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Jon Hall

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.


The Mahdi in the Movies — Glenn Beck’s Expose of the 12th Imam Got the Hollywood Treatment

2011 February 18

I am a poor man of the desert.

But I am the Mahdi, the Expected One.

On my cheek is the mole,

between my teeth… the space.

On his Fox News show this week (5 p.m. Eastern), Glenn Beck has been lecturing on Islamic eschatology, and The Twelfth Imam, a.k.a. the Mahdi.

I realized I’d heard about this Mahdi fellow before, and wondered if some of our younger readers might have missed Khartoum (1966), a treatment of the historical showdown in 1885 between English General Charles “Chinese” Gordon and a man who thought he was the Expected One, the Mahdi.

So I rummaged around in YouTube and found a 10-minute segment that contains the above lines. I don’t know if the entire movie has been uploaded to YouTube in short pieces, but there are other such segments.

It so happens that this particular Mahdi — and there are others who have also thought they were the Mahdi — is portrayed by the greatest actor of all time, Sir Laurence Olivier. Charlton Heston plays Gordon with nobility.

Khartoum is an old-time flick from the era when epic movies had overtures and intermissions, which, if memory serves, it did. It has a fine score. I recommend that you see the entire movie on your new HDTV. The movie does a fine job of showing the “otherness” of these people who are hell-bent on destroying the West. Click on the video below and ask yourself: Will we ever learn?

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

President Obama, The Tax Hike Kid, and the Mystery of the Individual Mandate

2011 January 21

"My critics say everything's a tax increase...You know that."

In the recently decided case Virginia v. Sebelius, lawyers for Sebelius argued that the penalty for not complying with the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance is actually a tax. The rationale for this argument was to establish the constitutionality of ObamaCare by bringing it under the ambit of Congress’s taxation power under the General Welfare Clause.

In sections VI and VII of his opinion (pages 25-38), U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson dealt with the question of whether a penalty can be a tax.

On page 26, Hudson invokes a lawyerly definition of a tax as a “burden, laid upon individuals or property for the purpose of supporting the government,” and cites Sebelius’ claim that the penalty will generate revenue of $4 billion annually. read more…

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ObamaCare Exceeds the Limits of Congressional Authority. Judge Miffed.

2011 January 7

One of the first orders of business for the 112th Congress is for the new House to fulfill its campaign promise to pass a repeal of ObamaCare. This will be a vain effort, however, as repeal will likely die in the Senate. But even if repeal were to get through the Senate, President Obama would surely veto a repeal of ObamaCare.

The better way for ObamaCare to be struck down is not by repeal, but by appeal: appeal to the courts. A Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of ObamaCare would set huge precedents having far-reaching ramifications. The end of the first major skirmish in the legal war came December 13 with U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson’s decision in Virginia v. Sebelius. For ObamaCare, Friday the 13th came on a Monday. read more…

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Can the Tea Party Triumph Against Voter Fraud?

2010 December 23

The 2008 election was the worst decision America ever made. And we have no one to blame but ourselves; they told us what they were going to do — fundamentally transform America. It shook one’s faith in the American electorate. read more…

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How do We Prevent a Depression? Let’s See What History Says…

2010 December 8

President Obama’s defenders and detractors look at the same economic data but come to entirely different conclusions. Obama defenders say things would have been worse — Obama detractors say things should have gotten much better by now.

Obama defenders contend that but for his heroic measures in combating the economic crisis America would have been plunged into another Great Depression. read more…

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How We Can Reverse ObamaCare

2010 November 11

With the establishment of judicial review in 1803 by Marberry vs. Madison, the Supreme Court became the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. Constitutional matters, such as whether the Second Amendment affirms the right to possess firearms to the individual or to some militia, ultimately wind their way to the Supreme Court where the meaning of the Constitution’s provisions is voted on and decided. This can take years.

The Court, however, is not infallible. Sometimes the Court reverses itself. The recent Kelo decision, for instance, begs for reversal. And some Court decisions are stains on American history, such as Plessy vs. Ferguson and the Dred Scot decision. So the Supremes are quite capable of error. Also, the Court can be intimidated, as happened under FDR with his attempts to pack the Court. read more…

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Fraud in the November Elections?

2010 October 25

What is a democracy without fair elections? Not a democracy, wouldn’t you say? So why does America, the granddaddy of democracies, tolerate election systems that aren’t free of fraud? read more…

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Tea Party Clarity on the Deficit

2010 October 18

Despite the hegemonic control they’ve enjoyed since January 2009, including a filibuster-proof majority from July of that year until the election of Scott Brown, Democrats continue to blame George W. Bush for everything, especially the budget deficit. And because the deficit has become such a huge issue, especially for the Tea Party, Democrats trot out the “Clinton surpluses” from 1998 through 2001.

But were there any surpluses? read more…

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How to Fix Pro Baseball

2010 October 14

If your bliss is to watch team sports played at the very highest level, pro ball is what you’ll follow. The pros are the best. They’ve played all their lives and have honed their skills to the nth degree. A George Brett homer or a late-game drive by John Elway have a beauty and a drama not to be matched by lesser mortals playing in the minors or in college ball. If your passion is excellence, mastery, grace and pure athleticism, then pro ball it’s gonna be. read more…

Money Is Still Money, Isn’t It?

2010 October 11

The emphasis on America’s total federal debt deflects our attention from a more pressing matter. Rather than the aggregate number, what the media should focus on more intensely is the yearly number: the deficit. read more…

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The Day the Debt Stood Still

2010 September 3

If a spacecraft alit on the Washington Mall and out popped an alien named Klaatu who proceeded to demonstrate unearthly powers and who then informed America that we have one day to balance the federal budget or else the Galactic Federation will bomb us back to the Stone Age, what would we do? read more…

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Obamacare Flushes the Constitution

2010 August 3

“I will — listen now — I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.”

— Obama’s acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic convention.

Whether it was to save himself from being labeled a liar for raising everyone’s taxes or to hustle ObamaCare through Congress, on ABC News last September Obama scoffed at the idea that the “individual mandate” is a tax. read more…

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