Author Archives: mark

Review: Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia & the Failed Search for bin Laden

Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia & the Failed Search for bin Laden
Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia & the Failed Search for bin Laden by Jean-Charles Brisard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

–Us Gov supported the Taliban during the 90s because of desire in Gov/Corp (!) for a stable power to provide for a pipeline through Afghanistan.

##So the whole idea that we *ONLY* went into Afghanistan to punish Taliban and find Al Qaeda is suspect. And it shows why nation-building was the only option considered, rather than a punitive expedition.

–Taliban eventually got hard to handle because they resisted giving up Osama bin Laden. Plus they were embarrassing.

–In the 90s one State department official seems to has mentioned “carpet bombing” to the Taliban as the only option to cooperation with US interests (offering “a carpet of gold” as the carrot to go with the stick). When questioned, claimed he was just joking and drunk and can’t be sure if he said that or not.

–bin Laden family enmeshed in Saudi kingdom as a major Corp.

–OBL enmeshed in bin Laden family businesses. “Black Sheep” of the family may be an exaggeration or even a lie. Saudi “rejection” of OBL may be more appearance than reality.

–Qaddafi was the first (and only?) regime to seriously pursue OBL via InterPol, etc because he was a target of Al Qaeda enmity. This was a minor sidenote in the book used to compare Libya’s reaction to the lethargic Western reaction (or contrary reactionS within the West). But in light of recent events it stood out. Qaddafi was a modernizer and relative secularist. His story shows how the term “Islamofascism” is misleading since the Islamic Fundamentalist forces tend to be at odds with the secular, Western-influenced leaders like Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein.

–Huge part of the book is dedicated to showing the immense connections/entanglements between Saudi-Western-and Terrorist banking. BCCI is only an extreme example of many related institutions. The Bush family and co. is especially invested (literally!) in these groups.

Short book, dated by now, but essential.

View all my reviews

The Conspiracy Against Upton Sinclair

To give you an idea of how this sort of thing works, let me offer a historical example from the other side of the ideological spectrum, from the left. In 1934 Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California. Most students had read his novel, “The Jungle,” which exposed the corruption and health hazards of the American meat-processing industry.

Sinclair was a popular and compelling figure. The nation was in the throes of the Great Depression and the people of California liked his ideas. He stunned the Democrat Party establishment by winning the nomination and it was likely that he would be elected governor in the general election.

The conspiracy to stop Mr. Sinclair was organized by a California oligarchy, a small group of wealthy businessmen who feared losing control of the California governor’s mansion and all the money it represented. Besides, Sinclair was a socialist and had once run for Congress on the Socialist Party ticket.

The conspirators arranged for a “Progressive” to run as a third-party candidate to split Sinclair’s vote. They helped fund the campaign and poured money into the rival Republican but it didn’t stop there.

They launched a full-court press. The famous preacher Aimee Semple McPherson, unused to attention from such prominent Californians, was enlisted and persuaded to use her pulpit to preach to thousands about the dangers of Upton Sinclair and his crazy Socialist ideas.

This secret conspiracy only became known because it involved President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his records survived. Candidate Sinclair made the long journey across the country to Hyde Park where he met with FDR, the chief Democrat, and often the target of accusations of socialism himself.

Sinclair explained his situation and asked the leader of his party for help. He left Hyde Park convinced that Roosevelt would soon publicly endorse him. But we now know that the California oligarchy had already covered that base. Roosevelt was offered a proposal from the California Cabal.

They promised that the Republican candidate, if elected governor, would not oppose FDR’s New Deal in their state. In return, FDR would withhold any endorsement of the Democrat ticket. Unknown to Sinclair, the deal was struck. Upton Sinclair went down to defeat. A Republican was elected. The oligarchy ruled.

Now, this story is instructive on two counts. It shows that conspiracies do indeed take place, they can involve the highest elected officials in the land, and they almost always involve money and private corporations.

via The Conspiracy Against Ron Paul.

Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne « beauty in the mundane (offsite)

This was a pleasurable biography well written and extensive in its scope. It is easy to read and draws parallels between emotional and historical happenings that impacted Tolkien which then shaped how he wrote and what he chose to write about. I love these peeks into an author’s life that give you the “Aha” moment of understanding.

His early loss of his father, his later loss of his mother and his relationship with Edith, his wife, are thoughtfully explored and covered. The impact of deep and rich relationships with C.S. Lewis and many other men illustrate his care and concern for others. Mr. Horne has used extensive materials in the writing of this biography and it is wonderfully written. In the appendix he lists five other resources for further study that he found very informative and enjoyable.

As a home school mom, I appreciated the fact that his own mother had home schooled him for a period of time. I think these stories are a great length for the high school student to use for essay writing and would be a good complement to any English curriculum.

Read the whole post: Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne « beauty in the mundane.

Sound Off: Book Review: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne (offsite)

If you pressed me to think about it, I would probably say my all-time favorite fiction author is J.R.R. Tolkien. Last year I read a biography in the Christian Encounters series about Winston Churchill. In the last pages of the book were some “coming soon” advertisements. One was for J.R.R. Tolkien, and I was SOOO excited. I hoped I would have the chance to review it, but I didn’t hold my breath. Recently it popped up on booksneeze as an e-book. It was the opportunity I had hoped for!

Mark Horne compiled many different sources to bring a fresh, new biography about Tolkien which explores his life events and how they shaped his writings.

Tolkien is probably best known as the author of the Lord of the Rings. He wrote that book later in his life, after writing The Hobbit, yet he laid a foundation for Middle Earth many years before either book came to be. In Horne’s biography about Tolkien I discovered many things that fascinated me. Tolkien was a linguist. He was fluent in several languages and preferred to read works of literature in their original languages. (He developed his own fictional elven language.) The passion he had for linguistics shaped his career path as well. Horne avoids making many assumptions or conclusions about Tolkien. Instead, he presents factual information in a chronological format. He sometimes makes suggestions about possible correlation between the events of his life and his writings, but conclusions are left up to the reader.

Read the rest: Sound Off: Book Review: J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne.

On your Mark 3: Psalm 7 and the Righteousness of God


Psalm 7 –

Links to my series on the Righteousness of God

Reading Psalm 7 one morning recently, I was struck by the fact that both 3 and 7 are from the story of David fleeing from Jerusalem. That strikes me as odd. There is no other story mentioned in any of the other of the first seven Psalms. Why would the Absalom crisis be the starting point in the Psalter?

I don’t know.

But I also noticed that Psalm 7 is important for the significance of the term “the righteousness of God” as found in several places in the Bible, not least in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Psalm 7 ends with thanksgiving:

I will give to YHWH the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the YHWH, the Most High.

So why is thanks due to God’s righteousness? Because he has imputed it to us? No, that is not what the Psalm says. Verses 9 and 11 spells out the good news about God’s righteous character:

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!…
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.

As I’ve written many times and taught my whole life, God does give us a righteous status in Christ. In Philippians 3.9, we see this using three words: “righteousness from God.” However, in most cases in the NT, when you read the term “the righteousness of God,” you are dealing with a very different term that is only two words: God’s righteousness.

When we trust God to save or rescue and even to forgive us according to his promises then we are depending on his righteous character. Paul says over and over again in Romans that the Gospel–the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus as promised by the prophets–publicly demonstrates God’s righteousness. While I’ve shown in my post series on how this is found all over the Psalms and Isaiah, as well as in Paul’s and John’s letters, we see a very direct and compact example of this in Psalm 7. God saves us because he is righteous and we thank him for being righteous.

This was why N. T. Wright’s book, What Saint Paul Really Said, was so helpful to me. By pursuing this line of interpretation Romans suddenly made so much more sense.

But of course there are many others besides N. T. Wright. Let me end this post with a quotation from Sinclair Ferguson

Elijah had come to God and said, “Lord, You promised. I believe this is Your word. It must be so. Let it be so in answer to my prayers.” Daniel’s praying was of the same order as his appeal to the “righteousness” of God eloquently testifies (vv. 7, 16). The Old Testament term “righteousness” has a specifically covenantal orientation. The young Martin Luther could not see this when he struggled to understand what Paul meant by “the righteousness of God” (Rom. 1:17). Of course, Luther was not helped by the fact that his Latin Bible translated Paul’s Greek word dikaiosune (righteousness) as justitia (justice). Luther’s mistake has sometimes been repeated by evangelical Christians. Often righteousness has been thought of merely as the equivalent of the just punishment of God. Preachers therefore may often accompany the use of the phrase “the righteousness of God” with the gesticulation of a clenched fist. It is clear even from this passage, however, that this is to reduce the full biblical meaning of God’s righteousness. Daniel sees the righteousness of God both as the basis for God’s judgment of the people (v. 7) and also as the basis for his own prayer for forgiveness (v. 16). How can this be? In Scripture, “righteousness” basically means “integrity.” Sometimes it is defined as “conformity to a norm.” In the case of God, the norm to which He conforms is His own being and character. He is true to Himself, He always acts in character. God has expressed the norm of His relationship to His people by means of a covenant. He will always be true and faithful to His covenant and the promises enshrined in it. Plainly, God’s righteousness is His faithfulness to His covenant relationship –Sinclair Ferguson, Daniel (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1988).

On the Mark podcast 2: The Secret Life of Bill Clinton by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Brief review of The Secret Life of Bill Clinton



I blanked about the Telegraph as the paper Ambrose Evans-Pritchard works for when I recorded the pod cast. Here are his current stories.

OKC bombing

First go here, and scroll down to March 27, 2004 and download the audio. (I don’t want other people’s audio to post as part of my own podcast).

July 22, 2005 – J.D. Cash | ScottHortonShow.

November 26, 2005 – J.D. Cash | ScottHortonShow.

January 20, 2006 – J.D. Cash | ScottHortonShow.

March 4, 2006 – J.D. Cash | ScottHortonShow.

July 24, 2009 – Roger Charles | ScottHortonShow.

March 31, 2010 – Jesse Trentadue | ScottHortonShow.

April 14, 2010 – Roger Charles | ScottHortonShow.

August 4, 2010 – James Ridgeway | ScottHortonShow.

December 17, 2008 – Roger Charles | ScottHortonShow.

March 31, 2010 Jesse Trentadue | ScottHortonShow.

May 1, 2010 – David Paul Hammer | ScottHortonShow.

October 10, 2010 – Roger Charles | ScottHortonShow.

October 26, 2010 – Roger Charles | ScottHortonShow.

April 21, 2011 – Jesse Trentadue | ScottHortonShow.

Brig Gen Ben Partin Lecture; Oklahoma City / Part 1 of 2 – YouTube.

Brig Gen Ben Partin Lecture; Oklahoma City / Part 2 of 2 – YouTube.

Vince Foster

Here is an article defending Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Mena, Arkansas CIA, Contra, Cocaine

Read the prologue of this book (available online).



Gary North v. Dave Ramsey, a few unscripted thoughts for a first “On your Mark” podcast


Gary North’s article

One of Mish’s more recent posts (one of many) questioning inflation and showing evidence for deflation

I mentioned Eloi and Morlocks without much explanation.

And here is the Peter Schiff appearance on Kudlow and Co. that made me think of the analogy with the H. G. Wells scenario. Of course, Schiff’s opponents were accounting for factors that Schiff seems to have underestimated (how will foreign markets do when America’s economy crashes). But Schiff saw what was coming and analyzed the con job that America’s government/banker combine has pulled on the rest of the world via a fiat reserve currency.

One minor explanation on many things that I may not have spelled out well enough: “the boy who cried wolf” is not a direct reference to Schiff or North or any other one person, but to the “economy is about to crash” publishing/newsletter industry as a whole. As far as I know, Schiff’s wolf-detector has never been premature.

(Never mind) Gary North v Dave Ramsey v. my first awnurmarc podcast (totally unscripted)

OK, this was the wrong audio file and didn’t download. So I’ll try again. I’m looking for a free site that will let me upload mp3 files and directly link them.

Gary North’s article

One of Mish’s more recent posts (one of many) questioning inflation and showing evidence for deflation

I mentioned Eloi and Morlocks without much explanation