Please scroll down for posts on main page...
|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
In researching my previous post, I came across this interview (published over the weekend) that Newsmax did with David Horowitz.
David talks about his new book, The End of Time, and about the frightening reality of enemies among us.
One quote from the interview that I found most interesting:
"The issue is never the issue, the revolution is the issue." That's the way I look at this. This is a power struggle. It's not about judges, it's not about abortion - it's to stop the Bush agenda.
Here's Janice Rogers Brown, a black female, daughter of a sharecropper. Everything in their overt agenda should lead them to say, "This is great! We care about the equality of women. Half the country is Republican. We have a Republican black woman. Now those racist Republicans will have to respect a black woman."
But that's not what their agenda is. The way they see it is, ‘My God, if the party of Satan gets a black woman in there, they will fool people into thinking they are not the party of Satan.' So the cause is what it's about. The issue is never the issue, the issue is always the revolution.
David was prompted to write his most recent book, in some measure, by his personal fight against prostate cancer.
The New York Times (of all the LSM, who would have thunk it?), reported yesterday that last Friday, two men - a martial arts expert in the Bronx and a doctor in Florida were arrested on conspiracy charges. They must be characterized as domestic terrorists:
The men, United States citizens who were identified by the authorities as Tarik ibn Osman Shah of the Bronx and Rafiq Sabir of Boca Raton, were captured in early morning raids in the Bronx and in Boca Raton on Friday, according to Paul J. Browne, a New York City police spokesman.
The arrests came as part of a two-year sting operation that ended with each man facing a single conspiracy charge. While the authorities said that they had no evidence that either man had actually provided support to terrorists, they said they had taped each man swearing his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Browne said. (Ed. Emphasis added.)
This arrest follows fairly closely on the heels of another recent bust of an arms smuggling ring - primarily made up of non-citizens operating in the US - who were willing to sell arms to an FBI informant who told them he was an al Qaeda operative.
What can we draw from these events? Here's one thing: David N. Kelley, the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY is doing his job.
But there's really something more. New York is not the only place where these things are happening or where our justice department and FBI are active. Certainly there are investigations in progress and there are other examples of domestic terror that have been recently thwarted (here and in other western countries).
What we must realize that these things are really just the tip of the iceberg and that they are symptoms of a much wider and more insidious alliance of the progressive left and Islamic jihad.
David Horowitz, today, has an article at FrontPage magazine: Vindication: There Is An Unholy Alliance, which provides significant detail about his identification of those on the 'progressive' side who tacitly support our enemy. He links efforts to oppose the Patriot Act, assault our incarceration of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, open our borders to terrorists - to the same people who are active in funding terrorists organizations and who support and admire convicted terrorists of their own ranks (like Lynne Stewart).
David references an interview excerpt that the Iraq News Network conducted in March with none other than 'Gorgeous' George Galloway who was just in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago disclaiming his financial relationship with Saddam Hussein in the OFF scandal.
Here's the excerpt:
Mohammad Basirul Haq Sinha: "You often call for uniting Muslim and progressive forces globally. How far is it possible under current situation?"
Galloway: "Not only do I think it's possible but I think it is vitally necessary and I think it is happening already. It is possible because the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. Their enemies are the Zionist occupation, American occupation, British occupation of poor countries mainly Muslim countries. They have the same interest in opposing savage capitalist globalization which is intent upon homogenizing the entire world turning us basically into factory chickens which can be forced fed the American diet of everything from food to Coca-Cola to movies and TV culture. And whose only role in life is to consume the things produced endlessly by the multinational corporations. And the progressive organizations & movements agree on that with the Muslims."
So, here's a political 'servant' not unlike some of the political 'servants' in our country that is declaring an alliance between progressive liberals and Islamic jihad.
It is difficult to think that many of our own citizens, many with names that we know, want you and me to die and want our families to die - they want us to lose the War on Terror.
It is difficult, it is a challenge - but a headline like "British MPs, a US Senator, several US Congresspersons, and several leaders of leftist political organizations were indicted and arrested on conspiracy charges today in connection with domestic and international terrorism..." would be a good start. The First Amendment does NOT protect criminal actions and just as in the case of Galloway - there are money trails and phone calls, meetings and action plans that can be uncovered.
I suggest that David Kelley be put on the job. What about it Secretary Chertoff?
UPDATE: Ace has a link to the LGF post on Galloway and a good comment thread. Wizbang has a post that links to some great Galloway debunking at Seixon - here, here, and here (at least). Galloway up for perjury charges?
One like a Son of Man
9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."
12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
John identifies himself again and his circumstances. Patmos is a small island about 40 miles from the southwest coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) - the area in which the churches that this Book was written to were located.
Most commentors are of the view that John was exiled on Patmos.
Most interpreters understand "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" to mean that John was in communion with God's Spirit on the first day of the week - i.e. Sunday - which has been celebrated as the "Lord's day" since the first century. A few Futurist interpreters take an alternate translation which is "I was carried in the Spirit to the Day of the Lord" - meaning the day of the Second coming of Christ, but they differ with the majority of expositors - including most Futurists.
John tells us that a loud voice like a trumpet speaks to him while he is in the middle of his reverie. (Some manuscripts include another reference to Alpha and Omega - the First and the Last at this point.) John is commanded to write what he sees on a scroll and send it to the seven churches - though they have been referenced earlier they are now named.
When John turns and is confronted by the living Christ, he first notices seven golden lampstands - and in the midst of those the risen Christ. His physical appearance was overwhelming to John. John notices as well that he holds seven stars in his right hand.
Scholars are divided on whether John was observing a purely symbolic representation of Jesus - or whether what he was seeing was real, yet in some spiritual plane.
Some interpreters relate symbolic meaning to the physical characteristics described here such as the golden band as an emblem of high rank, the overall garment is likely priestly, his hair denotes age, honor, and wisdom, his eyes the idea of piercing vision, his bronze feet his irresistable judgment, and the two-edged sword can only be his Word.
There is not much in terms of disagreement among the views related to the lampstands and the stars in this passage. Some scholars say that the lampstands are reminiscient of the seven branched lamp that was used by the priests offered their incense in the tabernacle. Since Christ is in the midst of the lampstands it is seen as significant by some that his presence is associated with them.
We still confront the conflict in interpretation of the meaning of the seven churches. Since the seven churches are named in this passage, some interpreters of the spiritual/idealist school begin to contemplate that the seven churches the book is written to are just these specific churches - and that the major gleaning that anyone can draw from the message is for application. Historicists and Futurists for the most part see the seven churches as representative of church history or types of churches during church history. Some scholars point out that there were at least 10 churches in Asia Minor during the time of John's writing and suggest that since seven were specifically referenced that the number seven is what is of importance - that it therefore represents all churches.
John is commanded to write what he has seen, the things which are and the things which will take place after this. There is contention among the views about what timing is suggested by this command. Futurists take the view that "things which will take place after this" are in the future - and from our viewpoint our future. Historicists and Spiritual/Idealists are of the view that fulfillment begins at this point in Revelation and is continuously filled throughout history - Historicists are of the view that specific events in history fulfill the prophecies and Spritual/Idealists are of the view that there are no specific events - there is just an overall sense spread throughout history of general fulfillment of the principle suggested by each prophecy.
That the lampstands are the seven churches and that this represents a mystery is taken at face value by most scholars. There is considerably more discussion in the literature about the meaning of the seven stars being the 'angels' of the seven churches. It seems that without too much regard to prophetic viewpoint it has been disputed as to whether this means heavenly beings or the pastor or bishop of the churches. Some have pointed out that the communication between God and his angels is perhaps a bit more direct than letters from an apostle.
References to scripture:
There is no quoted passage in verses 9-20. Some scholars see an allusion to Daniel's vision in chapter 10 of the book of Daniel when Daniel saw a man in a vision much like - but with some differences - John's vision of Jesus here. Jesus having the keys of death and Hades reminds some scholars of Ephesians 4:8-10.
Call for unity:
Again, it seems to me that on the issues that have caused some division to this point - namely the historical meaning of the seven churches - we are still able, should we choose, to take each view at its value. It is possible to take the view that the seven churches are the specific churches in Asia Minor that they were sent to - that they are seven kinds of churches throughout history - and that history provides us with identifiable examples of characteristic trends that can be identified with these seven churches. There is an enrichment in taking this view that I do not believe negatively impacts the particular point of view that we may hold as we contemplate this idea.
As to whether John's vision of Jesus in this passage is purely symbolic or some other explanation better explains it - I would again suggest that, again, a synthesis of those views is enriching. Clearly the lampstands and the stars are symbolic - the extent of the symbolism is a matter of detail and perhaps of interest on the part of the student, but we can all agree on that point. Jesus' appearance could be something that mere words just cannot approach and the symbolic meaning of his characteristics do provide an enhancement of understanding him. At the same time, a look into what objective reality that John observes may provide a greater understanding as well - there really is no compromise to integrate these ideas together.
As has been the custom, I will share my thoughs about this passage in the next post in the series. I can say that it will be another very long one.
What an amazing presentation.
All of it was great. For me, hearing actor Charles Durning recount the story of Corpsman Danny Thomas and his experiences on Iwo Jima was especially moving.
God Bless our veterans and all the men and women in uniform that serve around the world.
I've been reading a fascinating book by a neurologist on the workings of the brain (which I intend to review sometime in the near future).
I came across a diagnosis that I wanted to share:
Temporal Lobe Personality: Patients have heightened emotions and see cosmic significance in trivial events. It is claimed that they tend to be humorless, full of self-importance, and to maintain elaborate diaries that record quotidian events in elaborate detail - a trait called hypergraphia... Some of these patients are sticky in conversation, argumentative, pedantic, and egocentric, ...and they are obsessively preoccupied with philosophical and theological issues.
My first thought was "OMG, it's a diagnosis for the blogosphere!"
Then I thought that I must write something down about it - just, you know, because, maybe it's not important, but maybe it is... :)
I've been thinking some today about what I wanted to post for Memorial Day. Some good remembrance - something that reminds me of how thankful I am for those who are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of freedom so that tomorrow, you and I and our friends can enjoy the gratuitous cookout and safely enjoy our friends and families.
There is really no one better to say something than one who serves, one who has been there and one who has lost a brother protecting yours and mine. As has been the case over the last few months, another hero has come to read the Heroes Of India Company post and leave his thoughts. I can't think of anything more appropriate to say for this Memorial Day than what Lance Corporal Vick, one of India Company's heroes himself just had to say:
I can say not only that I was able to serve with Antoine [Smith], but I knew him well. He was my brother. We served together as riflemen in 1st platoon 1st squad. Smith used to call us "team vick-smyth" like "Ram-Rod" from a movie that he enjoyed. On Nov. 15 I was not with Smith when he was hit. I was directly across the street. When we heard the gunfire, and the news that one of ours had been hit, we went in to retrieve our fallen brother. "Team punishment" lead by Lcpl. Rick Meyers, under the direction of Sqd. leader Cpl. Worthy, endered the courtyard of the house. I was the first to see Smith. If you can ever imagine how it is portrayed in movies, where everything is happening way to fast, yet in slow motion at the same time. Or everything is so loud yet dead silent all at once, that's how the world was. As I carried my brother out of that courtyard, my team proceeded to destroy the six evil cowards that had taken one of our brave heroes. Mrs. Smith, I thank you for giving us all a chance to know your son, our brother. Semper Fi Antoine. May you guard the streets of heaven as fiercly as we stormed the streets of hell.
Lcpl. James Vick
Lance Corporal Vick, I can only offer the ovewhelmed gratitude of a grateful nation. May God bless you richly and may you know this Memorial Day the honor with which we hold you and your brothers.
Washington state GOP Chairman provided this update for the end of the week in the election contest trial - the trial resumes on Tuesday, May, 31st.
Trial Update: Republicans Lay Out Major Arguments in
Governor’s Election Challenge
Earlier today, Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges denied a motion by the Democrats to dismiss the Republicans’ election contest. The ruling was yet another defeat for the Democrats, who have attempted to suppress evidence and witnesses throughout the week.
Republican lawyers presented the following arguments against the motion to dismiss:
- Evidence shows that 789 felons, dead people, and double-voters illegally voted in the 2004 election. People who cast ballots in the names of dead people, or convicted felons who voted without their rights restored, and those who voted more than once, did so illegally.
- King County cannot reconcile its voting records. 1,156 more ballots were counted by Accuvote machines at polling places throughout the county than can be attached to any voters.
- 875 more absentee ballots were counted in King County than voters documented as having voted. In addition, King County Absentee Ballot Supervisor Nicole Way acknowledged that the County did not know how many absentee ballots were returned and that the system could not keep track of ballots.
- King County could not provide an audit trail of the number of ballots printed, issued, or returned. The absentee ballot report, which included numbers that the people who composed it knew were not accurate, was submitted to the canvassing board without the board's knowledge.
- Because of the major discrepancies and errors which are well outside the margin of 129 vote victory; no one knows who received the most votes in the governor’s election.
- This case has similar circumstances to those of Foulkes v Hayes. They share the same construction, in that if neglect of elections officials renders it impossible to know who received the most legal votes, then the election must be set aside. The same conditions can be seen in this case: neglect and error by elections officials produced 785 unverified provisional ballots, a surplus of 875 absentee ballots, 96 uncounted absentee ballots, and hundreds more improperly counted poll ballots.
- The “proportional deduction” method that was presented in court and was approved by two noted professors, has been used by U.S. Congress and jurisdictions around the country to determine the outcome of other close elections. Applying this method, Dino Rossi wins.
- The Democrats’ contention that the names of people who voted illegally needs to be known is a "tortured reading of contest statute", inconsistent with the Foulkes case. Under the Democrats interpretation of the law, it would be impossible to contest an election based on the stuffing of ballot boxes, because it would be impossible to attach names to the illegally added ballots.
- If the court had dismissed this case, with such knowledge of overwhelming error and neglect, the State of Washington would no longer have had a meaningful election contest statue.
On the Dem claim that names of people who voted illegally need to be known also violates the secrecy of the ballot. There is no possible interpretation of any law that would abrogate the guarantee of ballot secrecy.
Perhaps the Democrats would like to have their own Vote Police at the polling places that will record your name and go with you into the ballot box and record your ballot as well.
WA state Republican Chairman Chris Vance sent out this information this morning regarding the election contest:
Trial Update - May 27, 2005
Day Four: Judge Admits Republican Expert Evidence
Day Four was data day. The Democrats began the day by cross-examining Clark Bensen about the data he compiled for the experts. The Republicans then called Jonathan Katz, their first expert. When Professor Katz took the stand, the Democrats objected to his testimony and called for a "Frye hearing" to determine whether his testimony satisfied the threshold of scientific validity for use by the court. The ensuing hearing lasted 3 hours, during which time Professor Katz testified about his qualifications and the Democrats' two experts testified about their criticism of Professor Katz's report. On cross examination, the Democrats' first expert testified that it is impossible to know how the illegal votes were cast and, therefore, who won the election. At the conclusion of the Frye hearing, the judge decided to hear the testimony from the experts but defer his ruling on whether they satisfied the Frye standard.
Professor Katz and the Republicans' other expert, Professor Anthony Gill, then testified about how they had analyzed the election result data files and illegal votes to deduct illegal votes from the election results based on a proportional analysis. Their expert reports were placed into the record. After the testimony of the experts, the Republicans read into the record the brief deposition of Vern Witte, who decribed how someone had cast a ballot in his wife's name.
On Friday, the Republicans will introduce some additional documentary evidence and then rest their case, at which time the Democrats will move to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Republicans have not presented sufficient evidence to overturn the election; even in the absence of contrary evidence from the Democrats.
WA GOP Chairman Chris Vance issued this statement this morning regaring day 3 of the election contest trial:
Trial Update - May 26, 2005
Day Three: Republicans Build Case Despite Democrat Objections
Wednesday was an eventful and successful day in the election contest trial. The Republicans called Nicole Way, supervisor of absentee ballot processing for King County, as the day's first witness. She testified about her concerns that King County's computer system could not track absentee ballots sent or received, and the discussions she had with Garth Fell and Bill Huennekens about her concerns. The Republican lawyers showed her some absentee ballot batch slips and the "accountability" spreadsheet King County prepared that summarized all of the batch slips -- and the many discrepancies and errors involved in them -- and had her explain them to the court. When the Republicans offered the accountability spreadsheet as evidence, the Democrats objected vigorously. This was the latest instance of their strategy to stop evidence about the election from being heard -- a trend that continued throughout the day (the judge agreed with the Republicans and accepted the spreadsheet into evidence). Ms. Way confirmed (yet again) that the infamous Mail Ballot Report did not do what the law requires, which is to verify that the number of absentee ballots received was the same as the total of the number counted plus the number rejected. The number received shown on the report was merely the sum of the numbers counted and rejected, not an independent check on them.
The Democrats cross-examined Ms. Way, trying to establish that ballots were secure and that any fraud or misconduct would have been detected. They also asked if the mail ballot report had always been prepared this way. She said it had not (and later expanded that by saying that in the past the computer system produced a report showing the number issued and the number credited, which could be compared to the report of the number tabulated and the daily log of the number sent and received). The Democrats also asked her questions about the no signature on file ("Larry Phillips") ballots. When she admitted to a Republican lawyer that one reason voter records might not have a signature is that the voter did not sign their application, the lawyer for the Secretary of State asked whether unsigned applications would be processed (implying they would not). Ms. Way said she had seen actual original copies of registration applications that were processed even though they were not signed.
After Ms. Way's (long) testimony, the Republicans called Clark Bensen. Mr. Bensen testified about his collection of data relating to the 2004 election and about two aspects of the data he reviewed -- that there were 875 more absentee ballots counted than absentee voters credited in King County, and that most of the precincts with the largest surplus of ballots were won by Christine Gregoire, while most of the precincts with the largest surplus of credits were won by Dino Rossi. We believe this non-random pattern of discrepancies is strong evidence that fraud may have occurred. The Democrats objected strenuously at every stage of this questioning, seeking to bar Mr. Bensen from testifying, to bar him from talking about the 875 vote absentee discrepancy, to bar him from talking about the precincts with the largest differences, and to bar him from using visual aids to explain the data he testified about to the court. The Democrats also complained that they had not been advised of Mr. Bensen's work on voter crediting, notwithstanding that they questioned him about it during his deposition. The lawyer for the Secretary of State objected that voter crediting information could not be used to prove anything about who voted or how many people voted.
Today, the Democrats will cross-examine Mr. Bensen. There will then be a "Frye hearing" where the Democrats will seek to prevent testimony by the Republicans' experts. Assuming the judge agrees to hear the testimony, it will follow the hearing. Depending on the timing of the testimony (and how many more objections the Democrats make), the Republicans expect to complete their case Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
It's worth discussing a little about what is going on here. It continues to appear that the Democrat legal strategists have been believing the LSMs and their own press clippings since the contest was announced - that the legal case is essentially just about the tabulation of illegal votes and argument about who would have received more or less votes on that basis. Neither the press nor the Democrats have been prepared to hear specific allegations of fraud. The Republicans, for their part, did not do any particular telegraphing about it and now the Democrats are left just attempting to keep the evidence that has been uncovered from being presented.
Somewhere south of Oregon the mountains merge with the desert.
Salt or alkaloid flats abound, dry rivers and creeks look like American Nazca lines.
...Continue reading "Travelogue - Cal/Neva?"