Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Viable Alternative to Revolution

The French people are revolting against an unresponsive government that caters to the rich and marginalizes the average citizen. Revolution is happening there. We don’t know what the outcome will be, we’ll have to wait and see. It might fizzle out, it might violently be put down, it might overthrow the government. The state has all the power except for the one power they cannot control - popular opinion. Once an idea becomes a movement, it can become reality. We’ve seen it before. But at what cost? How many will die in France before that happens? (If it happens.) And then what will happen? What kind of government will they have? Revolution is a very messy, very open-ended, process.

The American government is hopelessly out of control as well. The corporations, the big banks and the rich control every aspect of it—no matter which party is in power—and we the people seem helpless. Everyone knows this, everyone complains about it, but what can we do? Short of revolution, what can we do?

When "pro-regulation" Democrats are in power, they implement regulations that help the big corporations and banks and stifle any competition from small businesses. When "anti-regulation" Republicans are in power they repeal regulations that hinder big corporations and banks and have somehow managed to foster competition by helping small businesses in some minute way. Both parties enlist the affected corporations to assess the impact on their industry and to help them draft the legislation. Either way, big money wins, we the people lose. Everyone knows this, but short of revolution, what can we do?

No matter which party is in power, we always seem to find a way to manufacture some new enemy so we can go to war and keep the big defense corporations and the banks rolling in that sweet government dough. In the meantime, the average citizen joins up, goes to war and gets killed or maimed or forever changed in ways we who have not experienced it cannot fathom. And the corporate-owned media cheerleads from the sidelines and tells us that any good patriot will "support the troops", implying of course that we must support the beholden politicians who make wars for the corporations at the expense of the people - especially the troops. Again, big money wins, we the people lose. But short of revolution, what can we do?

No matter which party is in power, the government continues to make popular things illegal and then relentlessly enforces those laws to populate the prisons with the poor people who can’t afford the lawyers necessary to decipher the laws that their comrades have drawn up. Of course the state-entangled, corporate media continually feeds us the narrative that these people, and the things they do, are evil and that we need to "do something about it", resulting in a popular outcry for more of the same. But what can we do. Short of revolution, what can we do?

We have been led to believe that there are significant differences between the two parties yet both parties continue to make government bigger and more intrusive—taking away more of our freedoms—while at the same time devaluing the dollar—taking away more of our purchasing power. It may come as a shock to learn that, for roughly the first 100 years of our country's existence, the value of the dollar remained unchanged. Yes that's right. If grandma, in 1912, said "100 years ago you could buy a loaf of bread for a nickel", her grandkids would laugh and say "grandma, a loaf of bread still costs a nickel!" That's because in 1912, the monetary supply hadn't been handed over to the banking industry yet. That didn't happen until 1913 when the Federal Reserve was created. Today, we just accept the fact that prices will always go up. Net result: banks win, we lose - again!  But, again, short of revolution, what can we do?

The 'red vs. blue', 'Democrat vs. Republican', 'right vs. left', 'liberal vs. conservative' narrative has been endlessly fed to us by the corporate media and we Americans have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. We have been duped into believing that we are in one of two camps and that everyone in our camp is "one of the good people" while everyone in the other camp is "the enemy". We, like lambs being led to the slaughter, consistently argue for one party or the other even though we know that both parties are bought and paid for. No matter which party we argue for, no matter which party we are frightened into voting for, big money wins and we the people lose. But... well you know the question.

What power do we the people have? That is the question we should be asking. We don’t have the money, and voting is useless - right? Right? I mean, voting is so pointless that most people don’t even bother. No matter which party we vote for, nothing changes, big money wins, we the people lose. If only we could do something different. If only there were some way to “vote them all out”. If only there were some alternative political parties that weren’t beholden to big money. Of course there are all the “third” parties out there but they can’t win, they have no money, no name recognition.  Heck, we don’t even know what they stand for because the corporate media won’t tell us.

But wait. Isn’t that exactly what we’ve been asking for? Political parties with no corporate donors? Political parties with no favors to sell? With no career politicians to enrich? But they can’t win. Nobody votes third party. That’s stupid, a complete waste of a vote. That’s what the corporate media always tells us. But what if we quit listening to the corporate media? What if everyone ignored the lie that ‘a third party can’t win’ and went ahead and voted third party anyway? What if we all agreed to boycott both corporate parties? What would happen then?

Well let me tell you what would happen.  If we all vote third party, in just one election cycle we would wipe out the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate! That’s in just one election. In three elections we would completely turn the government over - House, Senate and President. That’s in just six years! And the beauty of it is, it doesn’t matter which party we choose, as long as it's not one of the corporate parties. This would essentially create a new government, with multiple new parties, who would have to form coalitions around ideas and issues to get anything done. The same thing would happen at the state and local level as well.

Make no mistake about it, this actually could happen, we just need an awakening. If this idea takes root and starts to spread, it can become a movement, and once a movement starts, and people who are fed up hear about it, it could become a reality. We the people have this power. We still have the vote, as long as we don't waste it on one of the corporate parties! It’s something we can do. Without revolution, without riots, without mass marches, without firing a shot! It's something we can, and should, do.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

On John 1:1, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the New World Translation

John 1:1, in most bible translations, reads:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

In the New World Translation (NWT), which is published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), it is:

"In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."

The fundamental difference between the two is that “The Word” (later identified as Jesus in verse 14) is called “God” in most Bibles but merely “a god” in the Jehovah’s Witnesses version.  The NWT translators cite the absence of the article “” ("ho" in Greek or "the" in English) preceding the word "θεός" ("theos" or "God") as the reason for their translation "a god" as opposed to “God".  (See image above.)

To the NWT translators, "ὁ θεός" is "the God" and "θεός" is "a god."

Now I'm no Greek scholar---and I welcome any criticism from actual experts in Greek---but I did find something that intrigued me in my copy of The NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, by Rev. Alfred Marshall.  In that volume, the Rev. Marshall has a footnote for John 1.1 that states, "But note that the subject has the article and the predicate has it not; hence translate – ‘the Word was God.’"

According to the Rev. Marshall, the article indicates, in this instance anyway, the subject of the phrase.   The subject is "the Word" and the predicate is "was God".   He was able to determine that by the location of the Greek article. 

This got me to wondering if there were other verses in the New Testament where "theos" was the predicate and if so, did it have the article and how was it translated in the NWT?

I actually found many instances, and all such instances that I could find use the same article configuration as John 1:1.

A good example is Hebrews 3:4 - "Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God" (NWT).  In the phrase "he that constructed all things is God", the subject is "he that constructed all things", and the predicate is "is God".  The Greek interlinear has it as “the [one] having prepared all things [is] God”.   The article precedes "the [one] having prepared all things" and the word "theos" in the phrase "is God" does not have the article – just like John 1.1.

Another example can be found in Romans 8:33 - "...God is the One who declares [them] righteous" (NWT). The interlinear says “God [is] the [one] justifying”.   Again, the subject ("the one justifying") has the article and the predicate ("God") does not.  

One more: 1 Corinthians 3.7 as translated in the NWT is “so that neither is he that plants anything nor is he that waters, but God who makes [it] grow”.  The relevant phrase is “but God who makes [it] grow”, rendered in the interlinear as “but God the [one] making to grow”.  Again, the article is with “the [one] making to grow” and not with “God”.

This same subject/article - predicate/no article configuration exists in the following verses:

John 1:18, 8:54
Acts 15:8
Romans 9:5
1 Corinthians 8:4, 8:6
2 Corinthians 1:3, 1:21, 5:5, 5:19, 6:16
Galatians 3:20, 6:7
Ephesians 4:6
Philippians 2:13
1 Thessalonians 2:5
Hebrews 11:16
Revelation 21:7

All are translated as "God" in the NWT except John 1:1.  If the NWT translators were consistent, they would have translated all of these verses as either "a god" like they did in John 1.1, or they would have translated John 1.1 as “God”.

Also, as an interesting aside, false gods are referred to as "ho theos" ("God" with the article) in the Greek in 2 Corinthians 4:4 (Satan), Philippians 3:19 (the belly) and Acts 7:43 (Rompha).  So as regarding the word “theos”, the article seems to have little significance in the Greek, except to identify the subject of the sentence.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Second Amendment and Militia

Many of the left's current gun control arguments focus on the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and their use of the word "militia" in the 2nd amendment. Ignoring the welcome, sudden, midstream shift from 'living document' to 'originalist' constitutional interpretation--albeit purely out of political expediency--we shall focus on the framer's intent in this regard.

First, the text of the amendment.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
There are several questions which need to be answered from the perspective of the times in which the amendment was written.
  1. What was a militia?  
A militia was a group of 'citizen soldiers' pulled from the general population at a moments notice.
  1. Where did the militia get its arms?
The militia's weapons belonged to the individual citizens.
  1. How does a militia compare to a standing army?
A standing army was a group of professional soldiers whose weapons were supplied by their government.
  1. Who would a militia fight against?
A militia would fight against invaders--either standing armies or other militias.
  1. Who has the right to keep and bear arms?
The people.

From this little exercise it is easy to see that the obvious interpretation of the second amendment, from an originalist standpoint, is that the people have the right to keep and bear weaponry sufficient to fight against an aggressor army or militia at a moments notice if called upon to do so.

Perhaps the left should go back to their living document approach.