“We Don’t Give a Damn!”

“We Don’t Give a Damn!”
Vol: 55 Issue: 29 Saturday, April 29, 2006

As the UN-imposed deadline came and went, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on record expressing his nation’s level of respect for the United Nations and world opinion.

“Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right, should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in northwest Iran.

“Those who resort to language of coercion should know that nuclear energy is a national demand and by the grace of God, today Iran is a nuclear country,” he added.

Ahmadinejad’s implied nuclear threat was transparent to anyone with an IQ approaching room temperature. (They must keep it cold at the UN.)

But even a handful of UN diplomats were able to read between the lines sufficiently to connect the dots, suggesting that maybe it might be time for the UN Security Council to ‘consider’ taking action.

Iran responded by offering to allow ‘spot checks’ by the IAEA, provided the IAEA accept restrictions imposed by Tehran.

Is this starting to sound familiar? It should. Ahmadinejad has been watching and learning.

Saddam played the same ‘cheat and retreat’ game with the UN, beginning in 1991, and he survived for twelve more years.

Iran only needs a few more months to become a nuclear-armed nation too powerful to attack under any circumstances.

When Pakistan was in the final sprint toward becoming nuclear, it dubbed its program “The Islamic Bomb,” declaring it the property and defender of all Muslim nations.

Ahmadinejad declared Iran’s nuclear program the legacy of all Muslim nations, and has promised to share it with the Islamic world. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Tehran last week, after which, he declared Iran’s nuclear advances to be “the property of the Islamic world.”

Like Saddam, Ahmadinejad has declared any attack on his country an attack on Islam.

But Ahmadinejad’s calls have resonance Saddam’s didn’t. Saddam wasn’t offering to share nuclear technology with the Islamic world.

Assessment:

In response to Ahmadinejad’s defiant rejection of the IAEA deadline, President Bush went on TV to offer assurances that ‘the diplomatic efforts were just beginning.’

That sounds like just about the dumbest response to the crisis imaginable. Why tell Iran they’ve got plenty of time? Why not tell Iran that if they don’t shut down their nuclear program, we will shut it down for them and then shut up and let Tehran sweat?

We aren’t talking about some terrorist planning a do-it-yourself local catastrophe. We aren’t talking about airplane hijackers, or suicide bombers or a handful of nut jobs waiting around for an opportunity to wreak havoc.

We are talking about the world’s most prolific terrorist state developing the means to destroy whole nations and then sharing them with the Islamic world. An Islamic world that largely shares Ahmadinejad’s belief it can bring about the return of the Islamic messiah by starting a war that will kill off a third of humanity.

If Iran obtains the bomb, he will have at his disposal the means to do exactly that.

It is a foregone conclusion that the only certain way to stop the Iranian sprint towards nuclear arms and their proliferation throughout the world is to physically stop the regime.

To Ahmadinejad, UN resolutions are conspiracies to be ignored. UN sanctions are merely economic attacks by Zionists and Zionist supporters to be endured and counter-attacked. Negotiations are vehicles through which Ahmadinejad buys the regime precious development time.

And the White House just assured Ahmadinejad that he will get all the time he needs.

Ahmadinejad isn’t worried about the United Nations. The UN is so mired in the muck of its own corruption it has become a hopeless basket case. Besides, he can count on a Russian veto of any meaningful Security Council action, should the Security Council ever get its act together long enough to get anything passed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a press statement saying Iran shouldn’t see the IAEA’s referral of its nuclear program to the Security Council as an ‘ultimatum’ that Ahmadinejad should worry about.

“The submission of IAEA head Mohammad ElBaradei’s report to the UN Security Council and its discussion are of a purely working nature and have no rigorous deadline,” he said.

(Translation: Don’t worry, be happy. We’ve got your back.)

In the meantime, Iran gets to continue its nuclear enrichment program uninterrupted by either the risk or the threat of military intervention.

Let’s step back and take a look at the Big Picture as it is shaping up. We have Russia, Iran, Sudan, (and by extension, Islamic North Africa) in a standoff with the UN (and by extension, the US and Europe) over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The main fear, apart from Islamic nuclear proliferation, is that Ahmadinejad will move to make good on his threats to annihilate Israel. Israel, whose continued existence depends on stopping Iran’s becoming a nuclear power, sits quietly on the sidelines while the UN debates whether or not there is even anything to worry about.

Now let’s take another quick look at Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog War scenario. Ezekiel has Russia, Iran, Islamic North Africa (together with elements of the Islamic world) preparing to invade Israel, who, from Ezekiel’s description, is sitting quietly on the sidelines. (Ezekiel 38:11)

While the rest of the world (“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof,” – Ezekiel 38:13a) debates whether or not there is even anything to worry about.

(“Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”) (13b)

According to the “scholars” in the recent National Geographic special “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” this is all just a coincidence that empty-headed ‘believers’ are selectively interpreting as being a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Their view is reflected the use of the word ‘Doomsday’ in the program’s title — believers in the literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy are merchants of doom, whereas the ‘scholars’ offer a message of hope. (That ‘message of hope’, by the way, is that the Bible probably isn’t true anyway, so don’t worry about it.)

However, the world is not facing a rhetorical ‘Doomsday’ but, if Ahmadinejad gets his way, a very real version of it (that ‘coincidentally’ looks remarkably like Ezekiel’s version.)

The fulfillment of Bible prophecy is not a message of doom, but the ‘scholars’ contention that it is all a coincidence is. Because if it is a coincidence, then the world is spiralling rudderless and out of control, toward a very real Doomsday from which there can be no escape.

But Bible prophecy confirms that things are under God’s complete control. “. . . yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:11)

That is the real message of hope. God knows exactly what He is doing. Trust Him.

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalms 118:9)

Or scholars.

Note:

(For those who’ve asked, “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” will repeat on the National Geographic Channel on May 1st at 6 pm EST 3 PM PST)

Murphy’s Law of RV Living

Murphy’s Law of RV Living
Vol: 55 Issue: 28 Friday, April 28, 2006

One of the most reliable of all the universal laws is the one known as “Murphy’s Law.” Simply stated, Murphy’s Law dictates that, “Anything that can go wrong, probably will go wrong.”

In American culture, Murphy’s Law was named after Major Edward A Murphy, a development engineer who was working on a rocket sled for the US Air Force in 1949.

According to George Nichols, another engineer who was present, Murphy, in frustration, blamed the failure on his assistant, saying, “If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will.” Nichols’ account is that “Murphy’s law” came about through conversation among the other members of the team; it was condensed to “If it can happen, it will happen,” and named for Murphy in mockery of what Nichols perceived as arrogance on Murphy’s part.

Others, including Edward Murphy’s surviving son Robert Murphy, deny Nichols’ account, and claim that the phrase did originate with Edward Murphy.

According to Robert Murphy’s account, his father’s statement was along the lines of “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.” (courtesy of Wikpedia)

In any case, Murphy’s Law was an immutable law of nature, even before Major Murphy gave it his name.

I’ve been a believer in Murphy’s Law as long as I can remember — I used to think it had something to do with fishing. Every time my Dad took me fishing when I was a kid, Murphy’s Law re-proved itself.

If I lost my dad’s best lure, it was chalked up to Murphy’s Law. If the boat ran out of gas, blame Murphy. When Dad would go to pull the trailer up the ramp without releasing the boat line, it was Murphy who got the blame.

Then I found out that Murphy was to blame when a cake fell, when the phone rang, or when my mom washed the kitchen floor.

(According to Murphy’s Law, THAT meant it was about to rain.)

So my respect for Murphy’s Law dates back all the way to Major Murphy’s lifetime. I’ve seen it in action too many times to doubt its ranking among the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or the Law of Entropy as being among the basic laws of physical existence.

My lifelong respect for Murphy has made me a cautious man — almost to the point of being annoying. My previous careers in the military and law enforcement honed my sense of caution to a fine point and taught me that one cannot be too prepared for Murphy to raise his ugly head. (No offense, Major!)

So in keeping with the tenets of Murphy’s Law, we are in the midst of our third dry run in our camper, in preparation for our extended road trip beginning in June. If I’ve learned anything, its that I didn’t know much.

First, I have discovered my truck is a pretty powerful truck, provided it isn’t attached to a 5th-wheel camper. Although its five years old, my Dodge RAM 1500 only has about sixty-thousand miles on it.

It’s a big V-8 that gets terrible gas mileage, and according to the handbook in the glove compartment, it is capable of towing twelve thousand, five hundred pounds.

(I didn’t mind the mileage when I bought it and a gallon of gas was a third of what it costs now. At the time, I figured it got such lousy mileage because it was such a powerful truck. Turns out it just gets lousy mileage.)

The day I first plopped the camper down into its hitch cradle, it looked like the truck’s front wheels weren’t quite touching the ground. So I took it in and had an extra leaf spring installed. That fixed the ride when the trailer was on it. Truck rides nice and smooth.

(Take the trailer off , and it is like riding down a rocky hillside sitting on a board — but hey, I bought it for pulling a trailer.)

My truck has something called a ‘false fifth’ gear. I don’t understand it apart from the fact it means that if I leave it in ‘Overdrive’ when pulling the trailer, it downshifts into passing gear and stays there.

The truck also has a ‘towing gear’ (Overdrive off) that is geared only slightly lower than passing gear. At 65 mph without a load, the engine turns at about 1800 rpms. In towing gear, it is revving about 3300 rpms, effectively making 65 mph its maximum speed and maximizing its gas consumption.

On our first dry run, we took it down along the coast from North Carolina to Georgia — it seemed at the time to be enough truck for the job – but just barely.

For our second dry run, we pulled it up north to just outside Buffalo, NY, to see how well it handled the Pennsylvania mountains. Empty and dry, I was able to get over the tallest one in the range, but by the time I got to the top, I was doing 30 mph and the transmission was screaming in protest.

Conclusion: Sometime between now and June, I need to get a bigger truck.

I discovered that no matter how carefully one packs a camper for a trip, there was at least one major omission on each dry run. I call them ‘dry runs’ because there is no particular place I need to be at any given time, just in case something unexpected goes wrong. That way, when there is a deadline to meet, I am at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected.

(We discovered that packing on a warm day is a mistake. We packed nothing but short-sleeved shirts and shorts. Even in the South, it gets cold in April)

I discovered that stopping at an RV court is nice. People are very friendly and helpful. It is great to take a hot shower without worrying about filling up the holding tanks. Most RV courts have cable TV. But most RV courts close up at five PM.

Last trip, we stopped at four of them before ‘boondocking’ (dry camping) at a roadside rest because they were all closed. (Can’t make much distance if one has to stop for the night before suppertime)

‘Boondocking’ is an interesting experience. We can ‘dry camp’ for about five days before we need to empty our holding tanks. But one learns to shower using about a gallon of water. It’s functional, but not very refreshing.

When ‘boondocking’ (parking where there are no facilities) our camper is equipped with two 12 volt batteries that provide us with lights and for running the furnace fan.

But using AC power (computers, TV, coffeepot etc.) required the installation of a couple of power ‘inverters’ that convert 12 volt battery power to 110 AC.

I discovered all that on the last dry run, and installed the inverters. I was sure we were ready for whatever came up.

Indeed, heading out on this trip, I made a point of stopping at a roadside rest to make a pot of coffee, just to demonstrate to myself how clever I was.

Then the weather got hot enough to need to run the air conditioner. (Drat! Never thought of that).

Conclusion: No doubt about it. We’re gonna need a generator. No problem! I have my emergency hurricane generator! It worked out fine during Hurricane Ophelia.

(Nope. Too loud. There’s a SPECIAL kind of generator for RVs– they only cost four times as much as the ordinary kind. Drat! There goes ANOTHER credit card balance)

Some other things we’ve learned so far. Murphy’s Law says that whenever one empties the ‘black water’ (sewage) holding tank, the hose will pop out of the ground (unless you are looking at it — then it stays in just fine).

Murphy’s Law demands that at least one of the two dozen things that have to be secured before moving the RV won’t get secured until after people in passing cars start pointing at the back of my truck just as I get the thing up to highway speed — usually at places where there is no shoulder on the road.

Murphy’s Law says that, if you DO forget to close one of the roof vents and it gets blown off, THAT night it is gonna rain. Hard.

Murphy’s Law says that if it is gonna get cold that night, the propane tanks will be nearly empty. If it is gonna be hot that day, the only spot left in the trailer park will be the one without shade trees.

Murphy’s Law also says that whenever you end up at a campground that doesn’t have cable, there are just enough shade trees around to block reception to the satellite dish.

Murphy’s Law says that when you show up at a campground without cash, they don’t take credit cards. (Except when you DO have cash. Then the register is broken and they ONLY take the credit card you don’t have)

And Murphy’s Law ALWAYS dictates that the campsite you stay at costs 30% more than the one you pass the next morning on your way back to the highway. (And that is ALWAYS the campground that you discovered had closed at five PM when you pulled off the night before.)

Murphy’s Law of RV’s is this: An RV has a lot in common with a sailboat. (A sailboat is a hole in the water one pours money into.) It seems like a GREAT idea — (and it really is a lot of fun!) — but like most great ideas, it is a better idea in theory than it is in practice.

But we’ve proved it is a workable idea. When I took the RV up north, it was to have Mike, (my son-in-law, webmaster, resident genius and playmate for whom I remain eternally grateful to my daughter) build me a workstation in the corner of my trailer.

Using the spare battery and a power inverter, I have a dedicated internet-ready workstation at my disposal 24/7/365 when I am traveling, meaning I can maintain my daily work schedule and meet my deadlines whether I am parked in an RV court or a Wal Mart parking lot.

Traveling in an RV affords one a lot of freedom — especially for someone who makes his living on the internet. But for all of that, Murphy’s Law of RV’s also reinforced a lesson about freedom I learned many years ago.

Freedom — any kind of freedom — is only worth what one is willing to pay for it.

Prince of Persia Arming For War

Prince of Persia Arming For War
Vol: 55 Issue: 27 Thursday, April 27, 2006

According to information accredited to Israeli intelligence, Iran’s mad mullahs are buying surface-to-surface missiles from North Korea capable of putting most of Europe within reach of Iranian nukes.

Iran’s newly-acquired BM-25’s have a range of almost 1600 miles, (about the distance from Iran’s border to Paris or London.) These missiles operate on liquid fuel and are single-stage, originally manufactured by the Soviet Union for use on Soviet submarines — and designed to carry a nuclear payload.

After the Russians retired the missiles from service, they sold them to the North Koreans, who developed them to carry an even heavier nuclear payload than the original Russian SSN6.

The IDF’s Major General Amos Yadlin confirmed to the Knesset Wednesday that some of these missiles have already arrived in Iran.

In addition, the Iranians are known to be at the early stages of developing two more long-range missiles. General Yadlin cited US intelligence sources as well, who say Iran is at an advanced stage of developing a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead. It is not yet known if the North Koreans have offered Iran a version of its Taepodong 1, (which would give Tehran a killzone radius extending from Brussels to Bankok.)

This information surfaced as the cream of the global diplomatic corps at the UN continue to scratch their heads and ponder just what Iran is up to? They’ve been scratching their heads at the ‘hazy and unclear’ Iranian nuclear program since December of 02 when US satellites zeroing in on Iraq picked up evidence of active nuclear sites in Iran.

In July, ’03, UN inspectors discovered traces of enriched uranium at Iran’s Natanz facility. In August ’04, Iran tested its Shahab-3 medium range and nuclear-capable missile that set off alarms all over Israel. In July, ’05, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad secrety resumed uranium enrichment and announced his country’s intention to annihilate Israel.

In January, ’06, Ahmadinejad broke the IAEA seals, openly resumed full-scale nuclear enrichment, and began importing high-speed centrifuge equipment designed specifically for the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium.

In March, the UN gave Iran two months to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. In April, Ahmadinejad orders military maneuvers in Gulf, including the testing of new missiles which could be used to block the oil routes through the Straits of Hormuz.

On April 18, only days before the UN’s sixty-day ultimatum is due to expire, Ahmadinejad personally vows that Iran “will cut off the hand of any aggressor,” later identifying the “aggressor” as the US-Zionist ‘entity’.

The UN deadline expires tomorrow, as the best and brightest of the world’s leading experts on geopolitics scratch their heads in consternation, wondering, just what IS Iran up to?

Assessment:

There are several clues that have evidently escaped the United Nations. First, Ahmadinejad TOLD them what he is up to.

He’s told them, in so many words, that Iran has no intention of building a nuclear bomb and if anybody tries to stop them from NOT building a nuclear bomb they don’t intend to build, they’ll attack them with a nuclear bomb. Simple, no?

Secondly, Iran is building an arsenal of medium and intermediate range missiles designed specifically to carry the nuclear warheads Ahmadinejad says he isn’t building to annihilate Israel and ‘cut off the hand of any aggressor’ who interferes.

Thirdly, Iran has proudly announced, (on dozens of recent occasions) Iran’s technological breakthrough in centrifuge technology that will increase by many times Iran’s ability to refine weapons-grade nuclear material in sufficient quantities to make good on its threats to use the nuclear weapons it isn’t building.

That’s clear enough for the Russians who sold Iran its nuclear technology and for the Chinese who sold North Korea the missiles that North Korea sold Tehran. They are both urging that the UN Security Council hold off on enforcement action until the international community ‘can get a clearer picture’ of what Iran is up to.

“We oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction including by Iran. But we believe Iran should have an opportunity to develop peaceful nuclear energy projects,” announced Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

“A diplomatic solution is the correct choice and is in the interests of all parties,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. “China urges all parties to avoid measures that could worsen the situation.”

China’s assessment sobered the UN’s assembled thinkers, as they contemplated what measures could worsen the situation.

UN diplomats the world over began to echo the impartial Russian and Chinese calls for ‘caution’ while they contemplated what could be worse than attacking Iran BEFORE it attains the capacity to destroy all of Israel and significant portions of Europe.

As the deadline looms, they are still contemplating.

“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

“No Blood For Oil . . . Wait! Maybe Just a Little . . .”

“No Blood For Oil . . . Wait! Maybe Just a Little . . .”
Vol: 55 Issue: 26 Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The White House is facing its most serious challenge to its popular support as gas prices at the pumps hover above three bucks a gallon. In taking 9/11, the war in Iraq and the looming war with Iran into consideration, that is quite a statement, but it is nonetheless true.

As evidence, just listen to the Democrats, who evidently couldn’t be happier.

“We have two oilmen in the White House, the logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “It is no accident. It is a cause and effect.”

New York Democrat Chuck Schumer complained that high gas prices are the result of George Bush’s refusal to ‘get tough’ with Big Oil. He then called for the government to ‘break up’ big oil companies.

Senator Bob Menendez says oil companies blamed an “act of God” for fuel shortages and price increases last year. Now the New Jersey Democrat says it’s “crystal clear that the current spike in gas prices is at least partly due to an act of greed.”

And Ron Wyden, [D – Oregon] carried the mixed metaphors to a new level, complaining that “This is an Administration that is almost marinated in oil. One official after another has a history and a background in the sector and yet where was the Department of Energy? Where was the Environmental Protection Agency? Where was the Commodity Future Trading Commission at a key time in our country’s energy future?”

I found it fascinating when the Democrats began complaining that the administration said Iraqi oil was supposed to pay for the war in Iraq AND keep prices low. While I haven’t been able to find a quote from the president saying that was the plan, (and plenty of quotes denying it) I WAS able to find plenty of quotes from Democrats criticizing the administration for allegedly starting the war in order to do exactly what the Democrats are now complaining he DIDN’T do.

Sneered Senator Barbara Milkulski of Maryland, “What happened to Iraqi oil, Mr. President? What happened to Iraqi oil? You said Iraqi oil was going to pay for the bill for the war. Ain’t seen no money. Ain’t seen no oil.”

Nope. I haven’t either. But I heard plenty of Democrats saying that taking Iraqi oil was evidence that the war was immoral. Now NOT taking Iraqi oil is immoral, because gas prices are too high.

Back in ’03, Saddam’s chief US apologist, the late Peter Jennings, explained to ABC viewers, “By the way, No blood for oil, from many people who are opposed to the war is, is not complicated at all. They believe the United States wishes to occupy Iraq in the long term to have the oil. Just so we understand why they wear those little buttons, No blood for oil. “

Noted the New York Times in March, ’04 (when gas was still less than $2.00/gallon) “The nation is corrupt — it gives preferential treatment to the rich and conducts its foreign policy based on profits, ‘blood for oil diplomacy’, according to some of its own leaders.”

Until there’s no oil, that is. That’s when the Democrats started screaming, “Where’s all the Iraqi oil?”

Blood for oil is suddenly sounding like a pretty good idea, after all.

Assessment:

The reason I say gas prices pose a greater threat to the GOP than the war with Iraq, the fallout from 9/11 or even the looming war with Iran is because the Democrats know there is not any more that the White House can do about gas prices today than there was when gas prices quadrupled during the Carter administration.

Runaway gas prices are a gift to the political opposition. They can take pot shots all day long, knowing no matter what the White House does, it will either be wrong or they can label it ‘not enough’.

While the Democrats are yelling about high prices and asking, “what about that bloody oil we said we didn’t want?” they shot down the administration’s first suggestion — drilling for new oil in Alaska — without comment.

Thanks to the Democrat-supported environmental movement, there hasn’t been a refinery built in the United States in more than 30 years. This has led to cases where oil tankers are unable to unload because the refineries are at full capacity. This glut in the crude oil inventories means that the supply of gas available is lower than it should be.

There is no actual production shortage of fuel. OPEC has even stepped up output in an effort to stabilize global oil prices. The price of oil is up because of the fear factor, and the fear factor has been the principle weapon in the Democratic political arsenal since losing the White House in 2000.

The chickens are coming home to roost, but nobody seems to care that they are Democratic chickens. To be entirely fair, the Republicans would just love to be able to drill for new oil supplies, build as many refineries as would be necessary, and, according to the Democrats, even go to war to ensure stable global oil supplies.

But the Democrats wouldn’t let them. A spike in domestic oil supplies is about the only political hook they can hang their agenda on. They will be forced to drop the ‘no blood for oil’ slogan in favor of ‘where is all the Iraqi oil we purchased in blood, Mr. President?’ but that won’t matter.

When it was a rhetorical question, gas prices were affordable. Now that gas prices are skyrocketing, rhetoric is giving way to reality.

The White House is doing about all that it can, suspending the diversion of oil into the Strategic Oil Reserve, suspending the ethanol-blending deadline of May 5th in order to clear a refining bottleneck, but in order to actually do something concrete, the Democrats would have to sign on. And there is no political hay to be gained by helping the White House lower prices, since the credit would go to the White House.

This isn’t an issue of pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. It is about hypocrisy in high places. In ’03, Bush was forced to turn control of Iraq’s oil fields over to the Iraqis, even before Iraq had a government in place, to dispel the ‘blood for oil’ charges.

Any suggestion that securing a steady supply of oil was part of US foreign policy became an instant anti-Bush campaign slogan. It sounded like a good idea at the time — if one hated the Bush administration more than one loved one’s country — but now gas costs three bucks a gallon.

And the Democrats have changed their minds. Blood IS cheaper than oil, after all.

There Shall Come Scoffers . . .

There Shall Come Scoffers . . .
Vol: 55 Issue: 25 Tuesday, April 25, 2006

There Shall Come Scoffers . . .

When I agreed to participate in the National Geographic project, “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation”, that aired last night, I did so after being repeatedly assured the project would be a fair examination of the disparate views among Bible scholars regarding the end times.

It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. (At least, the camera shot did not go DIRECTLY from my face to images of David Koresh, the Branch Davidians and their fiery end at Waco.)

I had half-expected my interview to be cut and spliced over an introduction along the lines of, “and now, here’s Jack Kinsella to give the Branch Davidian’s view of the Apocalypse.” (At least, THAT didn’t happen.)

But the program established early on that there are just two schools of thought on the end times, those of the “Bible scholars” and a second category, described variously as, ‘some fundamentalists’, ‘others’, but most often, ‘believers’, defined early in the program as “what ‘some’ believe based on their own interpretation of the Book of Revelation” — or the lunatic fringe.

To set the stage, the broadcast began by pointing out that every generation has had its doomsday cults, choosing as its example, the Taborites of the 13th century, who went around killing people who didn’t believe what the Taborites believe.

From the Taborites, the program shifted to William Miller, whose cult revolved Miller’s calculations of the exact day of the Rapture. The Millerite cult, (although the program didn’t mention this detail) split into what is today the Unitarians, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Branch Davidians.

It explained why these guys were all nuts, before going on to repeat the oft-disproved preterist claim that the Rapture was an eighteenth century invention of Margaret MacDonald and John Darby, going so far as to even include the utterly meaningless observation that the word Rapture doesn’t even appear in the Bible!

(Aha! But wait! Neither does the word ‘Bible’ appear in the Bible. Hmmm)

The narrator intoned, “To SCHOLARS, Revelation could be interpreted to mean almost anything. . .” before quoting such a scholar, who assured us all that the “Book of the Revelation is almost like a Rorschach blot” enabling anybody to see ‘anything they wanted to’ in its pages.

THEN it goes on to tell us that, “Some scholars believe that ‘literalists’ (another word for non-scholars) miss the whole point” of Revelation. Then one of those scholars tells us that Revelation’s only ‘point’ — it’s only ‘meaning’ is to assure believers that “God has the last word.”

The purpose of the last Book of the Bible is to assure believers that God has the last word. Now, THAT’s scholarship! It must be, since I cannot figure out for the life of me exactly what that is supposed to mean. Who ELSE would believers assume had the last word?

At another point, the broadcast suggested that, because Revelation’s inclusion in the Canon of Scripture was debated among theologians, “it almost didn’t make it into the Bible at all.” (That same statement could be made about every other Book eventually included in the Canon of Scripture, all of which were carefully examined and hotly debated.)

A Jewish professor of Hebrew theology allowed that the New Testament Book of Revelation was never meant to be taken literally. After the narrator categorically stated that the Book of the Revelation was historical and not futurist, the program went on to offer the opposing (and clearly unhinged) views advanced by Tommy Ice, myself, and Ron Bigalke, Associate Professor at Tyndale Theological Seminary (who evidently was, (apart from Ice and myself,) the only other participant who actually seemed to believe the Bible was true. Those who expressed skepticism were the broadcast’s ‘scholars’)

Bigalke got himself moved from the ‘scholar’ category to the ‘believer’ [nutbar] category when he opined; “Personally, I don’t know how you can read the Bible any other way EXCEPT literally,” prompting the narrator to quickly ‘balance’ Bigalke’s statement of faith with the disclaimer that, “Most Christian theologians read Scripture less literally. . . ” before parading several selected ‘Christian scholars’ to point out how naive the futurist view really is.

The narrator pointed out that wars, rumors of wars, famines, etc., have always been part of the human condition, then explained that “believers say this time is different.” (Oh, those poor, deluded believers)

When it came to the discussion of the Rapture, the program’s producers quoted Tommy Ice explaining what the Rapture is, followed by a quote from me ‘admitting’ I believed it too, before the narrator came back to tell the audience that, “this interpretation troubles MOST theologians.”

The narrator evidently agreed, going on to state (again categorically) that the Beast of Revelation was really the Emperor Nero, even though Revelation was written after Nero’s death and during the reign of Domitian. That’s ok, though — John really meant Nero, notwithstanding. Never mind those fringe ‘believers’ — what do they know?

To prove the ignorance of the believers, the narrator tells us that ‘adherents to the Rapture theory says it comes ‘straight out of the Book of the Revelation’ — but that “most scholars disagree.” (Since they evidently made that part up, it is the only time in the whole program that the statement ‘most scholars disagree’ was accurate)

Assessment:

When I was invited to interview for this program, I prayed long and hard before accepting. My primary fear was that this would just be another effort at minimizing Scripture or poking fun at those who take it literally.

To reassure me, the program’s producer told me more than once, “Don’t worry. This is National Geographic.” As I told her then, THAT was what worried me. There are dozens and dozens of such programs dedicated to turning the Bible into a book of fiction and those who believe it into cultists.

My fear wasn’t that I would end up looking like a wild-eyed fanatic, but that the message of hope wouldn’t be turned into a carnival sideshow. (I should have feared both)

I had hoped that the program would kindle an interest in Bible prophecy, that the evidence presented might result in someone out there heeding Peter’s admonition that;

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2nd Peter 3:11)

What was supposed to be a serious examination of the Book of the Revelation became instead, an object lesson in the fulfillment of another end-times’ passage of Scripture, 2nd Peter 3:3-4;

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

Every single one of the ‘scholars’ associated with “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” — every single one of them! — made that exact point. None of the predictions of the end have come true yet, which, according to one of the program’s participants, represents a priori evidence that they never will.

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2nd Peter 3:16)

Sadly, that appears to be about the only thing that “Doomsday” accomplished. It afforded the unlearned and unstable (those Bible ‘scholars’ presented in this broadcast) the opportunity to spread misunderstanding ‘unto their own destruction’ while presenting ‘believers’ as ignorant and superstitious morons.

Darn it. I had hoped for something better.

Three Bucks and Climbing. . .

Three Bucks and Climbing. . .
Vol: 55 Issue: 24 Monday, April 24, 2006

According to weekend news reports, the price of a gallon of gas went up eight cents on Friday, another twelve cents on Saturday and was estimated to top four thousand dollars a quart by Monday. (ok, I made that last part up.)

There seem to be thousands of explanations available to explain how the gas in the dealer’s holding tanks could be worth twenty cents more today that the dealer paid for it Friday isn’t price-gouging . . . but none of them make sense.

I read the other day that the oil companies earn about five cents out of every consumer gas dollar, while listening to some financial analyst on TV explaining why the oil companies are too broke to expand their exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, the price of gas in Washington, DC is over three bucks and in some parts of California, more that four bucks, while another financial analyst was telling me it was all because Iran is the world’s fourth largest oil supplier.

In some way, the fact that Iran’s exports MIGHT be interrupted at some future time caused the price of gas to spike up NOW — but it ISN’T price gouging. And the extra buck a gallon we’re all paying for the gas that was refined last year at the old price ISN’T really a windfall profit, either.

We’re also supposed to believe that when oil companies ALL jack up their prices at the same time to the same level that it is not the result of deliberate price-fixing.

As the price of crude oil hit a record $75.35 a barrel in New York last week, five of the world’s biggest oil companies — Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips — reported combined profits of more than $111 billion.

Conventional wisdom tends to blame the Arabs and OPEC for the global per-barrel price of oil. But there IS no shortage. In fact, oil stockpiles in the U.S. are hovering at an eight-year high.

Kuwait’s Oil Minister said he would urge OPEC to “offer all their idle capacity to the market as soon as possible.”

“We must do what we can to help the market even if there will be no customers for the extra oil,” Sheik Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah told reporters at an energy forum in Qatar.

Current oil prices, noted the sheik, are not related to the fundamentals of supply and demand. He also said the standoff with Iran had added about ten dollars to the price of a barrel of oil, but offered no further explanation.

Assessment:

Nobody is offering ‘further explanation’ because if they did, it would soon become apparent that there IS no logical explanation. What ‘drives’ the price of oil is fear.

Fear that Venezuela will nationalize its oil industry. Fear that al-Qaeda attacks might cripple the oil infrastructure. Fear that a war with Iran might reduce oil exports.

“Oil futures are based on people’s fears,” says Dan Kammen, a UC-Berkeley professor and co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, (as quoted in a story on the CBS News website). “We buy oil on the futures market. So if you look out in the future, you have to say, is it likely that Iran will have a conflict?”

Some experts and analysts have said the market s acutely speculative quality (investors get spooked whenever the global crude cost increases) has added a fear premium of $10 to $15 per barrel.

Each dollar increase on a barrel of oil translates as 2.4 cents at the pumps. So you are paying about a thirty-cent per-gallon ‘fear premium’.

Osama bin Laden’s most recently released recording is expected to drive the fear premium up even more.

Try and think of something you will purchase today that isn’t affected by the price of gas. Something that didn’t have to be loaded onto a truck and transported to the store. You see what I mean.

Now consider the extra thirty cents a gallon in fear premiums that will have to be built into the price of those items.

In recent briefings, we’ve seen how the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — the rider on the white horse — has begun to cast his shadow across the prophetic landscape.

According to Islamic scholars, this rider is the Islamic Mahdi — a kind of Muslim messiah. Iran’s Ahmadinejad is on record as saying he expects the Mahdi to emerge sometime within the next two years — and that his appearance will set the stage for the Rider on the Red Horse who will “take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:4)

The third rider is also beginning to cast his shadow.

“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

A ‘measure’ of wheat and ‘three measures of barley’ represents a day’s food. A ‘penny’ represents a day’s wages. ‘Oil and wine’ are representative of great wealth.

During the Black Horseman’s ride, it will take a day’s wages to buy a day’s food, but the suffering and deprivation will be primarily confined to the working classes — much the same as during the world-wide Great Depression of the 1930’s.

(And pretty much in line with the consequences of a collapse in the global oil market.)

These are but shadows of what the Bible says are to come during the Tribulation Period. We aren’t yet there. None of the expected riders have yet made their appearance, but the way is being cleared for them in preparation for their ride.

And we are able to watch it all begin to unfold — right before our eyes.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts FAILING THEM FOR FEAR, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:25-28)

“A Fighter Protecting the Homeland”

“A Fighter Protecting the Homeland”
Vol: 55 Issue: 22 Saturday, April 22, 2006

Israel is mulling over re-taking the Gaza Strip after Hamas announced it was creating a 4,000-man military force composed entirely of terrorists.

This shadow security force is about one-fourth the size of the existing 18,000 member armed security forces in Gaza and is to be headed by the number 2 fugitive on Israel’s most-wanted list.

Hamas’ proposed security force would draw members from various terror groups and is to be headed by the founder of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees.

The PPRC claimed responsibility for blowing up three Israeli tanks in 2002-2003 which killed seven Israeli soldiers. The group is also responsible for attacking a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza in 2003 that killed three Americans.

There are plenty of American Jews living in Israel, but the victims weren’t Jews. The Americans were security guards working for a private company contracted to protect US diplomats.

The explosion, caused by a roadside bomb or mine, hit the convoy after it had passed through the Erez Crossing, which connects Israel with the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.

The diplomats were in the Gaza Strip to speak to Palestinian professors about academic scholarships. The vehicles in the convoy were armored and had diplomatic license plates.

Jamal Abu Samhadana, the proposed ‘security chief’ remains defiantly unapologetic, telling the AP in an interview that he would continue his ‘resistance’ efforts despite his appointment to head the so-called Gaza ‘security forces.’

“There is no contradiction between the appointment and resistance,” he said. “I am a fighter who is protecting the homeland.”

Assessment:

In reading through the various reports, I noted that the mainstream media is using its word power in an effort to rehabilitate Hamas’ image. In all of the mainstream coverage, Jamal Abu Samhadana is designated a ‘militant’ instead of a terrorist.

The 4,000-member contingent are similarly rehabilitated from ‘terrorists’ to ‘militants’. As I’ve noted in previous reports, people who advance a political cause by indiscriminately killing people in order to invoke terror are ‘terrorists.’

People who advance a political cause in an aggressive, combative manner, as in ‘militant feminists’ or ‘militant homosexuals’ or ‘militant Mothers Against Drunk Driving’ make a lot of noise, but they don’t kill strangers to underscore their cause.

“Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes,” is how the dictionary defines ‘terror’. The world is allegedly engaged in a global war against terror. The dictionary leaves little room for redefining ‘terror’ as ‘militancy’.

But by redesignating the terrorists as militants and redesignating an organized terrorist group as ‘security forces’ one is left with a much kinder and gentler mental image than comes to mind when one thinks of a ‘terrorist.’

And it is worth noting the application of the phrase ‘homeland’ to refer to the Palestinian terrortories. (intentionally misspelled).

Add the words ‘occupation’ to describe Israel’s existence and ‘resistance’ to describe Palestinian terrorism, and I am almost ready to start rooting for the PA side. And that is precisely the point.

The phrase, ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ is often employed by the MSM to justify its refusal to designate terrorists as, well, terrorists.

They point to the WWII resistance fighters in Europe as an example. Whether they were ‘terrorists’ or ‘freedom fighters’ depending on whether or not one was under Nazi occupation or was a Nazi occupier.

The image of a Nazi occupier has been indelibly linked to Israel by the MSM, casting Palestinian ‘resistance’ in the most favorable light possible.

But the Nazis invaded neighboring countries by force of arms in the midst of a formally declared war. When they were defeated, they went back to Germany. The Nazis ceased to exist, but the Germans had a home to return to.

The Israelis are ‘occupiers’ in the sense that Israel exists. The only way Israel could cease to ‘occupy’ territory claimed the Palestinian ‘resistance’ would be if Israel pulled down its flag and declared its dissolution, since the Palestinian ‘resistance’ claims every square inch of Israel to be ‘occupied territory’.

The Palestinian ‘homeland’ is Jordan. There has never been an Arab ‘Palestinian’ people. Until the early 1960’s, the term ‘Palestinian’ was a pejorative applied to the Jews.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were in fact ‘occupied’ by Jordan and Egypt as land captured from Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. The 1917 Balfour Declaration included both as part of a Jewish homeland.

But words can be loaded like guns. And, aimed properly, they can be just as deadly as 158 grains of lead traveling at 2200 feet per second.

The entire world is under the spell of a grand delusion so powerful one can barely absorb its breadth and depth. In this delusion, a people whose historical connection to their land is THE most carefully documented in all of human history becomes the ‘occupation’ and the people whose connection to the land can be traced back to 1967 is the ‘resistance’.

The existence of Israel is at the core of all Bible prophecy for the last days. The antichrist rises to power via his confirmation of a peace covenant between Israel and her enemies. The prophets Zechariah and Ezekiel make it clear that in the last days, the entire world will stand united against Israel and that the prize would be the city of Jerusalem.

The delusional state of global politics makes it possible for Jerusalem to have been founded by Israel’s King David, while at the same time, somehow becoming an Islamic holy place that is the rightful capital of a people who never existed.

And while the MSM might be feeding that delusion by its application of semantics to evoke Palestinian sympathy and create the image of Israel as an occupation force, the fact is that the MSM believes it, which is why they are working so hard to make YOU believe it, too.

The MSM believes that it is its role to educate its readers more so than to inform them.

But it could have just as easily gone the other way. If the MSM, as an institution, had adopted Israel instead of the Palestinians, then the Palestinians would be terrorists again, and the Israelis would be victims again.

But it didn’t — because this is the way Bible prophecy lays out the blueprint for the last days.

In speaking of the coming antichrist, Paul wrote; “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)

Which cause? Back up to verse 4. Paul is describing the conditions under which the antichrist comes to power. Without the strong delusion that Israel is the ‘occupier’ and the Palestinians are the ‘resistance’, there would be no peace covenant to confirm.

The Palestinians would simply be terrorists, like al-Qaeda. Like al-Qaeda, their only options would be to quit or be hunted down. A negotiated settlement would not be an option.

Washington is harboring no delusions that al-Qaeda could govern, or that Osama bin Laden really only wants to be left alone to live in peace. Neither is the rest of the world. But when it comes to Israel, the world is delusional enough to believe that a two-state solution will actually work.

It makes no sense; like renting a movie you’ve already seen in the hope that this time it will end differently. But that’s the way it is.

And nobody seems to notice how completely nuts it all is.