Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Humane Solution to the Immigration Problem


Merry Christmas, with its attendant wish for peace and goodwill to everyone.

The problem is that there are a lot of people who don't believe in any of that, and we don't know exactly who and where they are.  Yes, I mean those tens of thousands of "Syrian" refugees, as well as other refugees moving into Europe and America with not-so-benign intent.  Here in Arizona we've had close to 100,000 illegal refugees per year running across our border from Mexico, and we've seen the trouble they cause once they get here.  Now it's clearly bigoted and unconstitutional to ban some people from coming to America because of their religion, race, or ethnicity, so how do we keep out the Bad Guys?

Well, there's a simple and perfectly lawful way to do it;  stop all immigration to the US, from everywhere, completely.

Yes, that includes people who claim that they're in danger if they don't get out of where they are.  We can politely route them to somewhere else, some place that's willing to take them in: other Muslim countries for the "Syrian" refugees, other Latino countries for the Mexican ones, Taiwan (or any other Asian country with a large Chinese population) for the ones from China, and so on.  We can even afford to quietly bribe those countries to take them, which should make them a bit more willing.

Yes, we have good reason -- beyond the terrorist problem -- for stopping all immigration;  the US now has the third largest population in the world, we're close to the limit of the carrying-capacity of our land and water, not to mention social services, and we just plain can't take in all the distressed people in the world.

What's more, we should get serious about rounding up all the illegal immigrants (there may be as many as 12 million of them) already here, and send them off to whatever country will have them.  As I've said before, by all means let them take with them all the goodies they've gotten and all the money they've made here in Goody-Land.  In fact, we should give each of them -- man, woman, and child -- a parting-gift: one sturdy revolver, .38 caliber at least, along with five boxes of ammunition, a cleaning kit, and an instruction book (profusely illustrated) printed in the refugees' own language.  After all, they'll need some way to protect what cash and goodies they have when they get to where they're going.

In the case of the Muslim immigrants, specifically, instead of armament for a parting-gift, we should give each of them a suit of clean white clothes (suitable for a pilgrim), $100 for the necessary bribes, and send them off to that one place in the world where all Muslims supposedly want to go at least once in a lifetime: Mecca.  Even the notorious World Opinion will have a hard time complaining about sending Muslims to Mecca.

In any case, we should take thorough biometric readings -- photos, fingerprints, retinal prints, DNA -- of each departing emigrant -- send the same to a central database that every border-patrol agent and cop in the country can tap into, send off the departees with exit visas but no passports, and make certain that they never come back.  As to how their new host countries treat them, well, that's their business;  we will have done our best for them.

--Leslie <;)))><




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Countering the Lies of the Desperate


Since last week, several more sheriffs have appealed to the citizens to carry weapons in public and be prepared to use them against terrorist attacks.  Likewise, more media pundits have published calls to abolish the 2nd Amendment, using some amazingly questionable claims and statistics.  If the supposed intelligentsia are willing to manipulate figures and lie outright in support of their cherished cause, it's becoming obvious that the only statistics we can trust are those from the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization -- whose archives are public records.   These are necessary for countering the attempted Big Lie blizzard of false claims, such as the following.

1)  Claim: "The US has the highest number of gun-deaths in the world."
     Fact:  No, this is a lie.  Syria does -- closely followed by Iraq.  The anti-gun crowd will no doubt claim That's Different, because Syria is in the middle of a civil war, and Iraq in the middle of an invasion and conquest.  But in that case they'll have to make exception for Mexico, which has had a smoldering 3-way war -- between the government, the Indians, and the drug cartels -- going on for the last 6 years.  (WHO figures.) 

2) Claim: "There were over 300 mass-shootings in the US this year alone."
     Fact: This is a half-lie.  The FBI defines "mass shooting" as an incident in which at least 4 people are shot -- but not necessarily killed.  The CDC notes that better than 90% of all gunshot victims survive, over 85% of them with no permanent debilitating damage. In 42% of the 353 mass shootings recorded in 2015 so far, there were no reported fatalities. An additional 47% of those mass shootings resulted in between one and three people killed.  (FBI figures.)



3) Claim: "The US is the most violent country in the world."
    Fact:  This is a lie.  There are 106 nations in the world which have higher homicide rates than the US. (WHO figures.)  All of them have stricter gun-control laws, if not outright bans, than the US.
   The anti-gun crowd will then quibble that these aren't "modern industrial democracies" -- though they include Russia, Mexico, South Africa, Greenland and Argentina  -- or have only "negligible populations".  Since the US has the 3rd highest population in the world (317 million, behind China and India, but ahead of everyone else -- WHO figures), "negligible" is a very subjective term.   

4)  Claim: "Gun control works.  Australia got rid of all its civilian-owned guns."
      Fact:  This is a half-lie.  If the purpose of gun control or gun confiscation is to reduce crime, then it hasn't really worked in Australia -- where (WHO figures) the violent-crime rate has not dropped since the gun confiscation.  It certainly hasn't worked in Canada or Britain, where the violent-crime rate has steadily climbed since the gun confiscations there.

5)  Claim: "Gun control works.  Japan has no civilian-owned guns.)
     Fact:  This is a half-lie.  If the purpose of gun-control is to reduce civilian violent deaths, then it hasn't really worked in Japan -- where (WHO figures) the preferred weapon is a blade, and the suicide-rate is higher than the American murder-rate (FBI figures).

6) Claim: "Civilians with guns can't possible prevent violent crime."
     Fact:  This is a lie.  On average, every year (FBI figures) at least 900,000 Americans use firearms to prevent crime.  According to the CDC the figure is closer to 3 million, since most such cases end with the would-be crook running away without a shot fired and the case is not reported.

7)  Claim: "Violent crime in America is increasing."
      Fact:  This is a lie.  According to the FBI, violent crime in America has been decreasing steadily since 1993.  In particular, the number of gun-homicides has dropped by half.  In 2014, 2/3rds of all gun fatalities in the US were suicides (approx. 20,000).  

For anyone who wants to research the details on these claims, I'd recommend starting here:


“In every mass killing—every one of them—when someone with a gun arrives determined to stop the killing, it stops; the killer flees or is disabled or is killed or dies by suicide.”

            Andrew Napolitano | December 10, 2015

"--  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement

Overview

  • In 2014, an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the 2013 estimate. (See Table 1/1A)
  • When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2014 estimated violent crime total was 6.9 percent below the 2010 level and 16.2 percent below the 2005 level. (See Table 1/1A)
  • There were an estimated 365.5 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014, a rate that declined 1.0 percent when compared with the 2013 estimated violent crime rate. (See Table 1/1A)
  • Aggravated assaults accounted for 63.6 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2014. Robbery offenses accounted for 28.0 percent of violent crime offenses; rape (legacy definition) accounted for 7.2 percent; and murder accounted for 1.2 percent. (Based on Table 1/1A)
  • Information collected regarding types of weapons used in violent crime showed that firearms were used in 67.9 percent of the nation’s murders, 40.3 percent of robberies, and 22.5 percent of aggravated assaults. (Weapons data are not collected for rape.) (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 7, Robbery Table 3, and the Aggravated Assault Table)

Murder --  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/murder

Download Printable Document
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are classified as aggravated assaults.

Data collection

Supplementary Homicide Data—The UCR Program’s supplementary homicide data provide information regarding the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and the offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Law enforcement agencies are asked—but not required—to provide complete supplementary homicide data for each murder they report to the UCR Program. Information gleaned from these supplementary homicide data can be viewed in the Expanded Homicide Data section.
Justifiable homicide—Certain willful killings must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:
  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.
Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. More information about justifiable homicide is furnished in the Expanded Homicide Data section and in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2010–2014,” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2010–2014.”

Overview

  • In 2014, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,249. This was a 0.5 percent decrease from the 2013 estimate, a 3.2 percent decrease from the 2010 figure, and a 14.9 percent drop from the number in 2005.
  • There were 4.5 murders per 100,000 people. The murder rate fell 1.2 percent in 2014 compared with the 2013 rate. The murder rate was down from the rates in 2010 (6.1 percent) and 2005 (20.8 percent). (See Table 1/1A)
  • Of the estimated number of murders in the United States, 46.0 percent were reported in the South, 20.5 percent were reported in the Midwest, 20.5 percent were reported in the West, and 13.1 percent were reported in the Northeast. (See Table 3)

Expanded data

UCR expanded offense data are details of the various offenses that the UCR Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapon used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.
Expanded information regarding murder is available in the following tables:
  • Trends (2-year): Tables 12, 13, and 14
  • Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants): Tables 16, 17, and 18
Expanded Homicide Data (supplementary homicide information):
  • Victim data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13
  • Offender data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 3, 5, and 6
  • Circumstance data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 10, 11, 12, and 13

Expanded Homicide Data -- https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide    

Expanded Homicide Data

Download Printable Document

Data collection

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects supplementary homicide data that provide the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Statistics gleaned from these supplemental data are provided in this section.
This section also includes information about justifiable homicide—certain willful killings that must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:
  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.
Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Justifiable homicide information can be found in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2010–2014” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2010–2014.”

Overview

  • In 2014, most (77.3 percent) of the 11,961 murder victims for whom supplemental data were received were male. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 1)
  • Of the murder victims for whom race was known, 51.6 percent were black, 45.7 percent were white, and 2.6 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 160 victims. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2)
  • Nearly 48 percent (47.7) of all murders for which the UCR Program received supplemental data were single victim/single offender situations. (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 4)
  • When the race of the offender was known, 53.0 percent were black, 44.7 percent were white, and 2.3 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,132 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3)
  • Nearly 68 percent (67.9) of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data in 2014 involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 68.5 percent of the firearms used in murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents in 2014. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 8)
  • In 2014, nearly 29 percent (28.7) of homicide victims were killed by someone they knew other than family members (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.), 14.3 percent were slain by family members, and 11.5 percent were killed by strangers. The relationship between murder victims and offenders was unknown in 45.5 percent of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 10)
  • Of the female murder victims for whom the relationships to their offenders were known, 35.5 percent were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Tables 2 and 10)
  • Of the murders for which the circumstances surrounding the crimes were known, 40.4 percent of victims were murdered during arguments (including romantic triangles) in 2014. Felony circumstances (rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 24.0 percent of murders. Circumstances were unknown for 37.7 percent of reported homicides. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 11)
  • Law enforcement reported 721 justifiable homicides in 2014. Of those, law enforcement officers justifiably killed 444 felons, and private citizens justifiably killed 277 people during the commission of crimes. (See Expanded Homicide Data Tables 14 and 15)"


 Happy researching.

--Leslie <;)))>< 
   
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

An Almost Desperate Outrage


Within three days of the San Bernardino shooting, the facts were out in public;  the shooters were definitely Jihadi terrorists, who had personally pledged allegiance to ISIL/Daeth.  The third member of their team was still at large, and the police were hunting him closely.

Seeing that yes, Jihadi terrorism is alive and well in the US, citizens and low-level police officials -- no higher than the rank of sheriff -- responded reasonably;  the citizens went out an bought guns and ammo and took training courses, and the sheriffs actively requested that citizens with CCW permits (who, by definition, had been through the training and qualifying courses) make a habit of carrying in public and be ready to defend the public against terrorist attacks until the police can arrive.

'Twas the politicians and the professional political flacks who responded with hysteria and illogic.  By now everybody's heard about Trump's proposed "Muslim registry" and ban on all Muslim immigrants, which has even turned most of the GOP against him.  However, you don't see any parallel disgust at Obama's attempt to stampede the public into howling for gun control instead.  Note that the governor of California blamed the shooting, if you please, on the state of Arizona -- for having lighter gun-laws than California, which (he claimed without evidence) allowed the terrorists to buy guns easily (though he said nothing about all the homemade bombs which the terrorist couple had with them).  The best day's work that our current Arizona governor has done yet was to promptly lash back at that ridiculous bit of slander.  But that hasn't stopped other dutiful anti-gun pundits from making even more amazing claims.   Indeed, the New York Daily News published a front-page editorial actually calling for repeal of the 2nd Amendment.  Other dutiful media-flacks have gotten even more visibly hysterical, as with Alternet's latest:

"10 Things You Can Buy in America That Prove Just How Sick Our Gun Laws Are

A disturbing number of these seem to accept school shootings as a fact of life.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Just one day after the most recent mass shooting in America, Senate Republicans voted against a bill that would have prevented gun purchases by suspected terrorists. The official reasons—as if they ever might be valid—have something to do with “liberty” and “freedom.” The real reason, as we all know, has everything to do with the NRA and a gun lobby that has proved itself quite the smart shopper, having bought up a significant portion of Congress.
Shop ▾
When a lack of gun control and a culture of gun violence collide with capitalism, the result is a market for the kinds of goods that speak volumes about a society, nearly all of them tragic and troubling. So let’s have a look-see at what our weapons worship hath wrought. Here are 10 things you can buy in America that prove how f*cked up our gun laws are.
1. Bulletproof blankets.
There may be other manufacturers of bulletproof blankets for use during school shootings, but the industry leader is Protecht, which developed the Bodyguard blanket after the Sandy Hook massacre. I’m not sure anything does a better job of encapsulating why the viability of this product should be a source of national shame than the text on the website itself."

Other things the article howls about include:

"Bulletproof backpacks.
 Bulletproof classroom whiteboards.
Bulletproof clothing. 
and School shooting smartphone apps.
The SchoolGuard app, which describes itself as “a panic button in the hands of every teacher and staff,” aims to cut down on police response times when school shootings happen, as they so often do in America. After the first shots are fired, the app calls 911, lets all the faculty and staff know what’s happening, alerts participating schools within a five-mile radius and “instantly alerts all participating law enforcement officers, on and off duty, who are in close proximity.” The app sounds like a helpful aid to school personnel, though not quite as helpful as a Congress that wasn't in the pocket of the NRA."

Now given that abolition of "Zero Tolerance" and "Gun-Free Zone" (a.k.a. "fish-in-a-barrel") rules is going slowly, leaving schools as lamentably "soft" targets, these items actually do sound reasonable.  But note the attitude of pious horror, of almost desperate outrage, at the very idea that people might take action to defend themselves against terrorists, thugs and lunatics -- rather than demanding that the government Do Something, a something that is clearly aimed at gnawing away further at the Bill of Rights.  Doesn't this sound the least bit frantic to you?

Could it possibly be that Obama and his backers are dismayed at seeing the popular tide turn against them?  After all, several recent public-opinion polls have shown that more than 51% of the citizens now believe that average citizens should have guns to defend themselves (and never mind those troublesome sheriffs), and that was before the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  Particularly embarrassing must have been the discovery that the terrorist couple did get past the "extensive background checks" required by California laws to get their rifles, pistols, et al.

Abe Lincoln was right about not being able to fool all the people all the time, even when you have tremendous control over the news media, and the citizens have seen enough evidence to choose sensible solutions to the violence problem.  I've actually seen some letters to editors proposing that we bring back gun-safety training in the schools and require everyone to get concealed-carry permits.  People are coming to realize that there is no way to keep weapons out of the "wrong hands", and it's best if the citizens are armed and trained to defend themselves.

The nearly-century-long government campaign toward gutting the Bill of Rights has shot its bolt, the pendulum is swinging back, and the campaigners must be nearly frantic at seeing power sliding out of their grasp.  Let's hope they don't do something irrevocably stupid in trying to hang onto it.

--Leslie <;)))><          
   

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Some Refugee Questions



Before we decide to (Democrat) compassionately take in the "Syrian" refugees or (Republican) hawkishly keep them out, there are some questions about the refugees that I, for one, would like to see answered.

1)  The Syrian civil war has been going on for over eight years.  Why are refugees from the conflict flooding Europe in great numbers only now?

2)  If these refugees are fleeing the violence in Syria, why are so many of them from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, Niger, Somalia, Mali and Libya?  What motivated them to suddenly leave those places?

3)  Despite the attacks in the middle-east on the few remaining Christians and Jews, all the refugees are Muslim.  Why haven't the numerous Muslim countries taken them in?  Why are they running to Europe?

4)  If these are simple refugees fleeing violence at home, why are so few of them women, children and old folks?  Why are the great majority of them military-age men?

5)  How have these "pitiful" refugees behaved in the countries -- like Britain, Germany and Sweden -- that have taken them in?  Have they shown any gratitude for the free blankets, food, clothing, shelter, money, cars and TV sets that the host countries have given them?  Have they bothered to conform to the local laws and customs of their hosts?  How many of them have bothered to learn the local languages?

6)  Wherever the refugees have been even temporarily settled in refugee camps, large numbers of them have mysteriously vanished.  Where have they gone?

7)  Where the refugees have been settled in Europe, they usually haven't gotten jobs but have gone on "the dole"/Welfare, and they boast of having sent some of the money back to their families in the old countries.  Just how much money does that come to, and exactly where is it going?

I really think we should get accurate and complete answers to these questions before we take in any more of these "Syrian" refugees.  In fact, I think that when we get the answers we should seriously consider deporting the ones who are already here.


--Leslie <;)))><  


    

Saturday, November 14, 2015

History Repeats: 1939 Reshuffled


Santayana was right;  those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Has anyone else noticed current parallels to the days just before World War Two?

Consider: the world, and the US in particular, is just pulling out of a serious economic depression, accompanied by weather shifts that have caused equally serious ecological problems.  Russia harrumphs and bullies its neighbors and flexes its military muscle.  A dangerous political movement is spreading, deliberately, into Europe and Asia with world conquest clearly in mind.  The western countries dither over it but take no action, and the rest of the world watches to see which way to jump. 

Yes, there are differences, but the similarities are downright eerie.  The Jihadis even use the same anti-Jewish propaganda that the Nazis did, right down to the cartoons, and the intelligentsia make the same excuses for their aggression.  Seriously, I've seen supposedly educated political pundits whining that the Jihadis only attack western countries in revenge for insults from the Jewish Banking Conspiracy which supposedly rules Wall Street. 

More ominous, back then the Nazis did their best to implant tactical units and loyal German populations in every country in the world.  Most of these were small, and did little more than propagandize and recruit sympathizers to the Nazi cause, but some of them were primed for sabotage and more.  (There realy were sabotage incidents early in the war, which have been kept secret until just recently.)  Meanwhile, their propagandists did a fine job of insisting, to anyone who could be made to listen, that Germans were a civilized people who only wanted some of their "stolen" land back, and all the western countries had to do was placate them, and all would be well.  This led to the western countries letting the Nazis have all of Czechoslovakia in exchange for a promise of, in Chamberlain's infamous phrase, "Peace in our time."  Of course the Nazis weren't satisfied, and when they invaded Poland the western countries finally realized their danger, and acted.  By that time the Nazis were numerous and powerful enough that it took World War Two to eradicate them. 

In this case, the Jihadis took care to implant large populations of sympathizers in their targeted countries -- large enough to comprise small armies -- before taking overt action, namely the 9/11/2001 attack on the US.  The attack was weak, in that it didn't topple or even cripple the US, but brought serious retaliation on lands (Afghanistan and Iraq) that the Jihadis already held.  But then, the US fought a rather weak war, too: merely toppling the former regimes and then walking away -- leaving the conquered territories to be retaken by Jihadis.  It also left the implanted Jihadi enclaves intact, capable of doing further harm and spreading more Jihadi propaganda which the government and the intelligentsia still lap up.  Since then, we've been fighting something of a "Sitzkrieg", tossing slight and ineffective attacks against the Jihadi troops,trying to negotiate different factions of Jihadis (like Iran) into fighting others, while the European countries have done even less -- letting thousands of Jihadi sympathizers, disguised as refugees, flood their countries and add to the Jihadi enclaves.

The western governments' excuse for this weak opposition is the idea that most Muslims are harmless "moderates", and only a few "extremists" are really pursuing the war.  In fact, the Muslim populations in their countries are at least passively supporting the Jihadis -- providing money, recruits, and safe enclaves where the Jihadis can continue their work.  The exceptions are few and irrelevant. 

But the government/intelligentsia tolerance hasn't prevented the majority of citizens in the targeted countries from growing very disillusioned with the Jihadi propaganda, and pressuring their governments to oppose the Jihadis more effectively.  Most countries in the west have refused to take large numbers of the "refugees", and others have refused to take any at all.  The government sympathizers have found themselves increasingly at odds with their own populations, and are feeling obliged to seriously attack the core of the Jihadi army -- namely, the group variously called ISIS, ISIL, IS and Daesh.

Seeing the tide turning against them, the Jihadis staged a major attack: first, calling on all Palestinians in Israel to attack "the Jews" at random, then launching the attacks in Paris -- with a promise of more attacks coming. 

Well, if the current attacks were meant to panic Israel and France into capitulating, they failed.  All the hostility to Israel that decades of careful Jihadi propaganda implanted in Europe has begun to erode as the news faithfully displays videos of innocent-looking Palestinians suddenly attacking people in the streets.  If Israel were to finally say "enough" and deport all the Palestinians within its borders, nobody in the west would cry too hard.  The president of France finally used the "w" word, calling the attacks in Paris "an act of war", and I expect we can soon see French war-planes joining the bombing raids on ISIL.

The sensible next step in this slow reenactment of WWII would be for all the western nations to say to their Muslim populations: "We're sorry, we know that most of you are innocent and harmless, but we can't tell you from the Jihadis on sight, and we can no longer tolerate the Jihadis' presence among us.  You're all being deported."

 Yes, deport them all.  By all means, let them take with them all the goodies and money they got here in the oddly-prosperous non-Muslim countries;  if they own immovable property, sell it and let them take the money with them.  If they have children born in the west, the children can stay -- and be raised in western orphanages -- but the adults must leave.

And where should we send them?

Why, to the one place on Earth that good Muslims all want to visit at least once in a lifetime -- Mecca.

Of course we must send them off with exit visas but no passports -- and take thorough photographs, fingerprints, retinal prints, voice prints and DNA prints, and enter those in an international data-base which police and border guards everywhere can instantly access -- to make sure that they don't come back.  Any attempts to sneak back into the western countries will be treated as espionage, and those attempting it will be shot on sight.  Send the Jihadis and their supporters to Mecca, and leave them there -- and let the Saudis deal with them.  That, at least, will keep the Saudis busy with problems inside their own borders and in no position to support the Jihadi cause.

Meanwhile, let everyone send troops -- and more importantly, planes and drones -- to eradicate ISIL.  Yes, we can do it.  The US military mentioned that they had used drones to identify and locate "Jihadi John", after which they sent the bombers to pulverize the area where he was hiding;  this means that the military really are using spy-drones to precisely identify and locate the Jihadi troops.  This means we can specifically target them with smart missiles, while sparing the civilians they like to hide behind.   We can, and should, kill every last one of them -- starting with the ISIL troops in Iraq and spiraling out from there to every country where they're fighting openly.

Now, what to do about countries where the covert Jihadi attack units will still be hiding, planning to go out and commit more terrorist attacks?  Well, besides setting our various security/intelligence forces to hunt for them, we really have to defend our people.  Countries like France must do an about-face with their decades-long policy on gun-control;  we must arm and train our entire populations, like Switzerland.  Everyone must be capable of fighting back against Jihadi terrorists, not stuck unarmed and helpless like fish in a barrel -- like the audience in that theater -- to be killed at the Jihadis' pleasure while the police plan the counter-attack.  This will not be a difficult transition in America, where most citizens are tired of mass slaughters in "gun-free"zones.  Other countries, like France, may have a harder time changing their minds.  I sincerely hope they won't suffer further slaughters, like Friday's, before they're convinced.

Make no mistake, this will be a long and slow war.  Still, if we realize what we're fighting, right now, we can keep the death-toll down to less than the 47 million that died in World War Two.

--Leslie <;)))><  )O(           

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hen-and-Chicks Border Defense


(Hi, team.  I'm back, and I've got an idea from an old friend in Wisconsin that I'd like to kick around.)

Ever since the flood of Muslim "refugees" began pouring into Europe -- and our federal govt. promised that we'd take in a few hundred thousand of them -- there's been renewed interest in our broken immigration system, particularly as regards our cobweb of a southern border, particularly since a disturbing number of those illegal immigrants are not Mexican or even Latino.  We're especially concerned here in Arizona, where illegals have been flooding across our border for decades and the federal govt. has refused to let us turn them back (as viz. the federal courts' gutting of Arizona SB 1070).

Ah, but no law forbids a county or a township -- or an Indian reservation, for that matter -- from keeping out people it doesn't want.  The border counties and towns and reservations of Arizona could join forces, and funds, on a couple of tactics that can and will work.

First, the fence.  Farmers and ranchers have already built, at their own expense, some 20 miles of fence along the western end of the border.  There's no reason that fence couldn't be extended, but I'd suggest setting it some 25-50 yards back from the federal border, so that there's no question about the new fence being on Arizona land.  Yes, put fortified and well-guarded gates in the wall where the major highways penetrate, and check -- by hand -- every truck and car that goes through.  It wouldn't hurt to have a medical team attached at each check-point, to give the drivers and passengers quick medical checks.  This would be a public health measure, which is hard to argue with.

Also, at every 50 yards along the fence, put large signs facing toward Mexico with the following, written in Spanish:  "Warning, Illegal Immigrants.  Beyond this fence lies the rest of Arizona.  Arizona doesn't want you.  If you proceed further, you will be captured and sent back the way you came."  Below that put two arrows, pointing east and west, and the words: "XXX miles east lies New Mexico.  New Mexico will welcome you with jobs.  XXX miles west lies California.  California will welcome you with free housing, free food, free medical services, easy jobs, and free money.  Go east or west, but do not proceed north."  If the governments of California or New Mexico complain, tell they we'll take the signs down when they change their policies.

As for how to enforce this, here's where the wonders of modern technology come in.  Every 100 yards or so, perch a drone disguised as a large bird.  This drone will contain a host of smaller drones, disguised as flying insects, which can fly around the area and come back into the bird-drone for refueling.  The bird drone will have a solar-electric generator which can refuel its own battery and the batteries of the bug-drones.  The bug drones will contain, besides their own engines and GPS locator, sensitive microphones and videocameras;  they'll transmit back to a computer base-station, which will record the pictures and sounds of every creature that approaches the Arizona-side fence.  The humans watching the computers will see if any human tries to get over, under, or around the fence, in which case they'll send out bigger drones armed with tranquilizer guns or tazers to shoot the invaders, and notify the police as to where the comatose bodies are.  The police can examine the would-be invaders, see if there are any outstanding warrants on them, escort them back to the federal fence and push them across.

Yes, all this will cost money, but not nearly so much as illegal immigrants cost the state every year -- let alone what damage invading terrorists can do.  What say you all?

--Leslie <;)))><  )O( 

        


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Is It Real Or Is It Media-Rex?

by Leslie Fish <;)))><

First off, my bona fides;  as my day-jobs, while working as a folksinger/filksinger and freelance writer, I've worked as an editor for two newspapers, three small magazines, a radio station, and four online publishers.  In that merry career I've learned to spot faked photographs, news propaganda, and a good bit of junk science.  I've learned that all news media are biased, to one degree or another, in one direction or another, and I've learned how to balance the biases so as to get a better approximation of the truth.  I also became a cynic, a practical political paranoid, and an Anarchist at an early age. I'm also convinced that our schools don't teach nearly enough Logic, Critical Thinking, or proper Investigative Journalism -- and our citizens desperately need those skills in an age of shameless public lying.  Bear that in mind.

That's why I didn't want to comment on the Umpqua College shooting until I got answers to three questions:

1) Did this incident really happen, or is it an elaborate Wag the Dog hoax?
2) If it did really happen, how much of it happened the way the news media reported it?
3) If it did really happen, then why -- out of 3000 or 35,000 students (media accounts vary) and several hundred staff -- was nobody on campus armed and capable of taking down the shooter before he'd killed 20...no, 15...no, 9 (media accounts varied before they settled on an acceptable figure) students?

To start with the first, yes that's a serious question.  We've seen, just over the past half century, several cases of politicians -- and governments at every level, and police departments -- and their media-flacks pulling off hoaxes (not to mention cover-ups) as big as this.  (Sometime watch the movie "Wag the Dog";  it's more accurate than you think.)  To start with, there's the Kennedy assassination;  after 50 years of almost-frantic propaganda, does anyone really believe that JFK was shot only once, and only from behind?  Then there was the Gulf of Tonkin caper, during the Vietnam War, which was thoroughly debunked -- years later, too late to prevent a hell of a lot of unnecessary bloodshed.  Then there was the Abu Ghraib hoax;  anyone who bothered to look up pictures of the real Abu Ghraib fortress could readily tell that those photos were faked -- as both the Army and the Red Cross later determined.  Then there was Bush's claim of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq -- hinting broadly of nukes, having officers come up with supposed clues of nuclear weapons.  The bitter irony of that one is that Saddam really did have a lot of Sarin gas, and had used it previously on the Kurds in his own country, as was readily proved by the survivors;  the lie was unnecessary, but Bush & Co. were so used to lying in public that they lied automatically even when the truth would have served them better.  Yes, we have seen hoaxes of this size before. 

So what evidence is there that the Umpqua shooting wasn't real?  First (as you can find if you search the gods-blessed Internet), students who were in the nearest class -- just across the corridor from that fatal writing class -- did not hear any gunshots.  Neither did they see any bodies or wounded students coming out of that classroom.  The first any of them knew of the incident was when the police came and herded them out of the school, into busses, and away to a "safe" center where their families could come pick them up.  The only people who claim to have actually been in that writing class and witnessed the shooting gave interviews that were distinctly... off.  For one thing, they were carefully dressed and made up and groomed -- after an ordeal like that.  For another, they all smiled and posed and carefully declaimed for the camera -- less like writing students who'd just missed being killed than like C-list actors hoping for their big break.  (Other cynics have already come up with a term for this: Crisis Actors.)  For a third, the story they told -- that the shooter first killed the teacher, then called up the students one by one, asked them what religion they were, then shot them dead if they said they were Christians but only wounded them in the legs if they said anything else -- was first hyped, and then carefully downgraded, by the media.  So was the alleged shooter's (no, I won't mention his name and add to his 15 minutes of fame) race;  first reports showed that his father was White and his mother was Black, and the first photos of him showed him looking distinctly Black -- but in later reports CNN carefully kept his mother out of sight and lightened his complexion.  Fourth, motive: this shooting is suspiciously opportune, and theatrical enough to inject new blood into the Democrats' sinking policy of gun-control.  Note how quickly the media did their usual whipping up of emotion to stampede the public into demanding that politicians DOOOO SOMETHING!!! (the most dangerous words you can say to a politician) to Stop The Slaughter.  Note how the usual pundits, including Obama himself, shamelessly took advantage of the shooting to make the usual vague promises of gun-control, including blatant lies (no, the US is not the "most violent" of countries, or even of "the western nations" or even in North America;  according to no less than the World Health Organization, the US is the 107th highest-ranking country in homicides).  Obviously, this incident was a welcome shot in the arm for the Democrats.  Also obviously, the media have a boilerplate script ready to hand for exploiting any shooting incident that comes along.

And then there's the curious case of Chris Mintz.  When the first reports of the Umpqua shooting came out, a lot of people began tweeting/emailing/phoning queries about why all the students in that class did nothing but sit like sheep, waiting to be called on, questioned and shot.  Even Ben Carson, hopeful GOP candidate, made a point of asking why nobody tried to stop the killer.  Very soon after that, the media started reporting the case of Chris Mintz;  he was supposedly in that class, and though unarmed, he charged at the shooter -- and was then shot seven times: in the back, in the abdomen, in both hands, and "both his legs were broken".  There's even a photo showing him being carried off on a gurney afterwards.  The problem with this story is that he survived being shot seven times with the same gun that had killed nine other students with single shots.  Almost instantly, a website was set up to appeal for money on the Internet to pay for Mintz's medical bills, and it has already raked in over half a million bucks.  The problem, as you can see at a somewhat-indignant website -- http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2015/10/what-oregon-shooting-hero-rakes-in-over-650000-in-crisis-acting-debut-3224386.html -- is that the photo shows Mintz stripped to the waist on his gurney, but he has no visible wounds or bandages.  He's lying on his back, and there's no sign of any bandaging for the supposed wound on his back.  Neither is there any bandaging on or near his abdomen.  Both his hands are visible, and there are no wounds or bandages on either of them.  His supposedly-broken legs aren't splinted, nor are there any support-boards under them.  His head is slightly raised, and the expression on his face has no hint of pain or stress or even paleness, such as would be expected if he'd lost blood from seven gunshot wounds.  How curious.

Apparently a few other people have such suspicions too, because I've already seen accusations of "False Flag" cropping up all over the Internet.  Likewise, the head of Gun Owners of America went through Obama's post-shooting speech, refuting his points and exposing falsehoods, line by line -- at GOA's website on the Internet.  Goddess bless the Internet;  it makes questions about media stories available to the public immediately and unfiltered, in contrast to snail-mail letters to the editor.  The public does not stampede so blindly and thoroughly as it used to, back when the only sources of current information were the official channels.

This might explain why the media have backed away from the Umpqua story and gone howling after an even more recent shooting, right here in Flagstaff, at Northern Arizona University.  Unfortunately for the usual pundits, this story doesn't lend itself to the usual stereotype.  A bunch of drunken frat-boys got into a fight on the frat-house lawn, and one of them walked away from the fight (sensible), but then went to his car and pulled out his gun (not so sensible), came back to the fight and shot four of the other frat-boys before he was grabbed and wrestled to the ground.  One of his victims died, the other three are in the hospital, and the drunken fool -- now considerably sobered -- was arraigned on murder and assault charges the very next day.  He was, his fellow students attest, lucky that he wasn't shot at the scene.  The only lesson to be drawn from this incident is the old, old news that guns (or any weapons) and alcohol make a bad mix -- especially when shaken and stirred in thoughtless young boys.

Now for my part I believe that something happened on the Umpqua campus, but whatever it was, the media hyped it to the sky for political purposes, namely pimping gun-control.  There probably really was a shooter, who really was (politically-incorrectly) half Black and was (although this was carefully not mentioned) probably a fundie-Muslim Jihadist, and he really did do that ritual of asking the students about their religions, killing the ones who admitted to being Christians and just wounding the rest.  That story was too bizarre to make up, and neither the government nor the media would want to invent such an "islamophobic" tale.  Just how he was finally taken down is still something of a mystery, and I don't believe the Chris Mintz story, no matter how much money he's raked in for telling it.

So the question I have left is: why, among all those students, was nobody armed, capable, and willing to take him down?  So far I've managed to find two answers.  The first comes from a student in another class who admits that he had a gun on campus, but chose to walk away with all the others because, if you please, he feared that if he went after the shooter himself, the police would shoot him.  This sounds like a reasonable story, especially considering the other answer: that although the school management had agreed to let students or staff who had concealed-carry permits bring their guns to school, the official policy for this wouldn't go through until next January.  That means, among other things, that the student who did have a gun wasn't quite carrying it legally, and didn't dare use it for another reason: that if the cops didn't shoot him, they'd at least arrest him. 

These answers all make depressingly good sense, given the state of current politics.


                                                      
     


     

               


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Before I Make This Into A Petition...


As an Anarchist, I very rarely propose passing laws -- but this is one I think we need:
" Any religious organization which holds as a tenet of its faith that its members must convert -- by means including force -- everyone on Earth to their faith (or else harass, reduce to second-class citizenship, enslave or kill any who refuse) is in violation of the US Constitution; and no unconstitutional religious organization shall receive any support – financial, political, legal or whatever – from any government within the United States."
Before I make this into an online petition, what do you-all out there think about this?

--Leslie <;)))><    

Saturday, September 19, 2015

An Added Incentive


Heheheh.  In addition to announcing Rasty's and my new book, I thought I'd add a bit of a teaser -- like the first few pages.  If Intrigued, go to Smashwords and read further -- at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/568347



A Book Of Instructions
For living with a smart modern woman in the USA

by the Anonymous Desert Rat


Published by Leslie Fish
Copyright 2015 Leslie Fish



*****



                                                            PROLOGUE



Not Exactly an Owner’s Manual


When I was young I thought a wife should come with an Owner’s Manual, just like a new car.  50 years and 4 marriages later, I have given up on that.  No modern woman with an IQ above room temperature is going to be owned.  Women are a lot like cats, although more likely to come when you call them.  And about as likely to do what you want when they get there as a cat.  Most of us men have a fantasy of a smart wife that is a slut in the bedroom and a lady in the drawing room, and our own slave who would never look at another man.  Lots of luck with that.  But if you can’t get a Owner’s Manual, a wife should come with a book of instructions on how a man can live with her.  Read this carefully and you may not have to go through 3 or 4 wives to find one you can live with.




Dedication


To my  [pick one or more]    Loving Husband, Live-in Boyfriend, Longtime Lover, Significant Other, Current Owner, Other_______________


From your  [pick one or more]  New Wife, Live-in Girlfriend,        Longtime Lover, Significant Other, Current Trainer,                           Other________________



*****


   
Other Dedication


This page is for the woman that was smart enough to buy this book for her man;  every woman should come with a book of instructions.
  
If you're the man, you should start on the next page.  There's nothing for you to see here.  Turn the page!

Now, as I was saying, ladies, the fact that you came with a book of instructions will not get him to read it.  A Real Man don’t need no stinking book, ever.  After all, he knows all about women.  He learned it all from the bigger boys when he was young -- and that's half the problem.

You see, when boys grow old enough to start getting curious about girls, who do they ask for answers?  Do they ask girls, let alone women, "What do you like?  How can I please you?"  Oh no, never.  They ask the bigger boys.  And the bigger boys, for all their bragging, don't know jack-sh#t.  99.9% of them are lying virgins.

But by giving your man this book, now when you don’t do what he thinks you will do, you can say:  "Did you read the book?  It’s all there in the Instructions."  Now he will have to read the book or shut up.

This book is for women with an IQ above room temperature, who can make their own way in the world, and expect to be treated as equal to their husbands.  Now I know that there are a few women around who think men are superior to them, that as he worships the big GOD above, she gets to worship the little god down here – him -- that her job is to be a brood mare and have a bunch of kids to fill his quiver.  If you believe that, this book is not for you. Likewise if you are a Biker Mama, and your idea of a good time is when your man tells you "Strip, and get your ass up on the pool table and spread, 'cause me and my bros are horny", this book will have little to do with your lifestyle.  You will find some blank pages at the end of this book where you can write down your own little dos and don’ts.

As you know, men are pretty much the same.  They're kind of like Fords;  you can’t tell one from another.  They are kind of interchangeable.

Women, on the other hand, are like hot sports cars;  they have the same parts, but how you tune them makes a big difference.  I have learned, the hard way, that what one woman loves another will hate.  It’s only fair that you list your main dos and don’ts: not all of them, just enough to give the man an idea of what he has gotten himself into.  Then, when he wants to know why you're mad, just tell him it's in the book.




*****

Monday, September 7, 2015

Now For Something Completely Different...


I want to brag about my new book -- well, actually mine and Rasty's -- and of course advertise my other books and albums.  Anyway, the new book can be found on Smashwords.com, and needs a Kindle or something like it to read, but with enough downloads I think I can persuade some publisher to put out a hard-copy version.  It listed under nonfiction, satire and sex.  So, go to Smashwords and look up:



A Book Of Instructions

For living with
a smart modern woman
in the USA

by the Anonymous Desert Rat

Oh, and be sure to click the "Adult Content" button when searching.

Enjoy!



You can also order my filkmusic albums from my music publisher, Random Factors, at www.random-factors.com, or get my books from www.amazon.com.   Or you can order them directly from me, at lesliefish@cox.net, or by mail at: Leslie Fish, 1300 S. Watson Road #114-288, Buckeye, AZ 85326, using this form.

Books:

_____  "Offensive As Hell: The Joys of Jesus-Freak Bagging", $10  (satire)
_____  "For Love of Glory", $20  (historical fiction)
_____ "Of Elven Blood", $20  (fantasy/scifi fiction)

Albums:

_____  "Avalon Is Risen", $15 (pagan and fantasy songs)
_____  "Lock and Load",  $15 (1st and 2nd Amendment songs)
_____  "Cold Iron", $15 (Kipling's historical poems as songs)
_____  "Our Fathers of Old", $15 (Kiplng's philosophical poems as songs)
_____  "Skybound", $15 (scifi and Star Trek songs – includes "Hope Eyrie")
_____  "Smoked Fish and Friends", $15 (WorldCon filksing, with others)
_____  "Serious Steel", $15 (SCA songs, with Joe Bethancourt)
_____  "Folksongs for Solar Sailors", $15 (Star Trek songs, from original LPs)

Totals:      Albums: _____      Books: _____     Payment: __________

(pay by check _____  or PayPal________to the above addresses)


Send To:

Name: __________________________________________________________________


Street/Box:______________________________________________________________


City, State, Zipcode: ______________________________________________________
                         

Anything else you want to tell me: ___________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Friday, August 28, 2015

Another Workplace Shooting


So another "disgruntled" ex-employee marched into his former place of business, shot the person who'd taken his job and two other people who happened to be in the vicinity, then died in the resulting shootout with the police.  What makes this case notable is the role of the media.  The workplace was a TV station, the "disgruntled" ex-employee was a former newsman, the people he shot were the current news-anchor and her cameraman and a woman she was interviewing, the killer was carrying a gun in one hand and a video-camera in the other, he published a 15-page manifesto on the Internet (which revealed his motivations and psychology at great length), and the whole thing wound up on prime-time TV.

Naturally the media had a field day with this story.  Not only were the victims -- and the killer -- Their Own, but there was plenty of footage covering the whole event, some of it from the killer's own camera.  What's interesting are the varying media reactions.

The usual hardcore anti-gun crowd are trumpeting the usual cliches (and the usual lies) about the Evils of Guns, and When Will America Wake Up and Scrap the 2nd Amendment -- but they're sounding rather weak nowadays, especially as the FBI crime statistics have revealed some embarrassing facts.  Among these are: 1) the homicide/gun-homicide/violent-crime rates in America have been falling since the 1990s, which (coincidentally?) is the same period when the majority of states made it easier for civilians to obtain firearms concealed-carry permits, the number of permits and the number of civilian gun-owners skyrocketed;  2) an average of 10,000 Americans every year are killed by firearms, while at least 900,000 Americans every year prevent violent crimes by use of a firearm (and the number could easily be twice as high);  3) the vast majority of gun-homicides (85%) every year are committed by young Black males.  Oops.

Far more pundits concentrated on the killer's manifesto, where he ranted about racism, the recent church shooting and its clear racist motives (by one vicious punk), and police killings of Blacks (ignoring police shootings of poor Whites, Indians and Asians).  He also raved about losing his job to a White woman and claimed it was because he was Gay as well as Black, but the commentators played down that part.  Those first two points gave plenty of fodder for raps about Racism In America by Black petty-politicians -- such as "leaders" of Black Lives Matter, and Al "Mighty Mouth" Sharpton.  Interestingly, there are far fewer -- if any -- such raps from the Gay community, probably because Gays are used to enduring worse treatment and more often.

Only a few news analysts I've heard have focused on the killer's manifest -- and manifestoed -- personality.  He was obviously a self-obsessed, infantile, paranoid, malignant narcissist who blamed everybody else in the world for his disappointments in life.  Comments from the TV station where the event happened make it clear that the killer lost his job not because he was Black, or Gay, but because he was "thin-skinned", "touchy", took everything as a personal attack, and got along with nobody.  It's not surprising that a personality like that, when the station suffered shrinking income and had to lay off some personnel, got the boot.

The problem is that nobody realized that such a personality could actually be dangerous, could come back to the studio two years after he was fired and shoot up the place -- and that is exactly the problem.  Much of modern middle-class culture encourages infantilism like this, and doesn't realize the danger of encouraging it, let alone have any strategy for discouraging it.  Various pundits have discussed the importance of spotting people with serious mental problems before they get to the point of shooting (or bombing, or knifing) random targets, but what good is mental-health testing when the society applying the tests doesn't recognize the problem when they see it?

--Leslie <;)))><         

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bibliolatry


Bibliolatry -- the worship of a book -- is the curse that plagues the three major religions of the western world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Regarding a Holy Book as containing sacred power by itself makes it unquestionable, and freezes the mind of the worshipers in the mental attitudes common at the time of the book's writing, and allows no possibility of change or learning from subsequent experience, even over centuries -- a rigidity which puts the worshipers increasingly out of touch with the real world, with all the friction that implies.

The Jews, to their credit, consider only the first five books of the Old Testament to be sacred -- the Five Books of Moses -- and all the rest are commentary.  Even so, the ambiguities of ancient Hebrew allow for wide interpretation of even those five books.  Ancient Hebrew was a pidgin, a trade-language cobbled together from the tongues of twelve different tribes, with a large smattering of ancient Egyptian, and as such it was word-poor -- containing less than 10,000 words when the Five Books were written.  Since there weren't very many words in the language, each word had to carry the freight of several meanings;  just which meaning was intended in any given sentence had to be guessed at from the context.  This makes a language excellent for poetry, but very poor at anything requiring precision -- such as history or law -- as the authors were quite aware.  This means that the Old Testament was never meant to be taken literally, not even by those who wrote it.  This did not stop the Orthodox Jews, over the centuries, from arguing over the precise meaning of those imprecise words until they created a rigid code of behavior and ritual which sets them apart -- sometimes dangerously so -- from the rest of the world.  Reform Judaism grew up after modern scholarship revealed the facts about the Old Testament -- the ambiguity of the original language, the effect of ancient Egyptian politics on the writing, and the multiple authorship.  That last had been obvious from the beginning;  the collection is called the Five Books of Moses, but in the accounts Moses dies in the second book, so somebody else had to finish the rest of them.  The likeliest candidate is Aaron, Moses' brother, who had been a priest in Egypt -- and not a priest of Yahweh.  The Reform Jews used this knowledge to break free of the ancient bibliolatry and shape their religion with a more enlightened attitude, extracting moral and philosophical lessons out of the ancient writings, rather than being bound to ritual observances.  This is why most modern Jews are Reform rather than Orthodox.

Christianity, which evolved out of Judaism, followed a somewhat similar path.  Its holy book, the New Testament, is the account of the life and death of Ieshua bar-Ioseph of Nazareth and his immediate followers, and was written in Aramaic sometime in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.  This was during the Roman occupation of Judea, which followed the Alexandrian Greek occupation after the conquests of Alexander the Great.  At that time the literate people in Judea spoke, and wrote, in Aramaic -- which was a hybrid of Hebrew and Greek.  Whether Ieshua himself spoke Aramaic or Hebrew is anyone's guess, since he was the son of a carpenter and wasn't raised with the expectation of a literary profession but worked -- presumably at his father's trade -- until he took up preaching in his 30s.  Just what he preached was religious reform: direct mental contact with the Jewish god, rather than blind observance of ritual and dutiful subservience to the temple priesthood.  His proposed reforms earned him the enmity of the priesthood, and his popularity gained him the hostility of the paranoid local king, which got him killed.  Ieshua never claimed to be anything but a Jewish religious reformer;  it was his followers who labeled him Messiah and deified him in memory, so that his legend spread after his death.  The first written account of his life wasn't penned until nearly 60 years after his death, and the rest still later, so none of the Gospels were eyewitness accounts.  The official New Testament was put together by a council of bishops in the 3rd century, and those bishops left accounts of the several other books that they threw out of the final version.  The custom of considering the book itself to be holy and unuestionable didn't start until Constantine (on his death-bed, if indeed it was him instead of his pious wife speaking) made Christianity the official religion of the floundering Roman empire.  As the religion spread and the empire collapsed, the book became the emblem of the church's power -- and so remained holy and unquestionable for another thousand years.  It wasn't until literacy and learning returned to Europe on any sizable scale, during the Renaissance, that anyone started questioning the book's supposed absolute accuracy.  Not until the 19th century did scientific discoveries, contradicting the book's claims, make acceptance of its literal inaccuracy widespread.  The parables of Ieshua -- which he clearly labeled as parables -- and the obvious symbols and allegories of the gospel of John made it easier to accept the entire book as a collection of parables, myths and symbols.  Even so, there are large numbers of people even today who try to insist that the entire book is literally true -- and therefore science is wrong.

Islam was largely the creation, in the 600s, of one man: an Arabian tent-maker who lucked into early marriage to a wealthy widow.  Muhammed was prone to mild epileptic fits, during which he saw ecstatic visions.  When his wife died and left him a wealthy widower, he consolidated his visions into a religion composed of fragments from the Christian bible and his own creations.  Muhammed was illiterate, so he hired a small army of clerks and dictated his visions, thoughts and memories to them.  Just how accurately those clerks transcribed his accounts, and how much they added or subtracted according to their own political agendas, nobody knows.  Muhammed was also ambitious, and used his inherited wealth to hire troops and entice armed allies.  He courted the local Jews and Christians, hoping to win them over to his religion, but when they declined he grew angry with them and took to conquering them instead.  By the time he died, Muhammed was an exceedingly wealthy conqueror whose empire stretched across Arabia and much of the middle-east.  His notes to his clerks were collected into a single book, which was subsequently called the Koran;  it was used as the emblem of his new religion and the justification for his empire.  His heirs fell to squabbling over who would inherit which part of his empire, thus creating the major divisions within Islam, but all of them claimed the Koran as their holy and unquestionable justification.  No one in the conquered territories dared to question the absolute truth and holiness of the Koran for another thousand years.  In the 19th century the Baha'i sect dared to claim that the revelations of the Koran might be transcended by later revelations, for which various imams and ayatollahs denounced the Baha'is and declared them not to be Muslims at all.  In the 20th century a scholar revealed, in a novel called "The Satanic Verses", the fact that Muhammed had not directly written the Koran, for which various imams and ayatollahs put out a death-order on him.  Only in the safety of distant countries have any modern Muslim scholars questioned the holy unquestionability of the Koran, and they haven't made much headway anywhere else.  Instead, the current wave of Jihadis -- typified by ISIL -- have made themselves a threat to everyone else in the world with their strict adherence to the absolute literal interpretation of the Koran.

What history has shown is that bibliolatry creates extensive and unnecessary warfare with one's neighbors, and likewise destructive treatment of one's own people.  Religions that indulge in it descend into stagnation at best and savagery at worst.  No religion has advanced into modern enlightenment without freeing itself from such holy-book worship and allowing its worshipers to think for themselves.  To put it another way, no sensible god would be pleased at seeing humans blindly worship questionable writings, instead of learning from the signs the god currently gives them or using the brains he gave them in the first place.

--Leslie <;)))><