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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Jesus Christ: completely constructed from other stories for an ancient Roman propaganda campaign?

Ancient Confession Found: 'We Invented Jesus Christ'
Biblical scholars will be appearing at the 'Covert Messiah' Conference at Conway Hall in London on the 19th of October to present this controversial discovery to the British public.

London (PRWEB UK) 8 October 2013


Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. "Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century," he explains. "When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That's when the 'peaceful' Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to 'give onto Caesar' and pay their taxes to Rome."

Was Jesus based on a real person from history? "The short answer is no," Atwill insists, "in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there's simply nothing left."

Atwill's most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying "Wars of the Jews" by Josephus (the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea) alongside the New Testament. "I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts," he recounts. "Although it's been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of (Emperor) Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."

How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinised books of all time? "Many of the parallels are conceptual or poetic, so they aren't all immediately obvious. After all, the authors did not want the average believer to see what they were doing, but they did want the alert reader to see it. An educated Roman in the ruling class would probably have recognised the literary game being played." Atwill maintains he can demonstrate that "the Roman Caesars left us a kind of puzzle literature that was meant to be solved by future generations, and the solution to that puzzle is 'We invented Jesus Christ, and we're proud of it.'"

much more (blasphemy?):

Brown signs bill to let nurse-practitioners, others perform abortions

Source: Los Angeles Times

By Patrick McGreevy
October 9, 2013, 12:58 p.m.
SACRAMENTO -- California women will have more access to abortion after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that allows nurse practitioners and other non-physicians to perform the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced the measure because of concern that there are not enough physicians, especially in rural areas, to meet the needs of women who desire an abortion.

“Timely access to reproductive health services is critical to women’s health,” Atkins said in a statement. “AB 154 will ensure that no woman has to travel excessively long distances or wait for long periods in order to obtain an early abortion."

The measure was one of seven bills signed by the governor Wednesday that involved women’s health, including legislation to promote breastfeeding.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-gov-brown-allows-nursepractitioners-to-perform-abortions-20131009,0,1769391.story

Obamacare fight gets too hot for Kochs: We’re not backing GOP’s shutdown tactics

Obamacare fight gets too hot for Kochs: We’re not backing GOP’s shutdown tactics

By David Edwards
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 16:01 EDT

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported that Koch Industries, which is privately owned by the activist brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress, insisting that “Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare.”

Phillip Ellender, the company’s president of Government and Public Affairs, instead declared that the company had put its emphasis on “reducing our nation’s debt and controlling runaway government spending” with the hopes of never needing to raise the debt ceiling again in the future.

“Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates,” Ellender wrote.

The letter was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) charge on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the Koch brothers “have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to where we are right now.”



The Brennan Center for Justice-NEW REPORT: What the Government Does with Americans' Data

The Brennan Center for Justice has taken on the herculean task of explaining all of the ways that surveillance agencies are collecting, storing, and sharing the private data on U.S. citizens. It's all in a new report, and it's disquieting, to say the least. The report focuses on the "misses"—all of the information that is collected that is completely innocuous, that shows no nefarious activity at all. What happens with that information is particularly problematic.

One might expect that this information would NOT be retained, let alone extensively shared among agencies. To the contrary, there are a multitude of laws and directives encouraging broader retention and sharing of information—not only within the federal government, but with state and local agencies, foreign governments, and even private parties.

Against this backdrop, this report analyzes the retention, sharing, and use by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies of information about Americans not suspected of criminal activity. It examines five distinct categories of information. The categories are Suspicious Activity Reports, assessments, National Security Letters, searches of electronics at the border, and information acquired by the National Security Agency.

Among these data sets, this report finds that in many cases, information carrying no apparent investigative value is treated no differently from information that does give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal or terrorist activity. Basically, the chaff is treated the same as the wheat. In other cases, while the governing policies do set certain standards limiting the retention or sharing of non-criminal information about Americans, the restrictions are weakened by exceptions for vaguely-described law enforcement or national security purposes. Depending on the data set, presumptively innocuous information may be retained for periods ranging from two weeks to five years to 75 years or more.

The reports' authors conclude that the "widescale collection and retention of personal information about Americans not suspected of criminal activity invites abuse without any significant demonstrated benefit."

Much More:

KRUGMAN: Can they come to grips with the failure of extortion before it’s time to shoot the hostage?

October 9, 2013, 11:01 am 59 Comments
They Can’t Handle the Truth

It’s remarkable and scary to watch Republican leaders trying to extract themselves from the box they’re in. They have now figured out that Obama won’t eviscerate health reform under threat — although their base refuses to believe it. They still can’t face the reality that Obama won’t offer any concessions, of any kind, under threat. In an odd way, their attempts to get something by repeating over and over the same old lies and misdirections — we’re not practicing extortion, he’s just refusing to negotiate! — makes me think of the classic tourist, believing that locals will understand English if only you talk loud enough.

I would say that Cantor and Ryan seem, gradually, to be edging toward facing reality. But we don’t have much time. Can they come to grips with the failure of extortion before it’s time to shoot the hostage? I wouldn’t bet on it.


Up For Grabs? Bill Young Retiring: Florida Republican Congressman Not Seeking Reelection In 2014

Bill Young Retiring: Florida Republican Congressman Not Seeking Reelection In 2014

Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) announced Wedensday in a Tampa Bay Times interview that he has decided to retire when his term ends in 2014.

The congressman, 82, told the paper in a phone interview from Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, where he is recovering from a back injury. "I'm a little disappointed. It seems there's too much politics. It's a different Congress," he said.

He is Florida's longest-serving congressman, having first been elected in 1970. His district voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, making it a possible Democratic pickup.

Young is one of 28 Republicans backing a "clean" continuing resolution to fund the government.


Mother of two arrested after confronting McDonald's President about poverty wages.

McDonald’s worker arrested after telling company president she can’t afford shoes

By David Edwards
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 14:48 EDT
Nancy Salgado speaks to The Real News
Topics: McDonald's Corporation ♦ The Real News

A woman who has been employed by the McDonald’s Corporation for over 10 years says she was arrested last week after she confronted the company president at a meeting and told him she couldn’t afford to buy shoes or food for her children.


“It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day,” she shouted as Stratton was speaking. “Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for ten years?”

“I’ve been there for forty years,” Stratton replied from the podium.

“The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?” Salgado asked.

At that point, someone approached Salgado and informed her that she was going to be arrested.

VIDEO (powerful):
and more:

The fact that Congress is less popular than dog poop is now forever in the Congressional record.


The fact that Congress is less popular than dog poop is now forever in the Congressional record.

If dignity means what is the dictionary says it means—the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect—then surely the honor and worthy of honor or respect of this house has been called into question. When only seven out of 100 Americans approve of what we do, the lowest approval rating ever, then surely our dignity has been diminished and is actively being called into question. If we are to be called obstructionists, practicers of partisan petulance, if we are called an establishment that is rotten to the core, if we are leaving Americans wondering why there is so much poison in the system, then surely our dignity as a body has been diminished. If we’re accused of willingly provoking crises that suspend public services and decrease economic growth, then surely our dignity as a body has been diminished. If we cause international media outlets to refer to us as politically bankrupt and responsible for breaking America’s dignity, as a body, as a House, is being called into question— Alan Grayson

Speaker pro tempore Steve Womack's (R-AR) fuse grew shorter. And that's when Womack decided he couldn't handle the truth any longer, and gaveled Grayson out.

"The chair has heard enough," Womack said, brushing off Grayson's protestations.



TSA Considers Letting Passengers Fly With Marijuana

Source: Think Progress

TSA Considers Letting Passengers Fly With Marijuana

The Transportation Security Administration, grappling with legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in 22 states, may decline to enforce federal marijuana laws at the airport.

Normally, if TSA agents spot drugs while screening for weapons and liquids larger than 3.4 ounces, they call local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency to deal with the contraband. Philadelphia Eaglers quarterback Michael Vick was famously stopped by TSA agents in 2007 for trying to carry pot in a secret compartment of his water bottle. Even a card-carrying medical marijuana user was barred from flying in 2001.

But TSA screeners are increasingly relaxing their response to people carrying small amounts of marijuana. As TSA is meant to focus on national security, not drugs, agents have discretion over whether or not to call the police on drug offenders. According to the New York Daily News, passengers with legal medical marijuana prescriptions say they have been allowed onto their flights, even though TSA does not officially recognize state drug laws, as a federal agency. In 2011, Denver International Airport agents allowed rapper Freddie Gibbs to keep a small bag of pot found in his luggage, simply leaving him a note saying, “C’mon son.”

TSA has been struggling with the marijuana question since last November, when Colorado and Washington legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The agency was quickly confronted with questions asking if passengers flying between the two states could legally carry pot. TSA spokespeople explained at the time that agents do not screen specifically for drugs and suggested that marijuana would probably be tolerated, depending on the case.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/10/09/2754211/tsa-marijuana/

Dear Tea Party: The Gov’t Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too

Dear Tea Party: The Gov’t Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too
Posted on 10/09/2013 by Juan Cole


The primary concern of the Tea Party is that the working poor not benefit from Obamacare in getting access to health insurance. (Many of the poor already have access to Medicaid; the Affordable Health Care Act mainly benefits workers who aren’t paid very well and don’t get insurance via their employers). The reason that the Tea Party doesn’t want Obamacare is because they are convinced that it is ultimately a transfer of wealth from the white rich and middle classes to the minorities. This allegation is untrue, since in recent decades 3/4s of the working poor are white. Since the program is a government mandate that individuals buy private health insurance, moreover, it doesn’t actually cost the government much. Indeed, it very possibly will save the state money in various ways.

Of course, the Tea Party is a tool of rich backers such as the Koch brothers, and the billionaires at the center of the conspiracy to destroy the American social safety net probably don’t care much about the white poor, either. But I suspect that the rank and file of the movement is so easy to manipulate on this issue because of racial anxieties. Those anxieties are misplaced.


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