The first and last speech

On December 13, 1963, Corliss Lamont hosted the 172nd anniversary of the Bill of Rights in Washington D. C., and presented the Thomas Pain Award to . . . Bob Dylan.

Mr. Lamont was the son of a wealthy banker, a graduate of Phillips Academy, Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia.  He had a PhD in Philosophy. He celebrated atheism.  In 1932, he visited the Soviet Union and found a very promising, enlightened society.  The secret police were “courteous and efficient and good natured“.  There were hungry people begging for food, but “most of these beggars are people who are too lazy to work, since every Russian can get a job if he wants to“.  He found “charming” the sight of head shaven, marching youth, “freed from their mothers and the bourgeoise ‘trip’ “.  He led the Friends of the Soviet Union, to “Hail the glorious achievements of the workers and peasants of the USSR – where starvation and unemployment have been abolished.” He sided with North Korea, the Soviet denial of the Katyn Massacre, and with Fidel Castro. He was a personal friend of the father of Kathy Boudin, the Weatherman underground radical.

In New Orleans, in the Summer of 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was passing “Hands off Cuba” leaflets, with copy written by . . . Corliss Lamont.

Bob Dylan, awkward, new on the national stage, ambivalent about the self-celebrating, moral preening of Important People, not wanting to offend and yet not wanting to embrace, gave a disjointed, rambling speech. “It’s took me a long time to get young“.   He  spoke of their  “bald heads“, and remarked that “I’ve never seen one history book that tells how anybody feels”. He then went on to say:  “I got to admit that the man who shot President Kennedy, Lee Oswald, I don’t know exactly where – what he thought he was doing, but I got to admit honestly that I too – I saw some of myself in him.”  This did not go over well.

Remember that many people, already, were not thinking that Oswald was guilty.  Framed perhaps, and young, and awkward, and arrogantly bold, and perilously sincere, and perhaps doomed to be forever misunderstood.  Not unlike  Mr. Dylan, . . .no?

Dylan wrote to “explain/not explain”:

“when I spoke of Lee Oswald, I was speakin of the times

I am not speaking of his deed if it was his deed

the deed speaks for itself

but I am sick

so sick

at hearin “we all share the blame”. . it is so easy t say ‘we’ an bow our heads together

I must say “I” alone an bow my head alone

when I speak of bald heads, I mean bald minds

for it is I alone who is living my life. . .nobody tells me how any of ‘m cries or laughs or kisses, I’m fed up with  newspapers, radios, tv, an movies an the like t tell me. I want now t see an know for myself an I accepted the award for all others like me who want t see for themselves an who don’t want that God-given right taken away

out! out! brief candle life’s but an open window an I must jump back thru it now

respectfully and unrespectfully, Bob Dylan”.

American Hamlet

He was just a sickly kid who loved heroes” –  Jackie Kennedy, with Theodore White, 1964.

He had a “rigid and physically distant mother”, and a domineering and  demanding father – “We want winners, we don’t want losers around here.”  Jack Kennedy, Barabara Leaming, pg. 61, 2006.

Joseph P. Kennedy, in 1962, was worth of $500,000,000.  The Kennedy’s were not just rich, they were super-rich.

It is so natural for the wealthy to be self-centered.  They are more valuable. They do have more to lose.

John F. Kennedy was self centered, and witty, engaging, charming, and a war veteran. He was famous from the start, his entire life stage-managed by his father. And he was haunted by losses – his older brother, his favorite sister, war comrades, and his own health.  He was very uncomfortable with emotional intimacy.

I once asked him why he was doing it, why he was acting like his father, why he was avoiding real relationships, why he was taking a chance on a scandal at the same time he was trying to make his career take off.  “I don’t know, really.  I guess I just can’t help it”.  He had this sad expression on his face.  He looked like a little boy about to cry.”  Dallek,  An Unfinished Life, pg. 152.

Kennedy had a sense of history, but he also had an administrative technique that made the gathering of history extremely difficult.  He hated organized meetings of the Cabinet or the National Security Council, and therefore he chose to decide policy after private meetings, usually with a single person.”  James Reston, November 22, 1963, New York Times.

That single person was almost always his brother.  In the Berlin crisis, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile crisis, and Vietnam, he was a tentative, and secretive, a reluctant leader.  The most powerful government in the world had great difficulty knowing its commander’s direction.

And the stakes were getting very high. The window of ‘opportunity’ for a ‘successful’ nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union would close. . . in November of 1963.

Mr President, you certainly can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you!” . . . And then the plaza rang with the first gunshot. . . The first bullet tore through Kennedy’s throat, and his arms went up as if to block himself from further injury.  His wife turned to him, and just as she did, another bullet shattered his head. . . .She remembered the strange elegance of his demeanor.  “His expression was so neat: he had his hand out, I could see a piece of his skull coming off; it was flesh-colored not white.  He was holding out his hand – and I can see this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from this head. . .He had such a wonderful expression on his face.  You know that wonderful expression he had when they’d ask him a question about one of the ten million gadgets they’d have in a rocket?  Just before he’d answer, he’d look puzzled; . . .and then he slumped forward.”  Jackie Kennedy, Four days in Dallas, Bugliosis, 2009.

 

Natural Civilization

Fourteen thousand years ago, Siberian and Mongolian people crossed the Bering land bridge into North America. Following the ice-free coastline, they eventually found the Andes mountains, the longest linear stretch of mountains in the world.  There, unaffected by Rome or Greece, or Moses, or Plato, or Aristotle, or by any of the rest of world history, they . . . naturally . . . became the Inca civilization, the largest, most sophisticated civilization of the New World.   One hundred thousand elites controlled 10 million peasants, unified by a religion of sun worship, ruled by an emperor who was “the king, the pope, and Jesus Christ all rolled into one.” All land was state owned, peasants were granted rights to till communal lands. Taxes were paid with labor, which created surpluses of food, tools, and weapons, which were stored along the Inca road network, and which were used for times of want, for war, and for patronage.  The few ruled the many.  Natural civilization.

In 1528, Francisco Pizarro found a Bronze Age society, 2,500 years back in time. The Incas did not have writing, or money, but they had deadly slingshots, and clubs, and vast armies. The Spaniards, though, had steel swords, armor, and horses, and like tank warfare against foot soldiers, 168 Spanish horsemen conquered 10 million Incan foot soldiers.

History has been the story of men killing other men, and so also in the New World.  The Incas had been fighting a gruesome civil war for many years, ever since their great Inca chief was killed by another old world weapon – small pox.  His sons fought to the death for the throne. Atahualpa had just conquered brother Huascar and executed his entire family, and was on his victory trip to Cuzco, to be crowned Sun King, when strange boats appeared off the coast. At Cajamarca, Atahualpa crossed Pizarro’s path. He promptly executed any of his men that showed any fear of the strange horse beasts.

The Incas, it seems, did not know the plight of Montezuma and the Aztecs. They were self-sufficient mountain people, not traders with the larger world. Pizarro had been with Cortes. He enticed Atahualpa into a courtyard, and in a bloody ambush, captured him.

For ransom, Atahualpa filled the Cajamarca courtyard with gold.  Pizarro executed him anyway.  His wife became Pizarro’s mistress, and bore him two sons.

To subdue a civilization, dethrone its religion.

The last Inca Emperor, Tupac Amaru, in Cuzco before his execution, tells his people that their religion has been false.

Lords, . . . Let it be known that I am a Christian, and they have baptized me and I wish to die under the law of God – and I have to die.  And that everything that my ancestors, the Incas, and I have told you up until now – that you should worship the sun god, Punchao, the shrines, idols, stones, rivers, mountains, and sacred things – is a lie and completely false.  When we used to tell you that we were entering [a temple] to speak to the sun, when we told you what it said and that it spoke – this was a lie.

The Last Days of the Incas,  Kim MacQuarrie, 2007.

Patsy

In the early 1960’s, gun running was a profitable business.  From Miami to Mexico, this involved organized crime, latin-american revolutionaries, a man in Dallas named Jack Ruby, and a New Orleans man named Lee Harvey Oswald.

In records released in 1989 by the Dallas police department, Mary Le Fontaine, a local reporter, discovered that a man had been jailed next to Oswald on November 22, 1963.  He was picked up in a sweep following the shootings, was released after Oswald was murdered, and then disappeared. In 1964, he surfaced at an FBI office in Tennesee to give “information about the murder of JFK”.  He told that while jailed near Oswald, he witnessed the police bring before Oswald a badly injured man and ask Oswald if this was the man he had seen at a recent motel meeting. At this meeting, money had changed hands, and one Jack Ruby also present. Oswald said ‘yes’.

After arrest, a note was found in Oswald’s personal notebook:

Oct Nov 1,1963

FBI agent (R1-11211)

James P. Hosty

MU 8605

1114 commerce St

Note the license number. Oswald was meeting Dallas FBI agent Hosty in his car, in the months preceding the assassination. Hosty was in charge of militant extremist groups, gun running, and domestic counterintelligence.

Following meetings with Hosty, Oswald took significant actions, like in March 1963, when he opened a post office box, and promptly bought, via mail order, the famous Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from Klein’s Sporting Goods.  At that very time, the mail order gun business – and specifically Klein’s Sporting Goods – was under investigation by Congress. Hearings were about to begin.

Oswald spent the 1963 summer in New Orleans, working with anti-Castro groups, but also publicly posing as pro-Castro. He was exposed – on TV – as a visitor to the Soviet Union who had renounced his US Citizenship.  This served to help discredit the Castro cause. Oswald seems willing to have helped this happen. Around this time, the FBI successfully raided and confiscated an anti-Castro weapons cache at Pontchartrain.

Early in November, Oswald visited the Dallas FBI office, but Hosty was not there.  Oswald left a note. After the assassination, FBI headquarters in Washington ordered this note destroyed. A few days later, in Dallas, a gun deal was foiled by agents.  A man was badly injured in a getaway car – the man brought before Oswald in his cell?

A sincere Marxist, but an FBI informant?  With his tenuous status, trying to find and keep a job, Oswald may have been willing to help the FBI, and infiltrate anti-Castro groups. He did by all accounts believe in Castro. He may have discovered an assassination plot. He may have warned the FBI.

After the motorcade passed, he calmly left the Texas School Book Depository. He may only  then have learned that the assassination had not been thwarted. He went home and got his gun.

He may have known that decoy policemen would be involved.  He killed the first policeman that tried to stop him, unconcerned about eye witnesses. He may have thought he would be safe in custody.

I’m a patsy.

iGenius

 

A person who finds that he is just never wrong would perhaps now and then be perplexed.  Steve Jobs would be such a person.

We think that computers are the most remarkable tools that humankind has ever come up with, and we think that people are basically tool users.  So if we can just get lots of computers to lots of people, it will make some qualitative difference in the world.  What we want to do at Apple is make computers into applicances and get them to millions of people.”  Playboy Interview, February 1985.

While the MBA’s came into Apple to focus on countering IBM, he went off to create the Macintosh. It was an astounding success. But never mind, Mr. Jobs is a difficult perfectionist and doesn’t know how to manage for profit.

Eventually Dr. [Edwin] Land [founder of Polaroid], one of those brilliant troublemakers, was asked to leave his own company – which is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. ”  Jobs, 1985 . . .and then . . .Apple lets him go.

Apple’s ten year lead gets ‘managed’ away.

Jobs buys Pixar. He makes Toy Story.  Apple nearly dies. Apple invites him back, as a ‘consultant’.  He brings Next, his from-the-ground-up, unix-based, virus- proof (still) computer software operating system.  After the board turns over – he will not be bit by the same dog twice – Jobs becomes CEO. Never again will he assume he doesn’t know how to manage, and never again will there be naivete’ about the intentions or actions of competitors. He moves quickly to focus Apple, totally, on quality products and the user experience.  Philanthropy is dropped, middle management is cleared, HR is minimized, finance is made secondary, general management is eliminated (managers at Apple are always managers of something), responsibility is clearly defined, (every role has a DRI – directly responsible individual), decisions radiate to and from the top, profit and loss categories are discarded, market research is eliminated.

Attractive products start to sell.

But . . . Disney will bury Pixar!  Sony or Microsoft will crush the iPod! Walmart or Amazon will dwarf iTunes! Nokia and the Blackberry will outdo the iPhone! Expensive laptops won’t compete with Dell!  Apple stores can’t compete with Best Buy! Adobe flash is a must! Google Android will beat iOS!

The petrochemical revolution gave us free energy – free mechanical energy. . .It changed the texture of society. . . this revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind:  free intellectual energy. . . This revolution will dwarf the petrochemical revolution”. Jobs, 1985

Apple, Inc. is about to overtake Exxon Mobil as the largest valued corporation in the United States.  And on Friday, July 29, 2011, Apple, Inc. had more cash than the United States Treasury.

How has an adopted son of a machinist, who dropped out of college after one year, who never took formal management, or economic, or engineering training, who follows few of the standard or advanced notions of modern corporate management, . . . how has he come to set the standard for leadership of large complex organizations,. . . how has he become the greatest CEO in history?

The iLeader has become the i Master.

 

Evil Contagion

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist“, Scientific American Mind,  by Jack El-Hai, Jan/Feb 2011

The highest ranking captive of the Nazi leadership, Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, Commander of the Luftwaffe, was evaluated at Nuremberg by Major Douglas M. Kelley, MD, from Truckee, California, Chief Psychiatrist of the U.S. Medical Corp.  He found Göring to be forthright, engaging, composed, eloquent, smart, . . . even charming.  And Göring was unapologetic and defensive.  He planned to call Britain’s Lord Halifax as a witness to testify to his [Göring’s] willingness to pursue negotiated settlements before the outbreak of war.”

With the Rorschach inkblot and psychiatric assessment, Kelley diagnosed Göring as . . .normal.  He had no sign of mental illness.  He was sane.

My conscience was named Adolf Hitler“.

Göring displayed “extreme fondness for and tenderness toward his family and friends“, such that Dr. Kelley was moved to help locate and bring to him his wife and daughter. But there were the glimpses of the narcissism and cold calculation of the charming psychopath. Göring spoke of having a close associate murdered. How could he? “Göring stopped talking and stared at me, puzzled, as if I were not quite bright. Then he shrugged his great shoulders, turned up his palms and said slowly, in simple one-syllable words: ‘But he was in my way’ “.

Göring was responsible for the ‘Hunger Plan’, the Nazi plan to starve the conquered eastern Europeans and Russians, in order to feed Germans and depopulate the lebensraum.  He made decisions on execution versus forced labor, as the war circumstances required.  It was he who ordered Heydrich to devise the Final Solution, initially framed as being about forced labor and deportation, but he had to know it was in reality about genocide.

Of course, we rearmed.  We armed Germany until we bristled.  I am only sorry we did not rearm more. Of course, I considered treaties as so much toilet paper.

When asked why he had always been Hitler’s ‘yes man’, he replied: “Please show me a ‘no-man’ in Germany who is not six feet under the ground today.”

Göring was addicted to the narcotic, paracodeine, since just before meeting Hitler in the early 1920’s. Narcotics drugs, it is known, create and enhance antisocial personality. They effectively block feelings of empathy, shame, and guilt for its users. Was Nazi evil deepened by narcotics?  Hitler’s first mentor, and important early supporter, Dietrich Eckart, was a morphine addict.

Göring managed to commit suicide with cyanide, just hours before his scheduled execution.  This was his coup, his final refusal to bow.  How did he obtain the cyanide?  We don’t know.  Dr. Kelley had abruptly left Nuremberg before the psychiatric work was completed, for reasons unclear, taking his papers with him (only recently released by his family for this article).  He became alcoholic, and on New Year’s Day, 1958, at age 45, during a domestic drinking episode, he put a cyanide capsule between his teeth, and threatened to bite down. And then suddenly he did, and he died instantly.  His son was there. He believes it was an accident.

Who was Jack Ruby?

Seth Kantor was a news correspondent in Dallas the day JFK was killed, and he knew Jack Ruby.  At Parkland Hospital, just after the assassination, Ruby tapped Kantor on the back, and said hello. Kantor is absolutely sure of this.  Later, Ruby denied ever being there.

What would make Jack Ruby seek out a news reporter he knew at the hospital on Friday and then, after Sunday, deny having been there?  It’s because Ruby was not involved in a plot to kill anyone on Friday. But by Sunday he was.”   The Ruby Cover-up,  Seth Kantor, 1978.

In 1959, the mob has difficulties with Castro’s Cuba.  A Chicago ‘messenger boy’ –  Jack Ruby, moves to Dallas, which is a ‘border town’, a stopover to Mexico and Havana. Jack Ruby visits Santos Trafficante, who was in comfortable house arrest in a Havana jail.  By 1963 Ruby is heavily in debt. On the same day that Lee Harvey Oswald moves to Dallas from New Orleans – June 5, 1963 – Ruby takes a call from New Orleans, and then promptly travels there, where he has phone conversations with Chicago gangsters. He visits Cuba. On November 11, 1963, he gives power of attorney over his finances to his tax lawyer.  He installs a safe.  He calls associates of James Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and John Roselli. He meets with a crime syndicate pay master.  He becomes very anxious, and gets prescriptions for tranquilizers. He visits Las Vegas. On November 19, 1963 he tells his tax attorney that his debts will soon be settled.

During the JFR assassination, Ruby is nearby, at the offices of the Dallas Morning News. In the evening, he is trying to get into the interrogation room, with a gun in his pocket, where Oswald is held, but is turned away. That night he is with reporters when Oswald is brought before them. He corrects the District Attorney who misnames the Fair Play for Cuba Committee!  Very late that night he meets with a Dallas police officer, Harry N.Olsen, an officer with a poor record, an officer who rents from the sister of the woman who rents to Lee Harvey Oswald.

On November 24, at 11:17 AM, Ruby is at the Western Union station next to the police station, just before Oswald’s transfer.  A car horn sounds.  At 11:21 Ruby is stepping in front of a policeman to shoot Oswald, the fatal way, into the spleen and across the upper abdomen. He is visibly nervous until he knows that Oswald has died.

In June 1964, Earl Warren visits Ruby, who has been sentenced to die. The transcript is a must read. Ruby talks of things not asked that seem like hints. He asks eight times to be taken to Washington. He is emphatic that his life is in danger. “I can’t say it here . . .why my act was committed”.I have been used for a purpose“.

Ruby fails a lie detector test on questions about his comings and goings in the police station.   He passes on:  no he was not part of a conspiracy, no he did not know Oswald beforehand . . . .and no he was not at Parkland.

Murder Leaders

When criminals take over . . .

The utopias in summer 1941 had been four:  a lightning victory that would destroy the Soviet Union in weeks; a Hunger Plan that would starve thirty million people in months; a Final Solution that would eliminate European Jews after the war; and a General Plan Ost that would make of the western Soviet Union a German colony.”  The BloodLands, Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Timothy Snyder, 2010.

In their Hunger Plan, the Nazi’s planned to feed German soldiers and German civilians by intentionally starving the millions of Soviet citizens they would conquer. They would destroy the cities, and the industry in Ukraine and Southern Russia, and “the terrain would be returned to natural forest“. They particularly wanted the forests of Poland, for hunting. The eastern Soviet Union and Ukraine would be returned to a preindustrial state, and Germany would become “a massive land empire in Europe” to eventually “rival the British and the Americans“.  They would do to the Ukraine, for Germany, what Stalin had already done, for Bolshevism, – starve the population of that valuable bread basket nation.  A Leningrad, starved “from the face of the earth”, would be given to the Finn’s.  This was directed, in writing, on May 23, 1941.

As time fades, there can be a temptation to think of the Nazi’s as like other conquering leaders in history, albeit brutal, sort of like we think of Genghis Kahn. But no, they were, from the beginning, vicious Ted Bundy killers, bent on murder. And murder they did.

To recount, only partially, in the East, in 1941, and these are civilians, not soldiers, mostly shot point blank outside of their homes:  72,000 at Ponary, Lithuania, in Latvia, 69,750, in Estonia, 5,000, in Bialystok, 1000, 19,655 in Eastern Poland, 13,778 between Belarus and Ukraine, 23,600 outside of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, 33,761 from Kiev at Babi Yar, 12,000 at Dnipropetrovsk, 10,000 in Kharkiv, 6,000 in Mahileu, Belarus, 14,000 in Riga, 17,000 from Rivne, Ukraine, in the Sosensky woods. In 1942, the remaining 10,000 of Rivne, at Kostopil, Ukraine, 10,000 at Hirka Polonka, from Kovel, 14,000 near Kamin-Kashyrshkyi, 6,624 and then another 5,000 from Minsk, at Tuchinka.

Notes are found.  “My beloved Mama!  There was no escape.  They brought us here from outside the ghetto, and now we must die a terrible death.”  “One wants to live, and they won’t allow it.”  “I am strangely calm, though it is hard to die at twenty“.

Himmler is treated to ‘show’ executions in Minsk, and this is made into a movie, for enjoyment back in Berlin.  Another 3,412 are shot in Minsk.  German SS try to kill all Jews ‘in their territory’ by April 20 to honor Hitler’s birthday.  A ‘death facility’ built in Minsk kills 40,000, and 208,089 are killed in Belarus, 30,000 alone by one monster SS Commander, Oskar Dirlewanger .

As many Soviet prisoners of war died on a single given day in autumn 1941 as did British and American prisoners of war over the course of the entire Second World War“.

As the war against Russia failed, the Hunger Plan became the Final Solution.  Murder became the whole point of the war.  “A war to destroy the Soviet Union became a war to murder the Jews.”

Warning the Tsar

In 1914, Petr Durnovo, police chief and interior minister of Russia, wrote a letter to Tsar Nicholas II. He foresaw the disaster that World War I would be for Russia, and he urged the Tsar to change course. It was not meant to be.

In the early 1900’s, in America and in Europe and Russia, material progress was improving quality of life.  People were living better, and populations were growing. But productivity was not increasing as fast.  And so nations needed land, and access to colonies for food and resources.  And they went after them. And this led to war.

Durnovo foresaw that the continental empire of Germany would seek to extend its power into the seas, where it would clash with England.  As each would not have the power to overcome the other, both will build alliances with others, a world war would follow. Russia was allied with France, and had normally been friendly with Germany.  Since the Russ0-Japanese War, however, Russia renounced its “traditional policy of distrust of England” and created the Triple Entente with France and England against Germany. This was the looming disaster for Russia, for Russia would bear the brunt of any continental assault on Germany. Petr Durnovo knew the state of modern armaments and “military technique“.  He could foresee the ghastly results.

Durnovo was sure Russia would lose.  She was not adequately prepared, weakened as he saw it, by the Tsar’s naive political liberalization. “The fault lies, in a considerable measure, in our young legislative institutions, which have taken a dilettante interest in our defenses, but are far from grasping the seriousness of the political situation arising from the new orientation which, with the sympathy of the public, has been followed in recent years by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs“.  “Every previous war has invariably been followed by something new in the realm of military technique, but the technical backwardness of our industries does not create favorable conditions for our adoption of the new inventions.

He  reasoned that Russia didn’t need land, didn’t need colonies, and so didn’t need to go to war. He knew that Russia was on the precipice of social upheaval as the masses awakened. “An especially favorable soil for social upheavals is found in Russia, where the masses undoubtedly profess, unconsciously, the principals of Socialism. . . The Russian masses, whether workmen or peasants, are not looking for political rights, which they neither want nor comprehend. . . The peasant dreams of obtaining a gratuitous share of somebody else’s land; the workman, of getting hold of the entire capital and profits of the manufacturer. . .Beyond this they have no aspirations.”  He knew a great war would break the nation’s finances, and its frail political cohesion.

A defeated Germany, too, would degenerate. “The effect of a disastrous war upon the population will be too severe not to bring to the surface destructive tendencies, now deeply hidden.”  The widespread suffering “will offer fertile soil for anti-agrarian and later anti-social propaganda by the Socialist parties.”

And so after World War I came the Nazi’s and the Bolsheviks.

Romanization

Before globalization, there was Romanization.

In 42 B.C.E., Octavius, the nephew of Julius Caesar, became Emperor Augustus. Until his death in 14 C.E., as the deity of Imperial Rome, he Romanized the known Mediterranean world, and launched modern history.

In the lands of Galilee and Jerusalum and Jericho, between Sinai and Phoenicia and Syria, on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, lived a subsistence farming, communal people. Theirs was a culture of food purity, of bathing with running water, of sanctity of family and marriage, and of a covenantal relationship to an un-nameable God, a one true God.  Their lands belonged to this God, its fruits were to be shared in sacrifice to God.  Every seventh day was for rest, and for God.

In 63 B.C.E., the Romans came. While hunting pirates from Turkey who were raiding grain ships on their way to Rome, Pompey the Great marched thru Armenia, Syria, and then to Jerusalem, where he seized the Temple, conquered Judaea, and established the Roman Province, Syria Palastina. He eventually married Julius Caesar’s daughter, she died in childbirth along with their child. In civil war, at Pharsalus, against his brotherin-law, Pompey was defeated.  He escaped to Egypt, but was put to sword coming ashore.

Herod the Great came to rule in Syria Palastina, in collaboration with Rome.  He rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple into a wonder of the ancient world.  He built a great port city, Caesarea, and cities in the heartland – Tiberius in Galilee, and Sepphoris, just four miles from Nazareth.  With this Romanization, farming was commercialized and families were dispossessed, Roman patronage broke communal bonds, Roman money invaded traditional exchange, and – worst of all – piety to Roman power brought sacrilege – graven images near the Temple.

Local resistance grew.  A baptism movement developed.  Water immersion re-enacted the crossing of the Jordan of the ancestors, symbolically re-committing to traditional history.  The leader was beheaded by Herod’s son. An apocalyptic sect retreated into the caves near the Dead Sea. Collaborators and Roman officials were assassinated. A Kingdom of God movement arose in Galilee, advocating radical egalitarianism – shared living, non-violent resistence, and a dangerous rejection of Roman imperial divinity.  Their charismatic leader, in Jerusalem during Passover, protested the money commerce that invaded the Temple. He was swiftly arrested, and gruesomely crucified. His movement lived on, his followers moved out to Antioch, Corinth, Thessalonica, and Rome. They came to be blamed for a great fire in Rome, and Nero put their leaders to death. Revolts in Jerusalem and the surrounding lands attacked Roman legions. In a surprise victory, The Eagle Standard of the Twelfth Roman Legion was captured.  Roman honor was stained.  Nero dispached Vespasian, who, with his son, Titus, sieged and re-conquered Jerusalem. The Great Temple, all but the Western Wall, was destroyed.

While the Temple blazed, the victors plundered everything that fell in their way and slaughtered wholesale all who were caught.  No pity was shown for age, no reverence for rank: children and greybeards, laity and priests alike were massacred.”   Josephus, Jewish War,  6.6.271