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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wives or women? The NNIV in Acts 17:4

In a previous post I addressed the question of gender-specific translation in Acts 17:11-12. Inasmuch as this verse is very similar to 17:4, I'll address the same question there.

Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

This is one of the few verses in the NNIV in which the previous ONIV text, unchanged in the TNIV, received a touch-up, from "not a few" to "quite a few."  Apparently just the fact that it had 'women' in it brought it under the special review of the CBT, who were generally too busy to fix anything in the TNIV other than what had been brought up on gender-related grounds.

Interestingly enough, while the Thessalonians were explicitly mentioned in v. 11-12, they aren't mentioned here--even though the city in which people believed isn't mentioned in either verse, and their racial identity isn't explicit in either verse. Were the NIV to have followed the same scheme as it did in v. 11-12, v. 4 would read "Some of the Thessalonian Jews."

Now, what we have here in the NNIV are three subsets of Thessalonians:
1) Members of the Jewish synagogue;
2) Greek Proselytes;
3) Prominent women (the reading of D-05 & p127 is explicitly "wives of prominent men).

In this, the NNIV is only making explicit what is already implicit in the context. But in separating the first two subsets, the text implies that these Greek proselytes didn't attend the Jewish synagogue. But let's look closer at this last subset, because the NNIV is the first major bible version edited after p127 was published in 2009.

p127, like most papyri, exhibits a rather erratic text, but unlike most papyri of the first five centuries (its fifth-century date making it approximately contemporaneous with D-05), it doesn't contain an Alexandrian text. Furthermore, although it reads with 05 in several places where D-05 had a singular reading (this being one of them), it actually seems to chart a third course of its own overall.

Most places, the CBT more or less ignored readings of D, especially if they were singular. But not in Mark 1:41, where only in the 2001 TNIV did they make the switch to "indignant" from "filled with compassion" in describing Jesus as he healed the leper. And in fact this reading is found in only two Greek manuscripts, D being one of them (actually, as it turns out--not that the CBT would have known that--the other manuscript doesn't even follow D at all). Following such paucity of evidence, they were obliged to put in the footnote, "Many manuscripts, Jesus was filled with compassion.

But here in Acts, it suited their purposes to ignore the reading of D+1, as it would interfere with their agenda of always bringing women to the fore whenever possible.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Persio-Israeli war update

CounterI try not to overburden my readers with the latest updates on the impending Persio-American war (now in its third year of immanency), but there's another twist to the situation that isn't being talked about much: the proxy nature of the Syrian Civil War. With offensive weapons from Iran and a Russian missile shield, Bashir al Assad had nearly succeeded in wiping out his opposition. But then the Saudis stepped in, with more arms trucked in across Jordan.

So what is shaping up is a Shia-Sunni struggle for the control of the Caliphate, with the Shia forces of Iran and Syria on one side, and the Sunni-ruled states of the Gulf Coast Cooperative on the other. And this is already a hot war, even without Israel and America joining the Sunni side. But things are looking better and better for a Saudi air corridor opening up for Israeli jets to fly unimpeded to within a few minutes flight of Iran's nuclear reactor.

One other twist: it's in Russia's best interests, as an oil exporting nation, for turmoil in the Mideast to cut off the flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz and thus drive up the price of crude. The present conflict plays right into their hands, so now we have an erstwhile Superpower interested in keeping up the conflict with or without the involvement of their erstwhile rival, the United States.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Kenneth Miller Case: The Prosecution's Response

Tristam Coffin has offered up his rebuttal of Kenneth Miller's Motion to Dismiss. I won't go over it all in detail, but here are my initial impressions:

 [The Motion] suggests that Janet Jenkins should have visited IMJ in Nicaragua or could have obtained an order preventing Lisa Miller from taking the child to Nicaragua if she did not wish her to go. Def. Mot. ¶ 18. In addition to ignoring the facts that Lisa Miller did not tell Janet Jenkins or the family court of her plan to remove the child to Nicaragua, that Lisa Miller intentionally avoided flying out of or through the United States in order to make her removal more difficult to track, that Lisa Miller and her daughter dressed as Mennonites during and after their travel, that they took false names once in Nicaragua, and that Lisa Miller made no effort to inform Janet Jenkins or the Rutland Family Court of her location once she took the child to Nicaragua, this argument fails to raise a valid issue.

This was kind of a dumb move on the defense's part. It is now obvious when Lisa Miller left Virginia with IMJ that she a) had no intention of allowing Janet Jenkins any further contact with IMJ and b) intended to go where Ms Jenkins couldn't follow. The defense could have chosen not to contest this in pre-trial motions, and it was less than fully honest to even suggest otherwise. I suspect that the Defendant's Counsel is padding his bill and agree with the Prosecution on this point.

Further, the statute protects the court-ordered parental rights of all individuals, not only biological parents. See United States v. Alahmad, 211 F.3d 538, 540-41 (10th Cir. 2000) (upholding conviction of father who took child out of country preventing maternal grandmother from exercising court-assigned parental rights). 

This is an extremely feeble response. Grandparents have rights based on a biological relationship. This was a case of two different people, both with a biological relationship to the child. No court has ever ruled to take a child away from the biological parent and give it to someone neither related to the child, nor listed on the birth certificate, merely on grounds that the real parent wanted the child all to himself.

 This protection for state court custody determinations parallels Congress's requirement that states give each other's custody orders full faith and credit. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1738A, titled "Full Faith and Credit Given to Child Custody Determinations," Congress requires states to respect each other's child custody determinations when those determinations are made by a court with appropriate authority, and further assigns a court with initial responsibility for a child custody matter to retain jurisdiction over that matter. See 28 U.S.C. § 1738A; see also Miller- Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins, 276 Va. 19, 23 (2008) (upholding Virginal Appeals court decision according full faith and credit to Vermont's assignments of parental rights in dispute between Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins).

This is where it becomes a Constitutional Issue. Can the Virginia Appeals Court strike down the application of Virginia's Constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage, without striking down the prohibition itself? This is not for a federal judge in Vermont to decide.

At the time Lisa Miller kidnapped IMJ in September 2009, Janet Jenkins had parental rights. . . Those rights had to be honored by other states, including Virginia. . . Jenkins's parental rights were expanded in November 2009 when Miller's abduction of IMJ was discovered. Lisa Miller's removal of her child also anticipated this transfer of custody and strove to frustrate it. Because Janet Jenkins had visitation rights – parental rights under the IPKA – at the time Lisa Miller took IMJ to Nicaragua, Lisa Miller's removal of IMJ from the United States in 2009 violated Janet Jenkins's parental rights. Further, Lisa Miller's removal of IMJ also frustrated the anticipated transfer of primary physical and legal custody from Lisa Miller to Jenkins, again violating Jenkins's parental rights. Kenneth Miller's assertion that Janet Jenkins had no parental rights over IMJ in Virginia is incorrect. 

This is a dispute between the jurisdiction of two different states; clearly something that will have to be decided by the Supreme Court. For that, Defense is going to have to file another Motion.

Janet Jenkins had parental rights to IMJ throughout the United States at the time of Lisa Miller's departure; rights Lisa Miller knew would expand when she took IMJ away. 3. Lisa Miller's Parental Rights do not Negate her Crime Kenneth Miller suggests that somehow because Lisa Miller had her own parental rights to IMJ, and in fact had primary physical custody of IMJ in September 2009, that she could not have violated the IPKA by removing IMJ from the United States, even if such a removal violated Janet Jenkins's parental rights. As the appellate courts have made clear, however, the rights of the removing parent do not defend against a violation of the IPKA.1 In United States v. Miller, the Second Circuit upheld a decision from this Court finding a mother, who had primary custody of the child, guilty of international parental kidnapping because the removal of the child violated the father's parental rights, rights to limited, supervised visitation. 

It's looking pretty clear that this case is against Lisa Miller, not Kenneth Miller. In order to have enough evidence to indict, there has to be indication that Ken Miller, not Lisa Miller, was aware that what he was helping her to do was illegal. No such allegations have yet been made, yet they are essential to the charges.

 While Kenneth Miller does not dispute that Lisa Miller's removal of the child was intended to obstruct Jenkins's exercise of lawful parental rights, the timing of Lisa Miller's actions, during a period when the Rutland Family court had made clear that if Lisa Miller did not allow Jenkins's visitation that the court would transfer primary physical and legal custody of IMJ to Jenkins, strongly supports the conclusion that Lisa Miller's goal in removing the child was to continue to frustrate the current visitation orders and prevent any transfer of primary custody from Miller to Jenkins. As in Miller, Lisa Miller's intent may be inferred from her knowledge of the court's orders and the circumstances surrounding her departure. long as [one parent] had `parental rights'– a term encompassing even mere visitation rights- [the other parent] was not permitted to take the children outside the United States with the intent to obstruct those rights."

Sounds like a great case against Lisa Miller. But not against Kenneth.

Ignorance of the law is also no defense. In Fazal-Ur-Raheman-Fazal, the removing parent argued that he could not be convicted of international parental kidnapping because his actions did not violate Massachusetts law, and because he was not aware that they violated federal law. Id. The First Circuit quickly dismissed this argument, explaining that it did not matter if the defendant's actions were legal in a particular state or if the defendant was "confused about Congress's authority to prohibit conduct not proscribed by state law;" removing a child from the United States in violation of parental rights violates the IPKA. Id.; see also United States v. Sardana, 2004 WL 1340298 (2d Cir. June 16, 2004) (unpublished)(finding no requirement that defendant knew his acts were unlawful and no defense that defendant believed his acts were legal). 

Ah, but ignorance of the law is a defense for purposes of "intending to frustrate lawful parental rights." One simply cannot intend to frustrate lawful rights while ignorant of the law, and of rights deriving from that law. Tristram Coffin is has no grounds on which to stand, here.

In this case, the indictment, which clearly states that the alleged conduct occurred "in the District of Vermont and elsewhere," properly alleges venue in Vermont. The Court should not, therefore, dismiss the indictment for lack of venue at this stage. If material facts related to this allegation remain in dispute after evidence is submitted at trial, the court should submit the question of venue to the jury for determination under the preponderance of the evidence standard. In this case, the evidence submitted will establish that venue is proper in the District of Vermont. 

But the alleged conduct did not occur in the District of Vermont. It all occurred elsewhere. Thus the indictment is wrong on its face. And this is not just a conflict of two conflicting venues for the same crime; this is a question of being tried in one state for conduct in another state; conduct that was not even illegal in the state in which it was committed. The Constitution expressly forbids this.

By statute, where an offense extends across several districts, it may be prosecuted in any district in which it was begun, continued or completed. 18 U.S.C. § 3237(a); Royer, 549 F.3d at 893.

Amen! And Vermont was none of those, unless you count the fact that he was taken to Vermont for the express purpose of arresting him for the crime--which flies in the face of American Liberty.

In this case, the Government will argue in the alternative that, to the extent the offense is a continuing offense, venue based on the essential elements of the offense is proper in Vermont and, to the extent the essential nature of the offense arises outside the United States, venue is proper in Vermont as the district of arrest.

The Prosecution could have pushed this point in the case of Timothy Miller, whose conduct was solely outside of the US--but they dropped the charges in that case. In this case, however, all of Kenneth Miller's culpable conduct took place within the US, or at least at a specified border crossing leading out of a particular place in the US. Once Lisa Miller crossed out of the US, Ken Miller's part in the escape plan was over.

Kenneth Miller is charged with aiding and abetting international parental kidnapping. The elements of the offense are 1) Kenneth Miller knew that the crime charged (removing the child from the country in order to obstruct parental rights) was to be committed or was being committed; 2) Kenneth Miller knowingly did some act for the purpose of aiding/encouraging the commission of that crime; 3) Ken Miller acted with the intention of causing the charged crime to be committed; and 4) Lisa Miller committed the charged crime (meaning (a) the child was previously in the United States; (b) Lisa Miller took the child from the United States to another country; and (c) Lisa Miller acted with the intent to obstruct the lawful parental rights of Janet Jenkins.

It sounds to me that assuming Lisa Miller's guilt is an essential element in the case, and that shouldn't be allowed. That should wait on a guilty verdict in her trial. But beyond that, the charges allege to have read Kenneth Miller's mind. Absent a confession, phone tapping, or email intercept to show that he did know that what he was doing was for the purposes of being illegal, this is an unsubstantiated charge and should be thrown out of court. The prosecution is conflating the actions of Lisa Miller with those of Ken Miller, in order to hobble together a charge that implicates her without implicating him. Since it's Ken Miller who is on trial, not Lisa, the prosecution cannot assume her guilt as the only basis for accusing him.

Well, this case is obviously going to drag on for a while. The Prosecution is obviously hoping to get IMJ back to her wicked stepmother before she turns 18, but there's something they may not have thought of. If Lisa Miller can just keep her daughter home for another 3 or 4 years, she'll be sent off to Ms Jenkins already old enough to have her own Internet account. And we already know what having one's own Youtube or Facebook account can do to expose parental misconduct. If what Lisa Miller is alleging about how her daughter was being treated by Ms Jenkins is true--and resumes, should this custody battle go her way--the whole world will be able to see the evidence for themselves.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Old Math: Nominal Figures and Biblical Numbers

CounterI have touched on the topic of Biblical Numbers in earlier posts; in this one I shall attempt to wrap up the entire topic as it relates to the supposed accuracy of Bible Translations.

 I once worked in a factory where one of the items we handled was an electrical device with an "8-ft" cord. Now everyone knows that an 8-foot cord is longer than a 6-foot cord and shorter than a 9-foot cord. But do they know that it is exactly 96.0 inches? Well, no. Electrical cords of that length could easily be stretched by the major part of an inch, but for purposes of reaching the nearest electrical outlet, precision right down to the tenth of an inch really isn't necessary. So I had to chuckle when I saw, on the Spanish side of the box, the measurements of this same 8-ft cord given as 244 cm. Now that does happen to be 8.0 feet, but I really doubt that anyone ever got out a tape measure and measured that cord right down to the nearest centimetre. What they basically had was a 2½ metre cord; they just didn't realise that for their purposes of measurement, that was equal to 8 feet.

Take an even more obvious example of round numbers in measurement. Ever heard of a 2 by 4? If you live in a single-family house in North America, it's most likely that you have. It is the standard size piece of lumber for wall construction. But it's not 2 by 4 inches, or even 2 by 4 centimetres; it's actually 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches, to the nearest quarter-inch. To avoid false advertising, lumber stores have to note that all lumber measurements are given in "nominal sizes," but everybody already knows that to be accurate, they have to subtract 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch from the nominal size. Even though the lumber is planed to greater precision, it's just not practical to name any more precise a measurement than the nearest inch.

And thus we come to Biblical numbers. Ever notice that Bible measurements are always given in whole numbers, rounding off to more and more zeros as the numbers get bigger? You'll never find a hundred and one or a million and two of anything in the Bible.

Take Job's wealth as a fine example. Do you really think he had exactly 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 1000 oxen, 500 asses, and 10 children? Well, we do know about the children, because there were 7 sons and 3 daughters. But obviously the other numbers were rounded off to the nearest hundred--or maybe even the nearest thousand.

The most precise figures given in the Scriptures are always for the ages of Biblical figures. Methusaleh, for example, lived 969 years. That's obviously not rounding off to the nearest thousand, hundred, ten, or even five. Rounding off to the nearest year gives us a known level of precision for calculating the age of the earth, but after ten generations, we can't be precise to the year any more; ten years is more like it. So in giving broad chronological timespans, note that the Bible always rounds off to the nearest decade or even the nearest century:

-Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.
-For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon.
-Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years.
-This was four hundred and eighty years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in Egypt.

These are nominal figures. Sometimes they indicate more precision than is evident; sometimes they don't. Abraham's and Sarah's ages seem to have just happened to both end in zero when Isaac was born, for example. But when the Bible is showing a higher level of precision than is evident, it has ways of saying so:

And he said to them, "I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, 'You shall not cross this Jordan.' --Deut. 31:2 (this verse is probably the source of the Jewish tradition that a prophet always died on the anniversary of his life beginning)

And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. --Exodus 12:41

And the number of days that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a year of days, and four months.  --1 Samuel 27:7

And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. --1 Samuel 17:4

Aha. This is actually the only time anyone in the Bible was given a height in partial cubits.  Really??? It may seem incredible to not be any more precise than the nearest 20 inches when giving someone's height, but consider:

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? --Matthew 6:27

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?--Matthew 18:12

Perhaps the British can serve us an an example. Before succumbing to the metric system, they typically weighed things in stone rather than pounds (pounds being reserved for referring to their specie). Now, the nominal weight of a stone is fourteen pounds. Obviously saying that a newborn baby weighed one stone would be meaningless unless the number were in fact precise to the pound; in that case one would have to say something like "the baby weighed an entire stone!" But for purposes of giving the weight of an adult a stone was not exactly fourteen pounds; it only represented an approximate range. So an eighteen-stone man was one of considerable size or girth--about 250 pounds.

Since height was typically measured in cubits, one would go from being three to four cubits tall as soon as he crossed that threshold--adding, in nominal terms, one cubit to his stature.

So, back to Goliath. For some reason his height is given more precisely than any other person in the Bible (although the Ark of the Covenant was also measured down to the half cubit). By the way, Ishbi-Benob is actually the only other person in the Bible whose height is given (five cubits, which may then have been in the same range as Goliath's), but Christian History tells us that the Apostle Paul was only three cubits tall. Many are the commentators who leap to the conclusion that Paul was therefore 4' 6", but they are committing the fallacy of overprecision. Not only is their cubit itself too precise, they aren't even rounding to the nearest cubit. Since 3½ cubits is the normal height for a person, all we can say for sure is that Paul was about 10 inches shorter than normal, give or take several inches. He could well have been five foot even.

So for Goliath, we have a more precise measurement for his height: to the nearest five or so inches. Since other giants of antiquity are listed at seven cubits, even his 6½ cubits kept him out of the record books. Were he two cubits less than that, however, the half a cubit by which he was shorter than Ishbi-Benob would definitely put him in the junior league of giants. Only if he were a particularly short giant would it make sense to add that extra cubit--even as a 4½ year old is careful to add that extra half year, it representing as it does a whole eighth of his lifespan. This would also make more sense, given that King Saul, as a tall short man, must have been pretty close in height to Goliath, a short tall man. Yet even though he had his own suit of armor and a sword, he was willing--the coward--to send a shepherd boy, who had neither, up against Goliath.  It would also make sense that David could find Goliath's sword, although obviously bigger than normal, to be of some use to him; perhaps it was more like a dagger to Goliath.  When David said "There is none like it" he could well have been referring to its patented forging, rather than its unique size.

One last note: An Egyptian text gives an interesting height to the giants of Canaan:

"The face of the pass is dangerous with Shasu, hidden under the bushes. Some of them are 4 or 5 cubits, nose to foot, with wild faces."

Note that "four cubits and a span" falls right in the middle of that range. And that "six cubits and a span" puts Goliath way out of it.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The New Math: The NIV and Sarah's Three Measures of Flour

"And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth."                   --Genesis 18:6 KJV

Okay, so the inquiring reader may want to know just how much is "three measures." How about turning to that bastion of contemporary scholarship, the 1978 NIV?

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs[a] of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."
 [a] That is, probably about 20 quarts (about 22 litres)           --NIV78

Dear me. Like the ill-fated Mars Mission of 1999, which overshot its goal, the CBT suffered from an inability to correctly convert to metric. Twenty quarts is in fact less than 19 litres. Kind of embarrassing for something billed as "The First Truly International English Version." Ah well, this one certainly didn't get past the revision of 1984, surely.

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs[a] of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."
[a] That is, probably about 20 quarts (about 22 litres)              --NIV84

Dear, dear me. The CBT's scholarship isn't looking so scholarly here, is it.  Well, the TNIV was the epitome of scholarly scholarship, correcting all the gross outdated language of that childish project, the NIV. It reads:

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs[a] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread."
[a] That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms  --TNIV04

Oh. A measure, then, is now twelve pounds, rather than thirteen and a third cups (the way modern people actually measure flour). So we have now moved from ill-fated scholarship to pedantry. Are we really expected to believe that Sarah used up most of a 50-pound bag of flour just to slap together a meal for her husband and his three visitors? Come on! If they aren't even sure of the amount, why guess such a large number?

Well, the TNIV was a source of embarrassment alright, but its faults, thank heaven, have now been rectified once and for all in the NNIV of 2011. Right?

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[a] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
[a] That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms --NIV2011

EDITED ON MARCH 27-28, 2012
Okay, so the CBT don't turn out to be quite so stupid after all, but scholarly. VERY scholarly. What they were using here were DRY quarts. A 'dry quart' is one thirty-second of a bushel, or 67.2 cubic inches. In other words, more than a litre, rather than less. Cripe! Someone reading the NIV because the KJV was too hard to understand is not going to know that flour is OF COURSE always measured in 'dry' rather than 'liquid' quarts. Especially since anyone who ever measures out four cups of flour for a recipe uses a 'liquid' cup measure to do so. Furthermore, anyone turning to the more detailed notes under the "Table of Weights and Measures" in the back of the 1985 NIV Study Bible will be told that a dry quart and a liquid quart are, respectively, LESS and MORE than a litre.

If late 20th-century recipe books that actually called for a quart of flour didn't use dry quarts, and if the NIV editors couldn't even keep straight which was which, why ever would the New International Version use them?


On a related note, there is one other place in the Scriptures where "three measures" is mentioned:

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.                          --Matthew 13:33 KJV

Well, we already know what "3 measures" were in 1978 over in Genesis. What were they in 1973 in Matthew?

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.” [a] Greek three satas (about a bushel)

Okay, I guess this is another measurement entirely; a bushel is 37 quarts [32 DRY quarts--ed.] or 35 litres. But where's the metric? Oh, it must not have come along until 1978:

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.” [a] Greek three satas (probably about 1/2 bushel or 22 litres)                                              ---NIV78,84

Good Grief! We've cut our bushel in half! Not quite in half, though, as 22 litres is  62 per cent of 35. More like two-thirds of a bushel, but who's keeping track?  Sigh. Let's see what improvements came along in 2001:

He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.” [a]Or about 27 kilograms --TNIV, NNIV

Okay, so now everything is in weight rather than volume (did the CBT really commission somebody to go weigh a litre of hand-ground flour for this project?), with a litre of flour weighing 1227 grams.

Back to Genesis:
16 kilograms = 22 litres. That's 1375 grams per litre, pretty close when you're rounding off. But since when did half a bushel, or even 62% of a bushel of flour, weigh sixty pounds? By my calculations a whole bushel of flour (as if anyone ever measures it in bushels) should come up to only about 25 kg or 55 pounds.  Oh, I know. It all depends on whether Sarah measured it before sifting, or after! Maybe she measured it all in heaping teaspoons, and added some "for good measure."

Actually, all this misses the point of converting significant figures. Trying to specify, down to the litre or pound, how much flour was involved is taking literal translation to its extreme--something proponents of the NIV said we should never, ever try at home. The point is that Sarah prepared a huge amount of bread for Abraham's guests, and that it's possible to leaven a huge amount of flour just by putting a little active yeast in it to grow. But by trying to prove how scholarly they were, the CBT ended up with dunce caps on their heads.

More information on this subject is available in a subsequent post.

In this post I pointed out that the NIV's translation of kikkaroth (KJV cakes) conveys the wrong image to today's young person. Going back over this post, I see the same thing--except here the Hebrew word is 'ugowt. That's a plural word, so it should convey more the image of a huge stack of pancakes than a few loaves of bread.
When an English speaker makes pancakes or tortillas, he would never say that he is "baking bread," yet that is how the NIV has conveyed Sarah's action to the English reader.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

GabeToday has gone dark, so I'm passing on his last 2 posts here, until such a time as he comes back up.




Despite all the pre-election talk, Barack Hussein Obama will not lift a finger to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. 

Beyond getting re-elected, he is not interested in listening to anything that anyone is saying- from any side. 

He will not do anything tangible to cut off the head of the Iranian snake.

Notwithstanding the AIPAC pronouncements and the subsequent White House meetings, the net sum of the outcome will be, that Iran will possess the bomb and unlike the Koreans who can temporarily be bought with food aid to keep their bomb in the basement, the Iranians can and will use theirs in some form, to ensure the survival of their regime.

And therein lays the Gordian knot. 

Due to complete military and political impotency, America and the West are unable to effect a regime change in Teheran- the only hope of stopping the Islamic nuclear train. 

If you have doubts about it, just look at the net results of all the recent talk and no tangible action in Syria. 

When everything is said and done, Bashar Assad will stay in power because the West became a toothless, impotent paper tiger. Vladimir Putin knows it, the Chinese know it and the Islamo-Fascists in Teheran know it.

While all the talk was focused on whether or not Obama will or will not help Israel launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran, it seems that most parties forgot the sad truth: that since the end of WWII, with all its might, the United States consistently failed to successfully bring to conclusion a single military action that would have resulted in a meaningful regime change anywhere on the Globe.

The still divided and problematic Korea frozen in the 1950s impasse, the utter US fiasco in Viet Nam that resulted in 58,151 American dead, the mess in Afghanistan, the Islamic bomb in Pakistan and the shameful failures in even over-turning the regime of the nuisance that is Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, (not to mention the irritating longevity of the Communist regime of dictator Fidel Castro) should be reason enough for the Jews to understand, that asking America’s protection for a false sense of security is a hopeless pipedream.

While the “war on terror”, the hanging of Saddam, the lynching of Qaddafi the secret elimination of Bin Laden, the jailing of Mubarak, the betrayal of Hariri and the beefing up the stature of the megalomaniac Turkish clown Erdogan generally played well in the media, in the eyes of the world America allowed itself to be tragically marginalized to the point of no return.

With Putin and his KGB ideology and oil wealth intact- now back in the saddle, the iron-willed Chinese ambitions going unchecked- and a rotting and scared Saudi regime sitting on the oil tap, with a second unpredictable Islamic nuclear power about to enter the scene, no Western nation can safely sit on its laurels, no matter who is elected in November in Washington.

Israel’s leaders would be well advised to take their destiny into their own hands and do whatever is necessary on their own to ensure the survival of their state. 

Those who ask why, should remember, that a short few decades ago US-led Allies refused to bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz as it was not in their strategic interest at the time.

And we all know the results.


The time has come to act!

With a de facto nuclear Iran promising to make Israel disappear from the map, and the US administration way too preoccupied with getting re-elected while naively still talking embargoes, it looks like Israel will have to go it alone.

To be sure, no one wants to see this happen.

Back in 2004 when I told Presidential hopeful Howard Dean about Iran posing an “existential threat” to Israel, even some Jewish leaders present in the room referred to me as “unrealistic”.

The same year during the preparation of the approaching 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz where my entire family was murdered, I repeated my prediction of an “existential threat” from a fundamentalist Iran to Slava Kantor the president of the European Jewish Congress, and he too at first dismissed my opinion.

Ironically, in later years he based his entire public career on the foundation of my theory.

Subsequently, based on my urging, Kantor became President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe.

Later in 2004 I recall, that over a friendly lunch hosted in a private home in New York to welcome Austrian Presidential hopeful Benita Ferrero-Waldner who served as the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, I got into a heated argument with the naïve European politician.

I made the point, that the Holocaust could happen due to the existence two basic components: an ideology (as spelled out in Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”) and Nazi Germany’s latest technology at the time-pressed into service to carry out the resulting “Final Solution”.

I pointed it out to the polite but tragically naive European leader, that Ahmadinejad’s genocidal fundamentalist threat to wipe Israel off the map, is only awaiting the second necessary component: the technology to carry it out.

At the time, I was nearly asked by my clearly embarrassed hosts to leave the table for my remarks.

On October 26, 2005 Mahmud Ahmadinejad at he infamous "World Without Zionism"conference in Asia, delivered his “Israel must be wiped off the map” speech, he finally spelled it out for the world to hear: “Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.”

Suddenly my earlier predictions took on a new meaning.

Which brings us back to today’s situation.

While busily screwing up the entire Middle East with the idiotically false promises of the “Arab Spring”, the sad fact is that Barack Hussein Obama never had the testicular fortitude to rein in the real enemies of freedom: the fundamentalist nut jobs in Iran and their cheering section in Venezuela and other places.

Even when presented with hard evidence of Iranian missiles with unconventional payloads being readied to be lobbed at the American heartland, the White House is pretending that it is not happening.

The net result of US impotence: Israel now finds itself having to face a looming existential threat alone.

Every time Israel’s leaders approach the point of decision, Barack Obama promptly dispatches his most senior military and intelligence chiefs to jerk Israel’s chain, as to not upset his seemingly singular priority: his re-election aspirations.

Over recent months I had several first hand opportunities to speak with the most senior levels of military, intelligence and political leaders in Israel and the more I spoke with them, the more concerned I grew.

Diplomatic efforts, sanctions and public pronouncements aside, something concrete needs to be done soon.

In the meantime, Israel must get ready to face the inevitable.

This weekend, the Jewish nation took an important step in that direction by appointing a very capable and charismatic leader as the new commander of the Israel Air Force.

The appointment of a new air force chief traditionally makes headlines in Israel, but this time the appointment is particularly compelling, due to the very real and imminent possibility that this commander will be ordered by the government to oversee a preventive strike on Iran’s well-protected and distant nuclear infrastructure.

A seasoned military officer, 53 year old Major General Amir Eshel is the right man to be at the controls in facing a nuclear Iran. Eshel is a capable military leader with an impressive record as a professional soldier.

If his name sounds familiar, it is; because General Eshel was the leader of the memorable Israel Air Force flyover in the gray skies over the Auschwitz concentration camp in 2003.

His words broadcast over the radio of his F-16 aircraft emblazoned with the blue Star of David - flying over the ashes of his ancestors incinerated by hatred - now take on an ominous new meaning in today’s Israel threatened by nuclear annihilation at the hands of the Islamo-Faschist madmen of Teheran.

As his plane ducked in low over the infamous Nazi death camp, Eshel, the son of Holocaust survivors, read out the following statement which was broadcast on the ground: “We pilots of the Air Force, flying in the skies above the camp of horrors, arose from the ashes of the millions of victims and shoulder their silent cries, salute their courage and promise to be the shield of the Jewish people and its nation Israel."

Powerful words.

Powerful emotions.

Powerful motivation.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Action in the Kenneth Miller case 2:11-CR-161-1

The White Man continues to get a lot of inquiries regarding the Ken Miller kidnapping case, so it's only fair that I disclose the most recent activity.

Kenneth L. Miller has, as of February 29, 2012, filed a Motion To Dismiss, on two grounds:

1) The government has failed to allege crucial elements of the offence;

2) The government has no standing to prosecute this case in Vermont, and the case has no standing in Virginia.

This second point is a constitutional question. Can the Federal Government try a case in a state where no elements of the alleged crime occurred?

This goes all the way back to the List of Grievances in the Declaration of Independence:

"-For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences"

 Ironically, this worked in reverse in Ken Miller's case, as he was brought westward across the Atlantic, from the FUK to the USA, to face these trumped-up charges.

The framers of this document specifically had this problem in mind when they enshrined the following into the Constitution:

"The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed."

If Tristam Coffin doesn't back down on this one, it's going all the way to the Supreme Court.