Friday, March 25, 2016

A View From Space with Gary Bell the Spaceman, March 19, 2016



TOPICS: Time change, and Earth Day
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What's Wrong With America

Bob MoriartyMar 25, 2016

Upon hearing of the deadly attacks by terrorists in Brussels, President Obama was quick to offer his thoughts when he said, “We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible” for the terrible attacks.

While on a history-making trip to Cuba for the first time in 100 years, President Obama made it clear that it was time to drop the economic trade embargo on Cuba. The trade embargo was a mistake. It took the US 56 years to admit it.

Just how long will it take for the United States to admit that our Middle East policy is just as flawed and has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions?

Early reports say that thirty-one people were killed in Brussels. According to news reports, ISIS claims responsibility. If that is so, perhaps President Obama could start the process of bringing ISIS to justice by refusing to arm and fund them any longer. Perhaps he could insist President Erdogan of Turkey shut off the funding his son does by buying all the oil ISIS steals from Syria and Iraq.

Harvard University teaches a four-point process for problem determination and solution. Here’s how it works.
  1. Ask, what is the apparent problem?
That’s a wise thing to do because often the problem that is most apparent isn’t the problem that needs solving.
  1. Ask, what is the real problem?
There is a world of difference between apparent problems and real problems. You can try solving apparent problems all day long and accomplish nothing because they are not the real problem.
  1. Ask, what are all the possible solutions?
When you want to solve a problem, you not only need to attack the real problem, you may well want to consider a whole bunch of possible solutions, the more the merrier. You don’t have to pick the first solution you come up with; there may well be better solutions you didn’t come up with at the first attempt.
  1. Implement the best solution.
News reports as of when I am writing this piece say thirty-one people died in Brussels while another two hundred and seventy-one were wounded. The world reacts in horror at the terror and everyone seems to agree with President Obama that those responsible need to be brought to justice.
Look in the fucking mirror Mr. President. You created ISIS.

Europe believes they have a refugee problem that is starting to morph into a terrorist problem. It’s called Blowback. You bomb some people long enough and they start getting the idea that if it’s ok for you to bomb them it must be ok for them to bomb you back.

What is the refugee problem? Do we need to shuttle them around Europe because they need food and shelter or is that just the apparent problem?

Maybe the real problem is that there are refugees. Refugees are created when one country attacks another country. That’s for a real simple reason.

If your country, town, city, house is attacked, you do one of three things. 1. Sometimes you die. This is a good solution because dead people don’t become either refugees or terrorists, they just become dead. 2. You grab a rifle and try to kill the prick bastards attacking your country, town, city, house.
If it happens to be the US doing the attacking as it has in 81% of all the wars in the world since 1945, you automatically earn the title of terrorist by defending yourself and family. If the US attacks you, do not assume you have any right to defend yourself. You have no more right of self-defense than those living in Gaza or the West Bank. And of course 3. You become a refugee and leave Dodge for more friendly environments where you are not being bombed on a daily basis.

The really simple solution to the problem of refugees is never discussed because it’s way too simple. Stop creating refugees.

The knee jerk reaction to Brussels is to suggest we need to find the culprits who did it and hang them from the nearest yardarm after a brief but fair trial.

Maybe the real problem is that we need to know why they are terrorists in the first place. Could it possibly be because there are a lot of people in the world getting tired of playing target for the US and whoever the US can con into supporting the war of the week, wherever it may be? Do you think that maybe Muslims become terrorists because they are sick and tired of being targets?

Now don’t think for a minute I agree with the terrorists. But I also don’t agree with all those shedding crocodile tears at the idea of thirty-one dead Belgians. They didn’t give a damn about the thirty-one children in Gaza massacred in the last month or the thirty-one dead in Syria yesterday or the thirty-one killed in Iraq last weekend or the thirty-one murdered in Libya in the last week or the thirty-one dying in Afghanistan in an average drone strike.

How is it Mr. President that the lives of thirty-one people in Brussels managed to move the needle on your give-a-shit-meter but the 20 million refugees you helped create in Iraq and Syria are beneath your notice?

I forget. It’s been 13 years since we began the latest devastation in Iraq. Just what was our justification? Oh, right. WMD. We knew because Rumsfeld still had the receipts that Hussein had WMD. Oops, we lynched him after finding there were no WMD and there was no threat to the US or US interests. So fill me in. Just why are we in Iraq? What is the real problem that the only solution is for the US to make the country a bigger mess than it is at present?

Just how much more damage do we need to do to Afghanistan before we throw in the towel? We have been at war there for 15 years. How long does it take to realize you lost?

After the incredible fiasco in Libya, do we really believe we are any good at regime change? After all, it failed in Iraq, it failed in Iran, it failed in Afghanistan, it failed in Pakistan, it failed in Syria, it failed in Libya, it failed in Sudan, it failed in Somalia. Me? I’m starting to see the traces of a pattern.
Mr. President, I’m impressed that you began to question failure after only 56 years of a trade embargo against Cuba. Perhaps you are at the start of a long series of successes if the US begins to question just why we are doing what we are doing. As President Putin said, “Do you realize what you have done?”

We are encircling both Russia and China with military bases and weapons aimed at them. One day they will respond. That war will last perhaps two days and a year later 90% of Americans will be dead along with a couple of billions of others throughout the world. While you are playing Chinese checkers, they are playing chess.

Mr. President you need to remember, "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."

Bob MoriartyPlease share this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New Data Released: 50 Years of Climate Change Nonsense Gets Obliterated

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In case you missed it, Edward Snowden came out this week with a jaw-dropping revelation when he confessed that “Climate Change is nothing more than a hoax that was thought up by the CIA.“ It was hardly jaw-dropping to learn that climate change was a fraud, because many of us have been saying that for years. What was jaw-dropping, was the fact Edward Snowden spilled the beans on his former employer, the CIA. Guess what? Snowden wasn’t the only one to come out this week and declare “climate change” to be a hoax either, so did the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but more on that later… 
To be sure, when liberals hear about Snowden’s revelation, they’ll be quick to call him a liar, or claim he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and to that my response is simple: Let’s take a look at:
Let’s see how his credibility holds up, and then revisit whether we can trust him to tell the truth or not afterward…
Snow
MAGE: BARTON GELLMAN/GETTY IMAGES
Back in 2013, the Guardian published its first bombshell story based on leaked top-secret documents showing that the National Security Agency was spying on American citizens. At the time, journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian never mentioned that they had a treasure trove of other NSA documents, nor that they came from one person. Then three days later, the source surprisingly unmasked himself: His name was Edward Snowden.
Taxi
Journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting based on Snowden’s information.
Image: John Minchillo/Associated Press
When asked if more revelations were in the pipeline, Greenwald always used to respond that yes, many more were coming — and he wasn’t kidding. Over the next year, explosive stories began to trickle out of those documents. Here are the top 10 revelations of the year.
1. Secret court orders allow NSA to sweep up Americans’ phone records
The very first story revealed that Verizon had been providing the NSA with virtually all of its customers’ phone records. It soon was revealed that it wasn’t just Verizon, but virtually every other telephone company in America.
This revelation is still one of the most controversial ones. Privacy advocates have challenged the legality of the program in court, and one Judge deemed the program unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian,” while another one ruled it legal.



The uproar caused by this first story has led President Barack Obama to endorse a reform to the program, and the House of Representatives to pass the first law that tries to change it.
2. PRISM
The existence of PRISM was the second NSA bombshell, coming less than 24 hours after the first one. Initially, reports described PRISM as the NSA’s program to directly access the servers of U.S tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, among others.
Its reality was slightly different.
PRISM, we soon learned, was less less evil than first thought. In reality, the NSA doesn’t have direct access to the servers, but can request user data from the companies, which are compelled by law to comply.
PRISM was perhaps as controversial as the first NSA scoop, prompting technology companies to first deny any knowledge of it, then later fight for the right to be more transparent about government data requests. The companies ended up partially winning that fight, getting the government to ease some restrictions and allow for more transparency.
3. Britain’s version of the NSA taps fiber optic cables around the world
The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), taps fiber optic cables all over the world to intercept data flowing through the global Internet, we learned. The GCHQ works closely with the NSA, sharing data and intelligence in a program that’s codenamed Tempora.
Tempora is one of the key NSA/GCHQ programs, allowing the spy agencies to collect vasts troves of data, but for some reason, it has sometimes been overlooked. After a couple of months from the Tempora revelation, a German newspaper revealed the names of the companies that collaborate with the GCHQ in the Tempora program: Verizon Business, British Telecommunications, Vodafone Cable, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel and Interoute.
4. NSA spies on foreign countries and world leaders
German
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are seated together at a G7 dinner in Brussels, on June 4. Their relationship has been tense since reports revealed that the NSA tapped Merkel’s phone.
Image: Charles Dharapak/Associated Press
Over the months, countless stories based on Snowden documents have revealed that the NSA has spied on numerous world leaders and foreign governments.
The German newsweekly Der Spiegel revealed that the NSA targets at least 122 world leaders.
Other stories over the past years have named specific targets like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil’s President Dilma Roussef, and Mexico’s former President Felipe Calderon, the French Foreign Ministry, as well as leaders at the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Toronto.
5. XKeyscore, the program that sees everything
XKeyscore is a tool the NSA uses to search “nearly everything a user does on the Internet” through data it intercepts across the world. In leaked documents, the NSA describes it as the “widest-reaching” system to search through Internet data.
6. NSA efforts to crack encryption and undermine Internet security
Encryption makes data flowing through the Internet unreadable to hackers and spies, making the NSA’s surveillance programs less useful. What’s the point of tapping fiber optic cables if the data flowing through them is unreadable? That’s why the NSA has a developed a series of techniques and tricks to circumvent widely used web encryption technologies.
The NSA, however, isn’t able to compromise the encryption algorithms underlying these technologies. Instead, it circumvents or undermines them, forcing companies to install backdoors, hacking into servers and computers, or promoting the use weaker algorithms.
In any case, technologists were alarmed.
“Even as the NSA demands more powers to invade our privacy in the name of cybersecurity, it is making the Internet less secure and exposing us to criminal hacking, foreign espionage, and unlawful surveillance. The NSA’s efforts to secretly defeat encryption are recklessly shortsighted and will further erode not only the United States’ reputation as a global champion of civil liberties and privacy but the economic competitiveness of its largest companies,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said at the time.
7. NSA elite hacking team techniques revealed
The NSA has at its disposal an elite hacker team codenamed “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO) that hacks into computers worldwide, infects them with malware and does the dirty job when other surveillance tactics fail.
Der Spiegel, which detailed TAO’s secrets, labelled it as “a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.” But they can probably be best described as the NSA’s black bag operations team.
TAO comes in for specific, targeted operations when the NSA can’t find intelligence or needs more detailed information on a target through its bulk surveillance programs. Before Snowden, most of their operations and techniques were shrouded in secrecy, and their secrets make for one of the most fascinating revelations.
8. NSA cracks Google and Yahoo data center links
When bulk collection or PRISM fails, the NSA had other tricks up its sleeve: It could infiltrate links connecting Yahoo and Google data centers, behind the companies’ backs.
This revelation was made famous mostly by a Power Point slide that included a celebratory smiley face.
This story truly enraged the tech companies, which reacted with much more fury than before. Google and Yahoo announced plans to strengthen and encrypt those links to avoid this kind of surveillance, and a Google security employee even said on his Google+ account what many others must have thought privately: “Fu** these guys.”
9. NSA collects text messages
It’s not just about Internet data though. The NSA, following its unofficial motto of “collecting it all,” intercepts 200 million text messages every day worldwide through a program called Dishfire.
In leaked documents, the agency described the collected messages as a “gold mine to exploit” for all kinds of personal data.
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— James Ball (‎@jamesrbuk) 2:18 PM – 16 Jan 2014
Other documents also revealed that the NSA can “easily” crack cell phone encryption, allowing the agency to more easily decode and access the content of intercepted calls and text messages.
10. NSA intercepts all phone calls in two countries
The NSA intercepts and stores all phone calls made in the Bahamas and Afghanistan through a program called MYSTIC, which has its own snazzy logo.
Mystic
The Bahamas was revealed by The Intercept, Greenwald’s new website, while the second was revealed by WikiLeaks, which protested The Intercept‘s decision to withhold the second country’s name.
The NSA also collects all phone calls’ metadata in Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines.
(H/T to the site Free Snowden, which has an extensive and detailed list of all the NSA revelations.)
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Okay, so far Snowden is 10 for 10. I think we can trust him. See if you can get any liberal claiming Snowden is wrong to name 10 political facts they’ve said (in their LIVES) that have been true… HA! Good luck! Snowden wasn’t the only one to come out this week declaring global warming to be a hoax. The following article titled, BREAKING: NOAA Releases New Data, 50 Years of Lies Just Got OBLITERATED, came out today! Conservative Tribune writes:
Liberals and global warming theorists would love to have all of us believing the earth is warming at a rapid rate and we are the cause of it. They want to blame our “carbon footprints” for the melting of the polar caps and have tried relentlessly for decades to push this agenda as a reason to ration energy production and consumption and generally control every act of our lives.
Recent data compiled by Real Climate Science may finally put some of those outlandish ideas to rest. The group recently analyzed data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, claiming that 2015 was the “hottest year ever.”
They included a graph explaining a 58-year-long radiosonde temperature record. However, their graph only showed the last 37 years — and the reason why explained just what a hoax global warming is.
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Simply put, the full NOAA data set showed as much pre-1979 cooling as is did post-1979 warming. In addition, NOAA’s recently released data showed about 0.5C warming from 1979 to 2010. However, the original data showed almost one full degree of warming from 1979 to 2010.
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Absurd liberal issues like this one never seem to go away because liberals leave out pertinent information and fudge numbers until they are able to craft a scenario that fits their agenda — and then and only then do they publish their data.
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However, it’s difficult to argue with facts, and most thinking people understand just what a hoax global warming is.
Watch Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever debunk global warming at the Nobel Laureates meeting in July 2015:

 

We don’t expect this evidence to change how liberals approach this topic. After all, scientists and other experts have hidden clear evidence against global warming for years. They have too much money, too much career and too much of their anti-capitalism agenda invested in the scheme to give up now.
The truth is that without this “issue,” liberals wouldn’t have nearly as much justification to control our lives and fight against the use of fossil fuel, all in the name of saving the planet.
H/T teaparty.org
global-warming
BUT… WHY STOP THERE? WE CAN KEEP GOING…
DID YOU KNOW THE FOUNDER OF GREENPEACE SAYS ITS A HOAX TOO?
GREENPEACE FOUNDER, PATRICK MOORE PhD SUGGESTS YOU FOLLOW THE MONEY….
The Brewster writes:
Who has better, longer, more grounded, credentials than Patrick Moore? One of the original founders of Greenpeace who left that organization when they started lurching (no referrence to John Kerry there) to the left. The group became highly politicized, and funded by the giga-dollars of the uber-left. The video below is Mr. Moore PhD discussing the flawed, non-science this highly politicized theory is. How it is more like a cult, and is based on assumptions, grant money, opinion, coercion, the stigmatizing (gaslighting) of “deniers”…and while all the previous does represent many words, there resides how many actual facts in any of them when acted out by the left? Zero.
The rabid red-faced global-warming cultist alarmists, like Al Gumshoe Gore, would like you to believe that it’s Great Big Oil, That Megalithic, Monolithic Colossal Money Machine who Control the Universe and they, the tiny green, care about you and nothing else, tree-hugging, lovers of all life except humans, flower sniffing, non-selfish, ever-gregarious mice, are the underdogs. Are they? No.
It is they who are seriously, ridiculously funded, institutionally funded, government funded, billionaire funded, multi-national funded. Their funds and influence dwarf anything big oil could even consider coming up with. The US Government is also in on the act, along with governments of many other countries.
It is they who are the giants, we who are the duped populace, and the solutions to this imaginary problem, will make these insatiable giants, even stronger and more controlling than they already are.
As usual, follow the money. It’s an oft learned, repetitious thing, which is demonstrated every day in many ways.
Below the video is what The Examiner reveals about the funding of the cult called Global-warming/Climate Change. But first, here’s Patrick Moore PhD.

 
Mainstream media don’t know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil
The “Kill Keystone XL” crowd isn’t little David up against a Big Oil Goliath. As usual, conventional wisdom isn’t wisdom when the mainstream media ask all the wrong questions with commensurate answers.
Behemoth Big Green outstrips Big Oil in expendable revenue by orders of magnitude — if you know how to follow the money.
They would never discover that the American Petroleum Institute’s IRS Form 990 for the most recent year showed $237.9 million in assets while the Natural Resources Defense Council reported $241.8 million.
Nor would they discover who started the anti-Keystone campaign in the first place. It was the $789 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund (established in 1940). The fund’s program is elaborated in a 2008 PowerPoint presentation called “The Tar Sands Campaign” by program officer Michael Northrop, who set up coordination and funding for a dozen environmental and anti-corporate attack groups to use the strategy, “raise the negatives, raise the costs, slow down and stop infrastructure, and stop pipelines.” Tom Steyer’s $100 million solo act is naive underclass nouveau cheap by comparison.
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Here is another very interesting article about a group of scientists who say that all of this Global-warming/Climate change alarmism is:
“based on a string of inferences that begins with the assumptions”
A very interesting read. Of course they’re a bunch of flat earthers too, just like Patrick Moore, and every other person who realizes what a totalitarian wannabe bunch of freaks the global warming crowd and their government cohorts are. As usual, they desire you check with them, check your brain at the door, and check out from reality, but not necessarily in that order.
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FINALLY, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET OBNOXIOUS, THE FOLLOWING FOUR PART SERIES DONE BY GLENN BECK WHEN HE WAS ON FOX IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. 
Apparently Media Matters does their best in some Youtube video to debunk Beck, but seriously? Media Matters? The same group that stormed Trump’s rally with financing from Communist billionaire George Soros? Give me a break. Snowden and everyone above is batting 1000. Stick with the winners.

 
 
 
 

Liberal or Stupid
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The Ides of March: The assassination of Julius Caesar and how it changed the world

La Mort de César (ca. 1859–1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme
La Mort de César (ca. 1859–1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme 
Spurinna was a haruspex. His calling was vital, if a little unusual, requiring him to see the future in the warm entrails of sacrificial animals.
At the great festival of Lupercalia on the 15th of February 44 B.C., he was a worried man. While priests were running around the Palatine Hill hitting women with thongs to make them fertile, Spurinna was chewing over a terrible omen.

The bull that Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, had sacrificed earlier that day had no heart. Spurinna knew it was a terrible sign: a sure portent of death.
The following day, the haruspex oversaw another sacrifice in the hope it would give cause for optimism, but it was just as bad: the animal had a malformed liver. There was nothing for it but to tell Caesar.
In grave tones, Spurinna warned the dictator that his life would be in danger for a period of 30 days, which would expire on the 15th of March. Caesar dismissed the concerns. Although in his scramble for political power he had been made the chief priest of Rome (Pontifex Maximus), he was a campaign soldier by trade, and not bothered by the divinatory handwringing of seers like Spurinna.

The Ides of March

As the 30 days passed, nothing whatsoever happened. Yet when the 15th of March dawned, Caesar’s wife awoke distressed after dreaming she held his bloodied body. Fearing for his life, she begged him not to leave the house. His dreams, too, had also been unsettling. He had been flying through the air, and shaken hands with Jupiter. But he pushed any concerns aside. The day was an important annual celebration in Rome’s religious calendar, and he had called a special meeting of the Senate.
His first appointment of the day was a quick sacrifice at a friend’s house. Spurinna the seer was also there. Caesar joked that his prophecies must be off as nothing had happened. Spurinna muttered that the day was not yet over.
The sacrifices proceeded, but the animals’ innards were blemished and the day was plainly inauspicious. Caesar knew when to call it a day, and agreed to postpone the meeting of the Senate and to go home.
Julius CaesarJulius Caesar  Photo: Alamy
Later that morning, his fellow military politician and protégé Decimus called round, urging him to come to the Senate in case his absence was seen as mocking or insulting. Persuaded by his friend, soldier to soldier, Caesar agreed to go in person to announce the meeting would be postponed.
Shortly after, a slave arrived at Caesar’s house to warn him of the plot against his life. But he was too late: Caesar had left. A short while later, a man named Artemidorus of Cnidus pushed through the jostling crowds and handed Caesar a roll setting out details of the plot. But the crowds were so thick he had no chance to read it.

The conspiracy and assassination

The main Senate House was being rebuilt on Caesar’s orders, so the meeting was instead at the Curia behind the porticoed gardens attached to the great Theatre of Pompey. Another round of animal sacrifices before the start of the session was unfavourable, and Caesar waited outside, troubled. Again Decimus spoke with him. Unaware of his friend’s treachery, Caesar allowed himself to be led towards the chamber by the hand. Decked out in his triumphant general’s reddish-purple toga embroidered in gold, Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, entered the Senate’s meeting room, and ascended his golden throne.

10 facts about the Ides of March murder
The end came quickly. A group of Senators approached the dais. Daggers were produced from the capsae document chests the slaves had recently brought in. The metal flashed. In a frenzied attack, the most powerful man in Rome was stabbed 23 times. He fell, still clutching the unread scroll warning him to stay away.

In the English-speaking world, we know a slightly different story, thanks to Shakespeare. He lifted Caesar’s dramatic dying words, “Et tu, Brute?” from an earlier play by Richard Edes, and made them a part of the assassination mythology. In reality, most Roman writers state that Caesar said nothing, but merely pulled his toga up over his face. They do note, however, that some people were spreading the story that Caesar had gasped, “καὶ σὺ, τέκνον?/You too, my child?” to Brutus. (Many Romans of all classes were bilingual, with the more educated frequently preferring to speak Greek.)
Most famously, however, Shakespeare does away with Spurinna, the venerable entrails-gazer, and instead invents a soothsayer in a crowd, who shouts the famous prophetic warning to Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March!” It is, perhaps, one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines and, as a direct result, “the Ides” has come to mean a date of doom.

The Roman calendar

In fact, it implies neither good nor bad. In Rome’s impossibly complicated calendar, every month had an Ides. Although Monty Python spelled out many of the Romans’ achievements, a user-friendly dating system was not among them.

In the mists of time, the early Romans began each month at the new moon. They called that day the Kalends (Kalendae). Two weeks later came the full moon, which they named the Ides (Idus). Midway between the two was the half-moon, which they referred to as the Nones (Nonae). For some inexplicable reason, they then chose to refer to every other day in the month in terms of its relationship to the next one of these coming up. So they would say, “five days before the Kalends of March,” or “three days before the Nones of June”.


The Kalends was always the 1st of the month. Over time, the others came to fall on set days. In March, May, July, and October, the Nones was the 7th and the Ides was the 15th. For the remaining months, the Nones was the 5th and the Ides was the 13th. Therefore the 4th of July was IIII Nones July (ie four days before the Nones - the calculation is inclusive, so both the 4th and the 7th are counted).

Although every month had an Ides in the middle, the date chosen by Caesar’s murderers was nevertheless significant. Traditionally, the Roman year started on the 1st of March, meaning the Ides was the first full moon of the year. It was a major celebration, and the festival of Anna Perenna, the goddess of the cycle of the year. Her special gift was to reward people with long life. Caesar’s assassins clearly thought they were giving long life to Rome (and their own political careers) by removing the dictator they believed was blighting it all.

A world changing aftermath

As it happens, the murder of Caesar did turn out to be a key moment in history.

Caesar may have brought Rome glory in his conquest of Gaul. He may have started and won a civil war that eventually vested absolute power in him. He may have begun highly popular social and political reforms, and even had time to abolish the chaotic ever-changing calendar and bring in his “Julian calendar,” which lasted a millennium and a half until tweaked by Pope Gregory in 1582. But in his muscular assumption of power, and his popularity among the citizenry, he threatened the deep vested interests of the patricians, who had run the Republic and the Senate for so long. It was enough to seal his fate.


With Caesar gone, Rome spiralled into another cycle of civil wars, which resulted in one of the most significant constitutional transformations in history. The Eternal City abandoned its trademark republican system of government and became an empire. In place of the Senate electing two consuls each year as joint heads of state, they transferred power to a largely omnipotent emperor. Ever since, people have argued which system was better.

Supporters of the Republic point to how it threw off the tyrannical king Tarquin the Proud and introduced elements of democracy, with power held by the patricians and the plebeians: SPQR, Senatus Populusque Romanus. They note how it found fame and glory in conquering almost all the Mediterranean basin: Italy, Spain, France, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, spreading its influence far beyond ancient Latium.

Advocates of the Empire, on the other hand, highlight that the Republic was in reality a hereditary oligarchy in the hands of the wealthy patrician families who ran the all-powerful Senate with no genuine voice for the plebeians, women, or slaves. They also point out that the Republic was too weak to govern effectively at home or abroad, instead relying on “bread and circuses” to keep its citizens happy amid endless civil wars. They note that Rome only truly became a great power under the might of the Empire, which lasted even longer than the Republic, and in the East until A.D. 1453.

Caesar himself remains equally as contested a character. He embodies the conflict between Republic and Empire like no one else. He was a military colossus, original thinker, compelling writer, magnetic orator, dynamic reformer, and magnanimous politician. Yet he was also manipulative, narcissistic, egotistical, sexually predatory, shockingly savage in war even by Roman standards, and monomaniacally obsessed with acquiring absolute power for himself.

Little did Spurinna the haruspex know, as he pored over the succession of hot entrails in early 44 B.C., that the man who teased him about his dud prophecies would, within two years, rise from the tomb as “the Divine Julius” (Divus Iulius), Rome’s first resident to be declared a god. Far from heralding doom, the Ides of March, in fact, finally brought Caesar the hallowed immortality he always craved.


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Monday, March 7, 2016