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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Missing the rains down in Africa--and other likely causes of the Seven Bad Years

Counter In an earlier post, I mentioned in passing what may have caused the 14 years of changed climate reported in Genesis chapters 41-47. I thought my readers would like a more extended coverage of this topic.

Prior to the building of the Aswan Dam in the 1960's, the annual flooding of the Nile from June to September was the make-or-break season of the year for the entire Egyptian civilization. The flood level varied from 12 cubits to 18 cubits at the Delta, with the most desired level right between those two extremes.

What made the flood so vital to life in Egypt were two things: the water itself, and the rich sediment it carried. The water extended out toward the limits of the floodplain, soaking the soil enough to supply in one watering the moisture needed to germinate the crops. The sediments were left behind as the flood receded, enriching the soil with nutrients.

There are two ways that agriculture in Egypt could be devastated: one by too much water, and one by too little water. Too much water would rise high enough to wash away the farmers' homes, scour the fertile silt from their fields, and dampen the remnants of the previous year's harvest, damaging their seed and leaving them no grain to subsist on until the next harvest.

Too little water would mean unflooded fields, unable to sustain a crop until harvest.

Now, the scenario in Genesis is 7 years of plenty, during which a huge surplus of crops was stored up. This was followed by 7 years of famine, during which the surplus was eaten. This scenario doesn't fit very well with the too-much-water theory, which would have washed away or at least dampened the surplus grain. The too-little-water theory is a much better fit with the evidence.

Now, what could cause the twice-normal bumper crops for 7 years running? The most likely answer is a biannual flooding of the Nile, allowing two crops a year to be grown.

This is the usual Nile annual cycle:

Akhet (June-September): The Flooding Season. 
No farming was done at this time, as all the fields were flooded. Instead, many farmers worked for the pharaoh (king), building pyramids or temples. Some of the time was spent mending their tools and looking after animals.

Peret (October-January): The Growing Season. 
In October the floodwaters receded, leaving behind a layer of rich, black soil. This fertile soil was then ploughed and seeded.

Shemu (February-May): The Harvesting Season. 
The fully grown crops had to be cut down (harvested) and removed before the Nile flooded again. It was also the time to repair the canals ready for the next flood.


In order to fit in two crops a year, the seasons would have had to be shorter in duration, with each flood following hard on the previous harvest:

Akhet I (July-August) - The First Flooding Season.

Peret I (September-October) - The First Growing Season. 


Shemu I (November-December) - The First Harvesting Season. 



Akhet II - the inundation (January-February) - The Second Flooding Season.

Peret II (March-April) - The Second Growing Season. 


Shemu II (May-June) - The Second Harvesting Season. 


Now, interestingly enough, there already are two annual flood cycles on the Nile: one on the White Nile, and one on the Blue Nile.  Flow on the White Nile starts to climb in March and peaks in October; flow on the Blue Nile and other Ethiopian tributaries begins to pick up in June and peaks in August. Thus the Blue Nile flood is superimposed in the White Nile flood, causing a huge fluctuation in the annual flow of the Nile downstream of Atbara, especially so because, at its peak, the Blue Nile contributes nine times the volume of water than the already-flooded White Nile.

Now, what could possibly cause these two flood cycles to spread far enough apart to occur opposite each other on the annual calendar? Furthermore, it had to have been something that happened only once, as the Nile has never again experienced this sort of 14-year cycle.

The obvious answer is that it had something to do with the melting of Ice Age glaciers in the high mountains of Ethiopia.  Prior to this, Egypt would have only received one flood a year, from the White Nile. Rainfall in Sudan was probably considerably higher than it is now, but still seasonal. Thus Egypt was used to a single annual increase in Nile volume spread out over half the year, from say June to January. But one year the glaciers in Ethiopia began to melt, with just a small outflow the first summer, say from June to August. This, on top of the already rising waters of the White Nile, provided a gentle watering of the river valley suitable for the cultivation of orchard crops such as dates, figs, and pomegranates. As colder weather returned in September, the glaciers stopped melting and the floods receded long enough to allow the orchards to dry out and harvesting to occur.

Meanwhile, the rains in Sudan and Uganda--perhaps even on down into the Southern Hemisphere, if the Nile was longer back then--continued to swell the White Nile to another peak in January, soaking the ground for the planting of spring crops like flax, barley, wheat, and spelt (according to Exodus 9:32, none of these were ripe yet in April). These were just nicely grown to full size for harvesting in May before the water level rose again in June.

Now, let's say it took seven years for the Ethiopian glaciers to melt. It was also about this time that the Sahara was turning from green to brown, so the rainfall in Sudan probably dropped considerably as well. Wind patterns keep moisture-laden air from reaching the Ethiopian highlands where it could precipitate to fill the Blue Nile tributaries. The level of the Nile began to drop after the 7th year, and just kept getting lower and lower. It would half-heartedly flood each summer, but not enough to reach the fields--the fruit trees survived the drought with greatly diminished harvests, but the grainfields remained too parched to even plant, year after year.  Finally, after another seven years, wind patterns shifted around to once again bring those rains down in Africa, and one June the Nile began to rise to pre-drought levels.

Well, this is just one scenario. Another possibility is that the seven bad years were caused by double floods that kept the fields too wet to plant until there wasn't enough time left to harvest before they were flooded again. I don't know which is the more likely, or better fits the evidence; but at least I've fleshed out one theory for the origin of the Seven Good and Seven Bad years of Genesis 41-47.

One last comment: the Nile is now able to support a greatly increased population due to irrigation schemes that allow most of inhabited Egypt to grow two crops a year. The downside is that the Aswan High Dam has ended all the benefits of the annual inundation.

In that sense, every agricultural year in modern Egypt is equally both Good and Bad.

UPDATE 12/12/12: This just in:
Matt Konfirst, a geologist at the Byrd Polar Research Center, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, presented evidence of a devastating drought in Sumeria about 4000 years ago. He estimates it lasted about 200 years. I would propose that he is off by a factor of 20.

UPDATE 03/23/13
Well, according to research reflected in the map at this website, there were no Ice Age glaciers in Ethiopia. In fact, no tropical glaciers are thought to have existed. So, back to the drawing board--either for me, or for them. Probably for AIG--this website clearly shows that there are equatorial glaciers in Africa now; surely there also were then.
"Despite Mount Kilimanjaro’s location in the tropics, the dry and cold air at the top of the mountain has sustained large quantities of ice for more than 10,000 years"

Friday, 30 November 2012

On the ingenuity of spammers

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I just checked my comments and saw that I had three of them. One was clearly spam, but it wasn't until I took a closer look at the other two that I realized they were spam as well. One of the comments appealed to my vanity. It thanked me for the video I had posted and asked me to please write more (since I was so good at it) and not rely on just posting a video. I was about to reply when I realized that this comment was to a post that didn't have a video! The true giveaway, though, was that the poster included a link to his own commercial website. The other commenter appeared to ask a question: "I have a blog like yours, and I get a lot of spam comments. How to I avoid this?"  Very, very, clever. The best clue in this case was that the comment was vague enough that it could have been sent to thousands of blogs. The other clue, of course, was the link to his own site. The last clue was that all 3 comments had been to the same post. Well, keep trying guys. You may as well know now, though, that I'm not going to approve any comments that appear to be spam. And a link to your own site is usually a dead giveaway.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Legislators laze, pilots perish

Counter It is with great sadness that I read of this plane crash in Oregon today. Apparently one of the wings just fell off, causing the plane to fall out of the sky, killing both occupants. This sort of thing never happened twenty or thirty years ago, when small planes were manufactured by companies like Cessna, Piper, and Taylor. These mass-produced planes were simple to fly and incredibly airworthy. But none of these companies are in business today. Why? Every time a plane crashed due to pilot error, the manufacturer was held liable for the damages. Small plane manufacturers were sued out of existence. The result was fairly predictable--since the demand for small aircraft continues unabated, pilots have to fly their own homemade planes--a situation that has set general aviation back 100 years. Homemade planes were notorious for crashing then--and they are now. The blood of these pilots is on the hands of America's legislators, who sat on their hands while general aviation was being sued out of existence.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The prophetic rabbi--and what he allegedly predicted

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This amazing prophecy from World Net Daily:

Following the Christian crusades to the Holy Land, between 1096-1270, a regular correspondence developed between the Jews in the Holy Land and the Christian West. Thus, for example, the rabbis in Worms and Regensburg in Germany knew that Saladin’s Ayyubids had been ruling in the Holy Land since 1187.
At this time, Judah Ben Samuel published the results of his biblical calculations (Gematria) and astrological observations and summarized as follows:
“When the Ottomans conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
One jubilee is 50 years (Leviticus 25). It is the 50th year after seven times seven years, the year in which each person should regain ownership of his or her land. Ben Samuel’s calculations were purely theoretical; there was absolutely no sign at that time of their being fulfilled. He himself was not able to experience their fulfillment, for it was only 300 years after his death that the first of his predictions were to come true.

The Mamluks, who had been reigning in Jerusalem since 1250, were conquered in 1517 by the Ottoman Turks. They remained for eight jubilees (8 x 50 = 400 years), that is to say they were in Jerusalem for 400 years. Exactly 400 years later, in 1917, the Ottoman Turks were conquered by the British. The League of Nations conferred the Mandate for the Holy Land and Jerusalem to the British. Thus, from 1917, under international law, Jerusalem was no-man’s land.

Then, when Israel captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, exactly one jubilee (50 years) after 1917, Jerusalem reverted to Jewish-Israeli ownership once again. Thereby, according to the prophecies of Judah Ben Samuel, the Messianic End Times began.

Many scholars have studied and made reference to Judah Ben Samuel’s writings in an effort to understand how he reached his conclusions. Among those referencing Ben Samuel were Rabbi Isaac Ben Solomon Luria, a mystic dealing with the messianic world (Jerusalem, 1531-1572, Safed); Joseph Solomon Delmegido (1591 Candia – 1655 Prague), a mathematician and astronomer (“Mazref le-Chochma”), Azulai I (1724-1806), a famed bibliographer; Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865), a Bible scholar; historian Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891); and Torah scholar Jacob Epstein (1925-1993).
The secret of how Judah the Pious arrived at such accurate predictions has less to do with the actual calculations than it does with the fact that he had consecrated his life to God. His pupils Rabbi Isaac ben Moses (Vienna), Rabbi Baruch ben Samuel (Mainz) and Rabbi Simcha (Speyer) testify that Ben Samuel was a model of abstinence and selflessness and was awaiting with a burning desire the coming of the Messiah.

Ben Samuel was often called “Light of Israel.” Even bishops came to him for advice. If anyone asked him where his wisdom came from he would answer, “The prophet Elijah, who will precede the Messiah, appeared to me and revealed many things to me and emphasized that the precondition for answered prayer is that it is fueled by enthusiasm and joy for the greatness and holiness of God.”
 In AD 1217 this scholarly and pious rabbi prophesied that the Ottoman Turks would rule over the holy city of Jerusalem for eight Jubilees. Now, keep in mind, he made this prediction 300 years before the Ottoman Turks seized control of Jerusalem in 1517. If indeed 1217 and 1517 were jubilee years as Judah Ben Samuel believed, then his prophecy was exactly right, because exactly 400 years after the Turks took control of Jerusalem they were driven out of the city and the holy land in 1917 by the Allied forces under the command of General George Allenby – on Hanukkah, by the way.
But it gets more interesting still.
The rabbi also prophesied that during the ninth Jubilee Jerusalem would be a “no-man’s land.” This is exactly what happened from 1917 to 1967, due to the fact that the Holy Land was placed under British Mandate in 1917 by the League of Nations and literally “belonged” to no nation.

Even after Israel’s war of independence in 1948-49, Jerusalem was still divided by a strip of land running right through the heart of the city, with Jordan controlling the eastern part of the city and Israel controlling the western part of the city. That strip of land was considered and even called “no-man’s land” by both the Israelis and the Jordanians.

It was not until the Six Day War in 1967 when the entire West Bank of the Holy Land was conquered by the Israeli army that the whole city of Jerusalem passed back into the possession of Israel. So once again the prophecy made by the rabbi 750 years previously was fulfilled to the letter.

It certainly would be significant if both 1917 and 1967 were Jubilee years, considering the significance of what happened in Jerusalem on those years. But it gets even more interesting, because Judah Ben Samuel also prophesied that during the 10th Jubilee Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews and the Messianic “end times” would begin. If he’s right, the 10th Jubilee began in 1967 and will be concluded in 2017.

“The Bible should be our standard for prophecy and interpretation of prophetic events,” said Joseph Farah, editor and founder of WND, upon learning of Judah Ben Samuel’s predictions in Israel Today. “But one cannot ignore what this 12th-century rabbi said and wrote. It’s well-documented. And I applaud Israel Today for bringing it to light. The implications of these predictions is staggering to say the least.”

Forget the Mayan Calendar.  Forget, if you will, the Papal Prophecies attributed to Máel Máedóc. With Rabbi ben Samuel, we have a prophetic timetable that has proved true for eight centuries. And it's in its final decade's run.

Soon we will either conclusively determine that these were false prophets, or we will conclusively determine that they weren't.

Stand by. ADDED NOV 30: I've been trying for ten days now to track down the source of this prophecy, as WND has proven not to look too deeply into the veracity of some of its sources. So far, this is the best I can come up with: 1906 Jewish Encylclopedia
Ethical writer and mystic; died Feb. 22, 1217 ("Oẓar Ṭob," 1878, p. 045; Berliner, "Magazin," 1876, p. 220; "Kerem Ḥemed," vii. 71 [erroneously 1216]; "Ben Chananja," iv. 248 [erroneously 1213]). He was descended from an old family of cabalists from the East that had settled in Germany. His grandfather Kalonymus was a scholar and parnas in Speyer (died 1126). His father, also called "He-Ḥasid" (= "the pious"), "Ha-Ḳadosh," and "Ha-Nabi" (Solomon Luria, Responsa, No. 29), was president of a bet ha-midrash in Speyer, and from him Judah, together with his brother Abraham, received his early instruction. Samuel (see A. Epstein in "Ha-Goren," iv. 81 et seq.) died while Judah was still young (idem, "Jüdische Altertümer in Worms und Speier," in "Monatsschrift," xli. 41, 42). About 1195 the latter left his native place and settled in Regensburg (Ratisbon), on account of an "accident" (Moses Minz, Responsa, No. 76)—most probably persecution experienced by the Jews of Speyer generally.
He founded a yeshibah in Regensburg and secured many pupils. Among those who became famous were Eleazar of Worms, author of the "Roḳeaḥ"; Isaac ben Moses of Vienna, author of "Or Zarua'"; and Baruch ben Samuel of Mayence, author of "Sefer ha-Ḥokmah." Eleazar applies to his teacher in several passages terms expressive of the highest esteem, such as "father of wisdom" (Paris MS. No. 772, fol. 73a; comp. Epstein in "Monatsschrift," xxxix. 459).
Legend describes Judah as an excellent bowman who at the age of eighteen was ignorant of the daily prayers. When, however, enlightenment suddenly came upon him he performed many miracles. He restored fertility to a young married woman. The prophet Elijah is said to have partaken of his "Seder" meal and to have been seen by him in a synagogue. He miraculously prevented a Jewish child from being baptized, and knew the exact year of Israel's redemption.
I need a lot better fact-checking than that, before I give any credence to WND's version of this prophecy.

UPDATE Feb 27, 2013 (not 3013)
I was able to find one other source for this story, besides WND:
http://destination-yisrael.biblesearchers.com/destination-yisrael/2012/12/rabbi-judah-ben-samuels-jubilee-prophecy-gives-the-year-of-the-messiah.html
 There may be a slight problem with the 1917 date though--it's after that year's Rosh Hashanna.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The First American African President

CounterThe White Man never forgets that no one is perfect, especially he. So when I do recognise a mistake in what I wrote, I prefer to be the first to announce it. This is one of those times.

It came to my attention today that, despite claims that Barack Hussein Obama had no ancestors who were American Slaves, he actually appears to be descended--through his 'white' grandmother--from the very first African to be enslaved in Anglo America: John Punch.
PROVO, UTAH – July 30, 2012 – A research team from Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, has concluded that President Barack Obama is the 11th great-grandson of John Punch, the first documented African enslaved for life in American history. Remarkably, the connection was made through President Obama’s Caucasian mother’s side of the family.
The discovery is the result of years of research by Ancestry.com genealogists who, through early Virginia records and DNA analysis, linked Obama to John Punch. An indentured servant in Colonial Virginia, Punch was punished for trying to escape his servitude in 1640 by being enslaved for life. This marked the first actual documented case of slavery for life in the colonies, occurring decades before initial slavery laws were enacted in Virginia.
In the 372 years since, many significant records have been lost – a common problem for early Virginia (and the South in general) – destroyed over time by floods, fires and war. While this reality greatly challenged the research project, Ancestry.com genealogists were able to make the connection, starting with Obama’s family tree.
President Obama is traditionally viewed as an African-American because of his father’s heritage in Kenya. However, while researching his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham’s lineage, Ancestry.com genealogists found her to have African heritage as well, which piqued the researchers’ interest and inspired further digging into Obama’s African-American roots.
In tracing the family back from Obama’s mother, Ancestry.com used DNA analysis to learn that her ancestors, known as white landowners in Colonial Virginia, actually descended from an African man. Existing records suggest that this man, John Punch, had children with a white woman who then passed her free status on to their offspring.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Predictions

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In this post from just over four years ago, I made several predictions for the Obama presidency. Although it's a bit premature to reflect on the end of the first Obama administration, I do note that none of them have yet come true (although it is rather certain that an Obama election loss would have led to riots), with the exception of the one in which the federal deficit doubles. Amazingly, that happened even before Obama took office; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/09/AR2008090901029.html.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

First they came for the Amish . . .

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In an earlier post on the topic of Amish persecution, I wrote:
Increasing government regulation and a growing tax burden make it virtually impossible to stave off starvation following 19th century farming methods--and totally impossible were one to attempt a reprise of the 18th century.
There are a number of websites that provide a history of just one area in which the Amish have suffered persecution, that of refusing to submit to the Social Security safety net.

This website gives a timeline, showing how the government noose was gradually drawn around the Amish over the course of twenty years:
1937: Payments were directly garnished from paychecks and distributed for the first time. Initially there were no conflicts because it did not include farmers, and almost all Amish are farmers. Originally it was far from all inclusive.

1950: From inception there was debate, but it wasn’t until 1950 that domestic labor (household employees working at least two days a week for the same person) were added. At the same time nonprofit workers and the self-employed began to be included as well.

1954: Hotel workers, laundry workers, all agricultural workers, and state and local government employees were added. Although not all states elected to be included. (Derry Brownfield recalls working for the state of Missouri and not contributing to Social Security because the state had its own program) This is the start of the problem the Amish had with the program. It was unclear with the wording of the act whether it was a tax or an insurance, and was described as both at various points in the bill. The Amish community decided that it would not take part in the benefits (not believing in insurance) and therefore should not have to pay the premiums.
According to Amish beliefs, insurance is not needed and is disrespectful to God. They firmly believe in taking care of themselves, their neighbors, and the fact that God will provide.  When the Social Security Act was extended to include them (as farmers) in the 1950′s they immediately protested and refused to voluntarily pay. As a result of this protest the IRS began directly garnishing their bank accounts.
This website gives more details of the persecution:
As usually happens in these matters, it is one case that tends to catapult the situation into the public eye. That case would be the collection of payments from Valentine Byler, an Amish farmer living near New Wilmington, in western Pennsylvania. 
By 1959, Valentine Byler owed four years of IRS taxes. The IRS added the interest owed and came up with a total of $308.96.
Byler explained that his religion forbid paying insurance. When he was told that this was a mere technicality and that it was indeed a tax, he apparently replied, "Doesn’t the title say Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance?"
The IRS had tried to levy Valentine’s bank account, but he had none. In 1960, after refusing a summons to appear in court, he was cited for contempt and brought to the Pittsburgh U.S. District Court. According to a Reader’s Digest article, the judge "angrily demanded of the IRS agents, ‘Don’t you have anything better to do than to take a peaceful man off his farm and drag him into court?’ " The case was dismissed.
But the IRS was undaunted and, according to its own press release, this is what happened next on April 18, 1961...
Since Mr. Byler had no bank account against which to levy for the tax due, it was decided as a last desperate measure to resort to seizure and sale of personal property.
It was then determined that Mr. Byler had a total of six horses, so it was decided to seize three in order to satisfy the tax indebtedness. The three horses were sold May 1, 1961 at public auction for $460. Of this amount, $308.96 represented the tax due and $113.15 represented the expenses of the auction sale, including feed for the horses, leaving a surplus of $37.89 which was returned to the taxpayer.
The Byler case, like all others in the same category, presents an unpleasant and difficult task for the Internal Revenue Service... We have no other choice under the law.
Valentine was literally in his field with his team of horses doing some work prior to spring plowing when his horses were seized.  
Immediately after the seizure and sale, the Pittsburgh IRS Chief of Collections responded he was unaware of the plowing situation. "Plowing never occurred to me. I live in an apartment." He was furthermore quoted as saying, "We don’t ask people their race or religion when we administer the tax laws. People have no right to use their religion as an excuse not to pay taxes."
Notice that these same words are now being used to draw the noose, already drawn tight around the necks of the Amish, around the necks of every Christian organization with employee benefits, short of an actual congregation:
I was saying that according to CA state law, they have no right to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (among other things.)
This, in regard to the 'right' of a lesbian couple to 'conceive' a child at the employer's expense.
"That person is not going to get on an airplane," Pistole said in response to a question from Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., on whether the TSA would provide exemptions for passengers whose religious beliefs do not allow them to go through a physically revealing body scan or be touched by screeners.
This, in regard to a person's right to modesty when using public air transportation.
For all intents and purposes, the Catholic Church is trying to claim exemption from a law passed for non-religious reasons with a religious excuse.
This specific line of thinking was actually shot down by the Supreme Court in 1990 . .  when the Supreme Court found that two Native-Americans could be fired from their jobs [with cause] for ingesting peyote, even though they did so for religious purposes. In other words, they could not use religion as an excuse to ingest peyote.
This, in regard to Congress' ability to restrict the free exercise of an ancient religion when it clashed with federal drug laws.

So, everything now being said about not being allowed to use religion as an excuse to actually practice one's religion in a newly illegal manner was already said about the Amish back in the 1950's. It took fines, confiscations, and even imprisonments before the Amish won back the free exercise of their religion which had been prohibited by Congress and lesser legislatures. It's important to note that these battles were won both legislatively (in the case of the Medicare Act) and judiciously (in the case of Wisconsin v. Yoder). But they were never secured until they were once lost, and those who exercised them nonetheless brutally punished.

In conclusion, therefore, those currently suing the federal government against enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should learn a lesson from history: only after losing this initial round, and going through the entire process of petitioning for redress of grievances, losing the petition, and suffering for continuing the free exercise of their religion to the point that a public outcry forces either Congress or the Courts to retract, should they expect to be able to reattain the status quo.

But let them be forewarned: even the Amish continue to be drawn further into the Matrix, where the freedom to actually practice their religion becomes more and more of an illusion. To illustrate this, I must needs debunk information offered on this website: http://www.frugalconfessions.com/taxes/do-the-amish-pay-taxes.php

I note here that even the author of "Do the Amish Pay Taxes?" has little clue of just how much has changed just since her information was current. For example:

The most obvious example is the building and maintaining of roads. The cost of this is paid for mainly through gas taxes, revenue from driver’s licenses, and money collected through tolls. While the Amish do not pay these consumption taxes, they do use roads and bridges to drive their horse and buggies on.

Au contraire. The Amish do pay gasoline taxes, not only directly for their generators, but indirectly through the hire of van drivers. Furthermore, they are increasingly saddled, on the state level, with the burden of paying commercial insurance on the vans their drivers use to carry them around. Needless to say, their drivers also pay all related tolls.

The Amish pay income tax just like the rest of us Englishmen (that’s what they call Americans who are not Amish), and they also take any qualifying Child Tax Credits worth up to $1,000 per child.

Ah, but this they are able to do only if they've enrolled their children in the Social Security system--the right to exemption therefrom having essentially lost only three decades after receiving it. And the tax credits were originally applicable only to the first one or two registered children--although that number has tended to increase in recent years as Congress concentrates on 'soaking the rich.'

The Amish do not collect unemployment, social security, or welfare benefits because doing so would be against their religious beliefs.

Yes, but. Amish cannot legally discriminate by religion, so some end up hiring non-Amish employees. They must pay Employment Tax on these, as well as serving as the Tax Man to garnish FICA 'contributions' from their pay. Furthermore, many Amish own stores, which in most cases requires them to collect sales taxes as well.

While some Amish make money from selling tobacco, they do not purchase cigarettes because they are viewed as ‘worldly’. This means that they do not pay taxes on cigarettes. Other ‘sin’ taxes not paid by the Amish are for alcohol. . . .

Well, it turns out that Amish youth--those not yet official members of the church--are in fact heavy users of both alcohol and tobacco. Joining the church doesn't automatically cure them of these addictions, either. So, the Amish community as a whole pays quite a bit into these tax funds.




Monday, 1 October 2012

Yom Kippur War--lessons learned?

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By the way, I've just finished extensively editing my Obama Chronology post, with so many details of fraud that I've added deception to the post labels. Both of Barack Obama' parents gave fraudulent dates when filling out government paperwork, and if there's one thing his mother apparently couldn't stand to do, it was to actually live with any man she was married to. Barack never lived in the same home as his mother and father, nor for all but a handful of years of their 15-year marriage, his mother and stepfather. It appears that the vast majority of his childhood was spent in his grandparent's home, usually with his mother present but never her husband.

Now, on to today's topic.

Joel Rosenberg had an article a few days ago about how the Israeli government was blind-sided by their refusal to prepare for the Yom Kippur War of 1973 (by the way, I remember what I was doing on that fateful day. I was sitting in my parents' bedroom staring at the radio as word was relayed that Israel had been attacked--it was the first time I had ever heard the term 'Yom Kippur'). Anyway, heads rolled big time after Israel found itself the closest it had come to annihilation since its initial war of independence.

It's my considered opinion, based on what I have read, that the top echelon of Israel's leadership actually knew the war was coming (even down to the day it would start) but refused to act pre-emptively because they thought it would greatly improve their world standing if they were attacked first.

Apparently,  the powers that be are not about to make the same mistake again--but they do seem to be holding off a pre-emptive strike on Iran until the very last minute, for the same reasons they didn't attack at all before the Yom Kippur War--they harbour a desire, however futile it may be, not to be seen as the bad guys.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hangin' with 'the brothers'--The NIV and John 2:12

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As I've mentioned before in this series on translation, there is a glaring exception to the NNIV's general policy of using search-and-replace to add 'and sisters' to every mention of 'brothers' in the NT: Jesus' siblings, which are never so mentioned.

Our most recent example of such is in John 2:12--

NIV '73 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. Here they stayed for a few days.

NIV '78, '84, '01, '11 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

So, this verse got attention in the very first NIV revision, when the entire Bible was published. But none since. Interestingly, there is a textual problem in this verse--one that does come through in the various translations--

Jerusalem Bible
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and the brothers, but they stayed only a few days.

You see, very early on in the history of the Bible, the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary took a strong hold among those who read it--and those who copied it. Thus it came about that certain passages in the gospels were altered to, on the one hand, downplay the possibility that Mary had any other children, and, on the other hand, to present Joseph as Jesus' father, so as to equate the possibilities of him parenting Jesus and his "brothers." The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation, goes probably the farthest in subsuming the disciples themselves into a band of "brothers" (despite wide textual variation in this verse, no manuscript that leaves out 'disciples' has 'the brothers').

The reigning Greek text in 1973 was NA26, a.k.a. UBS-2. This text follows the Perpetualist manuscripts in leaving out the 'his' with 'brothers,' but the CBT's translation philosophy allowed them to translate in such a way as to not disclose which text they were following. This textual decision was never reconsidered, either by the compilers of the two subsequent Greek texts, or the latest two iterations of the CBT.

Apparently a commitment to the handful of NT manuscripts (p66*, p75, B, L, Psi, 0141, 0162, 1071) that follow the Perpetualist line so ruled the retention of this verse as-is that the CBT never considered the possibility that, in addition to his still-virgin mother and his stepbrothers, Jesus hung out in Capernaum with at least one of his stepsisters as well.

I guess the CBT felt that their place was back home in Nazareth. Just hangin' around.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Massive mobilization in Jerusalem?

Counter

I received a rumour by email today that Israel is gearing up for war in a massive way. The email started out,

"WHILE I'M UNABLE TO VERIFY THIS REPORT. . ."

and continued,

"My friend's brother and his family live in Jerusalem - he is a minister and former Navy SEAL, with an office located close to one of Israel's largest underground military bases. Calling last night, which is very unusual - usually it is email, to say that he is sending his family back to the US immediately due to what he is seeing occur within the last week and what is being inferred by his military contacts in both there and US, noting he is seeing military movements the likes of which he has never seen in his 20+ years in Israel. What he called a massive redeployment and protective tactics of forces is underway."

Okay, folks, we need go no further. This email has all the hallmarks of a hoax:

1. The sender is passing on something he received originating from someone that he doesn't know personally, but is a 'brother' of some 'friend' way up the line.

2. The account can't be verified, but is so urgent as to require immediate action.

3. The source of the report is identified as someone we should be able to trust: a minister; and someone who should know what he's talking about: a former SEAL.

4.No names or dates are mentioned. Were the technology available, this email could have been floating around since 1973 and we'd have no way of knowing it.

So, there you have it, folks. It's a hoax. Don't believe a word of it. If you want to know what's going on in Jerusalem, ask Google News. Or call the Israeli consulate closest to you and ask if they're accepting any volunteers for a special foreign legion unit in the IDF.

If things really were that desperate, they probably would be.

Added only an hour later:
I may have actually managed to strangle this rumour in the cradle. This post was just viewed by someone at a major international news outlet.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The mess at ABWE HQ gets ever deeper, and it's not just ABWE being affected

Counter

This blog has been deluged for the past few days with searches for news on Donn Ketcham, so I knew something must have gone down. It took a bit of digging, but sure enough: another Baptist missionary has just been implicated in the abuse of missionary kids in Bangladesh.

There's a problem, though: he's the father of one of the founding members of the group of AMK's who set out to expose what went on back there in their childhoods--now a former member, and a vociferous opponent of letting this thing go any further.

It gets worse. ABWE limited GRACE to only investigating Donn Ketcham's peccadilloes, and that investigation continues to plod along. GRACE is accountable to the public, and must be thorough. But what they can't do, per ABWE restrictions on the investigation, is follow any evidence that leads to the exposure of any other missionary. That job has to be left to someone else.

That's the other problem. The "someone else" was a legal team directly hired by ABWE and is accountable to them alone. And furthermore, they managed in just a few months to 'investigate' a whole pile of cases, do all their interviews, and wrap up their final reports and recommendations--all without any public disclosure or outside accountability. Can you say "Damage Control?"

What's happened is that several heads have quietly rolled due to the "preponderance of evidence" raised by their investigations--all before GRACE has even released a preliminary report.

What does this all have to do with me? Well, as someone with close ties to the Western Missionary Movement, I've taken a hard look at The Way Things Were Done and wondered if the organizations that Did Things That Way could ever manage to pull out of the old paradigm and embrace the future. And this latest move by ABWE tells me that, at least as far as regular Evangelical Baptist Missions are concerned (and I use the term generally, now that the specific organization that held that name for 80 years has gone ignominiously bankrupt), the answer is, No. The Phoenix cannot be transformed; it must be burned to a crisp before any new life can arise from its ashes.

So, the Old Guard Missions are going away; what will replace them? Alas, I see only more of the same. As long as a missionary candidate can find 100 churches to support him for an average of $50 a month, Bible College graduates will continue to sign their names on the line to go forth and plant Fundamental Baptist Churches. Mission Hospitals will continue to be built. Some things will be different--boarding schools definitely are still on the way out--but the next iteration of Western Missions will be only marginally different than the last. At least at the beginning--whether this next generation will be able to go farther than the last is capable of remains to be seen.

Stay tuned for a report on how this sort of thing all falls out for a ministry based out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Monday, 10 September 2012

There probably never has been an authentic birth certificate for Barack Obama

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A new document in the quest to verify Barack Obama as an eligible candidate for the Presidency which he currently occupies has turned up in the British National Archives. It seems that a birth certificate was in fact issued for a son born to Barack Obama in Kenya in 1961. That these records were sealed shortly after an unannounced visit to the Archives by Secretary of State 'Clinton' does not bode well for the triumph of Truth.
The books containing hand written line records of vital events attributed to Obama [Sr.] are contained in Series RG36 of the Family Records section in the Kew branch of the BNA.  The hand written line records first discovered in 2009, indicate several events were registered to the name Barack Obama (appears to be handwritten and spelled “Burack” and “Biraq”) beginning in 1953 and include two births recorded in 1958 and 1960, a marriage license registration in 1954 and a birth in 1961.  Barack Obama [Sr.] is said to have died in 1982 and had married at least once more in Kenya and had at least one more child in 1968, but no record of these were found in the BNA because, according to the Archives’ desk reference, the events occurred after Kenya achieved independence from British colonial rule in 1963.

Here's the problem: there is good reason to suppose that when Stanley Ann Dunham fell pregnant in 1960, she didn't have a very clear idea of who the father was. At some point Barack Obama agreed to take responsibility for the pregnancy and married Stanley (no records of this marriage are accessible).  In order to capitalize on a postcolonial fascination with all things African, the legend was then developed that Barack Obama II had been born in Kenya to a happily married Barack and Stanley, while a Hawaiian birth certificate was also filed in case American citizenship should ever be needed.

I'm inclined to believe that Barack Obama is in fact the son of his legal father, but right now I haven't seen the evidence to confirm that belief, and a lot of hints at now-sealed records to call it into question.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Another historic (re-)election

Counter
Every Democrat presidential candidate since Civil Rights has lost the White Vote, but several have won by carrying the Black Vote.

That doesn't appear yet likely to change.

But in the past century, every Democrat President running for re-election--save one--has won by carrying the Jewish Vote. The sole exception was Jimmy Carter in 1980.

By all appearances, Barack Obama will be the second.

UPDATE: He got 69% of the Jewish vote--enough to win re-election.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Much ado about Iran

Counter I'm copying here various news articles from the Times of Israel, to give an idea of how the Iranian threat, and the appropriate response to it, are perceived in Israel and the USA: http://israeli-defense-officials-iran-won't-hit-back-at-us-targets-if-israeli-attacks
Tehran is not interested in raising the stakes in its standoff with Israel and would not strike US targets if Israel were to attack its nuclear program, Channel 10 news reported Wednesday, quoting unnamed senior Israeli defense officials. Contrary to previous assessments that Iran would turn an Israeli attack into an all-out regional war — involving the US and its Middle Eastern allies — current wisdom holds that it would avoid drawing the US into battle and settle for retaliating solely against Israel, the report quoted the officials as saying.
i-dont-want-to-be-complicit-in-a-strike-on-iran-says-us-army-chief
The US does not want to be “complicit” in an Israeli strike that “probably” would not only fail to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, but could also undo international diplomatic pressure on Tehran, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs General Martin Dempsey said Thursday in London. An attack by Israel would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” Dempsey said, adding: ”I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”
The US’s top general – the Guardian reported – said that he could not presume to know Iran’s ultimate intentions in pursuing a nuclear program, as intelligence was inconclusive on that score.
It was clear, however, he maintained, that mounting pressure from the American-led “international coalition…could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.” Last week, Dempsey said that Israel and the US did not see eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear threat, admitting that Washington and Jerusalem were on “different clocks” regarding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. He noted, however, that he understood Israel’s urgency in calling for action against Iran’s nuclear program. “They are living with an existential concern that we are not living with,” he acknowledged, according to AFP.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-sharp-rebuttal-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-denounces-iranian-threats-to-israel-and-denial-of-the-holocaust
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a sharp rebuttal to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday, after Khamenei delivered a speech denouncing Israel, the UN and the US at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. “I strongly reject any threat by any [UN] member state to destroy another, or outrageous comments to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust,” Ban said. “Claiming another UN member state does not have the right to exist or describe it in racist terms is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all promised to uphold,” the UN chief added. Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, accused Israel of being made up of “bloodthirsty wolves,” a day after Ban asked the cleric to tone down his rhetoric against Israel.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

What? Time for another Iran update already?

Counter
Yes, as things heat up toward the end I expect to report every significant piece of news. This one isn't so much news, as speculative editorial, but look at the source--it's not an Obama Administration leak nor an Israeli press interview, but someone currently on the "outside" who ought to know what he's talking about:
F. Michael Maloof, staff writer for WND and G2Bulletin, is a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense.
 Okay, so the gist of his speculation is that evidence points to, on one hand, a sudden "Middle Eastern"  concern about hardening military infrastructure against an Electromagnetic Pulse attack; on the other hand, some cryptic hints from Israel that Iran is entering a "zone of immunity" from military attack.

Given that we were told years ago that Iran would "soon" have both an operational nuclear program and immunity to it being attacked, it's likely that this is a reference to the ability of Israel to shut down Iran's electrical grid. I wrote about this last November, when the weapon of choice was thought to be a drone that would harmlessly shut down power temporarily. Now the thinking is that a high-altitude nuclear explosion would not just shut down the grid, but permanently disable every piece of electronic equipment within 250 miles of Isfahan--preventing a launch order from being able to get through.

Whatever the case, I can't imagine that any attack scenario would be without one or the other element.

Monday, 20 August 2012

A Nuclear Iran only six weeks away--unless Israel stops it

Counter
I could be commenting on a daily basis on the buildup of the Persio-Israeli war, but I hate to overstate the obvious: unless Iran stops working on a nuclear weapon with which to target Israel, it will be attacked before the year is out. Period.

Regardless of how the National Election goes in the United States--helped by the fact that Romney is leading both in fundraising and at the poll, and that the next cover of Newsweek will contain a death knell for a Second Obama Administration--Israel is prepared to go it alone in defence of its national existence. And DEBKAfile has reported that Iran is within about six weeks of having 250 kilograms of 20-percent grade uranium, exactly enough to build its first nuclear bomb.

That deadline prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s comment Sunday, Aug. 12: “All threats against the home front are dwarfed by one – Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear arms!” Hence the leak by an unnamed Israeli security source Sunday, Aug. 12, disclosing Iran’s progress in developing the detonator and fuses for a nuclear warhead ready for the Shehab-3 ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel.

The Obama administration continues to waffle about its willingness to stand by Israel when the preemptive attack occurs; apparently they think they have the Jewish Vote sewed up, or that by such posturing they can postpone any such attack until after the November Elections. But Israel is not going to wait; November may well be to late.

So, we have three forces at work:
1) In Iran, government forces are feverishly working to have an operational nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking Dimona as soon as possible. The sooner they can launch it, the less Israel will be prepared.
 2) In Israel, government forces are feverishly preparing for long-distance strikes against Bushehr, Natanz, and/or Fordo, and the retaliatory strikes sure to come from Iran, Lebanon, and possibly Syria and even Egypt. The sooner they can launch them, the less likelihood of Iran having a nuclear weapon to with which to shoot back.
3) In America, government forces are simultaneously:
a) working to undermine Iran's capability for a nuclear first strike
b) working to undermine Israel's ability to launch a surprise preemptive strike
c) working to arm Israel against the Iranian attack which is sure to come, whether or not Israel strikes first.

The war only awaits a convergence of All Systems Are Go signals from Israel and at least one of the other two countries. Should the US and Israel agree on an attack, it will commence forthwith. Should Iran reach the level of preparedness that Israel is at, the preemptive strike will be launched unilaterally. The only other possibility is that Iran is further ahead than anyone knows, and will preemptively launch the first nuclear-tipped missile ever to be used in warfare.

If that does happen, it's going to be in the next few weeks.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Kevin DeAnna on "Chick-fil-A Conservatism"

CounterChristian America no longer exists.
America may have a Christian majority. The country’s heritage and institutions may be inseparable from Christianity. Many of the leading figures in our public life may even profess to be followers of Christ. None of this changes the fact that Christian Americans are losing the long struggle to define the country. More importantly, they will continue to lose as long as they pretend the country is still theirs.

Conservatives celebrated prematurely after the huge turnout of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. The “guilty as charged” Christian chain may have set sales records and homosexual protests may have fizzled, but this was only a tactical victory in a long struggle. Leftists and their supporters are already winning more strategic victories. The first sign of things to come was the decision by Davidson College to suspend Chick-fil-A from operating on campus. The school stressed that there was no final decision but that they wanted more “student input” about building an “inclusive community.” As a veteran college activist on controversial issues, take it from me that conservatives are outgunned on campus.

At many colleges and universities, the only right-of-center group is the College Republicans, which of course is primarily interested in electing anyone who has an “R” next to his name. Leftists have a wide variety of ideological and political groups to utilize, as well as a vast network of nominally “apolitical” multicultural and sexual groups that receive large amounts of funding and official campus support. Even the other right-of-center groups that do exist are not going to touch this issue. As reported in a recent story in the New York Times, campus conservatives mostly ignore social issues, while some libertarian groups even define homosexuality as central to their cause.

While some of this is out of belief, much more is out of fear. There is a well-funded campus infrastructure in place to support progressive social beliefs, and there is nothing in support of social conservatives. It’s far easier – and safer – to limit activism to harmless quibbling about free trade. The leftist counter-offensive will not be limited to Davidson. At least 30 other colleges have had petitions started to drive Chick-fil-A off campus. It has nothing to do with what the majority wants or even freedom of speech. The fact remains that the progressive left generally has a structural advantage in campus battles, and the campus right is generally interested in economic issues. A militant minority always triumphs against an apathetic majority, and I would not be surprised to see Chick-fil-A successfully purged from most campuses within the next year.

Even off campus, conservatives face structural disadvantages. Mitt Romney was notably silent about the issue, preferring to talk about the economy. This is probably because many of his most prominent financial backers are also backing referendums to legalize homosexual marriage in several states. Nor is this some kind of an exception – the most important group in intimidating the Republican legislature in New York into passing gay marriage were the rich Republican donors straight out of an Occupy parody about the 1 percent.

 Conservatives and libertarians can take solace in rhetoric about “limited government” and “freedom of speech,” but the truth is more complicated. The hard reality is that what is and is not acceptable to say is a product of power, not free choice. Culture is a product as much as any plastic toy, the outcome of conflict and dialogue among educational, media, social and religious institutions. What Lenin called the “Commanding Heights of the Economy” are not nearly as important as the “Commanding Heights of the Culture,” and Christians and traditionalists need to realize they are all in enemy hands, especially on the campuses.

The beliefs of a society don’t just develop organically – they are imposed. This is why the left doesn’t win through open debate in the marketplace of ideas. It wins by cutting off access, funding and legitimacy from any groups or individuals that defy the egalitarian zeitgeist. This is why, tactically, they are right to oppose Chick-fil-A and drive it off campuses. This is why they were correct to pressure business into dropping support for the American Legislative Exchange Council following the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman controversy. This is why conservatives ignore corporations like Wal-Mart, Facebook, Home Depot and News Corp. (parent company of Fox News) donating to the likes of Al Sharpton at their peril. This is why no matter how many referendums, primaries or general elections conservatives win, it never seems to change anything.

Unfortunately, progressives are right. By driving Chick-fil-A off campuses, by denying funds to pro-family groups, by making where you go to lunch a political decision, they are shaping the culture (and electorate) of the future. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but the personal is political, and whether it’s controlled by the government or not has little to do with it. It’s bigger than the battle over marriage. Politics is about who, not what, and remaining neutral simply means that others will determine the kind of world you and your children will live in. It doesn’t matter if the majority of Americans are Christians or conservatives or patriots – the people in charge are not. The game is rigged. Flip over the table.

**************************************end quote**************

Only if Conservatives are willing to be arrested and jailed in such large numbers will they be able to bring about real change. And unfortunately, the Left is ready and waiting. The only way to prevent the Left from pulling off the mass internment of Conservatives is if the Conservative policemen immediately join the resistance, while they still have guns. This would throw a major monkey wrench in the plans of the Left to disarm, then jail everybody who disagrees with their agenda. Next time a policeman pulls you over, ask him if he'd be willing to arrest you just for eating at Chick-fil-A. If he says no, ask him if he'd be willing to shoot anyone who orders him to anyway. If he won't, he's already sold out to the dark side--he just doesn't realize it yet

Disclaimer: The White Man does not advocate the use of force in resisting the government. But by all means, if you are determined to do so anyway, at least do it when it will do some good.

Outliving a "Death Sentence"

Counter In an earlier post, I wrote about prisoners outliving their "life" sentences. In this post, I'll address the matter of patients outliving their "death sentences."

Arthur Mishkin was diagnosed with juvenile (insulin-dependent) diabetes at the age of 19. That was in 1942, when insulin treatment was still in its infancy. No child with diabetes had ever survived to adulthood, so even with treatment, doctors didn't give him much of a chance of ever marrying or having children. They certainly didn't expect him to live to see any grandchildren. Diagnosis of juvenile diabetes was still considered a Death Sentence.

Well, Mr. Mishkin is now 89 years old, still diabetic, and now finally succumbing to the ravages of age. He has children and grandchildren. He's definitely outlived his "Death Sentence."

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ken Miller's piece about peace

CounterInterest in the Kenneth Miller case is higher than ever. Most of what I've seen concerning the case is already online, but here, for those who haven't seen them, are excerpts from a letter he wrote following his conviction (he's approved it for publication):

"I asked my boys as we were preparing for bed in the motel room whether they would be comfortable sleeping in the same room as a convicted felon. They didn't seem to have any problem with it at all.

A convicted felon. As of August 14, 2012, that's what I am. What about all those prayers around the world today that didn't get answered--or did they get answered? I say yes, a thousand times YES, they got answered. For one, I and my family have felt so incredibly lifted up by all those prayers around the world that we are able to be irrationally happy in the middle of a conviction and now a civil action lawsuit.

Just after the verdict was read, while we were sitting there trying to absorb it all, Sara Starr--bless her (and I mean that)--walked over to the defense table where I was still sitting and served me another thick legal document which charges me along with about 10 other people and organizations with various racketeering charges in regards to Isabella's disappearance. That should have finished me off, but instead I felt irrationally calm and at peace. Right now I'm just about ready to head off to bed for a good nights sleep. And I intend to sleep real good.

I know that the prayers of people affected the outcome of the trial. I believe the prayers being offered were done in yieldedness to the will of God. We remember that throughout history advances in the Kingdom have almost always been preceded by struggle and tribulation. God works not in spite of persecution and tribulation, but by and through it. I don't know how God wants His kingdom to advance through this, but it will, mark my words, if we stay true to Him."

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Outliving a 'life' sentence

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In an earlier post, I mentioned that Thomas Hagan had been in prison longer than any other murderer I was aware of, before being released after forty-five years. It turns out that he was beat out by at least one person, a woman named Betty Smithey, who was sentenced in 1963 to life in prison without parole.

As I predicted, "life in prison without parole" only means that if the life in question happens to be shorter than average. Upon reaching the ripe old age of sixty-nine, Betty was judged to be no longer a danger to society, and has been released after forty-nine years in the Arizona penal system.

I'm still not aware of anyone in America who has served even fifty years of a life sentence for murder.

UPDATE:
As mentioned in an update to the earlier post, William Heirens pleaded guilty in order to escape a possible execution in 1946--back before they stopped executing everyone convicted of murder in open court. His youth, combined with the youth of his alleged victims' family members, enabled him to serve sixty-five years in prison without ever being approved for parole over the objections of the survivors. So I need to change that last sentence to:

 I'm still not aware of anyone in America who has served even fifty years of a "life sentence" handed down following conviction by a jury--whether or not it was a "life sentence without possibility of parole." And I expect that number to continue to drop.

Given that the US is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to a "life sentence without possibility of parole," and the mandatory five-year review sounds suspiciously like a parole hearing, I don't see how anyone will ever break Heirens' record.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Crash alert!

Counter 
From what my sources are telling me, it appears that Congress' inability to pass a budget means that the bond market is headed for a freefall.

Stand by for some wild gyrations in the price of everything subject to such.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Iran: all systems are go

Counter With the release of $70 million in funds to strengthen the Iron Dome (like most of America's moves lately, accomplished by executive fiat rather than congressional vote) all systems are now go for the attack--with the glaring exception of the recent breakup of Likud, easily reversible once the war actually starts.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Kenneth L. Miller Update

Counter Well, with his trial only 10 days away, it's time for another Ken Miller update. Here's part of the defense motion filed this week: