Puerto Rico Has Not Been Abandoned After All

The Facebook group Puerto Rico’s Recovery Fund “Hurricane Maria” is reporting that there are enough supplies to help half a million people, but they are sitting in shipping containers in the port.  They’ve been there since Saturday.  According to the governor  they can’t find any trucks to distribute the supplies.  Apologies to President Trump–life is good.  Now about those trucks!

Trump’s Puerto Rico Fail

When I see ‘President’ Trump sitting smugly in the White House as Puerto Ricans are abandoned by the world I am ashamed to be an American. When I see my fellow Americans continue to defend him, grief overwhelms me. When I contemplate the fact that he appears to be a member of my species I am ashamed of the human race.

The politics of the world have become sordid beyond measure. All of the questions that I used to think were so important have died in my heart and on my lips. Instead, a quotation plays over and over again in my head:


For the youth of the world is past,

And the strength of the creation already exhausted,

And the advent of the times is very short,

Yea, they have passed by;

And the pitcher is near to the cistern,

And the ship to the port,

And the course of the journey to the city,

And life to (its) consummation.   [*]

[*]II Baruch 85:10, As quoted by J. Massyngberde Ford, Anchor Bible Commentary on Revelation, Doubleday and Company, 1975. Page 160 From II Baruch 85:10

September 23: The Day the Apocalypse Didn’t Happen

There was a rumor going around that something terrible was going to happen on September 23, and whatever it was it was supposed to usher in the end times. [1]It turns out the rumor was wrong, but the debunkers who argue that there is no threat because Planet X does not exist are not helping matters. They reason that if the planet were real and if it were headed toward the earth we could see it. The truth is somewhere in between. Planet X may exist although no one has seen it yet. And it is not going to hit the earth.

We’ve seen events that look very much like signs of the end of times—wars, earthquakes, hurricanes–so it’s natural for believers to wonder if the predictions about the end of the world found in the Book of Revelation are coming true. This is not just a quaint curiosity. If Revelation is not a prediction of the violent end of the world what is it talking about? If it has no meaning for our time what is it doing in the Bible? I plan to begin a discussion of Revelation in the next post, but to make a long story short it’s impossible to say whether Planet X is the cause of increased seismic and volcanic activity on Earth because the planet’s existence is more of a prediction than a sighting.

Planet X is not the first planet to be predicted before it could be seen. Neptune was found after Alexis Bouvard noted irregularities in the orbit of Uranus in 1820. Bouvard theorized that an unseen planet might be influencing Uranus’s orbit. His observations were repeated in the following decades, and led to a prediction of Neptune by French mathematician, Urbain Le Verrier. With the help of Le Verrier’s prediction, German astronomer Johann Gelle sighted Neptune on a single night of searching. Since that amazing demonstration of celestial mechanics astronomers have been intrigued by the possibility of a ninth planet. However the search has been a roller coaster of excitement and disappointment.

By 1910 conflicting predictions had been made for Planet Nine (Planet X). Edward C. Pickering and Percival Lowell led two unsuccessful searches for the planet, but predictions and searches continued until 1993. That’s the date when data from the Voyager spacecraft seemed to show that there were no positional anomalies in the solar system, implying that there is no Planet Nine. However this ‘proof’ was called into question almost immediately by ongoing discoveries in the Kuiper Belt.   The following account is from Mike Brown, leader of the team who announced the discovery of Planet Nine in early 2016. [2]

At nearly the exact moment that Planet X was being put to rest, astronomers found the first new object beyond Neptune since the accidental discovery of Pluto (during a search for Planet X). As discoveries mounted, planetary scientists quickly realized that this population of objects in what we now call the Kuiper Belt is vast. To many of us who had begun to study this newest known collection of objects in the solar system, another thing became obvious: There was no chance that Pluto was going to be the only large object in the Kuiper Belt.

By 1998 Brown began a large survey of the sky from Palomar Observatory. The goal was to detect these large objects, but there was also the hope of finding something new beyond the Kuiper Belt. Astronomers Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz joined him five years later. They soon discovered a new object, now called Sedna, on an elongated 10,000-year orbit around the Sun. The closest approach of Sedna’s orbit to the Sun (its perihelia) was not in the Kuiper Belt, as it is for other Kuiper Belt objects with elongated orbits, and they concluded that something massive is, or was, tugging on Sedna’s orbit. Then it was found that the orbit of another Kuiper Belt object discovered three years earlier, 2000 CR105, was being pulled in the same direction.

Subsequently there have been many corroborating discoveries by astronomers in the U.S. and Brazil, and Brown says the odds that the similar alignment of these objects was due to coincidence are 0.007.

…we realized that everything we were seeing could be explained by a planet a little less massive than Neptune on an eccentric orbit that takes it from around 200 AU at its perihelion out to 1,200 AU at its aphelion—its further point from the Sun—over an approximately 20,000-year orbital period. Such a planet would capture Kuiper Belt objects with distant elongated orbits into stable orbits elongated in the opposite direction from the planet.

Moreover, it would pull the perihelia of these Kuiper Belt objects away from the Kuiper Belt…

With the many effects that Planet Nine is having on the outer solar system, we can infer many things about its properties. In practice, because the solar system is a complicated place, understanding these properties has involved massive amounts of computer simulation. We simulate a slightly larger planet, a slightly closer planet, a slightly more inclined planet, and each time we compare the results of our simulations with observations of the solar system that we know.

From these constraints we have determined that Planet Nine is about 10 times the mass of Earth, that its orbit is inclined by approximately 30 degrees to the plane of the planets, that it has an average distance of something like 600 AU from the Sun, and that when it is at its most distant point from the Sun, it lies toward the outstretched arm of the constellation Orion.

All of this relatively detailed knowledge might make it seem like we could, like Le Verrier, simply say to the world, “Go look; it will be THERE!” But we can’t. Le Verrier had the advantage of being able to analyze the full orbit of Uranus around the Sun to see its deviations. If we waited 10,000 years to fully track Sedna around its orbit, we, too, would be able to pinpoint Planet Nine.

Instead, though, we have only a snapshot of the orbits of a variety of different objects, and we must infer what should have happened in the past. In practical terms, that means that although we know the orbital path of Planet Nine through the sky, we don’t know where it is in its orbit. We no longer have to search the entire sky to find Planet Nine, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

The team is using the 8-meter Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea and they expect other astronomers to join the search. As of June, 2016, Brown thought it was likely that someone in the world would spot the planet during the next five years.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/09/20/the-christian-numerologist-whose-biblical-doomsday-claim-has-some-nervously-eyeing-sept-23/?utm_term=.51fe7109988f

[2] Mike Brown, How we discovered Planet Nine, Astronomy, June 2016)

Was Election 2016 Just the Way the World Works?

I think I’ve finally figured out why it’s so hard to describe what happened in the 2016 election. Judging by the comments about Hillary’s Clinton’s book tour the entire election was a demand by establishment Democrats that we recognize them as ultimate authorities. That’s why they don’t hesitate to say things that everyone knows are patently false. They’re trying to force obeisance to their authority. If HRC is as mad as her critics say she is there is a method to her madness. Her post-election rhetoric has stopped just short of gloating over the outcome. Her book says, “Don’t believe your own eyes. Don’t believe your own hearts. Believe me!”


Didn’t she want to be president? It’s probably true that powerful players usurped the Trump candidacy, but was that a complete surprise? Didn’t Bill have a meeting with Trump before he announced his candidacy? Didn’t the corporate media build Trump up during the primary race? Didn’t Hillary ignore the Rust Belt during the general election? One way or the other, it stands to reason that the Clinton Foundation would need to operate. The Clintons still owe their donors after all. But how do we endure the false narrative of the 2016 election? I’m going to propose an alternative to Hillary’s interpretation:


The establishment didn’t think anyone on the left could challenge them, but Bernie’s supporters sent them scrambling. Now their sacred altar has been torn down and they’re desperately trying to shore it up. The question Hillary is trying to answer is whether the entire edifice is going to crumble, and whether the rebellious voters are going to get in line?


Which brings me to the most curious part of this election. Bernie Sanders is not an anti-globalist so what exactly was so dangerous about his challenge relative to the challenge of Donald Trump? It makes me wonder if maybe the new order is not powered entirely by invisible, impersonal forces behind the throne, or by political alternatives like democratic socialism. Maybe it’s personal. That is the scariest thought I have had in a long time–that control of this global order is still up for grabs.


Maybe a literary analogy will lighten the mood. The DNC’s claim that they could have picked the candidate in a smoke-filled room was vintage Clinton. The Clintons believe that’s the way the world works and they’re fine with it. Of course this implies that they either failed to resist this system or they helped to create it. But ignoring that for now, the Clinton belief that that is how the world works reminds me of the movie, Babe.


Farmer Hoggett wins a piglet in a raffle. The piglet, Babe, feels insecure about his position in the farmyard so he decides to become a sheepdog, or rather a sheep-pig. Farmer Hoggett recognizes his talent and encourages him. However, the night before Babe’s competition at the fair Babe has the following conversation with Duchess the cat:


Narrator: “There are many perfectly nice cats in the world, but every barrel has its bad apples, and it’s well to heed the old adage, “Beware the bad cat bearing a grudge.”


Cat:     Oh, do forgive me for scratching you, dear. I got a bit carried away. It’s a cat thing.


Babe:  [laughs] Oh, well, but…


Cat:     Feeling good about tomorrow, are you?


Babe:  Um-hmm, it should be alright I think.


Cat:     You know, I probably shouldn’t say this but I’m not sure if you realize how much the other animals are laughing at you for this sheepdog business.


Babe:  Why would they do that?


Cat:     Well, they say that you’ve forgotten that you’re a pig. Isn’t that silly? And they even said that you don’t know what pigs are for.


Babe:  What do you mean, ‘what pigs are for’?


Cat:     You know, why pigs are here.


Babe:  Why are any of us here?


Cat:     Well, the cow’s here to be milked, the dogs are here to help the boss’s husband with the sheep, and I’m here to be beautiful and affectionate to the boss.


Babe:  Yes?


Cat:     [sighs softly] The fact is that pigs don’t have a purpose.


Babe:  [confused] Wh, I-I don’t, uh…


Cat:     Alright, for your own sake, I’ll be blunt. Why do the bosses keep ducks? To eat them. So why do the bosses keep a pig? The fact is that animals that don’t seem to have a purpose really do have a purpose. The bosses have to eat. It’s probably the most noble purpose of all, when you come to think about it.


Babe:  They…eat pigs?


Cat:     Pork they call it. Or bacon. They only call them pigs when they’re alive.


Babe:  But, uh, I’m a sheep-pig.


Cat:     [giggles] The boss’s husband’s just playing a little game with you. Believe me, sooner or later every pig gets eaten. That’s the way the world works… Oh, I haven’t upset you have I? [chuckles softly]


But the cat was wrong about Babe.

Draft Bernie Conference in D.C. Friday

If you’ve been wondering where that hopeful energy from the Bernie rallies has been hanging out this year look no further than the Draft Bernie movement. I heard it in the group’s most recent national organizing call Wednesday. Since February 2017 volunteers have been gathering signatures and donations. The culmination of these efforts will take place at the D.C. People’s Convergence Conference, September 8-10. After a rally on the National Mall (Friday, September 8th, 1:30-2:30, 7th St. and Madison Dr. NW) they will hand-deliver 50,000 signatures to Bernie’s Senate office.

The next day, Saturday, September 9, from 8 pm to 9:30 pm EDT, is the Draft Bernie Town Hall at American University Washington College of Law, 4300 Nebraska Avenue NW, District of Columbia 20016. Join Nick Braña, Dr. Cornel West, Kshama Sawant, and Jimmy Dore to discuss whether the movement should continue reforming the Democrats or start a People’s Party. You can register and get tickets at convergence2017.org, or find a watch party near you: //draftbernie.org/events/. Go to draftbernie.org for a link to the live stream.

Please double-check this information on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PartyWithBernie/

the website: https://draftbernie.org


Emergency Call from the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Update: Provo, South Dakota)

An emergency situation is unfolding in the Provo, Utah South Dakota area of the Black Hills. The Trump administration has apparently revived applications from companies that want to use seismic testing to hunt for oil. The Obama administration rejected the applications but it was learned today that trucks are all set to begin testing tomorrow. The Oglala Sioux Tribe was not consulted about this and only received the paperwork today. The tribe has filed an injunction but they are asking anyone nearby to come and support them.

This land is especially sacred to the Sioux people. Directly under the area to be tested are the Wind Caves. This is the place where the Sioux people entered the world.

Aside from the insult to the sacred nature of the land, seismic tests pose a physical threat to everyone in the area. The former Black Hills Army Depot is in this area, between Provo and Edgemont at the edge of the Southern Black Hills, and it is feared that if the ground is disturbed chemicals could leach into the ground, and decommissioned weaponry could be set off. (John D. Taylor, Seismic crews want to test up to 46,000 acres northwest of Provo for oil and gas deposit, Hot Springs Star, May 2017.

This information is from Activatenow on FaceBook. (https://www.facebook.com/ActivateNowUS/)

I hope no one has made plane reservations to Utah. We were trying to ask her live on FaceBook exactly where she was but she was too upset. I should have known she was in South Dakota. Sorry!  I’ve been trying to get back here to correct it but suddenly both of my computers got slow.