur around us that makes us insignificant. That allows us perhaps a chance to rededicate ourselves to our planet, to each other, to life and love all around us. If we seize that chance.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/08/22 •
Section Revelations
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Constitutional governments and aristocracies are commonly overthrown owing to some deviation from justice …...the rich, if the constitution gives them power, are apt to be insolent and avaricious.… In all well-attempered governments there is nothing which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters; for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state, just as the constant recurrence of small expenses in time eats up a fortune. - Aristotle

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