The Mooch Out Per Gen. Kelly’s Recommendation

Less than two weeks after Trump appointed Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as his new White House communications director, The Mooch is gone.

RT:

Anthony Scaramucci is leaving after only 10 days as White House communications director. The decision came at the recommendation of the newly sworn-in chief of staff John Kelly, the White House confirmed.

“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The Mooch couldn’t be controlled—a problem for Gen. Kelly and his chain-of-command approach. Oh well. I liked The Mooch, but it’s not the end of the world.

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Does Music Improve Focus?

A recent Wall Street Journal article asks the following question: Does listening to music improve one’s focus? After exploring the Mozart and Slayer Effects, the answer is that there’s no definitive answer. Music helps some while it hinders others.

I don’t always listen to music when trying to focus. If I’m sufficiently self-motivated, I just dive right in. If I’m distracted or unmotivated, I’ll put in my headphones and fire up Google Music or YouTube.

The science confirms it’s best to avoid music with lyrics. This is probably easier for those of us who already enjoy classical music. But if I decide to listen to music with lyrics, it must be a single song on repeat. I picked this tactic up from Ryan Holiday, who writes that it “allows the songs to fade into themselves—to become a more or less continuous stream.” You don’t even hear the lyrics once you enter “the zone.”

Whether or not you listen to music while concentrating, these findings are unlikely to change your habits. There is no right or wrong way to focus. Continue to do whatever works best for you.

Three Things You Need to Do For At Least an Hour Every Day

Reading, writing, and training. Alexander Cortes explains why:

Reading, Writing, and Training are absolutely critical practices. Within those three things you enable the broadest possible range of skills and cultivation of personal qualities that support your success in ANY field. I believe this is the foundational formula to becoming the top 1% of human beings, in any any given realm. It acts as a cornerstone to building skillsets, increasing cognitive learning, and maintaining physical health and resiliency to continuously improve. And it can be be done at ANY TIME, with a minimum of cost and a maximum of gain. There are ZERO prerequisites to doing it.

Said another way, it tilts the odds of success in your favor. And you WANT to the odds to favor you. The world is ever more competitive with each passing year, and staying competitive requires judicious action. The world has many narratives, many challenges, and many opportunities.

We all occupy a world where ideas have become the most valuable form of currency, where the ability to focus is under fire in a world of noise, and where “mastery” and making sense of truth is more important than ever before.

Reading and writing are self-explanatory. Training, however, means more to Cortes than just exercise:

3. Training-People might take this to mean “exercise”, but it is not so specific as that. Training is anything of a physical nature. Walking to have time to think, playing an instrument, physical training of the body through various forms of exercise, this is something that everyone had their own version of. What was recognized was that physicality creates mentality, and that to self-actualize, you must have the physical health to support doing so. Strong body, strong mind, the two are inextricably linked. (outliers exist of course, but they do not disprove the heuristic)

Read the entire post here.

What North Korea Really Wants

Could it be that ideology is not driving North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, but rather an attempt to become a full-fledged “member of the international community”?

New York Times:

Conventional wisdom holds that the North’s weapons are intended to address the country’s two greatest problems — military inferiority and economic weakness — by deterring the United States and extracting concessions.

But in practice, the weapons make both problems worse by increasing the risk of war and ensuring continued sanctions.

So what is driving the North’s actions? Earlier assessments pegged the country as irrational or warped by its own ideology. But virtually every expert now dismisses those explanations, saying that North Korea has managed its history-defying survival too cannily to be anything but coldly rational.

North Korea envisions the United States one day concluding that it has grown too powerful to coerce and the status quo too risky to maintain, leading Washington to accept a grand bargain in which it would drop sanctions and withdraw some or all of its forces from South Korea.

Interestingly, the relationship between the world and North Korea shares a few similarities to the relationship between the world and China back in the 50s and 60s:

Mao Zedong’s China began, in the 1950s, as a pariah state, isolated and threatened by the United States. It became, in the 1960s, a rogue nuclear power. And then it rose, through the 1970s, into an accepted member of the international community, embraced even by its onetime adversary.

China ultimately won acceptance by playing the United States against the Soviet Union, not by rattling nuclear sabers. Its size and power also made it impossible for other nations to ignore it, advantages that North Korea lacks.

But North Korea’s desperation, as well as its longtime obsession with China, may have led it to see the possibility, however misguided, of achieving success by following Beijing’s script.

Richard Nixon formally visited China in 1972, and although it was a controversial move, history has shown that it signified a huge first step in the country’s relations with the world, not just the U.S.

What’s stopping us from doing the same with North Korea? Food for thought. What do you think?

Atheism Plummeting in Mother Russia

02-2806 CBN:

The number of Russians who call themselves atheists has fallen by 50 percent in only three years, according to a new poll.

The independent Levada Research Center conducted the survey in late June.

It showed that Russian atheists and those who describe themselves as “absolutely irreligious,” dropped from 26 percent in 2014 to 13 percent in 2017.

Religious believers now make up 86 percent of the Russian population and 44 percent say they are “quite religious,” but that number included Islam and eastern religions.

The poll found that the Russian Orthodox Church remains the major denomination by far in Russia, with 9 out of 10 respondents saying they view the Orthodox church with “respect and benevolence.”

74 percent of Russians view the Roman Catholic church with “respect and benevolence,” 61 percent hold a favorable view of Protestantism, followed by 59 percent for Islam and 56 percent who said they respect Judaism.

Say what you will about Putin or the Kremlin, but the Russian people are loyal to God and nation. They, along with the Poles, best represent the essence of Christendom, i.e., Western Civilization.

Evan’s Recent Reads: Edition Eight

1. “A Concise History of the Catholic Church” by Thomas Bokenkotter. This concise history is over 500 pages long—that alone tells you how complex the Catholic Church is. Reads like a textbook, which isn’t bad considering the topic. Recommended for newbies as well as those looking to brush up on their Church history.

2. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. Didn’t take me long to start and finish this book. Essentialism is not a collection of productivity hacks, it’s a way of life, a way of doing everything differently. It’s about working smart, prioritizing the important things in life, and seizing control of how you spend your time.

3. “Take Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters” by Laura Thompson. Intriguing subject matter and entertaining account, but the story meandered and felt long-winded. I was able to finish though. Three stars.

4. “1924: The Year That Made Hitler” by Peter Ross Range. Of all the books about Hitler, most focus on Hitler the leader, not Hitler the man. Range’s work focuses on the latter. Hitler considered suicide after his failed putsch, and most thought the NSDAP was dead. But prison was the best thing that could’ve happened to Hitler, for it allowed him to write Mein Kampf and reassess his approach to obtaining power.

5. “The Art of Praying” by Romano Guardini. Great work for those seeking guidance on establishing better prayer habits and reinvigorating one’s relationship with God. Guardini got verbose at times though, so I could only give it four-and-a-half stars, not the full five.

6. “First Person” by Vladimir Putin. It’s a series of interviews not just with Putin, but also with his wife, his daughters, one of his former schoolteachers, and others. Some parts were interesting, some parts dry. It added to my understanding of Putin but not too much. That’s why Steven Lee Myers’ “The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin” is now on my to-read list.

Western Men Losing Sperm Bigly

A new study has revealed that sperm count among Western men is at an all-time low. What’s more, the sperm count of Latino, Asian, and African men hasn’t declined much, if at all.

Funnily enough, I had read an article about sperm count in the June 2017 edition of Men’s Health just days before discovering this study. The article featured an infographic identifying the impact that various lifestyle factors had on sperm count. The factors that increase sperm count? Consuming organic produce, fish, and black cumin seed oil; eliminating trans fat; and cutting the cable cord.

The factors that decrease sperm count? Eating fried food, smoking cigarettes and/or weed, not getting enough sleep, sporting a 40+ inch waist, and suffering from stress and anxiety.

Now which group of lifestyle factors best applies to Western men? Once you’ve got your answer, are you honestly surprised that Western man’s sperm count is plummeting?

Saving the West starts with you, the individual man. Get that sperm count up: lift weights, clean up your diet, get plenty of sleep, and watch little (or no) TV. The health of Western Civilization depends on your strength and vitality.