This Makes Me Proud of Rand Paul (and some other Congressmen)

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The above remarks are spot-on. Three cheers for Rand being one of two U.S. Senators (the other was Dean Heller) to vote against the horrendous H.R. 4152 ! He did get Ukraine’s credit rating a little off, though-it’s CCC, not CCC-. My U.S. Representative was also one of the few Congressmen to correctly vote against the bill.

Alan Grayson (not my Representative), it seems, was the only U.S. Representative to support the Russian military intervention in Crim.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4488111/alan-grayson-opening-comments

Dana Rohrabacher (also, obviously, not my Representative; I do not live in California) also supported the will of the Crimean people, though he did not support the Russian intervention in Crim.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4488009/rep-dana-rohrabacher-opposes-ukraine-aid-bill

Before It Disappears

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I’ll post a graph of the great decoupling of the U.S. stock market and industrial production. This is because S&P Dow Jones data is being removed from FRED in a month. Oh, how I despise intellectual monopoly. FRED has been getting ever worse for the past ten days with its new interface, which removes date restrictions and can’t even generate images properly. But, then, once in a while, you get what you pay for.

dowjonesinpix

 

Goddamn Americans

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Only today have I learned that they, for the most part, don’t even know how to pronounce “Crimea” (pronounced “Krim”, or, if we are to use the established goddamn American transliteration, “Krimya”, with the first vowel being an “i”, not an “ay”). And it’s really getting on my nerves (at least Stewart pronounced “Crimineans” somewhat right). As for my opinions on the matter, I fully support the totally illegal, but perfectly fair, Russian attempt at separating Crimea from Ookrayeena. If the Crimean people support joining Russia, they should do so.

[B.T.W., obviously, as an American myself, I speak somewhat in jest]

The Most Paternalistically Arrogant Diplomatic Cable I’ve Ever Seen

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A few excerpts which make its status as the most paternalistically arrogant diplomatic cable I’ve ever seen secure:

Summary Questions: What do we really want for Equatorial Guinea? Do we want to see the country continue to evolve in positive ways from the very primitive state in which it found itself after independence? Or would we prefer a revolution that brings sudden, uncertain change and unpredictability? The former is clearly the path the country is on, and the latter has potentially dire consequences for our interests, most notably our energy security.

On the other hand, by remaining aloof we cede a fertile field to others (e.g., the Chinese) whose objectives differ from our own while we increase the potential for a sudden shift that might put American lives and interests at risk. Despite recent improvements, it is not difficult to imagine an EG in which U.S. FDI has been nationalized and/or turned over to others to operate, in which Americans are reviled, in which our influence withers. Worse, but imaginable, would be a chaotic change in which the hundreds of Americans here are targeted, billions in U.S. investment destroyed and lost, and — by virtue of where EG sits on the map — 20% of our national energy imports threatened. Several scenarios are possible: e.g., metastasis of the Niger Delta troubles, replication of the Gulf of Aden piracy, or “Venezuela-ization” of EG.

As indicated in previous messages, dinosaurs and fossils do remain in EG, and they continue to wield power. However, President Obiang has set a course for integrating EG with the world and, by fits and starts, is moving the country in that direction. Within the current array of alternative leaders, here in Malabo it is not obvious there is anyone else with the vision and influence to see this transformation through. However, Obiang is not a young man. Accelerating positive change while the conditions are right is a job that only the U.S. is positioned to undertake.

There are good guys and bad guys here. We need to strengthen the good guys — for all his faults, President Obiang among them — and undercut the bad guys.

-Equatorial Guinea is one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world; even more repressive than Sudan. It experienced an oil boom from 1995 to 2004. Due to its oil wealth it has managed to afford itself the most comprehensive primary education system in Africa and a rank of the highest GDP per capita in Africa, but still only managed to increase its life expectancy by five years between 1994 and 2011. Though the regime is religiously tolerant, police are notoriously corrupt and rule of law is next to nonexistent. The dictatorship isn’t very business-friendly, either. To list President Obiang as among the “good guys” and to be concerned about the possibility of a democratic revolution in the country is to be so fantastically arrogant as to defy all expectations of status-quo worship among anyone, even among the most cynical.

Israel Finkelstein Paper on Late Bronze Collapse Four Times as Good as I Thought

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Paper here.

Firstly, Finkelstein, Litt, and Langgut’s findings from the Sea of Galilee show that there was an intense dry period in Canaan between c. 1250 BC (when Hazor fell) and c. 1100 BC or just before (when Canaan experienced a baby boom). Secondly, the authors show that these findings can also be connected with the peak of the so-called “Minoan Warming” in this graph. Thirdly, the authors show that all the textual evidence supports their hypothesis that the 14th century BC was a wet period with no known major droughts while the 13th-12th centuries BC were a dry period with many known major droughts. The authors, however, show no real evidence of “economic and demographic decline” in Canaan in the Late Bronze IIB-III, which they claim occurred. Though Hazor, Bethel, and Shechem did lose their city-state status in the 13th century BC (Bethel later than the other two), I find the claim that either the population or economy of Canaan declined during the 13th century BC to be dubious.

Paradoxically, Finkelstein flip-flops again on the date of the beginning of Israelite settlement, placing it in the midst of the drought instead of, as he did in 2006, after the end of it. If cities like Megiddo, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Lachish, and Azekah could prosper in the Late Bronze IIB, so they could trade imported Egyptian grain with the nomads Finkelstein claims settled down during this era. It is doubtful that Israelite settlements in the Late Bronze IIB-III could survive the coercive power of Egyptian soldiers and taxmen. Like Todd Bolen and Israel Finkelstein in 2006, I see no evidence Israelite settlement predates the collapse of Egyptian rule in Canaan. In any case, it is impossible that “demographic decline” (which probably didn’t happen) could somehow spur a settlement boom in the highlands of Canaan.

The Simplest Reduction of the Farrer v. Two-Source Hypothesis Debate

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Mark 6:7-11, Matthew 10:5-16, Luke 10:3-12: single common source for all three variations of the passage (Q) or gradual development from Mark to Matthew to Luke (Farrer Hypothesis)? I have found no better illustration or simpler reduction of this debate.

Pictures Coming Out of Raqqa

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You are privileged in that in this case, they are not particularly horrifying. All of them are from before the al-Qaeda conquest of March of last year. They show that there was no major looting of the tell of Shaddai/Tuttul during the period of regime control of the city of Raqqa since 2011. They do, however, also show that the upper tell of Tell eth-Thadyen had been seriously looted sometime before 2011. The satellite imagery was captured by DigitalGlobe. There is typically a lag time of one year or more between DigitalGlobe’s capture of imagery and its posting to Google Earth. Before sometime late last year, Google Earth did not show Shaddai/Tuttul in any detail.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 4/72011.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 4/7/2011.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 10/9/2012.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 10/9/2012.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 1/16/2013.

Shaddai/Tuttul on 1/16/2013.

The Spring With the Proto-Aeolic Capital: Royal-Estate Related?

On the sound advice of Todd Bolen, I have read last year’s IAA Hadashot report on the ‘Ain Joweizeh water tunnel (31°44’14.09″N, 35° 9’33.27″E), discovered in 1984. I suggest this tunnel was built to water a small royal estate (as is strongly suggested by the proto-Aeolic capital and the massive amount of labor required to build the tunnel) possibly related to wine production in the Rephaim valley (today the area produces olives and almonds, but this is because wine consumption is prohibited in Islam). The proto-Aeolic capital (carved right into the rock!) may symbolize the life-giving capabilities of spring water by means of date palm/”tree of life” imagery. The area watered by the spring and tunnel is surprisingly small, being less than half a kilometer long. This article capably summarizes the info about the site, but is utterly incorrect in one major detail: the Rephaim valley is by no means “as-yet archaeologically inconspicuous part of the hinterlands of Jerusalem”. Ever heard of the Iron IIB-Persian sites of Khirbet er-Ras? Manahat? Rogem Ganim? The area is filled with 7th-3rd C BC farms. I suspect a Hezekian connection to this tunnel, as Hezekiah is very likely responsible for Hezekiah’s tunnel in the City of David (I was about to write on this tunnel on this blog before ‘Ain Joweizeh gained new-found publicity).

And, just for the sake of sheer irresponsibility and reckless speculation, I’m going to say that the royal estate related to this spring was once possibly known as the MMST of the lmlk stamps (MMST was particularly unproductive before the Undivided Bottom Inscription lmlk stamp phase, agreed by most to be the last lmlk stamp phase before Sennacherib’s campaign of destruction in 701 BC). You’re welcome. Use the Google Custom Search feature to search for “MMST” on this blog.

My Conclusions Regarding the Kennedy Assassination

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I. After watching at least six documentaries relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy since December 24 of last year, three of them dealing with the ballistics of the assassination, I think I am ready to come to some conclusions regarding whether Oswald was the lone gunman or not. I’m glad I wrote my post on the Kennedy assassin before I wrote this post, as launching into the matter of whether Oswald was the sole assassin without first examining his possible motives for the assassination would be a mark of folly. I have come to the conclusion that the most significant conclusion of the Warren Commission, namely, the Lone Gunman Theory, is essentially sound. This is directly contrary to the conclusions of Robert P. Murphy and Murray Rothbard, both economists whom I respect. The Lone Gunman Theory and its foundations are not all that difficult to understand. Three spent cartridges were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The vast majority of witnesses at Dealey Plaza reported hearing three shots fired. According to the most widely held Lone Gunman Theories, including the Warren Commission’s, one of the three shots fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository missed. Both of the two shots that hit were accounted for in the form of Commission Exhibits 399 (the Single Bullet; see here for captions to Commission Exhibits in order to keep from becoming confused), 567, and 569. The Single Bullet (CE 399) and bullet fragments CE 567 and CE 569 (both part of the same bullet) were all confirmed to have originated from Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, found near the staircase on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Thus, from even a cursory look, it is understandable why the Lone Gunman Theory was first proposed and expounded. As one of the three shots fired was stated by the Warren Commission to have missed, very many conspiracy theorists have criticized the Warren Commission-claimed trajectories of the two bullets that the Commission claimed hit their intended target: CEs 399 and 567/9.

II. The Single Bullet Theory is mainly criticized by conspiracy theorists for its low perceived prior probability. Even the doctor hired by the Discovery Channel to examine the injuries supposedly made by the Single Bullet concluded the injuries were most likely made by two bullets. The Discovery Channel, however, managed to replicate most of the Single Bullet injuries, the main differences between their results and the Single Bullet theory being that the Discovery Channel’s bullet hit two ribs instead of one, came out in a much worse state due to hitting two ribs instead of one, and did not embed in the simulated Connally thigh due to hitting two ribs instead of one. Also, Dale Myers, a computer animator, has shown that a Single Bullet trajectory from the Texas School Book Depository at Frame 223 of the Zapruder Film precisely matches both the back/neck wound of John F. Kennedy and the wounds on Governor Connally.

[Note: Copy and paste the above video's URL in the form at http://pausehouse.com , click on the turtle, and use the triangular button that appears to go through the YouTube video frame by frame, especially at around the 2 minute, 30 second mark]

Governor Connally’s testimony is consistent with the Single Bullet Theory, but Governor Connally makes it clear that the Warren Commission was wrong in viewing the first shot as the one that hit Governor Connally. Rather, as Dale Myers and the House Select Committee on Assassinations have concluded, it is best to view the first shot as Oswald’s missed shot and as being fired at around Zapruder Frame 157, one frame before Kennedy rapidly turns his head. It is also best to view the Single Bullet as being fired by the second shot and as being fired at Zapruder Frame 223. Connally visibly winces and Connally’s collar clearly pops out at Zapruder Frame 224 and Governor Connally begins to slump over to the front by Zapruder Frame 226. According to Connally, he began to say “Oh, no, no, no” “immediately” when he was hit. In the Zapruder film, he clearly begins to say this at around Frame 235 or 236 and does so after a wince, a brief slump to the front, and a hat-swiping motion between Frames 223 and 235. This is best seen in the below rendering of the Zapruder film:

The hat-swiping motion is not inconsistent with Governor Connally having been hit in his right wrist before this motion-he was not aware of having been hit in the wrist or in his left thigh until he got to Parkland Hospital. Two-thirds of a second is not “immediately”, but it is fairly quickly. Connally seems to be saying “Oh, no, no, no” between Zapruder Frame 235 and about Frame 270 or maybe some frames before Frame 270. Contrary to the testimony of Governor Connally, Nellie Connally, his wife, testified that he was shot after he said “Oh, no, no, no”. This is apparently a mistake. Nellie Connally, who, unlike John, did not immediately recognize the sound of a rifle, likely did not hear Oswald’s first shot and thought Oswald’s second shot was the first shot. It is likely that she first recognized her husband was shot over two seconds after she first realized John Kennedy was shot, and, consequently, thought the second shot was between the actual second shot and the third shot. Jacqueline Kennedy forgot much of her experience at Dealey Plaza. According to her, her head movement in Zapruder Frames 170s-180s was caused by her hearing Governor Connally’s “Oh, no, no, no”, a scenario which is difficult to imagine, as Connally is not visibly hit in Zapruder Frames 170s-180s. Thus, Jacqueline Kennedy’s testimony should be seen as hopelessly misremembered. Thus, the testimony of the passengers of the vehicle carrying President Kennedy is not seriously damaging to the Single Bullet Theory. Combined, Dale Myers’s Zapruder Film-based computer modeling of the Single Bullet’s trajectory, John Connally’s testimony, and the simultaneous reactions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally in the Zapruder Film add up to good evidence for the Single Bullet Theory.

As for the condition of the Single Bullet, it is to be remembered that bullets of the same type as CE 399 can go through several feet of wood nearly unscathed.

III. The headshot from the rear at Frame 312 of the Zapruder film is rather easier to prove than the Single Bullet Theory. For this one, just copy-and-paste the below video’s URL:

into http://pausehouse.com , click on the turtle, pause the video, and use the triangular button that appears to observe the direction the “melon goo” goes from 30 seconds into the video. Then take a look at Zapruder Frame 313. I suspect the downward movement of Kennedy’s head between Zapruder Frames 312 and 313 was not directly caused by the bullet, but was a result of a neuro-muscular reaction to having one’s brain blown out. If you need anything more, then take a look at this analysis of potential (impossible) headshot from the front trajectories by Dale Myers. Then look at the X-rays of Kennedy’s skull and this drawing of his brain. Observe the location of the metal fragments in the X-rays. This X-ray of an experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location of the head wound is consistent with the cracks seen on the lateral X-ray of Kennedy’s skull, but is totally inconsistent with the locations of the metal fragments seen in the same X-ray. Thus, it appears to me very probable that Kennedy was shot in the House Select Committee on Assassinations’ location of the head wound.

The House Select Committee bullet trajectory (cyan) compared with the Warren Commission trajectory (magenta).

The House Select Committee bullet trajectory (cyan) compared with the Warren Commission trajectory (magenta).

The experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location with an actual curved and hypothetical straight trajectory depicted. Notice that almost all the metal fragments are below the bullet trajectory.

The experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location with an actual curved and hypothetical straight trajectory depicted. Notice that almost all the metal fragments are below the bullet trajectory.

Note that the big hole in the middle-bottom of Kennedy’s post-mortem lateral X-ray that looks like a right eye socket is not a right eye socket, but is a less dense area of the brain surrounded by broken bone to its left (on the X-ray). This is shown by comparison with one of Kennedy’s ante-mortem lateral X-rays and examination of other people’s lateral X-rays.

If you have time, you could watch the below reenactment of the headshot from the rear by the Discovery Channel:

IV. The belief that John F. Kennedy was killed in some sort of conspiracy remains prevalent among the general public, though the Lone Gunman Theory is still the most widely accepted specific theory of the Kennedy assassination. The 9/11 attacks have also been subject to similar, though less widely accepted, conspiracy-mongering. Yet, the Oklahoma City bombing and World Trade Center bombings have had far less conspiracy-mongering surrounding them. I suspect this was because the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 attacks have had far more impact on world events and U.S. foreign policy, and, consequently, far more opportunity for people to benefit, than the World Trade Center or Oklahoma City bombings in the 1990s. It is notable that both the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks resulted in unusually long undeclared wars against surprisingly difficult-to defeat insurgents in corrupt, undemocratic states which could not survive without U.S. military assistance. Perhaps it is disillusionment with these wars that resulted in the growth of John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11 conspiracy-theorizing. Oswald, after all, was hardly a big beneficiary of the Kennedy assassination, and, unlike Timothy McVeigh, never publicly stated his motives for his killing. The public is right to ask “cui bono?”. Yet, in its assumption of greater interests behind Oswald’s plans than those of Oswald himself, most of the general public remains blind to these simple facts: the vast majority of witnesses at Dealy Plaza heard three shots, three spent cartridges were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and Oswald was not known by those acquainted with him to have had any co-conspirators either in his assassination attempt on Edwin Walker or in his assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy.