Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Welcome Jesus!

Is it the end of the world as described in the Book of Revelation? Apparently, there's a lot of fundamentalists out there who believe the world is approaching that critical point. As a person who's views used to be on the side of the fundamentalist "End Times" group, I can say that there's some trepidation that comes with the current events, but at the same time, I look at these events in the Middle East and realize that this may be nothing more than a human invented course of events that may lead the world to the brink of the Third World War, possibly in the hopes of some involved to bring about Armageddon. And as a Christian, however, I have to say to these end time believers that man cannot bring about the return of Christ, and point out that the book of Revelation warns against the False Church and those that interpret the words of the Book incorrectly...
Here's a story from CNN on the apocalypse:

And here is Stephen Colbert, welcoming the Third World War:

Nothing wrong with a little bit of levity in light of World War III...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Waiting for the next Lusitania?

Does anyone else find it "odd" that the U.S. State Department is so very, very slow in getting Americans out of Lebanon than any other industrialized nation evacuating its citizens?

Granted, we couldn't get people out of New Orleans last year, so why would we expect that the most powerful nation on earth could actually evacuate its citizens from a rapidly deteriorating situation in Lebanon (it's so far away! It's "complicated" ). Or could there possibly be something more sinister at work?

The World War III chorus has begun with Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc. ad nauseum. Bush says Syria needs to get Hezbollah to "stop this shit." Now it is reported that Bush and Blair "explicitly approved" at least a week for Israel to inflict "maximum damage" before we join the world calls for a cease fire. So, what better way to get America involved in World War III (not that we didn't already "start it" with our misguided invasion of Iraq), then to have an event (read: September 11th) to rally support against an all-out invasion of Syria and Iran. The Lusitania was attacked in 1915 by a German U-Boat that fired a torpedo at the ship, bringing great anger and support for our participation in the first World War.

So, here we go with a conspiracy theory...are the neocons hell-bent on implying that the third world war has, in fact, begun, hoping (maybe quietly) that a slow evacuation of American citizens will increase the chance that Hezbollah will attack an evacuating cruise ship, causing massive American casualties? Especially now that Israel has begun a ground incursion into Lebanon and has engaged Hezbollah on the ground...common sense dictates that this will greatly increase the "threat" that Hezbollah will react with a violent lash out on any supporter of Israel.

I'm hoping, of course, the attack does not occur, but as with any actions by this Administration lately, I'm incredibly suspicious of their ultimate goals...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Let Freedom Ring Anew

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.
- Thomas Jefferson

Isn't it time we review the Declaration of Independence? It is now my goal to read this at least once per year, on its anniversary 230 years ago today, to reaffirm my allegiance to what is good and right about these United States, and to what is the true good and right nature of the people of these United States and all those who wish to become a part of her citizenry in a legal and fair manner, and to the one true Leader that we must all some day answer to.

I implore you to read the entire document presented here today in its entirety. For a nice little twist, try replacing "King of Great Britain" with George W. Bush (Or "King George"). It is interesting how, 230 years on, the words of this document can (unfortunately) be applied to the leadership of this nature. Maybe it is time, once again, to declare our independence from tyranny and reaffirm the true nature of this Republic...One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Saturday, July 01, 2006

All Out War? Israel Raises the Stakes

After the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shilit, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that the Israeli government would "go to extremes" to safely bring back Cpl. Shilit to his family. It began with troops amassing along the Gaza Strip, firing rockets and tank shells into parts of the Gaza Strip from which it was believed militant rocket fire was coming from, and the arrest of nearly 1/3 of the Hamas led government of the Palestinian state. Israel reportedly "buzzed" the summer residence of Syrian president Assad in a clear warning regarding is supposed "implicit involvement" with terrorist organizations including Hamas. Now the stakes are going up.

An Australian paper has reported that the Israelis have threatened to assassinate the Palestinian Prime Minister (member of Hamas Ismael Haniyeh) if the soldier is not freed. MSNBC is reporting that Palestinian militants holding Cpl. Shilit have given new demands for the release of 1,000 prisoners and a halt to Israel's military operations in Gaza.

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the situation. Palestine asked the council to condemn Israel for the Gaza offensive, but no such resolution was circulated, most likely because of U.S. opposition. Once again, the U.S. is bowing to Israel's offensive strategy, and this time, the U.S. could go too far in its implicit support for Israel's actions. I agree that Israel should have recourse for the kidnapped soldier. However, even though they are terrorists, the Hamas leadership was democratically elected, whether we like it or not. We spout off about democracy and "freedom on the march" while at the same time, with our forked tongue, attempt to tell other nations who they can and cannot elect to their leadership.

I disagree wholeheartedly with the Palestinian choice for a government. But, I respect their decisions. Already, to a certain extent, the Hamas leadership in charge in Palestine has began to moderate its views. But with Israel's offensive, there appears to be a backslide towards the more hardline views of Hamas and their previously stated goal of the destruction of the state of Israel. This situation has all the markings of one that could descend Israel and the Palestinians into an all out conflict that could easily draw in Syrian involvement.

If the reported threat from the Australian paper is true, and Israel carries the threat out, the assassination of a democratically elected head of a government (whether or not the U.S. has decided to recognize the government) would be a very serious raise in the stakes of International tensions, and would open a window for other nations to declare opposing country's leaders as "terrorists" and then strike and attempt assassinations. And, in my opinion, the U.S.' bullish attitude towards the United Nations is about to render the U.N. useless. The Right will cheer the downfall, but we'll all pay the price. After all, since its creation, we have not had a global conflict on the scale of the first two World Wars. Without the U.N., the chances of a global conflict, begun in the Middle East (by the U.S.) will greatly increase.

The stakes have been raised. The last card has been drawn. Who will fold first?