Peace in Our Time – The Movie

Peace in Our Time – The Movie
Vol: 87 Issue: 19 Friday, December 19, 2008

On the day following the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, I was summoned to a meeting at the Toronto office of Israeli Consul-General Dror Zeigerman, who gave me an individual briefing as to what the agreement really said.

Ambassador Zeigerman was born in Israel (on May 14, 1948, he told me with pride) and grew up amidst the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Dror told me once of his commanding the lead tank to cross the Suez into Egypt during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Sitting atop the tank hitching a ride so he could be first across was General Ariel Sharon — “Arik” — Dror called him.

I say all that to say that Ambassador Zeigerman — and the Israeli government in general — was under no illusions at the time of the agreement. They expected Arafat to break it. The only hope they were holding out was that at least some parts of it might hold.

The agreement, as it was initially signed, created the “Palestinian Authority” and provided for it to be a semi-autonomous representative “Palestinian” government with authority over Palestinian municipal services, (education, trash collection, police and fire services, etc) in Gaza and the West Bank city of Jericho.

The Oslo Agreement was built on the framework of ‘land for peace’ — which is diplo-speak for extortion. In essence, the agreement legitimized as a diplomatic process what US law enforcement would call a ‘protection racket.’

Here’s how that works: A couple of big, scary guys with bent noses show up at a business and start busting the place up. One of them tells the business owner that he can pay ‘protection’ and nobody will bust the store up anymore.

Oslo’s “Land for Peace” formula is like that.

“Pay us off and we’ll stop busting the place up.” Israel was under no illusions. Neither was Arafat. The price would continue to go up — that’s why Israel started small, offering only the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho.

One of the most important parts of Oslo’s first incarnation was the provision that forbade Arafat from making any promises of statehood or any claims on Jerusalem. Within days of the signing, Arafat stood on the Jerusalem-Jericho road, declaring the entire West Bank to be a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

At the time, I was the head writer for the Christian TV ministry program, “This Week In Bible Prophecy” with Peter and Paul Lalonde.

Only days after my meeting with Ambassador Zeigerman in Toronto, I had completed a script for a video documentary entitled ‘Peace in Our Time’ about the Oslo Agreement and where it would lead.

Not too long ago, I stumbled across an old VHS copy of that video, which I’ve converted to webvideo and posted at this link. The video features interviews I did with prophecy greats like Dave Hunt, Dr. John Walvoord, Grant Jeffrey, Hal Lindsey, Dave Breese . . . and also featuring a very young (and bearded?) “John” Kinsella.

(Click on the bottom right corner of the video window to watch it full screen)

Two things I want you to keep in mind as you watch it. The first is that the video was recorded in October, 1993. That was fifteen years ago.

The second is that things haven’t changed all that much in fifteen years.

“Every Silver Lining Has Its Cloud”

“Every Silver Lining Has Its Cloud”
Vol: 87 Issue: 18 Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chalk one up for our side. OPEC is beside itself trying to figure out how to revive the goose that laid the golden eggs that strangled last year as gas prices topped four bucks a gallon.

It was about that time that industry analysts predicted American consumers would not revolt until gas prices topped five bucks. They miscalculated. Four bucks was as high as we were willing to go.

OPEC didn’t believe it. Until Americans began to cut back on their oil consumption. They began buying energy-efficient cars. (Five gallons will carry me almost 400 miles in my SmartCar). Americans started to carpool in earnest. We started walking more, riding our bicycles, taking mass transportation.

This week OPEC members met and agreed to their deepest output cut ever, reducing it by 2.2 million barrels a day. In response, the price of oil dropped to under $40 per barrel — the lowest price in four years — before settling at $40.05 — down $3.54 on the OPEC threat.

OPEC was totally blindsided. According to Rob Giegel, an energy market specialist interviewed by Canada’s Financial Post, for now, the consumer is boss. Not OPEC.

“This year everyone actually acted upon their musings of the past, and we saw a huge shift in consumer behavior in terms of more fuel-efficient vehicles, people starting to walk to work, people taking public transit,” said Mr. Giegel, based in Calgary. “We have seen demand extinction, because a lot of these people will never go back.”

“Demand extinction” — is it real? Or just a fad? According to US Energy Department figures, OPEC has reason to worry. The U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday supplies climbed for the 11th time in 12 weeks, by 525,000 barrels to 321.3 million barrels last week.

Storage is so full that more supply is unaccounted for, said Geigel. Plenty, for example, is stored in tankers. Rates have come down so much they are being rented, filled up and parked, waiting for oil to rebound, he said.

OPEC can only cut production so much before it begins to cut its own throat. OPEC might not like selling two barrels of oil for $80.00 when it was getting that much for just one a few months ago, but they can’t afford to not sell it, either. The majority of OPEC countries, without their oil revenues, would be international welfare cases.

Leila Benali, Paris-based director of Middle East and Africa at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says that OPEC has already slashed production as far as it can afford to. “There is the question of who will take the burden,” she said. “It’s quite difficult to decrease production when prices are low, because it will mean less revenue for you.”

Oil is still searching for a bottom, and we’re not there yet. Analysts have been one-upping each other lately with calls as low as $20 per barrel, although most Western analysts peg it somewhere between $30 and $40 per barrel. Part of it is the economy. But mostly it is because we’re mad as heck and we’re not going to take it anymore.

There is a point beyond which the American consumer is not willing to be pushed. OPEC pushed too far.

Assessment:

Despite seeing OPEC in panic, every silver lining has its cloud: While the price of oil is continuing to fall, the value of the US dollar that it backs is falling just as quickly.

For the past several years, the dollar has stalled against other currencies because the rest of the world has succumbed to the never-ending drumbeat of negative reports suggesting the United States is being led by a dishonest, warmongering group of out-of-touch neocons whose only allegiance is to Big Oil.

Now, America is about to be led by an ultra-liberal Chicago pol whose Islamic name and far-left politics completely nullify the ‘Neo-con Effect’ and the economy is dropping like a stone despite the collapse in oil prices.

Why is that important? There are a number of reasons, none of which had anything to do with the Bush administration.

First, the dollar is an illusion. There is no such thing. A ‘dollar’ is a unit of measure, like a quart or a gallon, not a thing in and of itself. We get our word ‘dollar’ from the Dutch word ‘thaler’ — which is a weight of measure for precious metals like gold and silver.

No currency currently in circulation is named thaler. Several, however, are acknowledging its legacy with their names: twenty-three currencies named dollar, used in countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and United States of America, which pegged the dollar to the weight of the Dutch thaler.

Dollar bills used to carry the legend, “Will pay to the bearer on demand, X dollars in lawful US currency”. Until 1933, “lawful US currency” was silver or gold. When FDR ordered privately held US gold confiscated, “lawful US currency” became a thaler’s worth of silver.

The dollar continued to bear the promise of redemption in lawful US money until 1967 when the legend was changed to read, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private,” in effect, BECOMING the thing it was supposed to measure.

The dollar, no longer backed by gold or silver, was now backed by the full faith and fidelity of the people of the United States — that is to say, it is an instrument of debt backed by America’s collective property holdings and future earning power. Your property. Your earning power. The dollar is a loan backed by collateral — your collateral.

But all of your collateral is already collateralized. There isn’t much left that isn’t spoken for. The various bailouts have already claimed almost one trillion dollars — Barack Obama’s fiscal promises, if kept, will cost another trillion or more.

The only way to pay for it is to keep printing money — which has the effect of diluting the value of that currency already in circulation.

Fixing the economy by printing money is really nothing more than a variation on the old joke that says the best way to double your money is to fold it in half, but nobody seems to realize that its a punch line and not a fiscal strategy.

It only sounds complicated, because the whole system is designed to be so complex that nobody will realize the dollar is an illusion supported only by the public faith it will still buy next week what it buys today. What happens when it no longer will?

The Scriptures describe it this way:

“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 6:6)

Be Not Afraid of Sudden Fear

Be Not Afraid of Sudden Fear
Vol: 87 Issue: 17 Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There used to be a television comedy program called “Hee Haw” that poked fun at rural America — but nobody minded. Particularly rural Americans, who clearly enjoyed letting the city slickers in on the joke.

One of the regular skits revolved around the chorus of a song the main characters would sing while sitting on a set that looked like an old mountain cabin, complete with a sleepy redbone hound on the porch.

The song chorus when like this: “Gloom, despair, and agony on me / Deep, dark depression, excessive misery / If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all / Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”

It was funny twenty years ago. It isn’t funny now. The words were supposed to be a joke, but jokes are only funny when they are close to true. This song could easily become our national anthem.

A new report issued by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute, said that the US defense community is paralyzed by conventional thinking. Consequently, it is unprepared to help the United States cope with a series of unexpected crises that would rival the Al Qaida strikes in 2001.

The report cited the prospect of the collapse of a nuclear state leading to massive unrest in the United States. The War College called it an impending “strategic shock.”

Titled “Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development,” the report warned that the U.S. military and intelligence community remain mired in the past as well as the need to accommodate government policy.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” the report, authored by [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, said.

Freier, a former Pentagon official, said that despite the Al Qaida surprise in 2001 U.S. defense strategy and planning remain trapped by “excessive convention.”

“The current administration confronted a game-changing ‘strategic shock’ inside its first eight months in office,” the report said.

“The next administration would be well-advised to expect the same during the course of its first term. Indeed, the odds are very high against any of the challenges routinely at the top of the traditional defense agenda triggering the next watershed inside DoD [Department of Defense].”

The report cited the collapse of what Freier termed “a large capable state that results in a nuclear civil war.” Such a prospect could lead to uncontrolled weapons of mass destruction proliferation as well as a nuclear war.

It also envisioned the prospect of a breakdown of order in the United States. Freier said the Pentagon could be suddenly forced to recall troops from abroad to fight domestic unrest.

“An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,” the report said.

The report said the United States could also come under pressure from a hostile state with control over insurgency groups. The hostile state could force American decision-makers into a desperate response.

The report is even more disturbing when one considers who will be the “American decision-makers” for the next four years.

Assessment:

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:25-26)

Notice that Solomon specifies ‘sudden fear’ as something, in and of itself, to be feared. I looked up ‘panic’ in the dictionary. Guess how it is defined? Yup. Sudden fear. So let’s see if that makes sense in context: “Don’t panic!” Ok, that makes sense.

“Neither of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh.” The ‘desolation of the wicked.’ Back to the dictionary. Desolation: “the state of being decayed or destroyed”.

The dictionary lists as synonyms; ‘deterioration’, ‘impairment’ and ‘ruin’. The ‘wicked’ are the unredeemed of this earth. And notice that Solomon says “when it cometh, not if.

“Sudden fear” is the headline of the day. The economy tanked on fear and uncertainty. The stock market crash in October was predicated by a panic in global financial markets as the mortgage crisis caused panicking depositors to ‘run’ on the banks, which is called, a ‘bank panic’.

Everything bad that has happened in the financial markets since October has been the result of panic, not an abundance of caution, or even fear.

The environmentalists are panicking over global warming, (renamed ‘climate change’ to account for global cooling to avoid confusing it with ‘weather cycles’).

Obama’s policy statement on the environment issued yesterday, was designed to quell the environmentalists’ panic, telling the rest of us that “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change”.

Then he panicked the rest of us by affirming: “The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”

It almost sounds like Obama is paraphrasing the Bible. “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;” (Luke 21:25)

Except that, according to Bjorn Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and writing in today’s “The Australian” sea levels have fallen over the past two years.

Coastlines have actually increased. Bangladesh has been expanding by some twenty square kilometers per year as sea levels contract.

Rather than drought, all academic studies show the earth has actually been getting wetter, globally, since the drought that caused the 1930’s Dust Bowl.

Climate-related famine has declined rapidly in the past half-century. The famines of the past few years are man-made. The World Bank says they were created, ironically, by turning food into ethanol — as part of the misguided effort to save the earth by starving the planet.

Storms are not actually growing stronger. NOAA says hurricane activity has been in decline for at least four years.

What Jesus was addressing in His discourse on the climate was not actual climate change. It was the fear currently slipping over into panic over what they fear is coming upon the earth.

Let’s look together and see if you see what I do.

“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.”

“Distress” is a synonym for ‘fear’ and “perplexity” a synonym for ‘confusion.’ If I remember anything from my military training, it is this equation: “fear plus confusion equals panic.”

For this reason, the Scriptures admonish us NOT to give in to panic at the desolation of the wicked, when it comes. Solomon promises us (note — he promises us) “the Lord shall be thy confidence AND shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

What I want you to see here isn’t the promise. Instead let me call your attention to its FULFILLMENT — for it is fulfilled in you. Evaluate your concern, personally, over global warming. Are you panicked about it and what affect it will have on future generations?

Or do you trust the Lord’s promise to return and restore the earth’s ecology at His Second Coming?

Now, your concern about the financial markets. Honestly. Think about it. Even where it affected your retirement, are you panicking about your financial future? Look around you at those who ARE panicking.

Where is your heart? That’s where your treasure is.

All around us is panic and fear, together with evidence of what panic and fear produce. More panic and fear. But the desolation is falling on the wicked because THEY are the ones panicking.

Think about how awful it must be to see all this transpiring all around you and to not know the Lord or to not believe that all is proceeding according to Divine Plan.

Just try and imagine how in the world you could face the Pentagon’s “Strategic Shock”, Obama’s weather report, AND the prospect of a global economic depression, if you thought this was ALL there was?

Or that this was all random happenstance, devoid of rhyme, reason or Divine guidance?

Think how terrified you would be if the Holy Spirit wasn’t bearing witness to your spirit — right now where you sit — that you are a child of God?

Sit back, be still for a moment, and reflect how that promise is fulfilled, almost invisibly, in your own walk with the Lord. . . “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

Trust in the promise — it will continue to be fulfilled in our lives — sit back and witness the Holy Spirit at work in you. It’s the little things we usually take for granted that keep us grounded.

Let everybody else panic.

Seeing Their Soles

Seeing Their Soles
Vol: 87 Issue: 16 Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It was easily THE most bizarre presidential scene ever recorded on film. It has been endlessly looped on the cable news networks, particularly those of the Arab Middle East.

It isn’t every day that one sees the President of the United States ducking a flying shoe. (Or a pair of them.)

For the record, I was very impressed with both the shoe-thrower’s aim and the president’s reflexes. Had President Bush been a split-second slower, the first shoe would have hit him squarely between the eyes.

I was also proud of President Bush for standing his ground instead of hitting the floor behind the podium. That would have been the natural (and smart) thing to do — duck first and assess the threat later — but it would have made the scene even more humiliating.

In hindsight, it was a good thing that the Secret Service was derelict in its duty. The assailant, an on-air Baghdad TV reporter, should have never been able to get off the second throw. But it would have made it even more humiliating, in the end, had the Secret Service bodyguards reacted the way they were supposed to.

Just look at the fun the Left is having with the spectacle now. Can you imagine the fun the mainstream media and the Useful Idiots Brigades would have in captioning that photo?

The jokes were flying fast and furious, starting with the President himself, who joked “I saw his sole,” and White House reporters musing about a new Secret Service manual on “the taming of the shoe.”

Although the President wasn’t injured, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino ended up with a black eye — an injury immediately dubbed by the press corps as a ‘shoe-shiner’.

But in reality, it was no joking matter. Had the shoes been rigged with explosives, or even if one of them had found its intended mark, what was supposed to be a victory tour could have resulted in a presidential assassination.

It was President Bush s last trip to Iraq and Afghanistan two places in which Americans were still engaged in wars begun on his watch and a guy throwing his shoes was the big story.

Assessment:

The shoe-thrower was taken into custody by Iraqi authorities after throwing his shoes, which prompted a public backlash and made him a hero across the Iraqi world (and to most foreign news organizations.)

For example, the BBC described the scene thusly: “[T]he previously little-known journalist from the private Cairo-based al-Baghdadia TV has become a hero to many, not just in Iraq but across the Arab world, for what many saw as a fitting send-off for a deeply unpopular US president.”

al-Zaidi’s arrest prompted outcries from across the Arab world, and more than a few from the op-ed pages fo the United States. Just in case anybody still thinks “journalist” still means ‘impartial and unbiased reporter of fact.’

A column by Dave Lindorff and published in the Op-Ed news was entitled; “Muntadar al-Zaidi Did What We Journalists Should Have Done Long Ago.”

Virtually the entire global press corps expressed the same sentiment — with one of the few exceptions coming from an unexpected source — the “Toronto Globe and Mail” who rightly identified al-Zaidi and his supporters as “A Disgrace to Journalism.”

In Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, located north of Baghdad, an estimated 1,000 protesters carried banners and chanted slogans demanding al-Zeidi’s release.

A couple of hundred more also protested Tuesday in Nasiriyah, a Shiite city about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Fallujah, a Sunni area west of the capital.

Noted the Associated Press: “Muntadhar al-Zeidi has expressed the feelings and ambitions of the Iraqi people toward the symbol of tyranny,” said Nassar Afrawi, a protester in Nasiriyah.

In Baghdad, Noureddin al-Hiyali, a lawmaker of the main Sunni bloc in parliament, defended al-Zeidi’s actions and said he believed the reporter was likely motivated by the invasion of Iraq, the “dismantling of the Iraqi government, destroying the infrastructure,” all events he blamed on the Bush administration.”

According to Scripture, it is through propaganda and deception that the antichrist both comes to power and governs once there. It is vast . . . the Scriptures say he deceives ‘the whole world.’

At no time in history was such a unified and coordinated propaganda machine even possible, let alone in place and ripe for the taking. Until now.

There exists in our world, only two categories of mainstream media. There are those that lean left, like the NYTimes, MSNBC, CNN, LATimes, Chicago Times, etc., and those that lean right, like the Washington Times, Fox News, or the Weekly Standard.

And, if the only two categories of media are left-leaning and right-leaning, then what ever is reported by either side fits the textbook definition of political propaganda, as filtered through an ideological perspective, not truth.

The mainstream media, blinded as it is by Bush-hatred and misty-eyed anticipation of the ‘coming of The One’ was incapable of even seeing what the real story was.

Thanks to George Bush, al-Zeidi was arrested for simple assault and is instead facing a fine. Had al-Zeidi thrown his shoe at an Iraqi government press conference before George Bush, he would have been slowly lowered, feet-first, into a tree-shredder.

But Bush is the villain — and al-Zeidi the hero.

Behold the power of propaganda!

Inherit the Wind

Inherit the Wind
Vol: 87 Issue: 15 Monday, December 15, 2008

On September 11 2001, Osama bin Laden launched his sneak attack against the United States via four hijacked airplanes. The attack was aimed at two primary targets; the seat of American finance in New York and the seat of American government in Washington.

Since the closest target was New York City, both planes were able to hit their targets without interference from the passengers, who no doubt thought they were being hijacked to Cuba or something.

The third plane managed to strike its target at the Pentagon, but thanks to cell phones, the passengers on the fourth flight learned what the hijackers intended.

The passengers stormed the cockpit, forcing the plane down in an empty field in the Pennsylvania hills instead of its intended target in the nation’s capital. While the attacks themselves were devastating, they were nothing compared with the delayed reaction.

Osama bin Laden, a trained engineer, ensured that aircraft fueled for cross-country travel were used, anticipating the effect the burning jet fuel would have on its targets. But even he was surprised that when it caused both towers to pancake to the ground, as he said while being videotaped during during a dinner conversation in early 2002.

It could be argued that the stock market collapse the nation is now experiencing is a delayed reaction response to that same attack. That is where the seeds were sown. In that attack.

From that moment until this, Osama bin Laden has enjoyed the consistent moral support of legions of useful idiots so blinded by Bush-hatred that they willingly aided bin-Laden’s effort to bring down the Western economy.

When John McCain tanked his campaign with the words, “the fundamentals of the economy are sound” he wasn’t wrong. The crash wasn’t the result of a change in America’s economic fundamentals.

The American economy is fundamentally a debit economy which is most productive when running in the red. It sounds counter-intuitive, but nonetheless, that’s the way it works.

America operates like an average American family. Without mortgages and auto loans, few Americans would own either. Take them away, and that family’s standard of living would collapse.

That is precisely what the credit crunch purported to do at the national level — with the same effect. The fundamentals of the economy are based in debt — the right amount of debt, carefully balanced, like your average American family.

(The last time America balanced the budget, it resulted in a recession — which quickly ended once the post 9/11 debt began to pile up. )

What happened to the economy wasn’t financial, it was political.

Assessment:

It is worth noting that officially, America didn’t even enter a ‘recession’ until December 1st of this year — when figures showed two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

But we’ve been hearing that America is on the financial skids since the Al Gore lost the White House in 2000. And the message is finally beginning to sink in. (Ironically, just in time for the Democrats to reap the whirlwind they are largely responsible for spawning.)

The fact we only just this month slid into recession supports the contention the current crisis was invented in much the same way and for many of the same reasons as the global warming ‘crisis’.

You needn’t take my word for it. The OL’s archives date back to October 14, 2001 — and that’s how long that the Democrats have been talking down the economy.

In the political war, the Democrats are giving no quarter, observing no rules [such as building a campaign platform based on Bush’s destruction of an economy already in recession before his taking office and then talking down the economy at every opportunity]. (Omegaletter, August 26, 2002)

Democratic political analysts like Dick Morris advocate talking down the economy in order to win votes in November.

The worst political catastrophe that could befall the Democrats, in his view, will be if American prosperity raises its ugly head between now and November. So what benefits all Americans is disastrous to partisan objectives. (OL, September 10th, 2002)

One thing hasn’t changed, however. Even one year later, the Left, (both foreign and domestic) continues to lie about the whole issue, talking down America, the economy, the administration and even other coalition members, hoping something will click. (OL March 19, ’04)

The politicization of the war on terror began even as Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle pledged the Democrats ‘not to politicize this war’ (OL 9/26/02, 3/22/04, 7/23/0412/23/05, etc.) Rather than coming together as one nation, the Left elected to use the war to divide the country as a springboard to power.

As the years went by and memories faded, the Democrat theme for ’04 was “How Bush Lost The War In Iraq” and the ’06 theme was “How Losing the War in ’04 Ruined the Economy in ’06”.

Nancy Pelosi pledged to ‘fix’ the Bush economy and ‘do something’ about high gas prices within her first 100 days as Speaker in ’06 (when unemployment was at 4.5% and gas was under $2.00/gallon)

If you keep telling people that their life savings are threatened if they leave it in the market, they will eventually begin to believe it and move those savings to a safe place (like under their mattress).

As confidence dwindles, prophecies of a coming economic collapse become self-fulfilling. As confidence dwindles, institutions on the margin collapse, causing a cascading effect, like the first domino in a row to be pushed over.

The mortgage ‘crisis’ was the first in a series of crises that didn’t become crises until after being used as political clubs to beat Bush and the Republicans about the head and shoulders with.

There was FAR more reason for the economy to tank following the 9/11 attacks but the White House made not panicking a national policy. The Democrats countered by steadily raising the national panic level as a springboard to power.

Now they have it all — the White House and both Houses of Congress — which is itself a fulfillment of prophecy. Of sorts.

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind. . .” (Proverbs 11:29)

The False Armageddon Scenario

The False Armageddon Scenario
Vol: 87 Issue: 13 Saturday, December 13, 2008

It is a reasonable supposition — one that I think finds considerable support in Scripture, that some kind of ‘false Armageddon’ scenario will precede the real McCoy.

Most of the Hebrew prophets hint at a period of peace and safety for Israel prior to the Gog-Magog invasion. The quest for peace is the story of the Jewish people, from Nebuchadnezzar to Theodor Hertzl.

”Shalom” — or ‘peace’– is how Jews greet and take their leave of one another. Jews don’t pray for victory over Jerusalem. Instead, they exhort one another, “Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim” – pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Type the word ‘peace’ into a Bible search program and scan the hits — you’ll discover the majority of them are in reference to Jewish longing for peace. Or in the context of the absence of peace.

In all her long history, Jerusalem has known little peace, and none since Israel’s restoration; what peace Jerusalem has known in modern times amounts to lulls between attacks.

“To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 13:16)

The greatest work published by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus was his, “The Wars of the Jews”. Flavius Josephus was a Levite Pharisee and commander of the Galilee region during the 66-70 Jewish Rebellion.

In 67, Josephus was cornered, with his men, in a cave where they agreed to a suicide pact. Josephus the last man standing. Josephus changed his mind.

He was captured by Vespasian, whom Josephus predicted would soon rule the world. When Nero committed suicide, Vespasian became emperor and he appointed Josephus his official historian.

Josephus published the “Wars of the Jews” in AD 78, “The Antiquities of the Jews” in AD 93, “Against Apion” (96-100) and his autobiography, “The Life of Josephus” around 100 AD.

The collected works of Josephus represent a secular history of the Jewish race from Adam to the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora. If there is a single theme one could pick out as central to all of these works, it is Israel’s relentless pursuit of peace. A theme confirmed by both the Prophets and the Scriptures.

“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11)

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1st Thessalonians 5:3)

The Bible, Jewish history and contemporary Jewish experience come together in a tragic ballad of unfulfilled promises of peace in three-part harmony.

Until one hits this discordant note, that is:

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)

And this one:

“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.” (Ezekiel 38:11)

The various players are already lined up exactly the way that the Bible foretells. Iran (Persia) continues in its nuclear build-up, making no bones about its intention to wipe Israel from the map in the process, practically begging for war with the Jewish State.

Iran’s co-religionists in the Arab world, despite their traditional hatred of the Persians, seem willing to put that behind them if it results in the destruction of Israel. The Russians seem relatively ambiguous about it all — they could be Israel’s allies or Israel’s enemy — but right now, the Arabs have all the oil.

That’s pretty much how Ezekiel described it, too. “And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth. . .” (Ezekiel 38:4)

So it would appear that we are on the cusp of the Gog Magog War. Except for that one, CLANG!, that one little note of discord. The one about Israel ‘dwelling at peace’.

What about that?

Assessment:

The chief US delegate to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Gregory L. Schulte, warned Syria this week that Damascus had until March to begin showing signs of cooperation over its nuclear plan or the country would face ‘punishment.’

The IAEA is examining uranium particles found in Syria containing features similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site. Syria was also ‘requested’ to allow visits to locations containing the debris and any equipment removed from the site for the purpose of taking samples.

Schulte told London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat that “Syria must choose whether it plans to follow in Iran’s footsteps or to cooperate.”

Schulte dismissed Syria’s protests of innocence by pointing out that North Korea had not denied involvement in the construction of the alleged Syrian reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007.

Schulte refused to discuss the sanctions which would be imposed on Syria if it continued its policy, saying that the IAEA’s goal at this time is to convince Damascus to cooperate.

“No one is talking about sanctions today. The only thing we are talking about is a probe. The international agency is giving the Syrians an opportunity to cooperate, and they have an extension until the next meeting to cooperate.”

He added that this was not an official extension, but a date on which the nuclear watchdog would reexamine the Syrian nuclear issue, after the matter was discussed in the council’s latest meeting two weeks ago.

Despite his reservations, Schulte added that “Syria is engaging in a tactic used by Iran in recent years the failure to cooperate. This is not the road we want Syria to take. We hope Syria cooperates fully with the agency in regards to what happened in the Syrian desert. If they fail to cooperate, there will be consequences.”

In the natural, it is a toss-up whether it will be Iran or Syria who will start the next Middle East war. Ahmadinejad would like it to be Syria, giving his country the excuse to come into the war in Syria’s defense.

Assad has proximity, control of Lebanon, Hezbollah and Hamas all working on his side. Plus, Assad has a territorial excuse Ahmadinejad does not — the Golan Heights.

Currently, Syria has the most powerful chemical/biological arsenal in the region. But once he’s used them, he has to depend on Ahmadinejad’s threat to defend Syria with nukes to deter an Israeli nuclear counter-attack.

This perfectly sets the stage for the False Armageddon Scenario that brings the world to the brink — forcing the West to come together in a grand alliance under a single leader.

Any attack against the Jewish state involving chemical weapons — gas — will evoke a Israeli response I believe will shock and astonish the world.

It will preclude any Iranian response, most likely force the rest of the world to rethink its strategy and create a brand-new geopolitical reality overnight.

The prophet Isaiah called it “The Burden of Damascus.”

It begins, “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1)

That this is a prophecy for the future, rather than a fulfilled prophecy from the past, is evidenced by the fact Damascus is the oldest continually-inhabited city in the world.

Damascus has never been destroyed — it’s never been ‘taken away from being a city’ or become ‘a ruinous heap’ — not even briefly.

Isaiah likens the destruction of Damascus to the shaking an olive tree, saying “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.”(17:6-7)

As to the UN, the IAEA, the US or anybody else, Isaiah issues this warning of woe:

“Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.” (17:12-13)

That is a pretty accurate picturing of the scene as I see it in the event of such a false Armageddon — the responsible nations of the world take a time-out to decide if they really want to take things to the next level. Which is something I highly doubt, if Iraq and Afghanistan are any indication of Western aversion to the casualties of war.

Isaiah’s scenario doesn’t allow time for Ahmadinejad or the Arab world to react — “behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.” (Isaiah 17:14)

Note on Israel Tour:

I’m glad that Schulte gave Syria until March before starting the IAEA’s countdown — because our Israel tour is very nearly full. According to the tour company, we have but but two, possibly three slots remaining to be confirmed — and the tour is a go. We are so close that they’ve extended the deadline another few weeks until after Christmas.

(An Omega Letter Tour of the Holy Land — that’s a pretty cool Christmas present.)

If you can come, please do. Just go to the OL’s main website and look for the link on the top menu bar reading, “Tour Links Page” for all the information. We’ve got just another couple of weeks.

I hope you’ll join us.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather
Vol: 87 Issue: 12 Friday, December 12, 2008

Birds of a Feather

“From the kooky obsession with his place of birth on WorldNetDaily to insinuations about his Chicago pedigree by the Associated Press, all of the attacks launched lately on Barack Obama give off the same familiar smell. Even a quick sniff is enough to bring back memories from a decade ago, when no perfidious accusation against Bill or Hillary Clinton was too crazy to deserve attention.”

Thus does Salon.com dismiss any and all allegations against Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President-elect of the United States of America. Questioning Obama’s Constitutional eligibility is a ‘kooky obsession’.

And Obama’s refusal to provide evidence of eligibility is somehow irrelevant. If you don’t take Obama at his unsupported word, then you’re indulging a ‘kooky obsession’.

“Questions are raised. Connections are drawn. Conspiracies are theorized. Guilt is imputed, implied, asserted and very widely associated. And more of the same feckless fingerpointing is exactly what Barack Obama should expect from the Republicans, the right-wing propaganda machine and their enablers in the mainstream media — even after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has met whatever fate he deserves.”

Amazing. Virtually all of Barack Obama’s pre-presidential associates are either on the cusp of indictment, facing federal prison terms, or have ties to America’s most implacable enemies. The Salon column, penned by Joe Conason, finds a way to blame the Republicans for Obama’s latest scandal:

“As for the rest of us, including mainstream reporters, perhaps we should be mindful of the vast amounts of money, time, and journalistic, prosecutorial, congressional and presidential effort that were squandered on the mythical crimes of the Clinton era. Can America still afford that kind of stupidity?”

This is one of the most enduring myths to emanate from the Clinton era. That it was the Republicans and the Right that were responsible for the expenditure of “money, time, journalistic, prosecutorial, congressional and presidential effort”.

Bill Clinton lied. The investigations were necessary BECAUSE he lied. Had Clinton not lied, no expenditure would have been necessary. Bill Clinton knew — on the first day — everything that it cost the government $40 million to discover.

It wasn’t the Republicans’ fault Clinton lied. To argue there should have been no followup investigation is the identical argument offered by Nixon during Watergate — “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.” (It didn’t work for Nixon, either.)

But once one has made the leap to ‘the Republicans wrecked the Clinton presidency’ it becomes easy to blame the Republicans because Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich got caught in a corruption scandal.

Writes Conason: “Moreover, everyone knows how easily the equations of guilt by association can be constructed: Obama and Blagojevich are both Chicago Democrats and they know lots of other Chicago Democrats, some of whom gave money to both of them; therefore, both are products of a corrupt political machine.”

Well . . . yeah.

Assessment:

My parents were married in London, England in May, 1940, as Hitler’s bombs were raining down on the city. Almost immediately after they were married, my mother, her mother and her four sisters emigrated to Canada.

My mother died young — she was just forty years old when the Lord called her to Glory in 1963. I say all that to say that the odds are therefore rather good that my mother was not a Republican.

But nonetheless, there were kids she forbade me to play with. I admit I often disobeyed her. A couple of times, I got into trouble that I wouldn’t have, had I not disobeyed her instructions.

My mother’s warning to me was not responsible for the bad behavior by the other kids. She was simply aware of the fact that guilt by association is a real phenomenon — only an idiot or someone with something to hide would attempt to argue otherwise.

My mother didn’t invent the old saying, “Birds of a feather, stick together” — but it is an ‘old saying’ because it expresses a universally-accepted truth.

Alcoholics don’t hang out with teetotalers. Devout church-going Christians don’t spent their recreational time hanging out with heroin dealers or crackheads. Divorced guys don’t generally seek out married men to hang with.

Birds of a feather, stick together.

It was interesting that Conason zeroed in on the similarities between the Clinton administration and the fledgling Obama administration. Particularly in the context of using the Clinton administration’ to defend Barack Obama’s associations.

Obama’s cabinet consists primarily of former Clinton appointees — not the least of whom is Rahm Emmanuel, the new adminstration’s chief of staff.

Emmanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s side when Obama took to the podium to make his obligatory, “I’m shocked and dismayed” speech.

Obama has been making an awful lot of ‘shocked and dismayed’ speeches already — and he is still weeks away from being inaugurated.

Like when he was ‘shocked and dismayed’ to learn his pastor of 20 years had been selling tapes of his sermons blaming America for 9/11, calling on God to ‘damn’ the country, or that he had joined Louis Farrakhan on his trip to Libya to meet with Muammar Ghaddafi.

Or when he was ‘shocked and dismayed’ to learn that William Ayres was an unrepentant terrorist, despite the September 11, 2001 New York Times article in which Ayres admitted to being an unrepentant terrorist.

Now he is ‘shocked and dismayed’ to discover that the governor of Illinois is corrupt. But what about Rahm Emmanuel? He didn’t look ‘shocked and dismayed’ when Obama was making his speech.

Instead, he was in hiding, refusing to take questions from reporters about whether or not he was the Obama ‘advisor’ named in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich.

Blagojevch was caught on tape saying that he wanted the Obama advisor in question to know what Blagojevich wanted in exchange for appointing Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to complete Obama’s remaining Senate term.

If that “Obama advisor” had offered Blagojevich anything in exchange for appointing Jarrett, whether Blagojevich accepted it or not, it is still a bribe. Proving it criminally might be problematic.

But Obama isn’t even in the White House yet and we’re already discussing political corruption, bribery, Rahm Emmanuel and Barack Obama. This must be a new record.

According to Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, the timeline suggests that Obama is lying, although Beckel calls it ‘strategizing’. Here’s why.

Shortly after the expletive-laden conference call that the Democrats’ claim exonerates Obama, Obama’s team quietly withdrew Valerie Jarrett’s name from consideration.

“Reading between the lines … clearly somebody from (Obama’s) operation did have a conversation with Blagojevich,” Beckel said. Beckel believes that they conversation proved that Obama’s team refused to pay the bribe.

If it is so innocent, then why is Obama denying the meeting ever happened in the first place? Were they considering it?

If Obama and his staff didn’t know anything about these conversations, then Jarrett’s subsequent withdrawal before the story broke was an astonishing, not to mention, fortuitous coincidence. Otherwise, Obama is lying.

In which case, I would be shocked. And dismayed.

“To All Their Dues”

“To All Their Dues”
Vol: 87 Issue: 11 Thursday, December 11, 2008

The first thought to cross my mind following the arrest of Illiniois Governor Rod Blagojevich was how convenient the timing was. Admittedly, Blaggo couldn’t have offered to sell Obama’s Senate seat until after it became vacant.

But for most of the endless campaign season, the mainstream media has worked overtime looking for creative ways to ignore the Chicago political machine. Until November 4th, every allegation regarding Rod Blagojevich, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, the Jackson Mafia, et al, ad nauseum has been scrupulously underreported, if even mentioned.

Instead, all eyes were focused on John McCain’s 1980 divorce and remarriage, Cindy McCain’s pain-killer addiction 20 years ago, and whether or not Sarah Palin’s son Trig is really her grandson.

The second thing to cross my mind was, “Hey! Isn’t that the same prosecutor who convicted Scooter Libby of forgetting details about a crime he didn’t commit?” Indeed, it was Patrick Fitzgerald expressing his shock and surprise at the reprehensible nature of the Blaggo case.

According to Fitzgerald, the charges against Blagojevich represented a truly new low, and would make Lincoln roll over in his grave. The governor had gone on a “political corruption crime spree.”

During his Justice Department briefing, Fitzgerald acknowledged the following:

1) There was a known investigation of the Blagojevich administration that had been going on for years involving allegations of pay-to-play conduct and corruption.

2) There had been a recent trial of an associate of Governor Blagojevich in which allegations were aired, where people testified that Governor Blagojevich was involved in corrupt conduct.

To this one might add, there was also a recent presidential election involving a politician who was introduced to national politics by this same, reprehensible Chicago machine. Why conceal it until after the election was safely over?

(As I write, I am reminded of the infamous “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934. After coming to power, Hitler eliminated the SA leadership that brought him there — together with any promised political debts or favors.)

Not saying that is what happened here. But now that Obama is over the electoral hump, the Chicago machine he used to get him there is either on their way to Washington or on their way to prison.

Which brings me to the third thought to cross my mind; “Not again!”

Yesterday, Obama was asked what contact he’d had with Blagojevich about his replacement in the Senate.

Obama replied, “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

But at least two news sources reported on November 5th that Obama was in contact with Blagojevich regarding the vacant seat. And so did senior Obama advisor David Axelrod during an interview on November 23rd.

“I know he’s talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them,” Axelrod said, referring to potential Senate appointees.

After Obama’s denial was issued yesterday, both news sources issued retractions of their earlier stories regarding an Obama-Blagojevich meeting.

And shortly after that, David Axelrod issued a press statement saying: “I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject.”

Of course not. Now, off with their heads!

Assessment:

The Supreme Court has refused all the challenges raised so far to Obama’s eligibility to hold the nation’s highest office. I continue to be fascinated with the mainstream media’s resolute determination to take Obama’s word for it. The mainstream media treats the story like a joke and those who raise questions like they’re wearing tin foil hats.

Columnist Stephanie Salter confesses her bias, writing in the Indianapolis TribStar; “Obama s mightily mixed heritage and exotic childhood homes were virtues to millions of Americans who voted for him.”

But, however, she has nothing but contempt for the “He’s-a-foreigner” wing of the “He’s Ineligibles” who Salter manages to keep from calling racist — but just barely.

This is a story that won’t go away soon — and that makes it all the more baffling, because it so easily could.

Think about all the lawsuits pending before the various courts, those that have made it all the way to the Supreme Court and all the money and time that went into their filing and preparation.

Now, consider all the money, time and effort being expended by Barack Obama and his handlers to defend against each of those lawsuits.

One would think that might make a journalist curious. Let’s assume Stephanie Salter is a journalist. Having made that broad an assumption, let’s also assume that Stephanie Salter was born in the USA.

Further, that she not only can, she probably has, been called upon to prove it at some time in her life. It is probable to the point of certainty that she is prepared to prove it again in future — or forgo whatever benefit she is seeking in exchange.

If Stephanie Salter were interviewing someone to baby-sit her kids and the prospective baby-sitter evaded requests for relevant documents, she’d likely be curious.

Is it rational that she should be less curious (as a journalist) that the president-elect is paying a team of lawyers to evade a request for his birth certificate? But Ms. Salter, like the rest of the mainstream media, reserves her contempt for those who are.

Does this ring true? The First Amendment, which journalists cloak themselves in whenever convenient, provides for a free press so they can protect the country from exactly this kind of danger.

The risk posed to the nation by the mere question of his eligibility is significant enough to justify compelling Obama to dispel it before taking office. It is the responsibility of the Fourth Estate to serve as guardians of the people according to the Constitution — not according to their partisan politics or personal ideology.

Obama could have put this to bed the first day it became an issue by releasing the vault form of his birth certificate. Instead, thousands and thousands of dollars and hundreds of valuable hours of the court’s time have been wasted fighting to keep evidence of the details of his birth secret.

Romans 13:1-5 outlines more that merely the responsibility of Christians to obey their rulers. It is important to understand this passage with a sense of perspective. At the time Paul wrote it, Paul’s ‘ruler’ was the Emperor Nero, who was soon to separate Paul’s head from his body.

Yet Paul writes: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. . . ”

This verse is also very instructive in terms of Bible prophecy. Let’s break it down and examine it point by point.

1) We know that we are living in the last days.

2) We know that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled to the tiniest detail.

3) Trying to change the flow of Bible prophecy is working contrary to God’s expressed intent

4) God puts in place the rulers He needs to accomplish His will.

5) Whatever God’s will is for America for the next four years, His plan requires someone of Obama’s ‘unique’ qualifications.

Now, take into consideration what those unique qualifications are, together with the almost supernatural way it is all coming together. You couldn’t make something like this up for a novel.

(Nobody would buy it if you did. Too unbelievable.)

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:11-12)

Maranatha!

Twelve Idiots of Christmas

Twelve Idiots of Christmas
Vol: 87 Issue: 10 Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If I could sing and assuming I could write music, I’m sure it could become a new song of the season. I’d call it, “The Twelve Idiots of Christmas” and this year, we could probably get all twelve idiots out of just one state.

I’m not really keeping count — I can’t sing anyway — but we do have Dan Barker and his winter solstice sign to kick things off.

Barker’s contention that Christians ‘stole’ December 21st, renamed it ‘Christmas’ and moved it to December 25th convinced Washington Governor Christine Gregoire that it was a wrong that needed righting.

So Barker was granted permission to post a sign assessing religion as ‘a myth that hardens hearts and enslaves minds’ beside the Christmas Nativity scene.

The defense offered for its assessment of religion is that, in Barker’s view, Christianity is just as hateful, and anyway, “hate speech goes both ways” – whatever that was supposed to mean.

Barker’s personal opinion regarding what he thought Christianity meant was deemed sufficient justification to allow its inclusion.

To me as a Christian, the whole thing seemed, at first, like a joke on Dan Barker, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Democratic Governor of Washington State.

As we discussed in “Beware the Mythical Baby”, the effort expended by Barker is based on his premise that a God Barker does not believe exists poses a threat to Barker’s well-being — because Barker does not believe He exists.

Barker’s “remedy” is to post a sign belittling those who do believe that He exists — a remedy that Christine Gregoire believed was both reasonable and fair.

That anybody regardless of their agenda, would offer such a ridiculous and unreasonable argument is laughable; that it was instantly acceptable to Far Left Washington Establishment instructive; but the whole thing, to me, seemed to make a joke of both Far Left Democrats and militant atheists.

If they wanted to audition for my “Twelve Idiots of Christmas” then, who am I to stand in their way? After all, I’m not as dumb as I look.

My wife says I couldn’t be.

Assessment:

The Washington State Christmas Caper is providing creative ways for idiots of all persuasions to make their voices heard.

I mean, somebody stole the sign, for cryin’ out loud. Then somebody else put a note on the newly-returned sign reminding them, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”

The state has also approved a request for a “Festivus” display. Let me say that again. The State of Washington has approved — as a religious display at the State Capital — a Festivus Pole so those who celebrate Festivus won’t feel discriminated against.

“Festivus” was the invention of comedy writers working on the Seinfeld show in the 1990’s. One of the characters invented a substitute for Christmas that he dubbed, “Festivus — For the Rest of Us”.

“Seinfeld’s” appeal was that it was “about nothing” — its characters were obsessive-compulsive caricatures trying to discover the meaning of life in one-room New York apartments and a neighborhood deli. So they were able to get a half-hour’s worth of comedy out of an invented holiday.

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.

Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?

Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!

Cosmo Kramer: Is there a tree?

Frank Costanza: No, instead, there’s a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.

Frank Costanza: It’s made from aluminium. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.

Mr. Kruger: I find your belief system fascinating.

“The celebration of Festivus begins with Airing of Grievances, which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. It consists of lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year. Every household has its own traditions; in one house, the Airing of Grievances consisted of writing the grievances on the fridge in marker.”

(That’s ‘Festivus’ — I looked it up at Wikipedia.)

As the joke went national, so did criticism of the governor, whose office issued the following statement in her defense:

The U.S. Supreme Court has been consistent and clear that, under the Constitution’s First Amendment, once government admits one religious display or viewpoint onto public property, it may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of nonbelievers.”

The whole country is getting a big laugh out of it, simply because it is so bizarre. But the butt of the joke is no longer militant atheists insisting that Christians return to pagans of the Northern Hemisphere their stolen holiday and abandon their own ‘superstitious’ faith — in the name of ‘reason’.

It’s even gone beyond Christine Gregoire and the liberal Democrats who share Barker’s definition of ‘freedom’ as ‘that which is taken from someone else’.

The butt of the joke isn’t Seinfeld, or even the idiots that want to place a Festivus pole at the state capital.

The country is laughing at Christmas, and at the Christian reaction to this latest assault on Jesus Christ and His First Advent. (We stole the sign, remember.)

The one laughing the loudest is the Enemy. The assault has taken decades, one Christmas at a time, until Christmas was replaced by ‘holiday’ and anybody who mentioned ‘Christ’ was a bigot trying to steal the season from ‘the rest of us’.

I’ve abandoned the idea for my song title — twelve idiots aren’t enough.

“Beware the Mythical Baby”

“Beware the Mythical Baby”
Vol: 87 Issue: 9 Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I was thinking that they’ve come a bit early this year, but, no, they are right on time. Every year the legions of atheists, agnostics, animists, pagans and other assorted malcontents come together as one to launch a concerted attack against what they claim is a Mythical Baby.

Not one of these groups or individuals believes that the Mythical Baby has any supernatural power or authority. Not one of them believes the Mythical Baby is alive today, arguing against such nonsense in the name of ‘reason’.

But every year, they unite to do battle with the Mythical Baby and his followers, claiming that the Mythical Baby hates them and wants to do them harm. They usually band together in groups that, under the banner of ‘freedom’ or ‘reason’ or ‘liberty’ oppose all three.

This year’s most prominent Mythical Baby Hater is a guy named Dan Barker, founder of a group called “Freedom From Religion.” Barker is another one of these guys who defines “freedom” as ‘something taken from others’.

Dan Barker is the guy all over the news because of a sign he posted in the name of ‘reason’ alongside the Christmas display at the Washington State capital in Olympia.

The sign reads: “At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

We’ll get back to the sign in a moment, but first, a little background.

The Christian Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the state last year on behalf of a man who wanted to display a Nativity scene in the state capitol rotunda. The suit alleged that since a menorah and a holiday tree were displayed, officials cannot discriminate against a depiction of the birth of Jesus.

The case was settled with an agreement that the Nativity scene would be displayed and that the state would broaden its policy on religious displays.

Enter Dan Barker and his group who demanded that the state accommodate their view, including its judgment of religion, alongside the rest of the displays. As we move on to the discussion of the display itself, keep two things in mind:

The request was made in the name of ‘reason’. It was granted in the name of ‘freedom’.

Assessment:

I Googled Dan Barker this morning and among the returns was an about.atheism.com page containing a list of some of Barker’s more memorable quotations.

The one that seemed most relevant to our discussion was this one: “There is joy in rationality, happiness in clarity of mind. Freethought is thrilling and fulfilling–absolutely essential to mental health and happiness.”

I thought it was relevant because, in his public comments, Barker sounds anything BUT happy. In an interview, he told CNN,

“When people ask us, ‘Why are you hateful? Why are you putting up something critical of people’s holidays? — we respond that we kind of feel that the Christian message is the hate message.”

(Without reflecting on the relative hatefulness of ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men’ that argument doesn’t sound particularly rational, either.) In the same interview, Barker told CNN “On that Nativity scene, there is this threat of internal violence if we don’t submit to that master. Hate speech goes both ways.”

“The Mythical Baby threatens me?” That’s his argument from reason? Well, no. That’s his argument for why a display that essentially calls people of faith fools isn’t hateful — but a display of a Baby, His parents and some barnyard animals is.

Let’s get this straight. Barker justifies his sign declaring the Baby mythical and His followers to be hard-hearted, superstitious and mentally enslaved on the grounds that they (the hard-hearted, superstitious and mentally enslaved) are hateful.

Because he says so.

And otherwise logical and intelligent people accepted this argument — in the name of reason?

Barker told CNN that, “Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it’s the other way around,” he said. “People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans.”

I’m not sure if that falls into the ‘clarity of mind’ category or the overall thrill of ‘freethought’. Let’s see. We’ll start with ‘clarity of mind.’

When do ‘humans’ in, oh, South Africa or Australia ‘celebrate’ the winter solstice? Mostly, they don’t. It’s doesn’t commemorate anything. (But if they did, it would be on or about June 21st, not in December)

When do ‘humans’ in, oh, South Africa or Australia celebrate Christmas? You’ll never guess, so I might as well tell you. (It’s only reasonable.) December 25th.

The same day that they do in the Northern hemisphere. Except Down Under, it falls three days after the summer solstice. So, although Christmas is the same in either hemisphere, only the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere is anywhere near Christmas.

Now run that ‘Christmas stole the winter solstice from humans’ argument by me again? Just for ‘clarity of thought’, I mean.

Christians stole the holiday from “humans” even though its on a different day — and off by six months for half the world? That’s the argument from reason?

That, together with the published contention that religion attracts hard-harded bigots of inferior intellect? (That must be the argument from ‘humanistic kindness’)

“For my money, I’ll bet on reason and humanistic kindness. Even if I am wrong, I will have enjoyed my life, the existence of which is under little dispute.” Dan Barker, “Losing Faith in Faith” (as quoted at about.atheism.com.)

To see the benefits of ‘freethought’ one needs to consider Barker’s belief that his sign judging religion and religionists as ‘mentally enslaved, superstitious and hard-hearted’ as ‘reasonable’.

That seems at least as ‘reasonable’ as launching an annual assault on a somehow threateningly mythical Baby.