World Domination Update
“Night of the Karmasaurus”
vol. VIII, iss. v
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
of the Moment: “Kentucky Freud Chicken: it’s mother fuckin’
Secret Word of the Day: Clump
Site of the Week: Agony Booth — scathingly brutal movie reviews
Barbecue Sauce of the Month: Mojave Moe’s Vampire Repellant Sauce (and Steak Marinade)
In this issue:
· George Waffle Bush
· Canaan Confusion
· Audio Analysis
· saint’s Sermonette: Philemon
· Ask Evil Matt
· Harriet for President
Hi, Boys & Girls!!!
Well, since the last Update came out, we’ve had the joy of experiencing the two political conventions which allegedly introduced us to the presidential candidates and what each planned to do to wreck America over the next four years. Not that there was ever any doubt about who the contenders would be, of course. Although the conventions are traditionally little more than political pep rallies, this year it was especially evident, with little substance actually said up on the podium. Raise your hand if you’re surprised by this.
Didn’t think so.
Although I realize that the system is set up to allow the challengers to go first, the Republicans got lucky this go-round, because in the month between the cons, the American populace has had the Olympics to distract them and numb their minds to the requisitely lethargic level before Bush took the stage to shovel his shit down the viewers’ throats.
Aside from the fact that there was already no doubt about who the candidates would be, this year’s convention was especially lack-luster and mind-numbing for one other reason: television coverage was limited to about an hour a night. Good lord! This is probably the most important election of most readers’ lifetime, but apparently the major networks thought it would be better to show reruns of That ’70s Show rather than let people become educated about how the candidates stood.
However, it fits in quite nicely with the Brain Police’s plan to keep people as uninformed as possible about candidates and issues. Let’s face it: more people today get their “news” from the Letterman monologue or The Daily Show than they do from “real” news sources. Even then, when people do watch the news, their understanding of it is woefully low. A recent poll underscores this with the following results of misinformed ignorance:
54% believe Iraq had WMDs
35% believe there was an Iraq/Al Qaida link
15% believe Iraq was behind 9/11
Granted, that poll was conducted among “733 adults” with no additional information about this demographic. A more telling one came out a few months ago—which I have since not been able to locate—that not only tallied the misinformation margins, but listed where these people got their news from. The people who were most consistently wrong and ill-informed watched Fox, the people who were most up on events listened to NPR.
Obviously, the concept of an intentional conspiracy of media misinformation is nothing new; Noam Chomsky dealt most effectively with this in his book Manufacturing Consent. However, nothing has changed, except for the worse, and such misinformation can only be the reason why Bush is tied with Kerry in the polls right now.
Well, that and the fact that all the other alternatives to Bush are complete doofuses in their own right. But that’s a different issue.
We’ll see if anything changes once the debates start happening, but given how the conventions were covered, I suspect at best we’ll be given highly edited “highlights” with little substance and no real information for us stuck in the middle to better draw or reinforce our own conclusions.
Speaking of debates, back during the last Republican primary candidate debates (specifically December 13, 1999, in Des Moines), George Bush was asked, “Who is your favorite philosopher?” This was obviously a question his handlers hadn’t prepared him for, because after an awkward five-second silence (during which he struck his classic Deer-Caught-In-Headlights™ pose,) he finally replied “Jesus Christ.”
I have to wonder about that, though for reasons other than the obvious.
Granted, there is a fine line between philosopher and theologian, and I actually think Christ qualifies as both, but I don’t think Bush has the brain-power to distinguish this nuance. He later clarified, “Well, if they don’t know, it’s going to be hard to explain.” I am reminded of Jesus’s own comment, “You see the mote in your enemy’s eye, but not the beam in your own.” Per John 18:38, Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus, “What is truth?” and surprisingly Jesus didn’t answer. Perhaps this is why Bush likes to play loose with the facts. Still, it’s pretty obvious that, despite his claims to read the Bible on a daily basis, it’s abundantly clear that the message it contains is way over his head. Key tenets such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” et cetera are clearly things he either ignores or just hasn’t had Dick Cheney explain to him yet. But the one that he has been abusing the most as of late comes from John 8:7, “If any one of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
Bush and his campaign cronies have gone to great pains to paint John Kerrey as a “waffler” who is inconsistent in policy, action, and voting record. This is actually true, but Bush is not really in any immaculate position himself, which becomes clear if one were to examine Bush’s own record. I could easily make a Top 100 list out of this, but for space considerations I’ll just stick to five of the more important ones:
“If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.” [10/3/00] saint says, “Oh, the irony!”
“We will be changing the regime of Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people.” [ 3/6/03]
Osama bin Laden
“I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’.” [09/17/01]
“I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him... I truly am not that concerned about him.” [3/13/02]
“We developed a bold approach under which, if the North addressed our long-standing concerns, the United States was prepared to take important steps that would have significantly improved the lives of the North Korean people. Now that North Korea’s covert nuclear weapons program has come to light, we are unable to pursue this approach.” [11/15/02]
“Well, we will work to take steps to ease their political and economic isolation. So there would be—what you would see would be some provisional or temporary proposals that would only lead to lasting benefit after North Korea dismantles its nuclear programs. So there would be some provisional or temporary efforts of that nature.” [6/23/04]
“The state can do what they want to do. Don’t try to trap me in this state’s issue like you’re trying to get me into.” [2/15/00]
“Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife.” [2/24/04]
“Bush said he...favors leaving up to a woman and her doctor the abortion question.” [The Nation, 6/15/00, quoting the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 5/78]
“I am pro-life.” [10/3/00]
...meanwhile, in other news...
Hello, I'd like to advertise on your site.
My name is Max and I am working hard on my website http://buy-football-tickets.com.. I'm seeking sites to host a small text ad . Our site has a great reputation for customer service, as well as, being a safe and efficient way to buy NFL football tickets.
The ad consists of around 15 words, with three of these words linked back to our website. We prefer a flat amount, and durations from 3 months to 1 year. Ideally, the ad would run on your index page and couple of other pages. Of course we are always open to suggestions. Please let me know what you would charge for this.
Thanks for your time; I look forward to your reply,—Max
We found you at:
*At this time, we not seeking link trades, Thank You.
Tell me, Max, how much sarcasm would you like in my reply? Clumps of it? Cool! Unfortunately, since you’ve identified yourself as a sports fan, I take that as de facto proof that your brain cells don’t reach double digits—something several lines in your email confirm, so I’ll actually tone the venom down to something you might actually grasp. After all, it’s no fun insulting you if you’re too stupid to catch on. In fact, in the effort of think for yourself, I’ll even help walk you through the logic process of this. No need to thank me; I am a giver.
Anyway, we would be delighted to host an advertisement for your porn—I mean sports—site. Now, you may—or probably didn’t—notice a lack of ads and banners on here. This is actually no accident, as we actually pay our web server to keep that crap off. However, I was so impressed by your generic chain mail that I decided to make an exception, as your piece of spam touched a soft spot within me.
Now, somehow you had stumbled/surfed into an issue of the Update issue from 10 months ago. I can see how its featured article of the 2003 Obtusity Awards would appeal to you—I assume you’re vying for a spot in the 2004 roll? You seem to suggest putting your ad there, as well as on our index page, but you suggested you were open to other suggestions. I agree: here would be a few that are more appropriate:
The Sports Sucks Page
WDU 2.6 (which features an article on the evils of advertising)
Now, as to our rates. Our going rate is 100 tons of flax per word; if graphics are involved (ie: you whipped up something in MS Paint) then there is an additional 50 tons per byte of file size. We also expect a kick-back of 1 ton per click referral. If you have had a bad flax harvest this year, I’ll be cool and cut you a deal: substitute “U.S. dollar” for “ton of flax.”
Good luck with your site. If you haven’t already thought of it, you might try contacting your Brain Police case officer to get additional subsidizing, as you are clearly doing B.P. bidding.
Actually, Reverend 451, shade and I have had several lengthy discussions about putting ads on the Cyber-Compound. We ultimately agreed it was a bad idea for a couple of reasons.
First, if we were to actually whore ourselves out as such, we would at least have a modicum of respect about it by selecting what ads would go on, such as for a barbecue sauce or a firearm. Smith & Wesson would be great, as they actually make both!
Second, it seems to fly in the face of think for yourself. If we were to have an ad for Zippo lighters, for example, that would seem to amount to an endorsement. Rule 4 of our Hedgehogma is all things are subjective, so endorsements would be counterproductive.
|I caught your use of Gumbo's
quote... thanks. What is your opinion on these two questons?
Do you think we should support Israel? Does Israel have a legitimate claim to there country.
First of all, no prob, I give credit where credit due (unlike Chris PapaPlagerii) and yours was a good call. Of course, I’ve been saying that all along (ie: the response to radical islam being radical christianity was phuqing pathetic) but it was nice to see someone share that view. Sometimes it’s reassuring to know it’s not just me who thinks all this.
Then again, I’m still not sure if the voices in my head are real or not, but you gotta admit: they have some pretty good ideas...
Anyway, as for your two questions, I might as well go fishing now, cuz you just opened up a whole can of worms. The two questions are related, but actually separate enough that it is possible to answer “yes” to one but “no” to the other. saint and I have conflicting, ambivalent feelings about this (I haven’t asked Evil Matt what his thoughts are) but we are in agreement that the whole thing is a mess that cannot be solved to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.
As to your first question, ‘should we support Israel?’ I would say yes. Understand, of course, that such support is not a blank cheque for Israel to do whatever it wants while we turn a blind eye. Obviously, Israel is a sovereign nation and as such has the right to conduct itself as it sees fit. It is not our mouthpiece in the Middle East, nor should it be. That said, friends don’t let friends act like assholes in public. If we are to truly be Israel’s friend, we should have had a much louder voice in the past (and even present) in calling shenanigans on the bullshit going on within their borders.
The Brain Police are big supporters of Israel, of course, though typically they play both sides and pump the Palestinian national cause, too—all in an effort to keep the pot boiling and distract everyone from what they’re really doing. It’s no secret that the Brain Police are openly in control of almost all right-wing/phundamentalist Christian institutions, but it’s important to understand why they support Israel.
The Brain Police brand of Christianity has as its central tenet that the Bible, as accepted today, is literally the Word of God, and all parts of it are true. Although the Bible has many prophecies about the End of the World, it is commonly accepted among Christians that these all can be harmonized as showing different smaller aspects of the grand picture presented in Revelation. One of the central events of Revelation is the return of the Messiah—the second coming of Jesus, which Christians have been waiting with bated breath for about two thousand years to happen. Although all Christians expect this to happen eventually, Brain Police Christians want this to happen now, or at least within their lifetime. Israel as both a people and a land mass features prominently in Revelation. There has to be a nation of Israel with lots of Jews living in it for Revelation to be true. What the Brain Police haven’t told their lassoed masses is that once Jesus comes back, anybody that isn’t already a Christian or doesn’t convert immediately is phuqed. This would include the Jews and Palestinians. In reality, the Brain Police don’t give a rat’s ass about Israel; they are just using it as a stepping stone to bring about the Second Coming.
I could delve off onto a massive tangent here and point out the flaws (obvious and subtle) with this, but perhaps that’s best left to a future issue. Meanwhile, let’s look at your second question: “does Israel have a legitimate claim to their country?”
Short version: yes, except...
Long version: no, but...
To explain that, it is necessary to get into the history of the situation, because there are obviously some other people already living there that aggressively accept my long version ‘no’ answer without the qualifier. For those of you who live in a cave and pay no attention to events, I’m referring to the Palestinians.
Unfortunately, their claim to the land is even more tenuous than the Jews’.
The Jewish claim on Canaan is obvious: it’s specifically spelled out in the Old Testament (Genesis 17:8, etc.) God gave the land to Abraham and his children, specifically his twelve grandchildren (the progenitors of the 12 Tribes of Israel.)
The Palestinian clam on the land can be distilled into two words: squatters’ rights. They’ve been living there long enough that they feel the land is theirs.
Readers who wish to answer the question “do the Jews have a valid claim to the land?” need to answer three questions:
how long does it take for squatters’ rights to become “valid”?
if a group is able to successfully and repeatedly defend a land, doesn’t that make it their own?
what happens when two (or more) competing groups both have historical claims on an area, and are unwilling to share?
These three questions tie in with the “yes, except” and “no, but” answers from earlier. The “except” and “but” conundrums are issues that need to be addressed if one is to make an intelligent, educated decision about the what I will call “The Question.”
So, in my continuing effort to get the Cyber-Compound fire-bombed by Islamic extremists, let’s take an anthropological look at the history of the Holy Land, especially emphasizing the people who lived there over the past few thousand years. After all, this is context that is conveniently overlooked by both sides, or at least selectively chosen/ignored by those two sides wishing to emphasize their claims. You might want to take notes; this gets complex, and will be on the quiz at the end of the semester.
Therefore, without further ado, let’s dust off some history and delve into...
The Canaan Conundrum
First and foremost, some etymology: who are the “Palestinians”?
“Palestine” is a corrupt variant of “Philistine.” For those who slept through Sunday School Sermons or High School History, the Philistines were a nasty group of savages originally from the Aegean Sea area between modern Greece and Turkey. After a disastrous attempt to invade Egypt ca. 1190BC, they retreated in humiliating defeat to the southwest coastline of Canaan, and set up a loose confederacy of five city-states between Gaza and Ashdod. Attempts to expand inward brought them into conflict with the Jewish tribes already living there.
That’s right: the Jews had already crossed the Jordan under Joshua and settled in long before the Philistines showed up.
The Philistines worshiped an odd, evil deity known as Ba’al, and caused no end of trouble for the Jews. Samson seemed to make a personal one-man crusade out of fighting them: he burned their crops, killed a thousand of them with just the jawbone of an ass, etc. The most (in)famous Philistine was a big bad-ass named Goliath that a young David may (or may not!) have taken out with a lucky sling shot. In short, the Philistines were a cruel lot who did not follow the One True God.
I must immediately wonder at any modern group who names themselves after them.
Despite several centuries of border skirmishes between the Philistine confederacy (collectively known as Philistia) and the Jewish Kingdom, nothing was ever settled decisively until outside forces intervened. Philistia was conquered twice, first by the Assyrians, and then by the Babylonians, who effectively ended their being any type of cohesive, organized government.
The same can be said of Israel, or technically the two post-Solomon kingdoms of Israel and Judea. However, unlike the Philistines, the Jews were eventually able to recover and reestablish themselves, thanks to the Maccabeean revolt of 165BC that Chanukah celebrates. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, and ended when Rome conquered the land. We have Roman cartographers to thank for the area being known as Palestine.
The Jews got fed up with Roman rule, and in 66AD revolted against their Imperial Overlords. A small nation of fishers and farmers took on the largest and most organized empire the planet had seen at that time, so the outcome was exactly what you’d expect: they got spanked. In 70, Jerusalem was razed, the Temple was destroyed, and the population was reduced to double digits. Most Jews in the area survived this by packing their bags and getting the hell out of there. It’s no exaggeration to say that shortly after this, there were more Jews outside of Canaan than in it.
Obviously, many people remained behind, some keeping their Judaic heritage, some abandoning it. To a large extent, this ethnic group would remain there to this day would ultimately become the indigenous population that had to put up with whoever would come in and conquer the land thereafter. Ethnically, they are most correctly called “Semites.” Although neither modern group wants to acknowledge it, the “Palestinians” and the “Israelis” both come from this same Semitic stock.
However, back to 1,900 years ago, the land was unquestionably under Roman rule, which continued until a few hundred years later when Rome collapsed. After that, the land was up for grabs.
The next major force to move in were the Muslims. This is where what would normally be considered an ethnic squabble becomes a theological one.
Amazingly, Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the Quar’an. The closest you’ll find is an admittedly ambiguous passage:
Glory to Him, who did take His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts we did bless, so that He may show him some of our signs.
—The Children of Israel 17:1
This “farthest Mosque” is considered to be Jerusalem, which I find to be a good trick, as there were no mosques in Israel at all until the Moslems conquered it. Still, this obvious oversight was rectified by moving in with an army a few decades after Mohommed’s death and building one. This is the Al Aqsa Mosque, which stands atop the hill where people (incorrectly!) believed Solomon’s Temple once stood. It is still there today, the third-most holy site in Islam.
The Islamic invasion was done under the guise of proselytizing: spreading the word of The Messenger Muhammed. Most of the people chose to accept the new faith. Then again, when a scimitar is at your throat, your choices are limited. Whatever the case, the overwhelming majority of the indigenous Canaanites became Moslems, and this demographic is still in effect.
It is important to remember that Moslems view themselves as the true inheritors of God’s message. They see themselves as the theological heirs to Abraham, and view the Jews as pretenders who phuqed up God’s message. In other words, Moslems think they are the “true” Jews. Curiously, Paul makes a similar claim throughout Galatians, except you need to substitute “Christian” for “Moslem.” But whatever the case, from the Islamic standpoint, since God had promised Canaan to the children of Abraham, and Islam saw itself as the rightful inheritor of that mantle, logically then Canaan should be theirs.
The land itself changed hands several times as competing Moslem armies waged war in the area, but in 1099 Christian Crusaders came in, conquered it, and set up the Kingdom of Jerusalem. This lasted all of 88 years, until bad planning and arrogance on the part of Christian generals pretty much handed it to Saladin on a silver platter.
Canaan continued to change hands among random Islamic factions, until what ultimately became the Ottoman Empire moved in from Turkey and took over for a several-century stretch. The Ottomans ultimately made the mistake of siding with Germany and Austria-Hungary during World War One—a mistake because obviously that side lost, and as a result, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and was carved up by the victors. The League of Nations gave Canaan to the British, who called it The Mandate of Palestine, and to a large extent this is when the modern problems began.
When it was fairly obvious how the Great War was going to end, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, a prominent leader in the British Jewish committee, for dissemination among the Zionist Federation.
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour
This became known as the Balfour Declaration, and understandably caused much excitement among the Jewish community. Oh goodie! We’re getting Israel back!
Surprisingly, not all the Jews greeted this news favorably. The problem, as they saw it, was that if there was going to be a new national Hebrew homeland, it should be done right, in accordance with the Bible. This means having a King descended from David, a functioning Temple, etc. None of these conditions were even remotely close to being met, and even today there are Jewish factions who view what has become the Nation of Israel as illegitimate because it does not meet these Scriptural stipulations.
To be honest, I’m inclined to agree.
But backing up a few decades, during World War Two, Adolph Hitler managed to put a seven-digit deficit in the Jewish demographic. Homicidal Jewish persecution was nothing new, of course, but the scale and scope of the Holocaust was dizzying by any standard. Jews worldwide began crying out for a homeland, under the impression that this would somehow help prevent such a thing from ever happening again. Most Gentiles agreed, though their logic was more along the lines of ‘six million Jews were just killed, so we should throw them a bone as compensation.’
Unfortunately, the people living in Canaan had different thoughts on the matter. Their attitude was that the Holocaust was a European problem, and they in Canaan should not have to suffer because of something they were not involved in. Besides, six million Slavs also died in the concentration camps, but there was no effort to set up any type of homeland for them. So singling out the Jews for such special treatment and compensation package seemed unfair, and of course served as prime facie evidence to anti-Semitic groups that “the Jews” were secretly running the world.
Anyway, on November 29, 1947, The United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 181, which divided Canaan into two separate areas: a Palestinian State and An Israeli State. Jerusalem would be an open, neutral city under U.N. control. Admittedly, the division was pretty goofy (just look at the map) but the indigenous Arabs turned it down—because they didn’t want to share.
To me, this is where any potential sympathies with the Palestinians wither away. They had a chance for their own nation, and rather than negotiate, they just walked away.
The British Mandate of Palestine expired on May 13, 1948, and one day later Israel declared their independence and sovereignty.
24 hours later, they were invaded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The Israeli army was outnumbered over 4 to 1. The Israelis call this “The War for Independence.” The Arabs call it “Al Nakba,” which means “the Catastrophe.” And rightfully so, but for sarcastically ironic reasons: despite having 4:1 superiority, they had their asses handed back to them.
This set the trend for the next 50-odd years: neighboring Arabic nations would invade, and get repelled. The one exception was the Six-Day war of 1967, when Israel launched a preemptive strike on Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Evidence was overwhelming that these three nations were about to invade, so Israel beat them to the punch. They Pearl Harbored the Egyptian air force, destroying over 90% of it while it was still on the ground, and also wrought havoc on the other two nations’ armed forces. The Israeli military was able to expand its borders and territorial holdings, somewhat curiously going beyond the Biblically dictated borders, but the gem of war was the taking of Eastern Jerusalem.
The last major armed conflict was in 1974, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, arguably the most holy day in Judaism. Obviously, it didn’t work.
This brings up an interesting point, which ties in with the over-all question of whether Israel has a “right” to exist. The Jews have successfully defended their land against repeated invasions for 50+ years. Does this not sort of suggest some sort of Divine providence at work? If Allah truly hated Israel and wanted a Palestinian state, Al Nakba never would have been the catastrophe for the Arabs that it turned out to be, and the Jews would have been crushed.
Indeed, it is curious that the Quar’an itself seems to support this view that Allah apparently favors Israel:
Say: Oh Allah, Master of sovereignty[Kingdoms]! You give sovereignty [Kingdoms] to whom You please and take away sovereignty [Kingdoms] from whomsoever You please.
—The Family of Imran 3:26
Like I said: if Allah didn’t want a nation of Israel, you’d think He would have done something about it by now...
Q875 Culprit Compendium
About a year ago, the world of research into Jonestown was rocked by the discovery of audio tape Q875. Jim Jones was known to record most of his sermons, including his “final performance,” and left a legacy of over 1,000 tapes behind. The duties of transcribing them have fallen to independent researchers, and with about a thousand of them, this understandably takes some time, so it is understandable that a tape made 25 years ago has not surfaced until now. What makes Q875 remarkable is that it was recorded after the mass suicide. There is roughly a 24-hour gap between when the suicides ended and the Guyanese army showed up, and what happened at the commune in that time has never been known.
Until now, that is.
Apparently, at least six people were on-site, and made a short tape of their activities. Who these people were and why they were there is a mystery that Jonestown researchers are now scrambling to unravel.
Dr. Rebecca Moore and her husband Fielding McGehee, who run an excellent academic website devoted to Jonestown, publish an annual newsletter discussing updates on the Jonestown tragedy, and have asked me to contribute an article to it. As I am particularly curious about Q875 and the conundrum it presents, I happily accepted this writing assignment. The following is a sneak preview of the piece that will run in their upcoming Jonestown Report.
With little doubt, one of the biggest puzzles to come out of the Jonestown tragedy in recent times is the discovery of tape Q875, which was recorded at least half a day after the deaths. Until now, it was generally accepted that the last of the deaths occurred around midnight of November 18, 1979, and that presumably the few on-site survivors—roughly twenty of Jones’s inner circle—pulled a Houdini and disappeared shortly thereafter. After that, Jonestown was thought to have been deserted (I hesitate to use the term ‘ghost town’) for about 20 hours, until the Guyanese Defense Force arrived at dusk on the 19th. But, much as the crucial Christian period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Jonestown chronology has a 24-hour gap in it: what happened in the time between the last of the deaths at midnight and the arrival of the GDF little less than a day later?
At the very least, Q875 requires that the generally accepted chronology of events during those mysterious 24 hours be rewritten. Clearly, someone was on-site at that time, though who and why are unknown. If we can determine who was there, it might be possible to extrapolate why.
The voices on the tape—at least five males and one female—speak English with American accents, except for one possibly Guyanese speaker, so we can immediately rule out any locals. Realistically, this leaves us with three possibilities for suspects: the U.S. military, and the U.S. government (ie: the CIA), and the aforementioned “missing twenty.” Cases can be made for and against each group. In the interest of helping curious readers draw or debunk their own theories over this, I offer the following analyses of each suspect scenario without endorsing any, other than to mention that I present the groups in order of what I consider least to most likely.
The Military. Rumors that the American military (usually Army Rangers or Green Berets) were on-site during the lost time between the 18th and the 19th have been lurking around for decades, though there is no credible evidence or paper trail to back this up. Of course, one wouldn’t expect there to be such blatant evidence if this were a covert operation. All such stories of military involvement are at least second-hand, and the sources disseminating them tend to be conspiracy theorists. Of government groups that would have an interest in Jonestown, the military is low on the totem pole, so the question of motive is immediately raised. Most conspiracists would respond that the Army would be pawns in this case, acting on orders from “elsewhere,” with Langley, Virginia being the most popular spot. Alas, this shows a lack of understanding of how the government works: the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community are separate entities, and there has always been a bit of a rivalry between the two and a reluctance to cooperate. There are contemporary examples of collaboration between the two, of course, with the failed Iranian hostage rescue mission being the best instance. Even that, however, not only took an Executive Order, but more to the point required months of planning and coordination. With Jonestown, we are talking about a window of opportunity of less than 24 hours with next to no advanced notice.
That said, if any group had the means to get in and out on such short call and without anyone knowing, it would be the military. The American military did have a presence throughout Central America, and flight time from a base in Panama, for example, to northern Guyana is only a few hours. The Guyanese officials at the nearest airstrip, Port Kaituma, have steadfastly insisted that no one from the “outside world” showed up in the time between the suicides and the GDF rescue mission, so access to Jonestown would have to be done by helicopter. In terms of pulling off this logistical coup, then, the military would be best set up to do it.
The CIA. Alleged Agency involvement in Jonestown has been a hotly-debated topic over the past 25 years, and is indeed fertile grounds for a bumper crop of conspiracy theories. Jim Jones was a Marxist messiah-type who floated plans to relocate to the Soviet Union, so in this Cold War context it stretches credibility to think that the government wouldn’t have at the very least a passive interest in Jonestown. Unlike the above-mentioned Military Scenario, coming up with a motive for the CIA to make a quick trip to Jonestown requires very little imagination Likewise, if one is exceedingly lenient and generous as to their capabilities, they could conceivably have been able to pull off the admittedly impressive feat of assembling a team on no notice and dipping in and out without anyone knowing.
Q875 itself offers two very tantalizing—if ambiguous and open-ended—clues suggesting this.
First, the people on the tape can be heard rummaging around the radio room, as if they were looking for something. The GDF themselves reported that Jonestown seemed to have been either looted or ransacked when they showed up. Although this is usually attributed to local native Amerindians and Guyanese living near-by, the people on Q875 are clearly American, and from the context of the sounds, seem to be looking for something. Incriminating evidence, perhaps?
Second, there is this snippet of dialogue:
“He’s in Georgetown with Richard [unintelligible] right [unintelligible, sounds like ‘now’], [unintelligible, sounds like ‘unless’]…”
“[interrupting] I thought you said he [unintelligible]” [laughs]
“Who was it?”
“He was the [unintelligible].”
“He was the, uh, executor of the, uh, settlement in Costa Rica, right? He’s the bigwig.”
There were two survivors named Richard: Richard Clark, and Richard Janaro. Neither were in Georgetown during this time-frame. Of course, there was a third Richard involved with the events. Richard Dwyer was an Agency Man who survived the Port Kaituma shootout and even gets a hotly-debated reference from Jim Jones himself on the infamous Death Tape. If the people on Q875 are indeed referring to Mr. Dwyer, we have as close to a smoking gun of CIA involvement as we are probably going to get.
Obviously, it is tenuous at best to assert that the “Richard” in question is Richard Dwyer, for two reasons. I have been unable to determine how Dwyer referred to himself—thus influencing what others would call him. There are multiple forms of the name: Rich, Rick, Dick, etc. Also, it is unclear just when Q875 was recorded, as efforts to time-stamp it against the broadcast times of the news broadcasts in the background have as of now been unsuccessful. If Q875 were recorded early enough, there may not have been enough time to have evacuated him to Georgetown and have this information known to the people on the tape.
However, the speakers on the tape show more than a passing familiarity with the whole situation, as reference to the “big wig Costa Rica executor” demonstrates, which you would expect of CIA operatives handling the case.
The Missing Twenty. It is known that a number of Jones’s inner circle survived the suicides and subsequently dropped out of sight. Since they were obviously on-site at the time of the suicides, it plausible to allow that they would stick around longer than is generally accepted. It is also plausible to attribute the general ransacking evident at Jonestown to them removing any self-incriminating evidence. Of course, this begs the question: if they stuck around to remove incriminating evidence, why would they be dumb enough to put themselves on tape?
Putting that plot hole in logic aside, the very fact that this was taped at all seems to suggest members of the Missing Twenty made it. Q875 was recorded on one of the existing cassettes at Jonestown, so whoever made it knew where the cassette cache was, and then apparently went to the trouble of returning it to that location. I have trouble believing that military or CIA agents would have that detailed knowledge of the commune. More to the point, they wouldn’t be so sloppy and stupid as to record such a tape, as it defeats the whole purpose of a clandestine ‘black bag’ operation. Conversely, if Q875 were made for the purposes of misinformation or misdirection, you would think that it would be better than it is: the audio parts would be clearer and contain dialogue that would serve as expository for whatever red herring they were trying to set up. The very existence of Q875 is an amateurish gaffe that flies in the face of professional training. However, it is a bit more understandable of people who had just been through a traumatic event—such as the deaths of 900+ friends—and weren’t quite thinking straight.
That said, one of the curiosities of the tape is the vocal tone of the speakers: they seem cool, calm, and collected, where-as you’d think the members of the Missing Twenty would be exceedingly stressed out.
One final thought on the matter that tends to support the tape being made by Peoples Temple survivors: one of the voices is a female. Not that I want to sound misogynistic, but it strikes me as highly unlikely that a woman would have been included in any type of military or government operation of this type. Obviously, I could be wrong, as determining precedent for this is exceedingly difficult and beyond my meager means. However, several of the Missing Twenty were women, so there is no suspension of disbelief required.
Other than these three suspects/scenarios, there are others, but almost all of them require leaps of faith that even televangelists wouldn’t try. Occam’s Razor points toward the tape having been made by the Missing Twenty, but that is just my opinion, and I could be wrong. Simply put, we do not know who recorded Q875, or why.
...meanwhile, from secular conspiracies to spiritual...
saint is still on sabbatical up at Sadburns Theological College in Arkham, Massachusetts, but was kind enough to mail me a tape of one of his lectures, which, with a little consensual revision, has been turned into:
At a mere twenty-five verses, The Epistle of Philemon is the fourth-shortest book of the Bible (after 2nd John, 3rd John, and Obadiah) but is with little doubt the most obscure and overlooked part of it.
It is also quite possibly one of the most subtly poisonous, in that it offers a glimpse into the mischievous, Machiavellian mind of Paul and offers prima facie proof of his personality problems.
Philemon is a curious Epistle, in that it is addressed to a specific individual over a specific situation, which is probably why it gets skipped over in Sunday School. However, if you want to know what a prig Paul was, it’s worth checking out.
Curiously, it is one of those things that takes longer to explain that to actually read. Although it can be read in about thirty seconds, I’ll take a couple of minutes to summarize it for y’all with the all-important context.
When Paul was in prison (possibly in Rome, but more probably in Ephesus) he came in contact with an escaped slave from Colossae named Onesimus. The name in Greek means “useful,” and Paul makes a number of bad puns to the effect of how “useful” Onesimus had proven to be to him there in prison. Skip the homoerotic implications; Paul was most likely using him in an actual servant capacity.
Anyway, for whatever reason—probably the obvious one—Onesimus had escaped from his master Philemon, and from context had stolen some property from him while doing so. How Onesimus ended up in jail with Paul is not known, but apparently he was about to be released. During his stay in jail, Paul had converted him to Christianity. Paul personally knew Onesimus’s former master, Philemon, and apparently had converted him to Christianity many years previously during one of his trips through Colossae.
Paul’s advice to Onesimus: return to your master Philemon, because as a slave that is your rightful place.
For those who don’t know, Roman law made it a capital offense for a slave to escape his/her rightful owner. Paul, in sending Onesimus back to Philemon, has technically just condemned him to a death sentence. However, Paul pens a short letter to Philemon to be taken with him, suggesting that Onesimus not be killed, but allowed back without harm.
Slavery was legal back then, both under Roman and Judaic law. Paul frequently gives commandments to his flock supporting the institution: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ” (Ephesians 6:5), “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” (Colossians 3:22) etc. Therefore, this letter is completely in keeping with his over-all philosophy on the subject of slavery in general, and obeying the perceived hierarchy in specific.
Although this is but a short vignette of inconsequential events of Mediterranean life, I suspect that the letter became popular and was preserved because it was from Paul, after all, and he was asking for compassion from Philemon to Onesimus.
Personally, I think the Brain Police preserved it because it advocated control: you are a slave, so go serve your master, and be glad he doesn’t kill you for any perceived disobedience.
If one reads between the lines in this short letter, Paul’s arrogance is pretty protrusive.
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love.” (v. 8-9) “...not to mention that you owe me your very self. ” (v.19) “Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. ” (v.21)
History does not pass on what happened: presumably Onesimus delivered the letter, but what happened to him after that is one of the many mysteries of the Bible. One legend is that Onesimus became Bishop of Colossae and went on to write the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Pauline authorship of Philemon is uncontested; not only does it pass the 2nd Thessalonian 3:17 authenticity test, but one would have to wonder why someone would forge an epistle of such seeming inconsequence. Aside from an over-all moral message (slaves stay loyal to your master) there is nothing doctrine-defining in this short letter.
Then again, I’m with saint on this one: it’s a subtle “obey the rules” letter that reinforces Paul’s control and the Brain Police yoke.
Ask Evil Matt
The Evil One fields your queries, as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla ‘X’.
Q:How many types of marsupials are there outside of Australia?
A: Depends how you count. There are
roughly 275 types of marsupials world-wide, with 200 of them being native to
Australia (kangaroos, wombats, koala, Tasmanian devil, etc.) Some are spread
across Australia and its neighboring areas (bandicoots, for example, are also
found in New Guinea and Indonesia.) The remainder of marsupials are mostly
found in South America (colocolo, shrew opossum, etc.) North America has only
one type of marsupial: the opossum.
is ivory made of? A: A common misconception about ivory is that
it is a special, unique substance. Not true. “Ivory” is
actually a trade name used to describe a large tooth. Elephant tusks, for
example, are actually large incisors, designed by evolution to function for
something other than eating (in the elephant’s case, digging/uprooting trees.) Ivory is
thus made of the same stuff your own teeth are, and thus are actually made of
multiple substances: dentine, cementum, and enamel. The distinguishing
feature is the size: elephant tusks, whale teeth, etc. are large enough
that they can be carved into something, such as a piano key, billiard ball, etc.
or just scrimshawed into a pretty design. Q: What
Q: What is ivory made of?
A: A common misconception about ivory is that it is a special, unique substance. Not true. “Ivory” is actually a trade name used to describe a large tooth. Elephant tusks, for example, are actually large incisors, designed by evolution to function for something other than eating (in the elephant’s case, digging/uprooting trees.) Ivory is thus made of the same stuff your own teeth are, and thus are actually made of multiple substances: dentine, cementum, and enamel. The distinguishing feature is the size: elephant tusks, whale teeth, etc. are large enough that they can be carved into something, such as a piano key, billiard ball, etc. or just scrimshawed into a pretty design.
Q: Whatdid Houdini die of?
A: Harry Houdini died from complications due to a ruptured appendix (specifically, peritonitis) on Halloween, 1926.Although many people thought the appendix burst due to a blow he received to the abdomen from a boxer two weeks earlier, this is quite unlikely.
The Hedgehog Corner By Harriet the Hedgehog
Got a question? .
The Hedgehog Corner
By Harriet the Hedgehog
Having studied your ridiculous political system at some length now, it seems obvious to me that you humans haven’t got a clue what you’re doing, and need a superior species (such as, oh, I dunno, a hedgehog) to take over and run things right.
That’s why I’m running for President.
While it could be pointed out that my being dead might pose a problem, I don’t see it as such. After all, there is precedent for this: in the 2000 elections, John Ashcroft lost the race for a Senate seat to Mel Carnahan, who had died two weeks previously.
My platform is very simple:
subsidized mealie worms,
outlawing Ayn Rand, and
war with the Argentinean beavers.
I will be taking a tip from Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party and dubbing myself the Bull Hog Party. Since I think T.R. was the last good president America has had, this seems like a good role model to adopt. As such, our campaign slogan will be “chuff softly but carry a big quill.”
So, Vote Bull Hog 2004!
That’s it for now, folks; and y’all know the drill:
Trust no one
and Always keep your lighter handy!
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