Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolution: Finish Arlen's Harem

A lady who works for Southwest Airlines gave me a buddy-pass for the holidays so that I could spend them with my parents in Albuquerque. That makes twice this year that a fan has paid my fare so that I could visit my family. I am still overwhelmed at the generosity of fans--of friends--and how they have shown their appreciation for my work.

And because of that generosity, I am making a New Year's Resolution: I will finish my second novel--still tentatively titled Arlen's Harem--and have it ready for editing by February 1.

As for those to whom I owe a copy of my first novel Tale of the Tigers, this campaign is meant to get those mailed. You see, I have been living on those sales; I m ready for something more. But it is only through my own efforts-- my own discipline--that something more can be had.

I'm restarting this campaign just for the month of January. I won't be on Facebook or Twitter very much next month except to publicize my twice weekly Da Tech Guy posts.

It's time to get it done. I owe that to you and to myself and if you want to help, I thank you.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Kwanzaa and the Night After Christmas

Annual re-post.

Since the creation of Kwanzaa, many have correctly noted that it has no basis in black American history or heritage. For example, its seven core principles all have Swahili names. The Swahili language is predominant in East African countries -- Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, etc. -- but black Americans are almost all descended from West African cultures. (Disclaimer: In spite of being one of the rare Americans who does have some East African heritage, I have never celebrated Kwanzaa.)

Some have even opined that the celebration of Kwanzaa is an anathema to Christianity. On this I’m…ahem…agnostic, since Kwanzaa appears to have no religious or spiritual underpinnings -- not unless one counts the religious and spiritual underpinnings of its creator, Dr. Maulana Karenga née Ron Everett.

However, since this black American subcultural phenomenon has been dissected and denounced far and wide, I think it’s important to examine aspects of our larger, overarching culture, its traditions, and to know the truth about them.

And so we turn to Christmas and its questionable foundations.

Saturnalia by Ernesto Biondi
Nearly all religious scholars agree that Jesus the Christ wasn’t born on December 25th or the equivalent on the Jewish calendar. The reasons? Number one, it was too cold.
  •  Shepherds would not have been in the field at night with their flocks after October. (Luke 2:8)
  •  Romans would not have called for registration requiring travel in December because of the weather. (Matthew 24:20)
At what actual time of year was Jesus born? Follow the time line and don’t take my word for anything.

Irenaeus, one of the early church fathers (second century A.D.), claimed that Jesus was born in the 41st year of the reign of Augustus Caesar.If that’s so, then Jesus was born in 2 B.C. rather than the generally accepted 4 B.C.

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest in the course of Abijah, the eighth course. (Luke 1:1) Important note: The priestly caste was organized by King David into 24 courses. The length of each course was seven days, from Shabbat to the next Shabbat. (1 Chronicles 24: 1-19)

The last Jewish Temple was destroyed by Roman military commander Titus -- later Emperor -- during the sacking of Jerusalem on Tish B’Av 3830, which on the Gregorian calendar was August 4, 70 A.D. At this time, the first priestly course had just taken office.

Working backward from the previous fact, one can see that the end of Zacharias’s course occurred on July 13, 3 B.C. In Luke 1, it is noted that his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant at that time.

If the birth of John the Baptist occurred anywhere from 271 to 280 days after that, then he was born in early to mid April of 2 B.C. And according to the Bible, Jesus the Christ was born five months later, in September. We know this because Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Mary -- pregnant with Jesus -- came to visit her (Luke 1:36). Some even think it might have been September 11th. (BTW, the good people at that last link have a slightly different and much more detailed time line than mine.)

So, why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th? Here's why.

The first Church experienced hundreds of years of persecution -- first from the Pharisees, then from the Roman Empire. But when Emperor Constantine (of the western part of the empire and who converted himself and his empire to Christianity) and Emperor Licinius (of the eastern part) agreed to the Edict of Milan, Christianity became legal. 

Constantine -- who conducted the First Council of Nicaea -- used pagan ideas and practices in order to make the newly condoned celebration of Christ’s birthday more palatable to his mostly pagan subjects. So it is that Christmas falls around the same time as two of pagan Rome's beloved festivals and had taken on the trappings of at least one.

The Saturnalia festival has an astronomical character, referring to the completion of the sun’s yearly course, and the commencement of a new cycle. Saturn, from whom we get the word for the day of the week, Saturday, represented by the sun at its lowest aspect at the winter solstice. The earth is cold, most plants are dead, and it was believed that the sun might also be approaching death. Today winter solstice is around December 21, but because of calendar changes, it was originally December 25th. Saturnalia celebrated the sun overcoming the power of winter, with hope of spring when life would be renewed. In Roman times Bacchus, the god of wine, became the lord of these festivals. (…)

In the Greek myths, Kronos (Saturn) was the Roman Deity of Time and an ancient Italian Corn God known as the Sower. Male ruler of the Roman Gods prior to Jupiter, Saturn's weapon was a scythe or sickle.  Kronos was one of the twelve titans. Upon the advice of Gaea (who understood the changes of life and knew that Uranus would never, of his own accord, yield to the younger generation), Saturn castrated his father and thus separated Heaven from Earth. Gaea created out of flint...a mineral of her own substance...a sickle with which to complete the deed. It was the tool by which life was cut down at the time of harvest and was crescent-shaped like the moon, symbolic of cyclic rise and fall. It was believed that the spilled blood of Uranus formed such creatures as the Giants and the Furies, and that his genitals (which were tossed into the sea eventually produced the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite).

But the actual choice of December 25 for Christmas was thought to have been made under the Emperor Aurelian because this was the date of the Winter Solstice and was the day devotees of Mithras celebrated the dies natalis solis invictus 'birthday of the invincible sun.’

There are two Mithrases. One has origins in Persia-India; the other is Roman. Whether these are the same entity has long been in dispute.(Side note: Mithras and Saturn sound a whole lot like Osiris.)

Oh and, by the way, early Christians who tried to worship according to the Bible -- that is, without the Saturnalia paraphernalia -- were excommunicated from Constantine’s Roman Church.

And, finally, all of the traditions conjured in our minds when we think of Christmas have their origins in various pagan practices.
And then there’s this in Jeremiah 10:1-5.

10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

Emphasis mine. I think my point is made. 

Now, if people -- Christians specifically -- still want to celebrate the birth of Christ in the traditional manner, I don’t think there’s any harm in it as long as they know what they are doing and have knowledge of the foundations on which they conduct their celebrations. In Hosea 4:6, God said this about another set of His children:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Additionally, bashing the foundation of something inconsequential like Kwanzaa while, simultaneously, adorning one's house with the pagan symbols of an empire which did not serve the Living God is hypocritical and, more importantly, spiritually dangerous.

Just saying.

*Augustus was born Gaius Octavius and called Octavian. Irenaues counted Augustus’ reign from the second year following the death of the latter’s great-uncle and adoptive father, Julius Caesar (44 B.C.). The principate—“a system of monarchy headed by an emperor holding power for life”--did not exist until Octavian founded it in 27 B.C., subsequently taking on the name ‘Augustus.’

(Thanks to Chuck Missler)

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Desperation Rising

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There is a segment of the Left which will do everything it can to prevent Donald Trump’s inauguration. That includes taking CIA evidence-free speculation about Russia's alleged role in last month's American election and then tarnish anyone who questions it.

We watch as those who blame the Right and American gun-owners for Islamic Terror in San Bernardino, Orlando, Ohio and then strut around questioning the patriotism of those who are skeptical of CIA as it exposes its “secrets.”

Riots and vote recounts didn’t work, so now it’s all about the Russians—the same Russians with whom President Obama wanted to be  more flexible for whatever reason.

As for the CIA, it has a long record of failure and interference within American presidencies as well as in the politics of other countries.

This book documents those failures and duplicities.

One set of failures stands out in its irony considering the recent death of Fidel Castro. During the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Administrations, the CIA was tasked hundreds of times to assassinate Castro. It failed miserably, obviously.

It’s why I think that Castro may have returned the favor where Kennedy is concerned--with a little help from his friends of course.

It's going to get worse as Inauguration Day gets closer. The Organized Left is desperate to have Clinton as president and I think that it's a good idea to speculate--again--as to why that is. More coming.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Military is Riding Strapped...Again

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In an interesting post where RH—a navy man—tells of an exercise in which he participated, he informs us of something equally interesting.
The Pentagon recently released detailed guidance that allows U.S. military personnel to carry privately owned, concealed firearms on base, a move that the Army's service chief argued against publicly. 
"Arming and the Use of Force," a Nov. 18 Defense Department directive approved by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, lays out the policy and standards that allow DoD personnel to carry firearms and employ deadly force while performing official duties.
Pertinent guidance and policy therein, naturally. State laws taken into consideration.

This is a result of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Obama(!)
The NDAA includes an NRA-backed provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to establish a process for commanders at military bases, reserve centers, and recruiting centers to allow service members assigned to that base or facility to carry a firearm.
Here’s the part I find…telling.
Until now, DoD personnel have not been authorized to carry personal firearms on military installations, a policy that has come under scrutiny in the wake of "active-shooter" attacks at U.S. military bases resulting in the deaths of service members.
(Emphasis mine.)

The phrase "until now" implies that military personnel have never been allowed to carry personal firearms on-base. That is false.

George H.W. Bush(!) issued the directive banning Army personnel from carrying on base and the directive was implement during the Clinton administration. This did not necessarily apply to the bases of other services, but the decision was at the base commander's discretion, and a lot of them said 'no.'

Sometimes the head of  the other party will get it right, even on accident. And the reverse is true.

One can argue that, if that directive had not been issued, a traitor like Nidal Hasan  might have thought twice before carrying out his terrorist attacks in 2009. (Then, again, there are charming legal immigrants like Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who rammed an armed base access gate, but he enhances my point, rather than hindering it; all of Marines he murdered shot back.)
Nidal Hasan. Cite.

I recall that, in the aftermath of Fort Hood, many civilians were shock to discover that there was a ban on carrying personal firearms into a military base.

I have defended the ban before because I understood it—to a point. Right after Fort Hood, I said this:
A stateside military base is considered a home and those allowed to enter that home are considered family. On a military base, there are no drive-by shootings, no burglaries, no carjackings, no muggings, etc. [I retired in 2003 and am told that, these days, crime and criminals--not to mention, jihadis--are creeping in.] In that area of strictly-regulated entry, everyone is considered your brother, your sister or at least your friend even if you’ve never met them.

And that strict regulation is backed up by personnel assigned and trained to protect that area of land: a military police force and/or a DOD Police Force--armed of course. And that area is patrolled by these forces, along with being surrounded by fencing topped with barbed wire. 
So when I hear civilians and even some military members express outrage that no one other than law enforcement was armed when the Fort Hood Soldier of Allah attacked, I submit that they are reacting from anger rather than thinking through the implications of the necessity of having every military member go armed on a domestic military base.

It would be like having to wear a sidearm in your house to defend yourself against your parents, your spouse, your siblings and your children. If you can’t trust your family, you can trust no one. And, outside of the fourteen murdered, that is the most galling aspect of Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s jihad against those wearing the same uniform as he.

Those angry at the fact that no one was armed other than the fort’s law enforcement personnel either don’t know or forget that there are various types of adhesive that make the United States Military the most fearsome force in the world. Many of the angry have learned to take treachery for granted. But we—military members and veterans—do not.

If we must arm soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines against the potential betrayal of other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines then I would say that one of our enemies’ goals has been reached: a weakening of the bonds which exist between brothers and sisters wearing the uniform. It still may be necessary to do it, but something essential will have been tainted if not lost.

The concepts of loyalty, trust and an oath-keeping brotherhood have been severely damaged by Major Hasan and those above him in his chain of command.
Yes, the military is reverting to its former policy. It's a good thing, ultimately, but there will be costs. And as I said seven years, ago, that cost is trusting in your brother. I pray the the price is not too high.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Don't You Love Him as he's Walking Out the Door?

This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hillary Mishandles Classified Info? Trump's Fault

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Filed under: of course.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances. 
"It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. 
"That's the consensus view."
The hacked emails referenced are those which were sent through the private server which Hillary Clinton had installed in her Chappaqua, NY home when she was Secretary of State. That server was left unsecured so that anyone could access all information coming through it, including dozens, hundreds, thousands of emails containing classified information which agents foreign and domestic could get ahold of—including agents of Russian origin.

And those agents could and probably did what they wanted with the information in those emails.

That was what the uproar was about in the first place. Oh, yes and the fact that Clinton destroyed or wiped the devices with the email files.

FBI director James Comey even said that she was guilty of mishandling classified information and of destroying the evidence.

That foreign agents could take the info and do whatever they wanted with it is the whole reason that mishandling classified info is a crime and is punished so seriously—if the mishandler is not Hillary Clinton.

And it’s the reason that most of us who are or have been professional handlers of classified material were outraged at the FBI’s inaction with respect to Clinton.

So now, the CIA confirms what was suspected: the Russians took the information from Clinton’s intentionally unsecured server and did whatever they wanted with it. Did they cause Clinton to lose? Maybe. Maybe not.

I have one question: how is this Donald Trump’s fault? That's the way it's being spun. I suppose that the spin is yet another attempt at keeping the inauguration from happening.

And the attempts will continue until that day.

AFTERTHOUGHT: I'm old enough to remember when the Obama campaign website's webmasters disabled the country of origin code for credit card donations for two election cycles, in contravention of federal law, but I don't remember a big MSM uproar about that. (Thanks to Kim Crawford)

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