Attention

Random Thoughts at the Dawn of the Year 2012

Jesus
© Wikimedia Commons

I thought I'd begin this rant by sharing some of my thoughts on the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth. I think we can all agree that, unlike some of the other subjects I have weighed in on in the past, this is one on which people do not tend to have strongly held points-of-view, so there is little chance that I will offend and alienate readers right off the bat.

So let's jump right into it then with observation #1: When the likely outcome of an unwed pregnancy is death by stoning, people can be really creative liars.

Nothing in the least bit controversial about that ... right? Let's move on then to observation #2: It is fully understandable why the lie was told, and even why many people in that era might have believed it; what is more difficult to understand is why tens of millions of people around the world still believe it 2,000 years later.

I doubt that I've lost anyone yet, so let's quickly move on to observation #3: Jesus was initially described as coming from a line of men who worked with their hands, which was later interpreted to mean that he was a carpenter. Given though that the primary building materials in the land of his birth were sand and rock, it is far more likely that Joseph and his sons were stone masons. Just saying ...

Observation #4: Jesus of Nazareth's real father was undoubtedly a Roman citizen. Some have speculated that he was the product of rape by one of the notoriously ruthless Roman storm-troopers, but his later actions suggest to this completely impartial observer that it was more likely a consensual coupling and that the father was someone of considerably more importance than a mere soldier.

Observation #5: Jesus was very likely a controlled Roman asset. Just as, nearly two thousand years later, the obviously controlled asset known as Jesse Jackson replaced the slain Martin Luther King, and the equally controlled asset known as Louis Farrakhan replaced the eliminated Malcolm X, so it was that Jesus was maneuvered into position to replace the executed John the Baptist, who had, I'm guessing, become a bit of a problem for the Roman overseers.

The message that the emergent messiah delivered to those living under the brutal hand of those Roman occupiers was, by any rational analysis, exactly the wrong one. It was a message brimming with advice about loving neighbors and turning cheeks ... a message that constantly reinforced the notion that it was better to be poor and oppressed than wealthy and powerful, for the poor, you see, were going to spend all eternity in the glorious 'Kingdom of Heaven,' while the rich were going to burn in the fires of Hell (unless they were somehow able to steer their camels through the eye of a needle, or something like that).

It was, in other words, a belief system seemingly designed specifically to suppress any thoughts of rebellion amongst the unwashed masses. And the beauty of it was that no one would find out if the fabled Kingdom of Heaven actually existed until it was too late for them to get a refund.

I know what you're thinking here: "But Dave, didn't the Romans execute Jesus, and do so in a horrifically brutal and sadistic manner - you know, like in that Mel Gibson torture-porn flick?"

Maybe they did and maybe they didn't. Even if they did, that would not necessarily prove that Jesus was not a covert Roman operative. Most all assets are expendable if they become more valuable dead than alive. And it's pretty clear that for the last couple thousand years, Jesus has proven his value as a dead martyr. But was he crucified? I tend to doubt that he was.

Comment: We like McGowan and his entertaining and informative dispatches, even if he knows very little about the creation of the Myth of Jesus and apparently has fallen prey to the illusion that any of it is actual history. He also seems to have missed the evidence pointing to the wholesale 'theft' of elections in the USA since JFK. In that respect, the problem is not just that the candidates are more or less chosen, but the eventual 'winner' is also chosen, via rigged electronic voting schemes. That's not to say that his Bush and Palin theory won't play out... sounds reasonable to us!

Attention

FBI Latest Government Agency to Target Social Media

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation posted a Request for Information last month calling on IT companies to demonstrate their ability to design software for monitoring, mapping and analyzing social media.


Comment: They've been doing this sort of thing for years as COINTELPRO, only now they are going high-tech.

USA

Ron Paul: U.S. "Slipping into a Fascist System"

© The Associated Press/Ed Zurga
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks to supporters at a rally held at Union Station Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned the U.S. is "slipping into a fascist system" dominated by government and businesses as he held a fiery rally Saturday night upstaging established Republican Party banquets a short distance away.

The Texas congressman drew a couple thousand standing and chanting people to Kansas City's Union Station as the party's establishment dined on steak across the street at the Missouri GOP's annual conference. Kansas Republicans were holding a similar convention in a suburb across the state line.

Paul staged his rally near the nation's World War I museum, asserting that the U.S. got off track about 100 years ago during the era of President Woodrow Wilson, who led the nation through World War I and unsuccessfully advocated for the nation's involvement in a forerunner of the United Nations.
Crusader

A Conservative Explains Why Right-Wingers Have No Compassion

Gingrich pepper spray graphic
© DonkeyHotey
A former Republican Senate Congressional staffer on why right-wingers think people without insurance deserve to die.

Although Mitt Romney used the word "conservative" 19 times in a short speech at the February 10, 2012, Conservative Political Action Conference, the audience he used this word to appeal to was not conservative by any traditional definition. It was right wing. Despite the common American practice of using "conservative" and "right wing" interchangeably, right wing is not a synonym for conservative and not even a true variant of conservatism - although the right wing will opportunistically borrow conservative themes as required.

Right-wingers have occasioned much recent comment. Their behavior in the Republican debates has caused even jaded observers to react like an Oxford don stumbling upon a tribe of headhunting cannibals. In those debates where the moderators did not enforce decorum, these right-wingers, the Republican base, behaved with a single lack of dignity. For a group that displays its supposed pro-life credentials like a neon sign, the biggest applause lines resulted from their hearing about executions or the prospect of someone dying without health insurance.

Who are these people and what motivates them? To answer, one must leave the field of conventional political theory and enter the realm of psychopathology. Three books may serve as field guides to the farther shores of American politics and the netherworld of the true believer.

Comment:
"Because of their social cohesion, ease of political mobilization and high election turnout, fundamentalists have political weight even beyond their raw numbers."
But any other groups that begin to develop social cohesion of a more global kind, involving compassion for all humanity, and respect for diversity, are immediately labeled a "cult" and attacked with full force.
"Blumenthal examines the childhoods of these religious-right celebrities and reveals a significant quotient of physical and mental abuse suffered at the hands of parents."

"... the inner life of fundamentalist true believers is the farthest thing from that of a stuffily proper Goody Two Shoes. They seem tormented by demons that those in the reality-based community scarcely experience. ... Far from being a purpose-driven life, the existence of many true believers is a crisis-driven life that seeks release,"

"a patriarchal, sexually repressive family life, reinforced by strict and punitive religious dogma, is the "factory" of a reactionary political order."
Issues such as this, and what they do to the minds of individuals, are discussed in Political Ponerology where a far better explanation than Reich offered is given.

Gear

Washington DC: FBI Foils Own Terror Plot (Again)

FBI Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism
© Getty Images
FBI Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division Michael J. Heimbach
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has once again proven that the only thing Americans need fear, is their own government, with the latest "terror attack" foiled being one entirely of their own design.

USA Today reports that a suspect had been arrested by the FBI who was "en route to the U.S. Capitol allegedly to detonate a suicide bomb." While initial reports portrayed the incident as a narrowly averted terrorist attack, CBS would report that a "high ranking source told CBS News the man was "never a real threat."" The explosives the would-be bomber carried were provided to him by the FBI during what they described as a "lengthy and extensive operation." The only contact the suspect had with "Al Qaeda" was with FBI officials posing as associates of the elusive, omnipresent, bearded terror conglomerate. The FBI, much like their MI5 counterparts in England, have a propensity for recruiting likely candidates from mosques they covertly run.

This is but the latest in a string of national terror plots carried out from start to finish by the FBI, who has made a business of approaching likely candidates and grooming them to carry out terror attacks. In September 2011, another FBI terror operation targeting the Capitol was "foiled," involving a patsy who believed he was to take part in an assault that would involve multiple gunmen and even a drone bomber provided to him by the FBI.
Eye 1

Elite Think Tanks, Neuroscience, and Military Mind Wars

Brain Waves graphic
© Royal Society
The elite UK think-tank, The Royal Society, which has openly admitted to studying how to play God with the climate, has kicked off a new program that reveals another level of control entirely: the human brain.

The Brain Waves project is divided into four modules, each tasked with studying the impact of developments in the field of neuroscience and neurotechnology. The titles of the modules reflect the areas of examination:
  • Module 1: Society and policy
  • Module 2: Implications for education and lifelong learning
  • Module 3: Conflict and security
  • Module 4: Responsibility and the law
The results from these modules have been published, and clearly illustrate how this panel views the lower public masses in light of their status as the elite arbiters of human destiny.
X

Not surprising: Military service changes personality, promotes and induces psychopathic behavior

© Unknown
It's no secret that battlefield trauma can leave veterans with deep emotional scars that impact their ability to function in civilian life. But new research led by Washington University in St. Louis suggests that military service, even without combat, has a subtle lingering effect on a man's personality, making it potentially more difficult for veterans to get along with friends, family and co-workers.

"Our results suggest that personality traits play an important role in military training, both in the sort of men who are attracted to the military in the first place, and in the lasting impact that this service has on an individual's outlook on life," says study lead author Joshua J. Jackson, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.

Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study found that men who have experienced military service tend to score lower than civilian counterparts on measures of agreeableness - a dimension of personality that influences our ability to be pleasant and accommodating in social situations.
Hourglass

US: Northampton "Opts Out" of Federal NDAA Law

Nat'l Defense Authorization Act "unconstitutional"

Massachusetts - The city of Northampton is once again taking a bold stance against a controversial federal law. It became the first city in New England to pass a resolution rejecting the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday night.


President Obama signed the NDAA back in December. Two particular sections of the Act ignited a firestorm of controversy. Sections 1021 and 1022 allow the indefinite military detention of any person, including a U.S. citizen, without a trial. That applies to any person "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," or anyone who commits a "belligerent act" against the United States or its allies.

At a city council meeting Thursday night, city leaders and advocacy groups came together to demand a "restoration of due process and the right to trial."

The American Civil Liberties Union maintains that the NDAA flies in the face of Constitutional rights.
Dollar

US: Citigroup whistleblower: I have no regrets

© Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
A woman walks into a Citi Bank branch in New York Jan. 17, 2012.
It wasn't Sherry Hunt's original intent to go public on the shoddy quality control at a mortgage unit at Citigroup Inc, her employer since 2004.

But by March 2011, as it became apparent to her that the problems were getting worse and not being addressed, the Missouri quality assurance manager decided enough was enough.

"I set up an appointment with human resources and ethics and told them everything," Hunt recalled in a telephone interview. "They did some cursory investigation. The sad part is, they never ever told me, 'Sherry, you were right,' or 'Sherry, you're looking at this wrong.' There were no assurances."

Instead, Hunt, who got her start in the mortgage industry in 1975 at age 18, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets.

The United States joined the civil fraud case, which raised claims under the False Claims Act, a federal law designed to recover money taken from the government by fraud, and discourage further wrongdoing. Whistleblowers can receive up to 25 percent of settlement amounts in such cases.

Wednesday, Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle. Hunt said her share will be $31 million, before taxes and attorney fees. Her lawyer declined to disclose those fees.
Nuke

New Study Links Childhood Leukaemia to Nuclear Power Plant Radiation

nuke cooling towers
© iStock
The UK government's scientific advisory group found no link between childhood leukaemia and proximity to nuclear power plants, but German and French research has found an alarming doubling of risk.

In the latest development in the debate over to what extent there is a link between childhood leukaemia and radiation from nuclear power plants, a French study has found a doubling in the incidence of the disease among children under 5 living within 5-kilometre radius of a nuclear plant.

The study, conducted by the Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (INSERM) and reported in the International Journal on Cancer in January 2012, looked at child leukaemia cases nationwide diagnosed between 2002 and 2007, with addresses coded around 19 nuclear power plants. It demonstrated a stastically signficant doubling of the incidence of leukaemia childhood near nuclear power plants.

The French study confirms an earlier German study, known as the KiKK, which found a doubling of the incidence of child leukaemia near nuclear power plants, and an increased risk of 60 per cent for all childhood cancers. The KiKK findings were confirmed by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection.
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