If the Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn't Worry You, You're Not Paying Attention

While turbulent during the best of times, gigantic waves of change are now sweeping across the Middle East. The magnitude is such that the impact on the global price of oil, as well as world markets, is likely to be enormous.

A dramatic geo-political realignment by Saudi Arabia is in full swing this month. It's upending many decades of established strategic relationships among the world's superpowers and, in particular, is throwing the Middle East into turmoil.

So much is currently in flux, especially in Saudi Arabia, that nearly anything can happen next. Which is precisely why this volatile situation should command our focused attention at this time.

The main elements currently in play are these:

  • A sudden and intense purging of powerful Saudi insiders (arrests, deaths, & asset seizures)
  • Huge changes in domestic policy and strategy
  • A shift away from the US in all respects (politically, financially and militarily)
  • Deepening ties to China
  • A surprising turn towards Russia (economically and militarily)
  • Increasing cooperation and alignment with Israel (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?)

Taken together, this is tectonic change happening at blazing speed.

That it's receiving too little attention in the US press given the implications, is a tip off as to just how big a deal this is -- as we're all familiar by now with how the greater the actual relevance and importance of a development, the less press coverage it receives. This is not a direct conspiracy; it's just what happens when your press becomes an organ of the state and other powerful interests. Like a dog trained with daily rewards and punishments, after a while the press needs no further instruction on the house rules.

It does emphasize, however, that to be accurately informed about what's going on, we have to do our own homework. Here's a short primer to help get you started.

A Quick Primer

Unless you study it intensively, Saudi politics are difficult to follow because they are rooted in the drama of a very large and dysfunctional family battling over its immense wealth. If you think your own family is nuts, multiply the crazy factor by 1,000, sprinkle in a willingness to kill any family members who get in your way, and you'll have the right perspective for grasping how Saudi 'politics' operate.

The House of Saud is the ruling royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (hereafter referred to as "KSA") and consists of some 15,000 members. The majority of the power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of roughly 2,000 individuals. 4,000 male princes are in the mix, plus a larger number of involved females -- all trying to either hang on to or climb up a constantly-shifting mountain of power.

Here's a handy chart to explain the lineage of power in KSA over the decades:

(Source)

We'll get to the current ruler, King Salman, and his powerful son, Mohammed Bin Salman (age 32), shortly. Before we do, though, let's talk about the most seminal moment in recent Saudi history: the key oil-for-money-and-protection deal struck between the Nixon administration and King Faisal back in the early 1970's.

This pivotal agreement allowed KSA to secretly recycle its surplus petrodollars back into US Treasuries while receiving US military protection in exchange. The secret was kept for 41 years, only recently revealed in 2016 due to a Bloomberg FOIA request:

The basic framework was strikingly simple. The U.S. would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending.
It took several discreet follow-up meetings to iron out all the details, Parsky said. But at the end of months of negotiations, there remained one small, yet crucial, catch: King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud demanded the country's Treasury purchases stay “strictly secret," according to a diplomatic cable obtained by Bloomberg from the National Archives database.
“Buying bonds and all that was a strategy to recycle petrodollars back into the U.S.," said David Ottaway, a Middle East fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. But politically, “it's always been an ambiguous, constrained relationship."
(Source)

The essence of this deal is pretty simple. KSA wanted to be able to sell its oil to its then largest buyer, the USA, while also having a safe place to park the funds, plus receive military protection to boot. But it didn't want anybody else, especially its Arab neighbors, to know that it was partnering so intimately with the US who, in turn, would be supporting Israel. That would have been politically incendiary in the Middle East region, coming as it did right on the heels of the Yom Kipper War (1973).

As for the US, it got the oil it wanted and – double bonus time here – got KSA to recycle the very same dollars used to buy that oil back into Treasuries and contracts for US military equipment and training.

Sweet deal.

Note that this is yet another secret world-shaping deal successfully kept out of the media for over four decades. Yes Virginia, conspiracies do happen. Secrets can be (and are routinely) kept by hundreds, even thousands, of people over long stretches of time.

Since that key deal was struck back in the early 1970s, the KSA has remained a steadfast supporter of the US and vice versa. In return, the US has never said anything substantive about KSA's alleged involvement in 9/11 or its grotesque human and women's rights violations. Not a peep.

Until recently.

Then Things Started To Break Down

In 2015, King Salman came to power. Things began to change pretty quickly, especially once he elevated his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to a position of greater power.

Among MBS's first acts was to directly involve KSA into the Yemen civil war, with both troops on the ground and aerial bombings. That war has killed thousands of civilians while creating a humanitarian crisis that includes the largest modern-day outbreak of cholera, which is decimating highly populated areas. The conflct, which is considered a 'proxy war' because Iran is backing the Houthi rebels while KSA is backing the Yemeni government, continues to this day.

Then in 2016, KSA threatened to dump its $750 billion in (stated) US assets in response to a bill in Congress that would have released sensitive information implicating Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11. Then-president Obama had to fly over there to smooth things out. It seems the job he did was insufficient; because KSA-US relations unraveled at an accelerating pace afterwards. Mission NOT accomplished, it would seem.

In 2017, KSA accused Qatar of nefarious acts and made such extraordinary demands that an outbreak of war nearly broke out over the dispute., The Qatari leadership later accused KSA of fomenting 'regime change', souring the situation further. Again, Iran backed the Qatar government, which turned this conflict into another proxy battle between the two main Gulf region superpowers.

In parallel with all this, KSA was also supporting the mercenaries (aka "rebels" in western press) who were seeking to overthrow Assad in Syria -- yet another proxy war between KSA and Iran. It's been an open secret that, during this conflict, KSA has been providing support to some seriously bad terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other supposed enemies of the US/NATO. (Again, the US has never said 'boo' about that, proving that US rhetoric against "terrorists" is a fickle construct of political convenience, not a moral matter.)

Once Russia entered the war on the side of Syria's legitimate government, the US and KSA (and Israel) lost their momentum. Their dreams of toppling Assad and turning Syria into another failed petro-state like they did with Iraq and Libya are not likely to pan out as hoped.

But rather than retreat to lick their wounds, KSA's King Salman and his son are proving to be a lot nimbler than their predecessors.

Rather than continue a losing battle in Syria, they've instead turned their energies and attention to dramatically reshaping KSA's internal power structures:

Saudi Arabia's Saturday Night Massacre
For nearly a century, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by the elders of a royal family that now finds itself effectively controlled by a 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. He helms the Defense Ministry, he has extravagant plans for economic development, and last week arranged for the arrest of some of the most powerful ministers and princes in the country.
A day before the arrests were announced, Houthi tribesmen in Yemen but allied with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh.
The Saudis claim the missile came from Iran and that its firing might be considered “an act of war."
Saudi Arabia was created between the two world wars under British guidance. In the 1920s, a tribe known as the Sauds defeated the Hashemites, effectively annexing the exterior parts of Saudi Arabia they did not yet control. The United Kingdom recognized the Sauds' claim shortly thereafter. But since then, the Saudi tribe has been torn by ambition, resentment and intrigue. The Saudi royal family has more in common with the Corleones than with a Norman Rockwell painting.
The direct attack was undoubtedly met with threats of a coup. Whether one was actually planned didn't matter. Mohammed Bin Salman had to assume these threats were credible since so many interests were under attack. So he struck first, arresting princes and ex-minsters who constituted the Saudi elite. It was a dangerous gamble. A powerful opposition still exists, but he had no choice but to act. He could either strike as he did last Saturday night, or allow his enemies to choose the time and place of that attack. Nothing is secure yet, but with this strike, there is a chance he might have bought time. Any Saudi who would take on princes and clerics is obviously desperate, but he may well break the hold of the financial and religious elite.
(Source)

This 32 year-old prince, Mohammed bin Salman has struck first and deep, completely upending the internal power dynamics of Saudi Arabia.

He's taken on the political, financial and religious elites head on. For example, pushing through the decision to allow women to drive; a provocative move designed to send a clear message to the clerics who might oppose him. That message is: "I'm not fooling around here."

This is a classic example of how one goes about purging the opposition when either taking over a government after a coup, or implementing a big new strategy at a major corporation. You have to remove any possible opponents and then install your own loyalists. According the Rules for Rulers, you do this by diverting a portion of the flow of funds to your new backers while diminishing, imprisoning or killing all potential enemies.

So far, Mohammed bin Salman's action plan is par for the course. No surprises.

The above article from Stratfor (well worth reading in its entirety) continues with these interesting insights:

The Iranians have been doing well since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015. They have become the dominant political force in Iraq. Their support for the Bashar Assad regime in Syria may not have been enough to save him, but Iran was on what appears to be the winning side in the Syrian civil war. Hezbollah has been hurt by its participation in the war but is reviving, carrying Iranian influence in Lebanon at a time when Lebanon is in crisis after the resignation of its prime minister last week.
The Saudis, on the other hand, aren't doing as well. The Saudi-built anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen has failed to break the Houthi-led opposition. And Iran has openly entered into an alliance with Qatar against the wishes of the Saudis and their ally, the United Arab Emirates.
Iran seems to sense the possibility of achieving a dream: destabilizing Saudi Arabia, ending its ability to support anti-Iranian forces, and breaking the power of the Sunni Wahhabis. Iran must look at the arrests in Saudi Arabia as a very bad move. And they may be. Mohammad bin Salman has backed the fundamentalists and the financial elite against the wall.
They are desperate, and now it is their turn to roll the dice. If they fall short, it could result in a civil war in Saudi Arabia. If Iran can hit Riyadh with missiles, the crown prince's opponents could argue that the young prince is so busy with his plans that he isn't paying attention to the real threat. For the Iranians, the best outcome is to have no one come out on top.
This would reconfigure the geopolitics of the Middle East, and since the U.S. is deeply involved there, it has decisions to make.

So given Yemen, Syria, and its recent domestic purges, Saudi Arabia is in turmoil. It's in a far weaker position than it was a short while ago.

This leaves the US in a far weaker regional position, too, at precisely the time when China and Russia are increasing their own presence (which we'll get to next).

But first we have to discuss what might happen if a civil war were to engulf Saudi Arabia. The price of oil would undoubtedly spike. In turn, that would cripple the weaker countries, companies and households around the world that simply cannot afford a higher oil price. And there's a lot of them.

Financial markets would destabilize as long-suppressed volatility would explode higher, creating horrific losses across the board. That very few investors are mentally or financially prepared for such carnage is a massive understatement.

So..if you were Saudi Arabia, in need of helpful allies after being bogged down in an unwinnable war in Yemen, just defeated in a proxy war in Syria, and your longtime 'ally', the US, is busy pumping as much of its own oil as it can, what would you do?

Pivot To China

Given its situation, is it really any surprise that King Salman and his son have decided to pivot to China? In need of a new partner that would align better with their current and future interests, China is the obvious first choice.

So in March 2017, only a very short while after Obama's failed visit, a large and well-prepared KSA entourage accompanied King Salman to Beijing and inked tens of billions in new business deals:

China, Saudi Arabia eye $65 billion in deals as king visits
Mar 16, 2017
BEIJING (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion on the first day of a visit to Beijing on Thursday, as the world's largest oil exporter looks to cement ties with the world's second-largest economy.
The deals included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between giant state oil firm Saudi Aramco and China North Industries Group Corp (Norinco), to look into building refining and chemical plants in China.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Sinopec, which already jointly run a chemical complex in Tinajin, also agreed to develop petrochemical projects in both China and Saudi Arabia.
Salman told Xi he hoped China could play an even greater role in Middle East affairs, the ministry added.
Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said the memorandums of understanding and letters of intent were potentially worth about $65 billion, involving everything from energy to space.
(Source)

This was a very big deal in terms of Middle East geopolitics. It shook up many decades of established power, resulting in a shift away from dependence on America.

The Saudis arrived in China with such a huge crowd in tow that a reported 150 cooks had been brought along to just to feed everyone in the Saudi visitation party.

The resulting deals struck involved everything from energy to infrastructure to information technology to space. And this was just on the first visit. Quite often a brand new trade delegation event involves posturing and bluffing and feeling each other out; not deals being struck. So it's clear that before the visit, well before, lots and lots of deals were being negotiated and terms agreed to so that the thick MOU files were ready to sign during the actual visit.

The scope and size of these business deals are eye catching, but the real clincher is King Salman's public statement expressing hope China will play "an even greater role in Middle East affairs."

That, right there, is the sound of the geopolitical axis-tilting. That public statement tells us everything we need to know about the sort of change the Salman dynasty intends to pursue.

So it should have surprised no one to hear that, in August this year, another$70 billion of new deals were announced between China and KSA. The fanfare extolled that Saudi-Sino relations had entered a new era, with “the agreements covering investment, trade, energy, postal service, communications, and media."

This is a very rapid pace for such large deals. If KSA and China were dating, they'd be talking about moving in together already. They're clearly at the selecting furniture and carpet samples stage.

As for the US? It seems KSA isn't even returning its calls or texts at this point.

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet...

All of the above merely describes how we arrived at where things stand today.

But as mentioned, the power grab underway in KSA by Mohammed bin Salman is unfolding in real-time. Developments are happening hourly -- while writing this, the very high-profile Prince Bandar bin Sultan (recent head of Saudi Intelligence and former longtime ambassador to the US) has been arrested.

The trajectory of events is headed in a direction that may well end the arrangement that has served as the axis around which geopolitics has spun for the past 40 years. The Saudis want new partners, and are courting China hard.

China, for reasons we discuss in Part 2 of this report, has an existential need to supplant America as Saudi Arabia's most vital oil customer.

And both Saudi Arabia and China are inking an increasing number of strategic oil deals with Russia. Why? We get into that in Part 2, too -- but suffice it to say, in the fast-shifting world of KSA foreign policy, it's China and Russia 'in', US 'out'.

Maybe not all the way out, but the US clearly has lost a lot of ground with KSA over the past few years. My analysis is that by funding an insane amount of shale oil development, at a loss, and at any cost (such as to our biggest Mideast ally) the US has time and again displayed that our 'friendship' does not run very deep. In a world where loyalty counts, the US has proved a disloyal partner. Can China position itself to be perceived of as a better mate? When it comes to business, I believe the answer is 'yes.'

In Part 2: The Oil Threat we couple these developments with China and Russia's recent efforts to drop the dollar from trade, especially when purchasing oil, and clearly see the unfolding of the biggest new driver of the world's financial, monetary and geopolitical arrangements in 50 years.

We also explain why, unless something very dramatically changes in either the supply or demand equation for oil, and soon, we can now put a timeline in place for when the great unraveling begins. Somewhere between the second half of 2018 and the end of 2019 oil will dramatically increase in price and that will shake the foundations of the global mountain of debt and its related underfunded liabilities. Think 9.0 on the financial Richter scale.

Let me be blunt - you have to have your preparations done before this happens. You really, really want to be a year early on this (at least). When it starts happening, the breakdown will progress faster than you can react.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

Whatever happened to "do no harm?"

Last month, Glenn hosted a powerful Glenn TV special exposing malpractice and fudged consent standards among members in WPATH, the world's largest transgender health organization. Now that it's pride month, LGBTQ+ activists around the world are continuing their attempt to normalize life-altering transgender surgeries and hormone therapy as a legitimate option for minors experiencing gender confusion. However, as Glenn exposed in The Reckoning: Gender-Affirming Care, WPATH members are not only ideologically motivated to forego medical standards like "informed consent" to push transgender surgeries and hormone therapy on minors; they are financially incentivized to do so.

These "gender experts" are willing to bend the rules to do their dark work, and hospitals are turning a blind eye and rake in the cash. Here are 10 children's hospitals across the U.S. currently performing transgender procedures on minors:

1. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

We provide services including pubertal suppression, menstrual suppression, hormone therapy, and referrals for gender-affirming surgery.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Gender Development Clinical Services page

2. Children’s Wisconsin

The most common care plans include ongoing psychological, emotional or social support. In some cases, our services may include reversible puberty-suppressing hormone therapy, gender-affirming hormone therapy and speech/voice training

Children's Wisconsin Gender Health Clinic page

3. Connecticut Children’s Hospital

The Division of Plastic Surgery at Connecticut Children’s offers surgical options for gender affirmation to individuals who have documented and persistent gender dysphoria. Gender incongruence occurs when a person’s sex assigned at birth does not correspond to the gender with which they identify. Gender affirmation operations are a group of surgical procedures that may be appropriate for transgender and gender diverse people to help affirm their gender identity.

Connecticut Children’s Hospital Gender Affirmation Surgery page

4. Doernbecher Children’s Hospital: Oregon Health and Science University

Our clinic accepts new patients through age 18. Our pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine doctors and psychologists specialize in providing team-based care for children and teens.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital: Doernbecher Gender Services

5. Golisano Children’s Hospital; associated with the University of Rochester Medicine

Gender Health Services coordinates with other divisions and departments to provide personal comprehensive care for our youth and young adults through age 26.
-Cross-gender Hormone Therapy: Gender Health Services provides cross-gender hormone therapy. We consult as needed with Pediatric or Adult Endocrinology
-Pubertal Blockade
-Mental Health Assessment: Referrals and coordinated care
-Surgical Services: Referrals and coordination of care (as medically necessary)Gender-affirming Top -Surgery: Plastic Surgery or Breast Surgery
-Vocal Therapy: Speech Pathology

Golisano Children’s Hospital: Gender Health Services

6. NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

We help children and their families understand and explore their identity, with the goal of helping them achieving a true and nuanced sense of self. We want children to understand and value themselves, so that they can develop the confidence to talk with others about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Gender & Sexuality Service page

7. Seattle Children’s Hospital

We accept new patients ages 9 to 17.75 at the time of referral who have already started puberty. Patients ages 17.75 and older and patients who have not yet started puberty will be directed to community resources. Our clinic primarily provides gender-affirming medical care (such as puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones).

Seattle Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic page

8. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

This multidisciplinary clinic provides medical services for gender nonconforming youths and their families in one central location. The expert members of the Gender Clinic team consists of providers from pediatric endocrinology, adolescent medicine, pediatric urology and social services, supporting each child’s or adolescent’s gender identity. All our providers are members of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic page

9. St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital

DSD (Differences in sexual development) encompasses conditions in which a person is born with sexual and/or reproductive anatomy that is not consistent with typical definitions of male or female anatomy. This may include atypical or ambiguous genitalia, unusual chromosome patterns, or differences in internal reproductive or urinary organ development. Our team provides hormonal therapy, mental health evaluation, and surgical consultations for patients with DSD.

St. Luke's Children's Essence Clinic page

10. University of Illinois Hospital

We are here to work with you to determine how to best meet your goals of external gender presentation. We want you to feel and be as prepared as possible while you take these important steps towards surgery.

University of Illinois Hospital Gender Affirming Surgery page

Why is my name on this deep state-backed Ukraine 'disinformation watch list'?

Chris Williamson / Contributor, Janos Kummer / Stringer | Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

On Thursday, Texty.org, a so-called independent media outlet with an editor-in-chief who has ties to the U.S. State Department, placed dozens of American politicians, activists, and media outlets — including Blaze Media and myself — on a list of those who have allegedly shared Russian disinformation and anti-Ukrainian statements. The outlet published an article titled, "Roller Coaster: From Trumpists to Communists. The forces in the U.S. impeding aid to Ukraine and how they do it."

We have a color revolution happening within our own country.

There are 75 individuals on the list with the nearly 400 entities that have opposed sending aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Blaze Media and I were mentioned on page 34 of a 47-page list.

The group admits it couldn’t establish direct, proven ties between most of the entities on the list and the Russian government or known Russian propagandists. Instead, it gathered “evidence” that these people and outlets have spread Russian disinformation by echoing key messages of Russian propaganda in their arguments for ending further aid to Ukraine.

Who exactly are the people behind Texty.org? Its cofounder Anatoly Bondarenko was involved in the "tech camp," a public diplomacy program established by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department. The tech camp is very much part of the State Department’s efforts to foment “color revolutions” in other countries. They find “tech-savvy people” and show them how to build movements against their governments. That's what our State Department is doing. What a coincidence that the editor-in-chief and cofounder was trained by the State Department and has ties to USAID.

I did a "Glenn TV" special a few weeks ago about regime change. It's been the United States' policy for a very long time. We use covert CIA operations to go into foreign counties and influence policy, manipulate the foreign media, meddle with and topple governments. We never admit that we do these things. When asked, we say, "We didn't do that. What are you talking about?"

It begins with those in the government who want to overthrow a regime.

This strategy started with the Cold War, but nothing the CIA has pulled off comes even close to what its successor began doing: the United States government, including the CIA, NGOs, trade unions, and people like George Soros. They coordinate together to bring about color revolutions. The first one that was really successful was in the Middle East: the Arab Spring. I told my audience years ago that the Arab Spring had its roots in 20th-century communist revolutions. After the “Communist Manifesto” was written, there was the European spring, which was the communists’ attempt to overthrow all of Europe.

We've carried out color revolutions in the Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Ukraine is one of them. Here’s how they do it. The United States keeps its distance from the “dirty work” by going through NGOs and trade unions. They train and mobilize street movement — like the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots or the current pro-Palestinian protests. These movements are funded by the same people and seem to pop up every four years.

Their money and actions usually come at a time of massive civil unrest right before an election. There's some kind of government element at the top — whether it be the CIA, the State Department, or USAID — but ultimately the office of the president calls the shots.

It begins with those in the government who want to overthrow a regime, and then the operation is privatized to give it distance from those in the government who are in charge.

This is where NGOs like the National Endowment for Democracy come in. The National Endowment for Democracy is composed of four different entities: the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. Do you see what's happening here? It appears that the National Endowment for Democracy is composed of organizations from both sides of the aisle so it looks fair: Republican and Democrat, labor and private enterprise. But this is a bipartisan “cover story.”

Next on the food chain are the multibillion-dollar financiers and their organizations that partner in the entire operation. This is where George Soros comes in along with his organizations, the Open Society Foundations, and the Tides Foundation, which spread the message coming from the top: “Demonstrate in the streets!” They influence the media to report what the government wants to communicate to the masses.

This is the color revolution blueprint. We've done it many times, and I make the case that these same people are doing it here in America.

So, why am I on this list? I believe I'm on this list because I’m telling you exactly what’s happening.

We have a color revolution happening within our own country. Our government, NGOs, George Soros, and all the same actors used to initiate color revolutions abroad are now initiating a color revolution within the U.S.

This is what they've practiced in foreign nations, tested in 2020, and are doing right now ahead of the November presidential election. They might succeed this time because they can't have Donald Trump as president again. If he wins, you will have the government, the media, and the masses in street movements all saying that the election was illegitimate. This is how we've brought about regime change in foreign nations, and now it is being attempted on our own soil.

Top FIVE public figures calling out woke mob

Patrick McDermott / Stringer, Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff, Cooper Neill / Contributor | Getty Images

As Glenn says, there is balance in all things. The further the pendulum swings one way, the stronger the counter-force grows.

For the past decade, the pendulum has been swinging left so fast that it has been hard to keep up with. What's considered progressive and woke one day is suddenly old-fashioned and intolerant the next. Fortunately, many people (such as yourself) have seen the writing on the wall and have taken a stand against the woke mob that drags us closer and closer to tyranny, despite personal risk.

Some of these people have taken a stand despite being in the public eye, at the height of their careers, and having everything to lose. For these people, it would have been easier (not to mention more profitable) to stay quiet, keep their heads down, and do what they're told. But they didn't. Instead, they risked it all to make a stand against wokism. This is where we see the tide turning, the pendulum slowing, and perhaps starting to swing the other way. This is where we begin to take America back.

These are the top five public figures who have recently made a stand against the woke mob:

Harrison Butker

In his now famous commencement address to the graduating class of 2024 at Benedictine College, Kansas City Chief Kicker, Harrison Butker stood up for his religious values (and assumingly, the values of the students at this Catholic College). Butker criticized the president and media for perpetuating "degenerate values" and promoted traditional family values. For this, he was vilified by the media.

Jerry Seinfeld

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has come under fire for defending his values several times over the last several months. During his commencement speech at Duke University that made the rounds on the internet a few weeks ago, Seinfeld was met with protests and walkouts by the pro-Palestine crowd due to his public support of Israel. Seinfeld has also received criticism for an interview with the New Yorker during which he blamed "the extreme left and P.C. crap" for the absence of quality comedy on television.

Joe Mazzulla

The NBA finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics are the hot sporting event at the moment. The head coach of the Celtics, Joe Mazzulla, is an outspoken Catholic and speaks frequently about his faith. In a recent interview, Mazzulla was asked if he felt that it was significant that the head coaches for both teams were black, to which he responded "I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches?"

Aaron Rodgers

NFL Quarterback Aaron Rodgers caught flack in 2021 for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine and going on air to defend his decision. He also criticized "woke culture" for being so easily offended. Rodgers has admitted that he lost money, friends, and media allies on a podcast with Joe Rogan since becoming outspoken about his beliefs. Rogers has continued to be vocal over issues concerning the vaccine and has championed other athletes who have spoken against vaccination.

Russell Brand

UK actor and comedian Russell Brand has faced recent criticism from the mainstream media for speaking his mind on several controversial issues. Brand started during the pandemic when he began posting videos on his YouTube channel that were critical of the way governments across the world were handling the crisis. Since then, Brand has defended his stance on COVID-19, called out woke corporations, and even converted to Christianity.

10 lessons on prepping from around the world

NurPhoto / Contributor | Getty Images

Prepping is a human condition practiced across the globe for thousands of years. Customs are influenced by geography, culture, politics, and threat. Here are ten applicable observations on preparedness from around the world.

1. Argentina: Get hard.

Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse is required reading for preppers, and it’s chock-full of real-life lessons from his experiences during Argentina's 2001 economic crisis. But the very first thing he starts with is preparing your body and your mind so you’re not a soft target. Stop being soft. Do difficult things to develop your body and your mind. Go camping. Hit the gym. Get in shape! It’ll do wonders for your health, survivability, and confidence.

Take home point: here’sa simple weightlifting plan that most able-bodied adults can perform. Learn to stand up straight and act confident. Get your dental and health problems fixed while you can—don’t put it off for after stuff hits the fan.

2. Netherlands: Involve the kids!

The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be Prepared” and the organization has taught boys wilderness and practical skills for over 100 years. The Dutch have their own version of inculcating confidence in their children via a cultural tradition known as Dutch Dropping. Kids, starting around the age of 11-12, are dropped off in the forest alone or in small groups at night with minimal gear and instructed to find their way home or to the campsite with ZERO adult assistance. Some nights are tough and miserable, but overall, the practice instills independence, decision-making skills, and is widely practiced.

Take home point: instill grit and self-confidence in your children early.

3. Israel: Always be prepared.

Entire books could be dedicated to the 10/7 attack, but the key takeaway is this: no one saw it coming. The folks attending the Supernova music festival expected a fun party, and what they got instead was hell. Israel is a bit of a special case, but the reality is you never know when a mass shooter or other disaster will strike. Never get too intoxicated, never let your guard down too much, because you never know when your life will change forever.

Take home point: you don’t have to live on hyper-alert (that is grossly unhealthy) but keep your wits about you and have a plan if things go south.

4.Taiwan: Grassroots communities are the best.

I-HWA CHENG / Contributor | Getty Images

Post-COVID and especially after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, prepping has exploded in Taiwan. Fearing an imminent blockade and invasion, the Taiwanese have recognized their precarious position. Prepper groups have sprung up across the island and vary in their focus from all-hazards to gear geeks to weaponized resistance forces training with airsoft guns. Skills taught are varied; examples include building an emergency kit, learning first aid, and basic survival proficiencies.

However, some groups go much further and provide instruction on military simulations. Participants run the political gamut and are highly varied in their professions, reflecting a massive cross-section of the island. One common theme that appears across these groups is the adage that disaster can happen at any moment and can consist of assorted hazards. The April 2024 severe earthquake is proof positive of this understanding.

Take home point: community resilience is vital!

5. Bosnia: Get your ham radio license.

During the Bosnian War of the early 1990s, ham radio operators like Himzo Devedzija helped separated families stay in touch via radio. These days, the ubiquity of the internet and smartphones has made ham radio seem obsolete, but radio has a key advantage over more modern and user-friendly tech: it requires practically no infrastructure. Hook a radio up to a battery connected to a solar panel, throw a wire over a tree, and you’re in business. Master digital modes like Winlink and you can even send email over the air. The downside is the equipment is expensive, and you need to take tests with the FCC to obtain the necessary licenses. Your best bet is to contact yournearest ham radio club, who can help prepare you for the tests and recommend the best equipment for your area. But you can do a lot of interesting things even without a license, like listen to worldwide HF transmissions and learn how to track down radio transmitters through foxhunting.

Take home point: pick up a hobby, even if it’s not ham and make it FUN!

6. Russia: Plant a garden.

While the leadership of Russia is commonly maligned, the Russian people are damn tough. They’ve survived Genghis Khan, famines, a communist revolution, and total government collapse. One secret to Russian resiliency? Dacha gardens, which the Russian people have maintained for over 1,000 years. These small backyard gardens account for 3% of Russia’s land but provide over 50% of the country’s food, including 92% of potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruit, 59% of meat, and 49% of milk. You don’t have to grow everything overnight, but simply starting with a single raised bed of lettuce and maybe a handful of chickens will give you invaluable real-world experience you can scale when the chips are down.

Take home point: build your resilience in bite-sized (pun intended) chunks.

7. Cyprus: Diversification saves.

During the 2013 financial crisis in Cyprus, Germany agreed to bail out the island, but with some characteristic German austerity: a tax of 6.75 percent from insured deposits up to €100,000 and a 9.9 percent from uninsured amounts over €100,000. People panicked, and Cyprus had to shut down banks for two weeks to avoid a run. Ultimately, depositors lost nearlyhalf of their savings. The crisis in Cyprussparked Bitcoin’s meteoric rise from obscure nerd money to a financial titan as the savvy rich realized that they couldn’t trust the banks. Of course, there are alternative places to store wealth other than a bank, but as for your liquid capital, it pays to diversify. Keep some in cash, Bitcoin, and precious metals.

Take home point: your mother was right, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

8.Japan: Government CAN be helpful.

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Japan overall, and Tokyo specifically, take disaster preparedness quite seriously. The 2024 New Years Day earthquake hammered that point home, yet again. At the national level, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force is habitually prepared to respond to calamity; everything from earthquakes to typhoons to tsunamis.

As a country, September 1st is nationally designated as Disaster Prevention Day, commemorating the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake which claimed 140,000 lives. School children, businesses, theme parks, and members of the national government participate annually. At the municipal level, Tokyo publishes a very thorough and thoughtful pamphlet on preparedness for its residents (English link here:https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/guide/bosai/index.html). Tokyo also boasts the massive Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, near downtown, that is used both as a tourist attraction and an actual disaster response site.

Take home point: remembrance, codified in national action and tribute, contributes to a culture of preparedness.

9. Finland, Switzerland, Israel: Bunkers aren't mainstream, but the concept is widespread.

You would really have to be a tinfoil hat wearing loon to invest in a bunker, right? Wrong. Switzerland mandates either a personal bunker or a tax for a space in a public bunker. In 2023, Finland ascertained it had over 50,000 bunkers, enough to shelter nearly 90% of its population. For these countries, the shelters are due to nuclear fears. Israeli law stipulates residential homes should possess a Merkhav Mugan (translation: protected space) to protect from conventional rocket and mortar attacks. Some countries and some areas are at higher risk for conventional or nuclear attack. It is folly to ignore this.

Take home point: the need for a nuclear bunker at home should not be a top prepping priority, but many areas of the US could greatly benefit from a reinforced room (e.g. panic room, tornado, or hurricane shelter) to mitigate threats.

10. United Kingdom, Canada, Australia: International preparedness is growing.

Although the tide is turning (slowly), one negative export from America on prepping, especially to the Western World, is that prepping is fringe and even anti-social, if not downright dangerous. Fortunately, things are changing for the better. The United Kingdom is, at least anecdotally, seeing an uptick in interest. The reality series Alone Australia, a spin-off of the American show where survivalists test their wits in nature, is a hit. A December 2023 survey of Canadians found 7% considered themselves preppers with British Columbia reporting the highest levels. Given wildfires, home prices, and general angst regarding a host of potential crises, it’s not hard to see why many are changing their views regarding preparedness.

Take home point: prepping has been a human staple for millennia; the world is rediscovering this and taking action.

About the authors:

Josh Centers has no masters degrees, but he does own four chickens along with some meat rabbits on his Tennessee compound. He runs unprepared.life, the best-selling Substack newsletter on preparedness, where he discusses subjects like food storage, nuclear war preparations, homeschooling, and the importance of cleaning your dryer vents. His views absolutely do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Army.

Dr. Chris Ellis has four masters degrees and earned his PhD at Cornell University. He is a Colonel in the Army who specializes in a variety of disaster and homeland defense initiatives. His views are from his studies and experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, the Army, or his current command. Sadly, Chris does not own any chickens.