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Saturday, 20 April 2019

The Brimstone that fell on The Cities of the Plain

As I Bible scholar, I continue to look for groundbreaking research on topics that help us understand the Bible better. YouTube is a great resource in this area, and recently I spent a lot of time watching videos about the destruction of the Cities of the Plain (b`iri hakikar). The problem is, no one can agree just what the Plain was, or where the cities were, other than that they were all in the vicinity of the Dead Sea: either to the north, the south, the east, or the west. This website makes a strong case for Tel el Hammam, north of the Sea. Strong, that is, until you actually examine the biblical record. The ONLY correlation between the ruins of this unidentified city and those of the Cities of the Plain, is summed up in the closing paragraph of the website:
That the most productive agricultural land in the region, which had supported flourishing civilizations continuously for at least 3,000 years, should suddenly relinquish, then resist, human habitation for such a long period of time has begged investigation. Research results concerning the "3.7KYrBP Kikkar Event" are presently being compiled for publication and presentation.
There are many things to keep in mind here. Perhaps we could list some of them.
1. The destruction of the Cities (basically Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar) was complete. The word used (mahpekah) refers to utter desolation. The Cities were never conquered by enemies, or even destroyed by natural disasters; their unique obliteration was accomplished directly by the Hand of God: burning sulphur from the sky. The ruins of Tel el Hammam simply don't fit this description.
But other ruins do. Beginning with Ron Hyatt, amateur archaeologists have identified at least four discrete sites along the west shore of the Dead Sea by three or four unique characteristics they all share: the outline of the city is a distinct ashy colour; all that is left are layers of ash, interspersed with carbonized wood and underlaid by layers of calcium sulphate, scattered throughout with colourless balls of sulphur that is purer than any naturally occurring deposits anywhere in the world.

2. The destruction was accomplished by intense heat accompanied by sulphur, which reacted chemically to destroy stone structures, replacing them with layers of sulphate ash. Even crops were wiped out in this way. Sulphur residue rendered the soil toxic to plant life. The area of the Dead Sea is proverbial for nothing being able to grow there. So, not only were the cities destroyed, but the entire area, which had a population density comparable to the Nile Delta, became uninhabitable--as it is to this day; no cities have ever been built there, and the main industry is mining the harsh chemicals that render it so hostile to life.

3. The cities, and their surrounding lush farm and pasture land, were so utterly desolated that no one would ever live in them again. It is no wonder that even now, 4000 years later, one can walk through the region picking up balls of brimstone from off the ground; no one has ever even attempted to mine it, despite its amazing purity. The very desolation that resulted from God's judgement has protected these ruins from exploitation to this very day.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Hutterites to the rescue--Maybe.

Since my post on the immanent demise of Monowi, Nebraska is too old to update, I'll add this link here. And if the link goes dead, the text is below. Upshot: Monowi may just end up being bought by a Hutterite colony. They won't need the tavern.

A Hutterite colony in southwestern Manitoba is considering the unusual step of buying a shrinking rural town and moving in. The tiny population left in Mather, Man., 170 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, have learned the neighbouring Willow Creek Colony wants to purchase the community — including houses, a post office, an arena and the streets tying them all together. The approximately 30 residents of Mather were baffled by the offer, according to the owner of the local autobody shop — and he says a number of them, like him, don't plan to go anywhere. "It was maybe a little more bewilderment and shock, I think, than anything," said Bob Yake, 69, referring to a meeting last month where the Hutterite colony explained why it wanted a town that is a shadow of its former self. Buying town a 'running start' The Hutterites — anabaptists who live minimalistic, self-sufficient and communal lives — have grown beyond the ability of their colony to support their population, they told their neighbours. When that happens, Hutterite colonies split up, usually starting slowly in a new location. Typically, a few homes pop up, linked to water and sewer systems the colony members have constructed. They build more homes then, and places to work so the new colony can become self-sufficient. It can take a decade or more for one colony to become two. But in Mather, the Hutterites probably saw opportunity, according to an author finishing a book on Hutterite history. A town with existing infrastructure could be a "running start" toward establishing a new colony, said Johnny Hofer, a former teacher at James Valley Hutterite Colony, near Elie, Man. Hofer, who has heard of Willow Creek's plans, believes their thinking is outside the box, and virtually unheard of. "If you buy a town like that, the sewer system is there, the electrical is there, the houses are there, there's a couple bigger buildings," he said. "You don't get that [often], where you can buy something and then have 24 houses available to you overnight." Hofer said there are few similar cases he could think of, aside from a colony near Portage la Prairie, Man., which was fashioned out of an airport base, and a South Dakota colony that bought a seniors' home on the edge of a town. But Jock Lehr, a former University of Winnipeg scholar who wrote his own book about the Hutterites, said a similar move occurred nearly a century ago, when Hutterites bought a Mennonite community near Plum Coulee, Man. Blumengart Hutterite Colony has been in existence since 1922. Mather won't be bought: residents Willow Creek leadership are planning to make purchase offers to each property owner in Mather, but according to Yake, the colony must convince everybody to sell, since outsiders cannot live within a colony. He doesn't see that happening. "I'm personally not angry at the Hutterites or anything. I can see their point of view: they're overpopulated, and by their own rules they have to split off and start again," Yake said. "But I'm almost certain that they're not going to come up with enough loot to persuade everybody to clear out." Mather isn't growing, he says, but it isn't extinct either. "We're not quite dead yet as a community." The Hutterite colony declined an interview request on Friday. "Willow Creek Colony is in the early stages of discussions with individual property owners," Andrew Marshall, a lawyer representing the colony, said in an email Saturday. "A private question and answer session restricted to residents of Mather and immediately adjacent land owners is being held on Monday prior to any offers being made. Further information will be available as discussions progress." Google Maps More Story continues Jamie Dousselaere, the reeve of the municipality of Cartwright-Roblin — which includes Mather — did not return a request for comments. Art Harms, chairman of the local urban district of Mather, declined an interview. Other community members also declined to speak. In Yake's 41 years in Mather, he's seen two grocery stores, a school, a hardware store, a bank and an insurance agency wind up operations, as the population slipped from close to 120 residents to about 30 people. The hall and post office are still around. The rink is now a horse-riding arena. They're at the point in their life where they want to move or go somewhere else or do something else — and they see it as a way out. - Mather resident Phil Lees Yake hasn't received a direct overture, but was told by neighbours the Hutterite colony was offering around 1.5 times the assessed value for properties. That won't come close to letting him move elsewhere and buy a home, he said. At 64 years old, Phil Lees says he's one of the youngest people living in Mather. The grain hauler thought somebody was pulling his leg when he heard the Hutterites wanted to move into town. "There are some people who are kind of excited about it," Lees said. "They're at the point in their life where they want to move or go somewhere else or do something else — and they see it as a way out." But the community is split, he said. Some of his family members want to stay, while others are fine with leaving. He estimates there are 18 households in the community, and figures at least six of those homes have occupants who aren't going to be uprooted. "I don't want to move, let's put it that way," Lees said. "We're not excited about going. It's home. It's where we live and it's who we are."

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

What is Privilege? Does The White Man have it?

The short answer is that the White Man doesn't have privilege, but homeless illegals and Jussie Smollett do. The long answer follows a definition.
Privilege is defined as "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group." But the modern use of that term implies something more: privilege implies being a member of a group that gets special treatment because of who they are, not because of what they have accomplished.
For an example, we begin with the special immunity granted to homeless illegal immigrants by the Sanctuary City movement, exemplified by Denver's odd move to decriminalize public defecation.  The problem was not so much that homeless aliens without official permission to reside in the US were relieving themselves on public sidewalks, but that when they were arrested and convicted of such behaviour, they risked automatic repatriation under the US federal government's new policy of expelling criminal aliens. By reducing the offence from a misdemeanour to an infraction, the Democrats who control Denver's city government were able to make an end-run around this policy, and keep their Sanctuary City status at the expense of clean streets and sidewalks. In Denver, homeless illegals have privilege.

How about Jussie Smollett? In the early morning hours of January 29, 2019, Chicago Police received a report from Jussie that he had been assaulted on the sidewalk of his upscale Chicago neighborhood. Now, here is were Jussie's privilege kicked in. Chicago police receive hundreds of reports of assault every day, the vast majority of them far more serious than what Jussie reported. But Jussie was a celebrity, even claiming that he was identified by, and targeted for, his celebrity. So instead of sending him off to have his superficial wounds checked out at the hospital and filing his report in the bottom drawer, the Chicago Police force went into high gear. They notified the FBI. They began the exhaustive process of viewing footage from every surveillance camera that may have caught the alleged incident on tape. They began a publicity campaign to keep the public appraised of any progress in the case. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested in tracking down the attackers and bringing them to justice. In the end, Jussie turned out to have fabricated the whole thing, paying a couple of his buddies to act out the attack. Again, privilege kicked in. For weeks into the investigation, Jussie continued to keep up his story and demand justice. Democrats around the country, including several Presidential candidates, circled the wagons to defend him and share in his outrage. It was only when the Chicago Chief of Police read a scathing statement accusing Jussie of choreographing a hateful fraud that was a discredit to everything he should have stood for that the house of cards finally began to wobble and sway. Jussie was protected at every stage by his privilege, and that privilege means that although he's committed any number of crimes, up to and including federal Mail Fraud in the process of mailing himself white powder, he may well never end up seeing the inside of a prison cell for it. At far greater levels and to a far greater extent than your average Joe Homeless in Denver caught with his pants down, Jussie Smollett has privilege.

But privilege extends much farther than even that. Look at Ted Kennedy, whose father started out with a small degree of privilege as the son of a rising Boston politician, forced his way into Harvard despite failing grades in high school, and leveraged his way into a political dynasty so powerful that not even Ted's obvious culpability in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne could cost him his Senate seat. Joseph Kennedy himself was not above murder to consolidate his political power; an underage prostitute whom he hired to accuse a competitor of rape died under mysterious circumstances just as she was about to come clean with her story. As a result, the competitor was ruined, and Joe got an even bigger corner on the movie industry. Through an endless succession of such dirty deals, Joe was able to enlarge his empire to the point that he could coerce an editor to put his son Jack on the cover of Time Magazine, helping to ensure his success in the upcoming election. The Kennedy brothers had privilege.

But the White Man does not have privilege. I was turned down by the elite university to which I applied, even though I was far more qualified academically then either Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. or Thomas Watson Jr.--the least-qualified-ever president of IBM--neither of whom could have even gotten into college without privilege. I don't have a father who gets invited to the White House. I can't call upon the vast resources of a metropolitan police force to investigate a minor complaint, or expect to escape prison if my complaint turns out to be a hoax. I can't even expect to get away with relieving myself against one of the signs at the St. Louis Transit Station stating for all to see that public urination is a crime. Unlike homeless illegals, sons of politically powerful people, and self-important TV stars, I don't have privilege.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

The Travesty of Justice that is the Miller Kidnaping Case

I've been posting regular updates on the Miller Kidnapping legal saga here, but I thought this link  to an interview of Philip Zodhiates right before his imprisonment (part one, start at 9:15 or so) and (part two, start at about 1:00) deserves a post of its own.

Notice that the Justice Department was able to get the courts to suppress affidavits both damning to Janet Jenkins and supporting of Philip Zodhiates; to keep his trial from being held where the alleged conspiracy actually occurred (where he was much more likely to get a fair trial); to have the trial held where an impartial jury would be harder to find; and made sure that even then, no one approaching the status of the defendant's peer was allowed to serve on the jury. It was a travesty of justice from beginning to end, with Janet Jenkins even using civil discovery to feed incriminating information to the prosecutor.

This is not about a child being taken away from her parents. This is not about conspiring to violate a federal law (no evidence was raised in the trials that any of the defendants were aware of the law they were sentenced under). This is about an abused girl trying to escape her abuser, and the goverment, guided by the LGBTQ agenda, sparing no expense at preventing it, and punishing to the utmost all who helped her escape.

Isabella is already 16, the age at which a child in many states can finally choose which parent to live with. In a little over a year, she will be old enough to nullify any custody order, no matter how austere. But under today's suppression of adulthood responsibility, she will not be totally free of the Vermont court's decisions until she graduates from college or turns 26. So there's little chance of her coming out of hiding any time in the near future. May God protect her, and her longsuffering mother, in the meanwhile.

Philip's appeal was turned down by the Supreme Court. He will spend the next couple years in prison.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Another Lexical Obituary

Living in America as I do, I'm constantly struck by news reports of "migrants" wanting to come here to live. Back in my elementary days, I was taught that a migrant is one who temporarily leaves his native land for seasonal employment, like the migrant workers who lived in Mexico but traveled north with the harvest for about half the year, hand-picking vegetable crops for which meechanical harvesters hadn't yet been invented, as the cotton harvesters which replaced the slaves and sharecroppers in the cotton fields of the American South. A migrant lives part of his year as native, and part as a foreigner. He is thus distinguished from a nomad, who lives always on the move within the bounds of his own territory.

I was also taught two other words: Emigrant, one who was leaving his native land to live somewhere else, and Immigrant, one arriving in a new country to make it his home. The two words were of course used of the same people, just from opposite perspectives. Neither was ever used of a migrant. And of course both were in contrast to Native, which referred to a person living in the land of his ancestors--one who had neither emigrated nor immigrated.

There was another word I wasn't taught in school, but picked up from conversation, that was used in reference to a person whose present situation wasn't well described by any of the other five words: Expatriate. This was someone not living in his native land, but with no intentions of becoming a citizen, or of leaving descendants, in the land where he dwelt. He was there long-term enough not to qualify as a migrant, but still not permanently. He may not have owned a dwelling back in his native land, but no matter how long he was absent, his loyalties and affections remained with it, rather than with the land of his current residence, which at any rate was often likely to change every few years.

One of these six words has never been all that common--and is frequently misspelled as Ex-patriot--but two of them have gone from common to almost extinct in the course of a single generation.
Emigrant and Immigrant have now been almost totally replaced by Migrant, the original meaning of which has been sacrificed to force it to swallow the combined meanings of both other words. The word Native has also been suppressed, mostly narrowing its application--at least in the States--to those with autochthonous tribal ancestry.

Another word which has suffered greatly in connotation and change of meaning is Colonist, which originally referred to a group of expatriates who functioned as immigrants, planting a piece of their own culture on foreign soil, which they never intended to leave. Unlike true immigrants, who abandoned their former loyalties to join another culture, they brought theirs with them. Colonialism in that sense has almost gone extinct, so the word has become attached to other meanings loosely attached to the original one. Colonialsim lives on only in a cultural sense, when immigrants adapt somewhat to the local laws, but retain their original lifestyle, language, and culture. Mennonites are a good example of this, and they do in fact still refer to their settlements as Colonies.

How does this all relate to the so-called Migrant Caravan that is so much in the American news these days? Well, they certainly aren't migrants, in the classical sense of the word: they don't intend to return to live in their Central American homes on a seasonal basis. American immigration laws (ironically, the term will probably live on for centuries in statute after it is abandoned in speech) have made that process increasingly difficult to impossible. By leaving behind their homes and national loyalties, they are true emigrants; they want to come here to settle. But are their intentions in settling in America those of immigrants, expatriates, or colonists?